Many believe that each New Year’s Day is the time to begin anew. They set goals, establish resolutions, and embrace the new year with a different attitude. Others might do this on a birthday or anniversary, both marking the beginning of a new year; each offering a chance for a new beginning.
Of course, each minute of each day – each morning as the sun rises into the sky – there is opportunity for a new beginning.
Today is 2 February. It is a Wednesday with temperatures that celebrate Groundhog Day in true style as they climb into the 50’s. It is the first day I have spent a significant amount of time outside the walls of my house – my daughter’s first day back at school. For the past week we have been enjoying the warmth and company of one another as the area was rocked by snow canceling schools and closing roads. It was nothing like the Midwest is experiencing now, but it was enough to have an impact; enough for me to smile as I walked into the office building this morning and celebrate today as a new beginning!
When I consider the idea of new beginnings, the RAOKA theme for January, I find myself reviewing a series of months that are about beginning anew, time and time again. In the past I felt like I would take a step forward only to then take two steps back… and there were days when I felt I took two steps forward only to take another step back. But each step, each time I started again, it was a new beginning.
As the months have passed and my steps have become more sure – I find myself learning to start anew with a breath – a simple inhale and exhale or a pause in which I can center myself and focus on the moment at hand. I find the new beginnings are mine to be had. Perhaps it is the increased awareness of the impermanence of objects and thoughts that allows me to feel these new beginnings. Perhaps it is the opening of my heart and mind and the detachment. Perhaps it is the reality of age and maturity taking hold as I am no longer the 20 something burning the candle at both ends driven to have life work my way… though I am not sure that I was ever that person.
In reflection of the last 4 decades – new beginnings have come in fairly significant forms – education, experience, exposure to diversity, information, career, pregnancy, transformed adult relationships…Each event or change has offered the opportunity to start anew – to detach, let go, and recognize the fluidity of life or its impermanence.
Other new beginnings seem small; yet perhaps, they are larger as they often result in a shift that defies words. They are the new beginnings that result from stopping, listening, softening, compassion, suffering… the living in the moment new beginnings that we can embrace each day if we choose.
Today, the groundhog didn’t see his shadow suggesting that spring will arrive early this year. Spring, an illustration of new beginnings and new life. I love spring for all that it is and the wonderful colors and warmth. I don’t believe I am typing this, but today, after the mess of the weather of the last few days and the disaster that is the area sidewalks, I will admit that I love winter too. There is something about the brightness of the snow and the awareness of the importance of the dormant periods for nature, that remind us to take a breath, to be still and silent, and to know that the choice to begin anew is mine (each of ours) at each exhale.
RAOKA is founded on the idea that we can do little things to make a difference. The little things in life, the little things that we all can do and do daily – like laughter, express passion, gratitude… These acts are noted by various people in accordance with a theme chosen each month. The theme for January is "New Beginnings"!
If you are interested in participating in the RAOKA movement, please contact Zeenat, the lovely keeper of the RAOKA torch!