image by @hussanamir
No matter how difficult the past, you can always begin again. This is a quote by Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield often misattributed to the Buddha.
Begin again. I wonder how this lands for those of you who are going through it right now? It’s such a challenging time for so many. Does it feel like you can begin again? How would that look for you in each moment? Would it give you permission to say to your loved one that you have to take a break when caught in another fight? Would it help you to say no when engaging in a series of painful thoughts that feature you with a storyline about something that is wrong with you?
You don’t have to believe every thought. You don’t have to deal with everything right away. You don’t have to solve every problem right now. You don’t have to get anything perfect today. That sense of urgency associated with forms of oppression can fall away, allowing space for you to be here right now, allowing space for you to perhaps connect with a sense of aliveness in this moment in a life that flickers by so quickly barely visible against the blinding glare of striving and dissatisfaction.
I really appreciate Begin Again as an affirmation I can offer myself no matter how stressful the situation. It reminds me to take a deep breath, to soften the body where it’s contracted, to relax into the present moment. It’s something I can be with. I can be with this moment, this short moment no matter how painful, and by being with it in this way, I make it bite size and accessible rather than excruciating and too much. In fact, the phrase this is too much is a cue to me that I have left the present moment and am including the past or future into my attention. It’s a reminder to me to return to the present.
I like to pair Begin Again with the word Stay. I like the paradoxical quality of the two. The idea that I can both stay here with all that’s present and that I can also begin again in each moment, each cycle of breath, each day. I can do both. I can stay as a form of letting go. I find that kind of a presence deeply supportive especially during these times when there are so many challenges presenting themselves daily that we can easily get lost in and defined by.
Stay & Begin Again is a statement of radical acceptance. It reminds me that I can stay with joy, ease, grief, rage, and all that’s present and that doesn’t mean that I am those emotions. I can experience guilt about a mistake and that doesn’t mean that I am a mistake. I can let go of attachment by pairing the two together and as a result create space to be with what is. I can be reminded of impermanence as well that everything and everyone is always in some form of flux and transition. Whenever I stay, I can always stay in a way that lets go because everything all around me is letting go whether I like it or not; it’s so hard and futile to fight that.
It’s a practice, not a perfect. Something to remember again and again. Can you give it a try? Stay and begin again with me. You’re not alone in this practice. We’re practicing together. You’re not alone in what you are carrying. We’re holding each other through this practice.
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