Monday, August 16, 2010
On new beginnings...
I was at a meeting recently in which several people talked about making new beginnings in their lives. Sometimes the idea of "new beginnings" is assosciated with age or the big events we pass through in life, such as graduations, new relationships, marriages, children or jobs. Such events certainly are great demarcations of changes in our lives. However, if one thinks about it, one's life is always at the point of a new beginning.
Beginnings are, of course, intertwined with endings. Some beginnings and endings are inevitable for all human kind, aging, birth, death, etc. and others, are more of our own making. Virginia Satir (pronounced Suh-teer) taught that we make choices. We make choices constantly throughout every day, and whenever we make a choice, we are, at that moment, giving something up and receiving something. Every door is both an entrance and an exit all wrapped up in its frame. I love the Jewish tradition of having a mezuzah (a tiny case that has scripture verses inside it) tacked to the inside of the doorframe so that all passings through are guided by God's words.
There is no mezuzah on my door frames, but if I were to place words of guidance there, I think the words would be "Pay attention." When choices are made to watch TV, play computer games, go back to bed or stay in bed, they are made in lieu of other possibilities such as writing, calling a friend, reading or whatever. The argument is not that we should not do these things, and I do them frequently, rather, it is that we need to learn to pay more attention throughout each day about how we spend our time. What choices are we making and in so doing, foregoing one thing for another. Do our choices truly reflect how we want to spend our lives?
I think many of us go through life quite mindlessly. We get up and do what we do and we go to bed and then next morning we get up and do it again. We don't think about it. We don't evaluate it. We don't see the joy or lack there of in it. Rather, like the Nike ad, we "just do it." We simply slog our way through life never realizing that we could do it differently. Whether we would change anything or not, we need to be aware that we are making choices every day and those choices shape our lives. With each choice, we give something up and we let something go. Every moment is a new beginning, and if the truth be known no matter where we are or what we are doing, there is only this moment and our ability to be fully present and conscious with it.