After a year of pandemic, are you facing any new beginnings? While beginnings are a regular part of our lives they can overwhelm and excite us. What helps you move through them? I’ve experienced several major new beginnings in my life. What I’ve learned through the process is to trust myself, be patient, and face my fear. What do you need when confronted with a New Beginning?
A Joyful New Beginning
One of the most exciting new beginnings in my life has been the birth of my children and my grandchildren. The last birth I attended the joyous birth of my youngest grandchild. With a final push, Grady came into the world and my daughter, Laura, lifted him onto her chest. His mouth and nose were wiped clean, he let out a brief cry, and looked around as if to say, “Well, this is different.”. That day he began life in a new way and our family was reconfigured by the arrival of this little person. It was a new beginning for all of us and we had no idea how our lives would change.
New Beginnings confront us daily but how do we move through them? Especially the ones seem scary and hard? I put a lot of work and energy into the process, sometimes too much, but I’ve learned a lot about myself and what helps.
My Personal Dance
I have a well-defined dance I do when I begin something major. The closer I get to the starting line, the higher my anxiety rises and the faster I dance. I set up a list of conditions which, if they all worked out, I’d know I was making the right decision. The first time I went back to school, I had several requirements. “If the babysitter works out.” “If my daughter gets into the all-day kindergarten.” “If I can get my classes all on the same day.”
After one of my rants about nothing working out, my husband turned to look at me and said, “Are you really thinking about not going?” It stopped me in my tracks and forced me to recognize my fear about making the wrong choice had taken over, almost to the point of paralysis.
Do you have a dance when beginning a new thing scares you?
Facing Another New Beginning – Oh My!
For a year, I’ve been working on a getting a website up and running. This is the first post for my blog and I am excited, unsure, a bit overwhelmed, and anxious . . . did I say excited?
Its’ a threshold of a totally different direction in my life and doubts made me wonder if I could do this. Will anyone like it? Will I get any followers? Can I come up with enough worthwhile topics that will speak to others? (By the way, did I also say I have some anxiety?)
For the past five years I’ve been writing a book. Only as I’ve gotten closer to the finish line did I learn the hardest part was yet to come. If I hope to get it published, I have to put myself out there on social media and create an author platform. A year ago, I didn’t even know what that was or how to create it.
“And suddenly you know: It’s time to
start something new and trust the
magic of beginnings.”
My first response was, “ Crap!!” (A few other words came to mind, which I won’t share here!) In my naivete, I honestly thought if I wrote a good book, someone would immediately want to publish it. Like the young maiden in Rumpelstiltskin, I thought someone would show up to turn my straw into gold, or in my world, publish what I believed was an amazing book. Resistant and overwhelmed, I dragged my feet to as long as I could. Part of my anxiety was I am severely technologically challenged. (Inept is what some may call it.) A simple computer or software problem might take anyone else two minutes to resolve but usually takes me two hours or even two days for the same issue.
Figuring it out
I stressed about it big time, questioned, and tried to avoid it all together, read about blogging, whined to my friends, and asked for advice. In the process I realized I had a lot to offer and this is what I know today. My life and work has given me the privilege to walk on the sacred ground of people’s lives and hearts. Places of grief, loss, addictions, wounds—emotionally, spiritually and physically. They became my teachers while I also walked the path for my own healing journey. Those experiences guide my life—to live with compassion and become the best “me.” possible.
And suddenly, I discovered I wanted to create a blog where I could reflect on what I’ve learned, offer my truth and understanding I’ve gained, create a caring, community and remember how laughter is always good medicine. I will share beauty in words, stories, poetry, reflections, and images. Like the story of the farmer’s daughter who, with the help of Rumpelstiltskin) turned straw into gold, creating a blog turned into excitement and possibilities.
The next thing I asked myself was how to make my blog authentic, inviting, and honest? I don’t have a fancy tool to sell, I’m not an exercise or nutrition guru and I don’t have a class to offer. I’m still not sure about that answer.
But this is what I know today—I’ve landed in this new beginning. Because it is a large undertaking for me, I’ve crossed my fingers, said a prayer, hoped I’m up to the task, and jumped in with both feet.
Three Things that helps me when
I’m Facing a New Beginning.
How did I get this far? There are plenty of articles and books on facing the future and doing a new thing. I don’t need to duplicate those efforts because others do it so much better and more completely. But I’m sharing what I needed, and hopefully it makes sense to you.
1. Trust in Yourself
Many of us grew up learning not to trust ourselves. We learned to look for external validation and approval to tell us our feelings, thoughts or choices were okay. Because my father was an alcoholic, I learned that lesson as a young child.
Then years later, when I taught parenting classes to court-ordered families who struggled with addictions, I understood what had eroded my ability to trust myself. In families with alcohol or drug use, there is an “elephant in the room” which is the addictions. Children see the elephant in the room, but parents pretend or deny it’s. Eventually, the child gives up believing what they see and joins in the family’s collusion. “There is no elephant.” It becomes more important to be safe than right. I stopped trusting myself completely. Relearning the ability to believe in my internal truth was hard work and happened in only in baby steps.
2. Patience is a Virtue
Whoever came up with this saying probably never realized how annoying those words can be. Does anybody even still consider it a virtue in our modern, fast paced world? Fast food, fast money, fast access to news, fast driving lanes, fast shopping on-line. We don’t know how to slow down and don’t want to, we like speed and get annoyed if stuck in a slow-moving line.
What I do know is, important things don’t have fast tracks, – good cooking, a delicately created piece of art and lasting relationships. Instead, they come in their own season and timing and usually are beyond our control. There can be a knowing, if we trust ourselves, when we need to do something new or make a change. This knowing may suddenly appear or it may slowly build within us and only when we can be patient, to sit with it, will it unfold before us.
3. Face Your Fear
I can get anxious or fearful when confronted by something new. Do you? Something you’ve never done before? Are you familiar with the lens you view yourself and the world? You might never realize how much it influences how we think and feel. Few of us are afraid to try out a new restaurant . . . unless you struggle with agoraphobia and then it’s terrifying. Leaving the security of a good paying job to start your own business could be terrifying but not so for the person who loves taking risks and trying new things. They might experience living on the edge of the unknown as exhilarating and full of possibilities, eager to see what’s around the corner.
What is the lens you view the world and yourself through? The lens which says don’t trust anything or anyone . including yourself will shape the future choices very differently than the lens telling you the world holds all kinds of adventure and new and exciting things to learn. Is yours useful or limiting? Does it help or hinder you when you’re about to begin something new, or even thinking about it? Do you have a dance like mine? This is not meant to be a judgement but a gentle reminder we all have a lens, shaped long ago usually by others and events in our life that impact our choices today. It has the power to make us fearful.
Learning to face the fear isn’t about doing something quickly, quietly, or totally avoiding it by slinking away. It has a life of its own and likes to be in charge of us. But its power is diminished when we are able to acknowledge the fear, talk to it, and move ahead in spite of it.
As I close this post, this is what I know today—your life will hold lots of new beginnings, some hard and some that will pass by you with little notice. Since we can’t avoid them, be brave, trust in yourself, be patient with the process, face your fear and may you have lots of new beginnings to enrich your life
And at all times, keep the faith! You can do this new thing! Becky
Here is a link to a good article on taking the leap. https://medium.com/@nilasinha36/the-art-of-the-leap-how-to-exceed-what-you-believed-to-be-possible-91e0ecc06ce52
Music is a big part of my life. I’ve created a playlist with songs that encourage me to keep moving forward. (Or help when I’m doing housework) to keep me motivated. Enjoy https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1LoPpKcTbMqAYUlulr0XCw?si=HtouPLOSTDWvq7nEOGkrHQ