How to begin again

Jan 1, 2014

Sometimes, like lately, I find myself in a hole of my own making. This time its walls are made of sugar, self-judgment, and family stress.

It’s a familiar hole.

At first, I didn’t want to write a post about my mostly self-made stuckness.

I didn’t want to tell you my yoga pants are too tight to wear. (Oh the succor of caramel covered in chocolate!)

I didn’t want to fess up that my upper back continues to spasm, because although I’ve been great about going to my trainer, I’ve been abysmal about my daily stretches.

I really didn’t want to write about my muddy mind, the pointless guilt about my mom, or how I keep saying the exact wrong thing to my daughter almost every time I open my mouth.

But if I didn’t, then I couldn’t write about my very favorite words: begin again.

Oh, how I love the respite, the space, the shameless, blameless freedom of “begin again.”

Point of clarity: Begin again does not mean starting a complicated and arduous program to fix yourself, say a diet of egg whites, 15-mile runs, and hours on the meditation cushion. No!

Hear “begin again” as an airy invitation to step back into your life and your desires.
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A lot of self-stuck happens because we deny our desires.

Because we aren’t living our true life.

Because we aren’t letting ourselves have what we really want and then grieve when we can’t have it.

I also get stuck because of a biological propensity for depression. I’m not suggesting that following your desires means you’ll never be depressed, enraged, or stuck. That’s fairy tale new age bullshit. But what I have seen, thousands of times, is that our self-made holes get a whole lot deeper a whole lot faster when we don’t admit to ourselves what we honestly want.

It’s like the door to the treasure trove is unlocked and all we have to do is turn the doorknob, but instead we pile trash against the door, barricading ourselves outside.

What to do?

Greet reality. Drop the shame.

Shame is a story that you should have done things differently than you did.

But you didn’t. Because at the time, you couldn’t.

Shame is the story you should be somebody other than you are.

What is such an achingly wrong story because it takes you away from being the one and only you, the you that will only exist once in all eternity, who will only create and love once.

But now, this moment, you can drop all that. For a breath or an hour or maybe longer, you can navigate your life by what you honestly, deeply want—and you can trust those desires.

This isn’t about pointless resolutions. This is about asking, “What is my life to live right now? What is my true desire in this moment?” Not your mood, not the surface desire to numb out with peanut brittle (homemade! gluten-free!) or entertain the nasty thoughts about yourself (I should visit mom everyday!), but your deeper desire.

Unjudged desire.

Sit with it, breathe, and let it pull you toward your next simple action.

If this resonates, join Rachel Cole and me for a freeeeee sampler class on Shadow Comforts and Time Monsters (that’s the code name for the trash we pile against the door) on January 9th. Sign up here. The class will include chances to win a free seat in my new program. Learning and winning, wheeeee!

Love,

Jen

P.S. Happy New Year. May you express and create your true life with every choice, and when you forget and get lost, may you always remember the magic words: begin again.

P.P.S. If you live in Seattle, I’ll be at Third Place Books next Friday, January 10th at 6:30 pm for a fun evening chat on my book The Life Organizer. I promise laughter and insight!

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