Hello from Carbondale, Colorado! Welcome to this glorious Friday, January 31, 2020! This is a rare and precious day that will never come again.
Last week, I wrote about goodbyes and how every rare and precious moment is passing. We never get a second chance. While this has become very inspiring and motivates me to do my best to not waste even minute of my life, I must admit that there is something kind of sad about this truth of impermanence. This is not a bad thing. But I’ve also learned that we can think about this from a much different perspective: each moment is a new beginning.
As I mentioned last week, my tendency was to look back and regret all the things I missed out on because I wasn’t paying close attention to what I was doing. I can still fall into that type of thinking, if I’m not mindful. However, if I call to mind that each moment is a new moment – a new beginning – I don’t have to let the failures (which aren’t really failures) of the past dictate what I do in this moment. If in each moment, I don’t forget what is important to me – my values – I can act in a way that is purposeful and meaningful, with attention and intention. I won’t ever look back and regret acting in alignment with my values. But I’ll come back to this point. I want to speak a little more to these seeming failures of the past.
When I was in my first year of recovery over 11 years ago, I lost an 18-year nursing career, a 23-year marriage, and through bankruptcy, I lost most all the personal possessions that I worked very hard for: cars, house, etc. I felt demoralized, lost and confused. I was consumed with regret and remorse. I was ashamed. I felt like a failure.
At the time, there would have been no way for me to know that all that loss; all the time and money wasted; the passing – death – of all that I knew, was going to be the foundation for a new beginning. A beginning that would eventually lead to the incredible life and opportunities that I have a today.
Today, I know peace and contentment. I had little peace and no contentment back then. I had anesthesia. In the life that I have today, I have gratitude. While over 10 years ago there were certainly times of gratitude, it was overshadowed by discontent, greed and desire. Today I have faith. Faith was not a working part of my vocabulary (or actions) back then. I have acceptance meow. I used to have stress and tension. All that I have today is because of what I experienced back then! Through recovery and mindfulness, I was given the tools to reflect on my life and learn from my unskillful behavior. My failures were in fact opportunities to grow. Knowing what doesn’t work helps me to make more informed decisions. But only if I’m mindful.
My key point here: who I identified as had to die and all my possessions had to be removed for me to start anew. Death, in this sense, I feel is quite beautiful! But even more beautiful is that each new moment is an opportunity for us to start over – A New Beginning.
Simultaneous moment by moment dying and becoming is a truth whether we are aware of it or not; whether we like it or not. It really is possible to use this wisdom to our advantage. In doing so, we can put an end to needless suffering. But even more inspiring, in each new moment, we can become that person that we want to be.
In each new moment, we can be more kind, compassionate, patient, accepting, loving, caring, understanding, giving and forgiving. Just because you may have been nursing a resentment for 3 days over a coworker’s rude comment you overheard while in the bathroom, does not mean that you must continue to feed the resentment in this moment. If you are aware of what you are doing, whatever it is, each moment is an opportunity to let go – let it die – of whatever is happening, redirect and start anew. Owing to causes and conditions, our past absolutely dictates our present moment, but it does not have to dictate our future. We must, however, be mindful of this moment if we are to consciously let go and begin anew.
If we look a little deeper into this, we’ll find that we can influence our next moments by the seeds that we plant in this moment. But I think we should leave this discussion for a later day. I think I just planted a seed 😉
I love you and there isn’t anything that you can do about it!
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