How to Begin (Again)

The author’s favorite swimsuit

What a difference a week makes. This time last week, my BFF and I were strategizing about how we’d protect ourselves if a civil war broke out in America instead of a peaceful transfer of power. Seriously. Right or wrong, I’d decided to rely on a few moves learned in college Taekwondo and a police-officer led safety and self-defense class I attended a decade ago. Keys, other sharp things in my purse or pocket, deploying the strongest parts of my body—my legs—into the weakest part of a would-be attacker. BFF said she’d model herself after a feral cat and just go scrappy. Neither of us are street fighters. We read, use our words, pray for sound minds to prevail, demand rational behavior or consequences. But self-defense is self-care, so not once did either of us say, “I can’t believe we’re talking about this.”

Although I’m still a bit traumatized, now that the country’s temperature has cooled down, I find myself diligently scrubbing off the stank of the last four years, sanitizing my spirit, and setting my sights on a few new projects. Here’s how I start down a new road:

  1. Out with the old. Unsubscribe, delete and nix things from your life that do not serve you or waste your time and energy. If it brings you down, messes with your peace, is too high-maintenance, or looks like junk, kick it to the curb. With everything from worldly possessions to people, it’s okay to let go. It will free you up to do better things that matter more to you.
  2. Clarify your desire. What is calling you?  Rather than spinning ahead into a new year with a crowded Vision Board and plump planner, more self-improvement books and courses, take some time to see where the energy is. What’s yours to do? Roll that question around in your spirit until a purpose arises. It will drive you.
  3. Investigate yourself. Figuring out who you really are is one of the most important things you can do. Not yesterday, but right now. It is not unreasonable to ask yourself Who Am I? once or twice a week. As a journal prompt, it may take you some places, surprise you and help you define new goals and passions that feel like home.
  4. See it done. Shakti Gawain’s book  Creative Visualization is one of the most useful books in my library and I revisit it often. When starting something new, I set it in my mind by picturing the end goal. I do this over and over again in multiple ways making it as realistic as possible through my senses. I’m a born daydreamer, so it doesn’t take much to imagine the physical manifestation of my work in the world, see the huge smile on my face, hear the hum of contentment in my heart or feel the hugs or congratulatory messages I’ll receive when I announce success. The greatest athletes are visualization junkies who mind-rehearse plays. If you can see it, you can have it. Remember that.
  5. Be intentional about your destination. To quote baseball great Yogi Berra, who also probably did his share of creative visualization, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Write down what you want and the steps to get there.  Keep plugging through that list every day. Your dream-hustle will energize your days.
  6. Mind your headspace. Spend quiet time with yourself every morning and every night. For five minutes, let your busy mind slip away, observe your breath, and relax. If you don’t want to call it meditation, call it something else. Also, watch your self-talk and speak words that move you forward. I keep an affirmation journal and read it for a few minutes every day to re-inspire myself. Because I think everyone should start and affirmation journal, I plucked a few just to give you some ideas.

    I fearlessly take daily action to realize my dreams.
    Joy, creativity and abundance are my nature.
    Having what I want is possible.
    Keeping promises to myself is easy.
    I’m eager to begin each day.
    Patiently and faithfully, I plot and scheme for success and I know what that looks like to me.
  7. Get started. Wobble until you get your bearing. Even when your legs are shaking. Even when you’re crying. Even when you think you can’t. This is true of starting a new career, exercise plan, relationship and everything in-between. That first step is more important than the rest and makes all the others a bit easier.

2 thoughts on “How to Begin (Again)

  1. I feel like I have PTSD from the last 4 years… I can breathe again and wake up without dreading what insanity I’ll be exposed to that day. It feels so great to have responsible leadership who are taking positive steps to fix the brokenness of the last admin.
    Love your list and plan on looking for Shakti Gawain’s ‘Creative Visualization.’ Sounds like a good one.

    • I hear you on the PTSD. It’s gonna take a minute, but I, too, have been loving the peace of responsibile leadership and not having my shoulders up around my ears every time I check the news. Shakti Gawain was a great teacher. Hope you enjoy Creative Visualization half as much as I do.

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