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Feeling Troubled? Practice Full Permission To Begin Again and Again

As the years go by, I am continually reminded that the way forward is never a straight line. Getting projects done, learning something new, overcoming an obstacle or achieving a new challenge always involve a few starts and stops, mistakes and redirection.  

The most valuable perspective I’ve learned is to remember that we get to begin again. Every minute. Every hour. Every day. Sounds simplistic I know. However in those two words ‘begin again’ live compassion, forgiveness, possibility, learning and so much more. Fretting will only drain your energy and get in the way. 

 Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be  encumbered with your old nonsense. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Releasing yesterday’s nonsense makes space for today’s opportunity. 

Here’s the thing…it’s not the end result that matters the most. It’s who you become on your journey to getting there. While a familiar idea, putting it into practice takes…well…practice. 

The critical question is this: 

Are you willing to let go of your energy draining thoughts and give yourself permission to begin again? 

Here’s how I recently gave myself permission to begin again.

At the beginning of this year I experienced layer upon layer of challenge that left me mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted - change to a long term relationship, water in the basement that required a significant renovation and intrusion on my space, my new car was reared ended followed by a cracked windshield, and a broken wrist that immobilized me and prevented me from participating in all the summer activities I love. Just to name the big things! 

Here’s what I did:

  • I gave myself full permission to re-engage with work and related activities - some day! 
  • I gave myself full permission to let go of all the shoulds, ought to’s, misgivings and fretting. 
  • I gave myself full permission to do what I could each day and be ok with ‘doing’ not much even when -  or perhaps especially when -  a couple 2 hour naps were the accomplishment.
  • I gave myself full permission to attend to healing my body, mind and spirit during the upheaval.
  • I gave myself full permission to trust that I’d know when it was time to begin engaging again.

This journey took six months. Now, as I begin the re-engagement process, I realize how privileged I am to have been able to step away for so long and so completely. I'm able to craft my future knowing more fully what I want for myself and the nonsense I want to leave behind. 

Most importantly, I’m aware of the necessity to continually articulate the permission I have to grant myself going forward. 

Your turn to practice.

Reflect for a few moments on an activity, task or aspect of your life that’s troubling you. Perhaps not your biggest trouble, but some aspect where you feel change is needed or things aren’t going the way you hoped.  

  • What ‘nonsense’ you are telling yourself about this aspect of your life? (Swirling thoughts in the middle of the night are a good clue.)
  • What permission are you willing to give yourself in order to let go of this ‘nonsense’ and begin again?
  • Create your permission list like I did above and let it sit. 
  • Review it. Ponder it. Update it. 
  • Do this process regularly until you feel your energy and outlook start gaining momentum. The direction may not be clear but eventually you’ll feel inclined to take one tiny action which will give rise to your next action. 
  • When the outcome of your action doesn’t go as planned, take the learning and go back to your permission list knowing you get to begin again in the next moment.   

When you give yourself this time to be still inside, the nonsense of yesterday dissipates. You’re more apt to notice the fleeting flirts and silent signals that cross your path offering information on when and where to move into action. This post is me beginning again after six months of silence. How are you beginning again? 

Postscript July 2023: While I had the best intentions, my 'begin again' took another 9 months to take hold. Full permission over and over again, trusting my intuition and ignoring my saboteur. 

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We’ll move into possibility together!

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