We can always begin again.
Those aren't my words. Rather, it's a mantra that esteemed meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg frequently offers as an encouraging reminder that no matter how many times we start and stop, start and stop, there's always another opportunity to act on something meaningful to us.
I'm thinking of this as I gather my pluck to start writing again. I revved up the first time on this blog a couple of years ago, and didn't get far. The reasons? Out of practice, lack of inspiration, lack of confidence, concerns about relevance...that last one is a big one. Ever since social media took off, there is a ton of "content" out there. Everyone, it seems, has something to say, in one format or another. Sometimes it's worthwhile (a completely subjective view, of course), sometimes it's just to be heard, to make noise, or to bring people down.
In one of my most recent blog posts, I talked about the difference between what you have to say, as in what you hold inside, and what you have to say, as in must express. For those who hold a lot and have a need but don't find or use an outlet, the holding back can manifest in various, usually unpleasant ways -- physical, mental or emotional .
Writing, or any form of creation, is always a risk. The possibility of dissent, judgment and rejection are always present. For some, the risk is not an inhibiting factor, maybe not even a conscious one (Twitter loudmouths, anyone?). For others, the risk is a barrier that not only stops the flow, but might even cause a kind of expressive paralysis. Of course I want to be relevant and I'm not someone who relishes dissent or conflict. But I won't know whether any of that will come into play without the risk.
My dad likes to say that it's all right to fail as long as you don't fail the last time you try. Though the success/binary failure can be tricky, and possibly serve to fuel fear rather than overcome it, the sentiment is very much like Sharon Salzberg's. From a mindfulness perspective, it's always now, never the past, never the future. The time to begin is now.