In truth, I could write that phrase at any time and it would be accurate. We’re always at the start of the next 365 days, or the next 24 hours, or any time period you can think of. In mindfulness terms, that’s a relief. So many of us are conditioned to think of the new year as a new start, a time when we make promises to ourselves about all we’re going to do in the coming year, most of it having to do with habits we’d like to change and things about ourselves we’d like to improve – and we all know how that tends to go.
With mindfulness, however, we realize (as Sharon Salzberg points out), we can always begin again. There is always the possibility for a new beginning because every moment is actually new. No matter how many times we’ve tried a thing before, we can always come back to it. I would venture that throughout most of our lives, we’re constantly coming back to personal challenges and trying again because we are who we are. Most of us don’t radically change, and we keep learning the same lessons over and over because we bring the same self with us every time. I used to look at this as something of a failure, but now I see it differently. As we live, experience and grow, we can come to understand the lessons on a deeper level. Where we once looked for dramatic revelations, we may now see a more subtle light; where we once looked for peak experiences to teach us what we need to know, we might now see the truth unfold in the everyday, more mundane realities of living.
So I’m starting my blog again after years of general silence, oiling up my gears and wondering if I really have anything to add to the general conversation, especially in a world where there are so many written words abundantly available. This in itself is beginning again, and I have no doubt that I’ll be learning, and sharing, lessons that are familiar both to me and maybe to you. I’m hoping to find some of that subtlety and nuance, and to find a deepening appreciation of how wisdom is present every day. I’ll also take the occasional peak experience if I can get it! But for now, I welcome you to join me on this journey if you’d like. Whenever you’re reading this, it’s the start of a new year.