New Beginnings


I didn’t play leap frog too much as a kid. I never liked the feeling of jumping over someone. It’s a hurdle in a sense, a struggle, a hitch with a purpose to get ahead. To me, it’s a metaphor for dealing with struggles and I had many when I was a child. When I came upon a struggle, I attempted to jump over it, but gathered it instead, storing the struggle inside, each one tied together like a daisy chain representing my inabilities and low self-worth and bad traits. I bought into the negativity around me, accepted responsibility and took it all on as my own. I was a child and I followed examples of the adults around me.

I often question why my childhood was so difficult, and maybe the answer is because my Soul wanted to learn to overcome struggle to find inner harmony. Maybe my Soul chose strife in order to find ease. I based my parenting skills on what I never received and so deeply wanted. I learned to love based on what I needed not on the examples I lived with. I learned to communicate clearly based on the poor communication I experienced. I learned to respect my body’s needs based on the lack of respect in my household.

It reminds me of the pendulum effect Dr. Susan Jeffers talks about. When I identify a behavior that isn’t so great, I place it against the idea of a pendulum. The weight swings unevenly and lists towards one side or the other. When I intervene with a behavioral change, the pendulum swings widely from one side to the other, not able to find a harmony. it is not until I’m more comfortable with my new behavior that the pendulum settles into a more harmonious weighty swing.

I hear a lot that people can’t change. To me that’s a cop out. People do change if they have enough incentive to do so. It takes work to change, and a commitment, and a trust that they are worth it. So many people walk around feeling they are not worth the effort. I feel it everywhere.

It was mentioned yesterday the miracle of a new day, a new opportunity, a new insight, a new outlook. Greeting the sun is another opportunity to reboot or reset. I stopped making daisy chains and connecting the dots to every negative memory of what went wrong and what happened to me and what I lost and what I did. I remind myself NOT TO CONNECT THE DOTS when I start collecting again because the tendency is always there. A new day is another opportunity to demonstrate to my Soul my welcoming open arms and my willingness to learn more about myself, give myself what I need to my best ability and keep moving forward.

For a New Beginning

John O’Donoghue

In out of the way places of the heart, Where your thoughts never think to wander, This beginning has been quietly forming, Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire, Feeling the emptiness grow inside you, Noticing how you willed yourself on, Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety And the gray promises that sameness whispered, Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent, Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled, And out you stepped onto new ground, Your eyes young again with energy and dream, A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not clear You can trust the promise of this opening; Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning That is one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure; Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk; Soon you will be home in a new rhythm, For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • The wisdom of the Sixth Step: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character

  • We can “unfurl” in the new story personally and nationally

  • Thank you so much, such a powerful reading. I love the idea about connecting the dots. It’s so easy to connect the dots. For anything that happens around me, I connect it to me, to my past, to what happened to me when I was six years old, on and on. It creates a story that I live in that ranges anywhere from the truth to nonsensical. I think it’s an important thing to not connect the dots. It helps me be in the moment, to not connect everything, and let it all go. Just be in the moment. What is happening is happening now. It’s important for me to live my life that way. To stay out of my story, it’s best to not connect the dots. Thank you for the reminder.

  • People can change if they want to, if they really focus on that. One way we can do that is first to become aware of the story that we’ve been telling ourselves, and then decide whether it’s helpful or limiting. And somehow move out of that story and not have that be your expectation.

  • In all this chaos going around us, to me the pathway to serenity is to continue the exercise of that compassion lesson. Compassion for myself and compassion for others. Thank you for the reminder of the journey that we are on to develop compassion for ourselves. To me, if we can do that, I know for myself, as I learn to accept myself for who I am and have compassion and practice good self-care, I can explain that to others even if they think very differently from me. That’s an ongoing challenge, and I have to keep coming back to center and keep meditating and keep praying.

  • What resonated for me this morning was the line about parenting in a way I didn’t receive. I focused on love during my meditation. Every day I tell my children I love them. As an adult, I realized that my father never said that growing up, and it’s super important to me to make sure my children feel loved. So during my meditation, I focused on love affirmations. I think everyone wants to be loved, and so I am focusing on that today.

  • I hadn’t thought of this for years. I had a catharsis after reading a book which I cannot remember the name. I asked my parents how come you never told me you loved me. My mother answered, “You didn’t need it.” I guess I shouldn’t have asked for it. I couldn’t agree more that it’s important to tell kids you love them, and I told my kids I love them.

  • When I heard ‘stay out of your story’, a light went on for me, but it is confusing. I’ve been having visions of my funeral, what I would want presented as a picture of me, my artwork, my writing, all the things that make up me. My story sitting on the table. When we are not here anymore physically, what’s the purpose of creating? It’s like I’m creating a story but why am I creating a story? Once you’re gone, is the story gone? Being in the story, still wanting to create, creation as a way to share your story.

  • The story I’m talking about is the story that holds me back: that I’m not good enough, that I am less than. That’s the story I’m talking about. You are talking about your gifts and creativity, and that defines who you are. It’s a wonderful thing to celebrate. Over time this year, I’ve also been thinking of my funeral and that I am going to die. What’s really happening is that I am letting go of an old part of me that doesn’t serve me any longer. I have these thoughts of dying, I feel like I’m dying. My soul is witnessing parts of me that I don’t need anymore and I feel like I’m losing, but actually I’m losing the parts of me that I am rising above. It gives this feeling like I’m dying. I celebrate that you have that, because your creativity is your boundless essence of who you are. It defines who you are in a wonderful sense. Hold onto that feeling versus I was abused as a child. As I list the negative things that have happened to me, I can feel the energy going lower and lower. You can feel the difference in the story.

  • Thank you so much. I heard what you said about we can change. We grew up with the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” And the pendulum effect—when I entered 12-step recovery, I heard about that. It was all this way, then it was all that way. I was told it would all come back to the center. I haven’t thought of that in the sense of certain behaviors or things I want to change. It softens it instead of being hard on myself. The pendulum effort. Every day I just try to do a little bit, change a little bit. It’s okay that it doesn’t go, boom, right to the center, but it goes back and forth.

  • I once was very comforted learning about the change process. I wanted change to happen for someone else. Of course, you can’t make anyone else change. The change process developed by Prochaska, Norcross, & Diclemente, psychologists helped me see there are stages to any change. There are so many stages that have to happen before a change happens. You have to be ready in order to take action. There are three or four steps before you get to action.

  • Often times, I know where I want to be, and I take a hammer and bang, bang, bang. But I am not yet ready to be there. That’s the bottom line. It’s a process.

  • I remember you talking about connect the dots before. I thought, yes, that’s what I do, frequently, maybe too much. I go back in time to things that happened that I could have done differently or that I had no control over. Then I fall into the sadness of them, and the hurt starts and connects to the sadness of today. Instead of connecting the dots, if I could come up with an image of going forward. Maybe something in nature, one leaf or tree to the next. Try to look at it that way, going forward. Because it is so easy to get stuck in the mire of it.

  • It’s walking in circles. Each difficulty I encounter, I pick out the pearl. For me, that’s a way of not connecting the dots, but harvesting the pearls, and moving on.

  • Maya Angelou said that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In telling your child you love them every day, my parents never said it, either. I think they were afraid they would spoil us, or make us feel proud. It was the way they were brought up. My uncle always made me feel like I could do anything. He could quote great poets. When he did, I felt like I was in the presence of the divine.

  • Thank you for your presence, for your willingness to do the work, and for trusting that your essence is worth it because it is. I hope you all have a gentle day.