Old Stories New Beginnings

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

I used to wear a sandwich board hanging heavy on my neck defining who I was by the sad story I told. That’s a metaphor of course, and a well-suited one.

As I untangle the twisted knots of my life tales, I continue to learn I am not my story. As I practice silence in meditation, I am able to witness all stories I have lived through. I am an observer. I am a gatherer of lessons. I glean the gems of my learnings, tuck them away in my heart and move on.

This is new for me. Silence has afforded me space to step back and observe. I know it comes from living with anguish day in and day out. I know deep depression. I know hopelessness. I know despair. Probably age has something to do with it. I listened to survivors’ stories moving beyond their pain.

Pema Chodron says, “Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

Eckhart Tolle writes, “To suddenly see that you are or have been attached to your pain can be quite a shocking realization. The moment you realize this, you have broken the attachment.”

Every day is a new beginning. I am not my story. Sometimes grief consumes me and my day is encumbered with sadness. I remember my tools to help me move through my grief. Some days I am angry. I remember my tools to help me use my anger as a fuel to ignite a positive action. I practice acceptance of where I am and sometimes acceptance is a struggle. Honor and respect for where I am eases up on my demands of myself. My meditation continues to build the I Am observer. Whenever I am lost I return to gratitude which always brings me peacefully to myself.

For a new beginning

by John O’Donohue

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 grey 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:

  • It struck me at the beginning of John O’Donohue’s piece how we are trying to emerge, and as we enter this new time, this is a time in which we can allow the grace to help us with a new beginning. That struck me right in the heart. I’ve been in business for my myself for many, many years and I work with large groups. And because of Covid in my state, that’s not possible. It’s a time of redesign, new beginning, and stepping out, knowing that grace will help bec