Have you ever stopped to think about the power of beginnings in your life? As I look back on my life, there have been many beginnings… the beginning of life as an adult and then as a teacher, the beginning of life as a wife and then as a mother, the beginning of life as a single parent, the beginning of life as an individual standing strong in her own worth and light… and I realize that the list is endless. Within each beginning that stands as a major turning point in my life, there are a multitude of other beginnings. Each beginning holds within it moments defined by tiny beginnings that build to create real change and learning in our lives. Each tiny beginning is the first time we make a step that is unfamiliar to us, that takes courage, and that, in many cases, somehow rises from a tiny seed of strength and knowing out of the darkness of hurt and fear in which we are mired.
I think back to the times in my life that challenged me to begin again. Always, that new beginning brought opportunities for new growth and learning… and always, the challenges that I faced strengthened and expanded me from within. I am reminded of the message my son shared about his choice of a phoenix for his first tattoo… “rising from the ashes to be reborn and live again.” Each of the turning points in my life demanded a “rising from the ashes,” and the process of rising caused a rebirth within me… an expanded version of whom I had been. I came to realize that I am not limited by my circumstances or my previous choices. As I learn more, I make better choices, and my beginnings take on a deeper quality of choosing to live authentically instead of finding a way to survive. My choices are changing in tone from surviving to thriving as an expression of my own inner truth.
I think choice is key word in making beginnings work to our benefit and growth. We can get still, go within, and heed God’s quiet guidance that is always here for us when we choose to listen. Or, we can choose to listen to the strident voice of ego that constantly sends us messages of fear and separation. We can choose to recognize who we are as God’s children and stand strong and connected as Brothers and Sisters in that amazing Truth. Or, we can continue to see ourselves in the eyes of the ego as separate individuals which causes us to feel small and fearful. During my darkest times, it was not the voice of ego that caused me to rise and take the first steps toward a new beginning. It was the truth of God’s Love within me that provided the tiny seed of strength and knowing that lifted me above the smoke and ashes of my life to begin again. In that tiny seed was the embryo of rebirth and renewal.
As I think about beginnings, I reflect on the opportunity that life presents us to begin again in each moment. Even if our lives have been dominated by the negative emotions of fear and hate, separation and judgement, we can choose between love and fear in each and every moment. We stumble and fall because we are human, but each moment brings us the opportunity to choose again. When I choose love, that is what I perceive and experience in my life. When I slip back and choose fear or judgement, I am reminded almost instantaneously of the impact of my choice. Negativity and fear creep back into my life, and as I become aware of the effect of my choice, I begin again with a conscious choice for love.
Endings always provide opportunities to begin again, and it is our choice that determines whether the beginning will truly result in growth and opening to our true identities. Our choice is between love and fear. Fear will constrict us and limit our growth. It will cause us to judge one another and to create more separation. Love will open us up to new awareness and, always, to growth. I celebrate beginnings because each one is a choice point — love or fear; growth or stagnation; to live fully or to shrivel and die within. In our darkest moments, God’s Love is here for us holding us with grace and the quiet strength to rise and begin again.
Thank you, dear God, for beginnings and for always being here to give us the strength and guidance that we need to begin again.