You Can Always Begin Again

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 · 10 Comments

With the onset of a new year, many of us set intentions to make changes. We make plans to exercise more, eat a healthier diet, meditate, save money, or go on more romantic dates with our partners. However, as soon as we run into obstacles it’s easy for these plans to get derailed. People often ask me how to effectively stay on track with one’s intentions and my answer is summed up in a short passage from one of my favorite little books, Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler:

“When we stray from our intentions, whether bringing mindfulness to experience or trying to be more forgiving and compassionate with ourselves, thoughts of failure can rain down: ‘Great, I’m back at square one.’

The beauty of mindfulness is that it teaches us that no matter what the problem is, it can be worked with.

We can always begin again!

Let this knowledge support you in the moments of your day.”

When we fall off the wagon and a parade of self-judgment, helplessness and hopelessness about ever succeeding with our intentions kicks in, it’s not only mentally and physically draining, it also brings us further and further away from getting back on track.

The fact is, no matter how far we’ve strayed, each moment presents a “choice point” to begin again.

As one of my favorite poets, Kabir, says, “Wherever you are, that’s the entry point.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter what you’re trying to change in life, or if you stray because you got sick, injured, depressed, or for a reason you’re not aware of, you can always start over.

When you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to investigate what brought you off track so you can learn from the experience, recognize the telltale signs next time, and hopefully avoid the same pitfalls.

Take these words into consideration whatever your intentions for change are: you can always begin again.

10 Comments

  1. caroline
    February 17, 2018 at 2:48 am

    I did not read this until just now – sometimes I think we know instinctively when the right moment is (and through circumstances now is exactly the right moment for me to have read this) whether it is reading a passage like this or just holding back and looking around and appreciating what there is. I would never have started out on this path of mindfulness if Elisha hadn’t guided me to it. I had bought two of his books which I love but hadn’t ever imagined ‘joining in’ in any way. I expect I will lag behind at times but overall will be with you all. Thank you again Elisha

  2. Lisanne Ehall
    February 8, 2018 at 10:23 am

    That’s so true, thank you, Elisha. I feel it also sums up mindfulness. Accept where you are. Accept the moment and go with it. So begin again when it happens.

  3. Radmila
    February 8, 2018 at 2:27 am

    Thank you for this reminder. I am sticking to my meditation practice and I am gentle with my wandering experiences.
    But in other areas of my life I am struggling with the feeling and thought : I am always beginning, l am always on the beginning. And that makes me feel frustrated. But, reading this article just now makes me think : maybe is this necessary and it’s all a part of the process.

  4. Shirley Cochran
    February 7, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    One of my favorit quotes?

    “No matter where you go, there you are.”

    It usually helps me realize I can chose where I go, why, and what I can do about it wherever I wind up, even if it’s back at the beginning.

  5. Rosemary Vigorita
    February 7, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    What a wonderful piece. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you, Elisha.

  6. Andrew Lauckner
    February 7, 2018 at 9:57 am

    So very true. We can always begin again in any and every moment. Even today, February 7th or 8th, depending on where in on Earth you live, each one of us have an a plethora number of opportunities to begin again. I am trying to think of an author and book right now that comes to my mind. Leo Babauta on his website zenhabits.net writes:

    “Breathe. If you feel overwhelmed, breathe. It will calm you and release the tensions.
    If you are worried about something coming up, or caught up in something that already happened, breathe. It will bring you back to the present. If you are moving too fast, breathe. It will remind you to slow down, and enjoy life more. Breathe, and enjoy each moment of this life. They’re too fleeting and few to waste.” Thank you, Leo Babauta for your wisdom. Thank you as well, Elisha Goldstein, for your insight and contributions. If my posting material from another website is improper and out of line, I apologize for any harm I have caused. Just trying to leave a positive mindful comment of my own. Remember to breathe and smile at the wonderful and beauty of life around you. It is available in every moment. May you, too, have a wonderful and amazing day. Take care.

  7. Stephany
    February 7, 2018 at 7:56 am

    This is without doubt absolutely the most important take away from any work on our own journey towards inner peace.

  8. Susan
    February 7, 2018 at 7:04 am

    This email came at the perfect time…😀
    I do tend to be hard on myself as I stray from my intentions… thank you for the warm and encouraging words 🦋

  9. Patrice
    February 7, 2018 at 6:57 am

    I seem to have an on again off again relationship with my meditation/mindfulness practice. Im either all in or barely there. This is due to a variety of reasons whether it be illness, employment issues, or divorce. What I’ve learned, however, is that avoiding my own personal inner awareness during these difficult times, was about the worst choice I could have made.

    It’s so easy to participate in any health improvement program when life is good and we are feeling well. That rush of motivation at the start of the new year, or in the morning after a really good night sleep makes committing to and even starting a wellness program, seem like a breeze. The challenge, however, comes in maintaining that practice when we are in a place of pain, confusion, and illness. The irony though, is that this is when we need it the most.
    This is our “choice point.” Choose wellness, choose peace, choose to give yourself access to the strength and answers within.

    Be your own health and wellness advocate, especially when you need it the most.

  10. Reet
    February 7, 2018 at 6:36 am

    Thanks Elisha, right on track as usual.

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