One of the most important things we can keep in mind as we build our soul-prospering lives is that we can always begin again. We can always press the reset button, start fresh, begin anew. It’s never too late, we’re not too old, and it isn’t true that too much time has passed. We can and we should start again whenever we need to.
Not one of us is exempt from difficulties. Instead of huge knotty problems to be grappled with, sometimes they are small things, especially those things left undone, that create a day that we label as a bad one.
This poem points out the little things that we occasionally don’t do, even though we know we should. It gives voice to the regret we feel when we realize what we’ve done–or more precisely, what we haven’t done.
One thing the poet left out is that we can begin again. Each day is a clean slate and we can resolve to do those things we’ve regretted not doing in the past. As a matter of fact, each moment is fresh and new and we can choose to make a different decision.
I like the line “…And all our poor selfish griefs could be dropped, like a shabby old coat, at the door, and never be put on again.” It’s a great image that’s visceral–we’ve all worn a shabby coat, perhaps while doing yard work in chilly weather–and is a wonderful example of how to handle our regrets: just let them go because nothing we do in the present moment or in the future will change what happened. By treating each moment as an opportunity to be our better self, we can change our present moment, which will have a positive effect on our future.
Enjoy the poem!
The Land of Beginning Again
I wish there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches,
And all our poor, selfish griefs
Could be dropped, like a shabby old coat, at the door,
And never put on again.
I wish we could come on it all unaware,
Like the hunter who finds a lost trail;
And I wish that the one whom our blindness had done
The greatest injustice of all
Could be at the gate like the old friend that waits
For the comrade he’s gladdest to hail.
We would find the things we intended to do,
But forgot and remembered too late—
Little praises unspoken, little promises broken,
And all of the thousand and one
Little duties neglected that might have perfected
The days of one less fortunate.
It wouldn’t be possible not to be kind.
In the Land of Beginning Again;
And the ones we misjudged and the ones whom we grudged
Their moments of victory here,
Would find the grasp of our loving handclasp
More than penitent lips could explain.
For what had been hardest we’d know had been best,
And what had seemed loss would be gain,
For there isn’t a sting that will not take wing
When we’ve faced it and laughed it away;
And I think that the laughter is most what we’re after,
In the Land of Beginning Again.
So I wish that there were some wonderful place
Called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches,
And all our poor, selfish griefs
Could be dropped, like a ragged old coat, at the door,
And never put on again.
~Louisa Fletcher Tarkington.
What did you think of this poem? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks!
This post was originally published earlier this year on May 7, 2017. Lately, I’ve revisited this topic of morning routines and have discovered a few astonishing facts. I’m preparing posts now and they’ll appear in the new year. Stay tuned!
One fact that I’ve discovered is that people who are living soul-prospering lives—those who are fully immersed in their passions and purpose—have very specific morning routines and they treat this time as sacrosanct. They awake early, keep their environment quiet and have subdued lighting, and they don’t immediately check emails, social media, or start making phone calls.
Also, they allow their creative mind time to play. They may do this through meditation, contemplation, or prayer, or they may daydream or do some form of light, relaxed exercise. Some people enjoy journaling or doodling as a way to let their creative mind have some fun.
As I said, we’ll be delving into this topic in 2018 and for now, please let the following post whet your appetite—and give you something to think about!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,
Start the Week off Right: Get Up When Your Alarm First Rings
James Allen states that there are beginnings we have no control over, for instance we may have been laid off from work and now we’re facing the beginning of unemployment and the process of looking for a new job. He advises to not focus on these beginnings, aside from taking care of our responsibilities, but rather to focus on the beginnings we have total and complete control over. He says that these types of beginnings are of vital importance because they create the complex web of results that then make up our life. He went on to say that these beginnings are controlled by our thoughts and mental attitudes, and the resulting daily conduct and actions we take.
According to James Allen, the first beginning to focus on—the easiest one to take control of—is the start of a new day, namely when your alarm clock first rings. He suggests answering these questions because “…much happiness or unhappiness depends upon the right or wrong beginning of the day…”:
~At what time does the alarm go off?
~Do we immediately get up?
~In what frame of mind do we enter the sacredness of a new day?
~How do we go about getting ready for the day?
One of his suggestions is to rise at an early hour, even if we don’t have to because this will help “…start the day strongly by shaking off indolence.”
Then this statement jumped out at me: “…How are you to develop strength of will in mind and body if you begin every day by yielding to weakness?”
He’s telling us to stop hitting the snooze button and to get up when our alarm first goes off.
I get his point that by hitting the snooze alarm, we aren’t really getting a few extra Zzzz’s—in fact researchers have shown that hitting the snooze alarm does not help; the “extra sleep” you get is not restful. James Allen is saying that when we hit the snooze alarm what we’re actually doing is telling our mind and body that it’s okay to procrastinate, it’s okay to indulge ourselves, it’s okay to go for instant gratification.
James Allen goes on to say: “Self-indulgence is always followed by unhappiness. People who lie abed until a late hour are never bright and cheerful and fresh but are the prey of irritabilities, depressions…and all unhappy moods.”
He then goes on to say that hitting the snooze alarm is like an alcoholic taking a nip in order to brace him/herself and steady his/her nerves for the upcoming issues in the day.
It’s our self-indulgence in hitting the snooze alarm that creates indolence and avoidance that is creating the issues–it’s our weaknesses and our pandering to our moods and emotions that are at the root cause of the issues that we’re avoiding!
James Allen adds: :…Men and women are totally unaware of the great losses which they entail by this common indolence (hitting the snooze alarm): loss of strength of both mind and body, loss of prosperity, loss of knowledge, and loss of happiness.
James Allen isn’t the only one who urges getting up early and getting up right away. Earl Nightingale, Brian Tracy, Wayne Dyer and other successful people join him in this. One of James Allen suggestions for this “extra time” is to take a gentle walk in Nature. Earl Nightingale, Brian Tracy, Wayne Dyer, and others advise filling the time with studying sacred and/or inspirational writings, studying the industry in which we work, and pursuing other avenues of self-development and education.
Usually I get up the first time the alarm rings. Occasionally, though, I’ve let myself sleep a little later, commonly on the weekends. I have noticed that James Allen’s statement is true: I seem to be a little less focused and less productive on the days I allow myself to catch up on my sleep. In fact, I had been wondering if it wouldn’t be better to get up at my normal time and take a short nap during the day if I need it. I guess James Allen’s answer would be YES!!!
This week’s challenge is to get up on time—when the alarm first rings. Let me know the differences you notice in your week. Feel free to leave your comments below. Thanks!
While this is important in relationships, it can also be important in other scenarios, such as taking a new job. It might be necessary for you to stop going to the lunchtime restaurants or the after-work gathering places that you and your former colleagues went to.
Take a communication break
Stop thinking about and regularly communicating with people from your old circumstances. This will make it much easier to focus on your new situation.
Establish a new support system and communication network
This one may take a little time to establish, but be patient.
Let yourself grieve
There will be times in your new life that might be difficult and you may have wistful thoughts of your past circumstances. Be gentle with yourself during these times and let yourself grieve for what once was. It’s normal and natural to miss things from your past, but also don’t wallow in self-pity and don’t second-guess your decision to make a break and move on.
Give yourself whole-heartedly to your new situation. Get involved with it. Meet new people, see new places, find interesting and fun things about your new circumstances.
Yesterday we talked about taking ourselves in hand and giving ourselves a good, old-fashioned talking-to when we find ourselves backsliding in our quest to make a break from things that are not serving us. The other part of that process is to then give a warm welcome to the new direction in which we’re headed.
For instance, suppose you wan to spend more time goofing around with your kids but work, chores around the house, volunteer activities, and the like, keep tugging you away. You realize it’s time to take yourself in hand and stop with all the excuses, justifications, and reasons.
It’s time for a good, old-fashioned talking-to!
I recommend sitting yourself down in a quiet place where you won’t have any distractions and you won’t be disturbed for about 15 minutes.
Step 1: Talk to yourself candidly and bluntly–NOT harshly but rather blunty, which means you aren’t sugar coating anything and you aren’t letting yourself off the hook.
~Remind yourself just how important your kids are to you.
~Remember when your parents spent time with you when you were a child and how that made you feel.
~Recall when your parents didn’t have time for you and dismissed you or, perhaps, they didn’t follow through on something the said they’d do for you or do with you. How did that make you feel?
~Do you think your kids are any different than you–that they’d have different feelings and emotions than you did?
~If you keep putting off spending time with them, do you think they’ll be less hurt than you were when your parents put you off?
Step 2: Add the warm welcome.
~Remind yourself how good you’ll feel knowing that you’re re-connecting with your kids
~Picture in your mind following through on tossing the ball back and forth with your kids or the fun you’ll have in making a batch of cookies with them.
~Focus on taking things in baby steps.
~Keep telling yourself that you can do it; it’s about connecting and not about perfection or everyone laughing and smiling and talking. It’s about being fully in the moment with your kids.
~Give yourself credit for the efforts your making and the following through on your intentions. They all add up!
Although our example is about parents reconnecting with their kids, the steps can be applied to anything your making a break from and anything you’re moving toward.
It’s one thing to release and let go, but it’s a whole different matter to actually make a break. You might find yourself backsliding every now and again, perhaps telling yourself it wasn’t so bad and maybe you were a little hasty in turning away…. And then one day you find that once again you’ve got to go through releasing, letting go, and leaving.
How did this happen? You were doing so well for a while.
It happened because you let your thoughts have free rein and then you listened to them.
You’re probably thinking that all you have to do then is to control your thoughts. It’s true. It really is that simple. However, it isn’t always easy.
There are techniques and tricks for getting hold of your thoughts: mindfulness, breathing techniques, meditation, and a host of other things that you can do. I encourage you to do a little research and come up with a list of actions you can take to get control of your thoughts.
Oftentimes, though, it comes down to the fact that you just have to take yourself and your thoughts in hand. Dispense with the tricks, the techniques, the cajoling, and the bribes. Sometimes you have to give yourself a good old-fashioned talking to and tell yourself to grow up. Remind yourself that you know very well that going down a new path is the best thing you can do for yourself. Tell yourself: “So then, let’s behave like an adult and let’s get on with doing what needs to be done.”
This week as we’ve talked about leaving, which sounds a lot like the act of releasing and letting go. But, it occurred to me that there’s a big difference between releasing and letting go versus leaving.
To me, releasing and letting go means that although you have made your break with a situation or a person or memories, there’s still a connection–a subtle one.
Releasing and letting go is a passive act. In a sense, you’re still looking back; you still have a longing for that thing, person, memory that you let go of. It can be likened to when a child is holding a helium balloon and it slips out of their grasp. They cry as they watch it float off into the sky, hoping that somehow something will change and make the balloon come back to them.
Leaving, on the other hand, is active and decisive. When you leave, you’re stepping away, turning your back, and moving in a different direction.
In fact now that I think about it, releasing and letting go is the first part of moving on and leaving–turning your back and going another way–is the second part of moving on.
The next time you have trouble moving on, even though you’ve released and let go of what’s bothering you, perhaps you need to take the next step of turning your back and walking away. I’m certainly going to keep this strategy in mind!