Friday, January 07, 2011

The courage to change

"To begin anew, we must say goodbye to who we once were." ~ Anonymous

That's one of the quotes in our new daily reading book, 365 Prescriptions for the Soul by Dr. Bernie Siegel. (We're also reading something from The Daily Book of Photography -- something a little different.)

2011 marks the third year that we've begun the day with a message, usually something spiritual or inspirational in nature, and it's something we've both come to enjoy. Sometimes it's pretty ho-hum, but we usually talk a little about whatever the main theme was while we're eating breakfast together. This started when I was gifted with The Secret Daily Teachings, and it's a part of our morning routine now.

At any rate, the quote above hit a nerve with me. Siegel goes on, " is a series of beginnings. The changes, losses, illnesses, and afflictions are not endings, but beginnings. We are changed and have to start a new life each time..."

Some years ago a then-friend commented sarcastically that I am really good at re-inventing myself. It didn't really set well at the time; it has not aged particularly well either, and it's always rankled me a bit in the back of my mind. And yet I can't deny that my life now is not the one she knew me in -- actually it bears very little resemblance on just about every level.

Siegel puts this in a far more positive light for me.

Despite the framed quote that's been on my wall for years -- "O God of second chances and new beginnings, here I am again" -- apparently I have not taken that message seriously with regards to who and what I am internally, although I have embraced life changes fairly readily.

What Siegel is saying, I think, is that it is okay -- and even necessary -- to make those internal changes in your behavior, your perhaps long-cherished beliefs, even your moral code as life progresses, and circumstances and experiences create change in our lives.

When something happens to YOU or to someone you love, your perspective changes too, and sometimes it can be a fundamental shift. Sometimes beliefs you've held all your life are challenged and you see things from a different perspective. (What parent of a teenager has not eaten their youthful declaration of 'when I am a parent, I'll never....'?)

It is not only okay to accept changes, it is necessary in order to continue along this life journey and to learn and grow. ( Learning and growth do not stop once you attain a 'mature' age, I've learned, unless you choose to ignore and disregard everything and everyone around you except your own miserable self.)

So the person I am in January 2011 is not the person I was in January 2010, nor who I will be this time next year.

In fact, says Siegel, "Have the courage to begin the new life that each day brings you. No matter what changes or losses you have experienced, step back and see where you need to begin."

I am grateful for ALL these second chances, for ALL these new beginnings, even the hardest ones. And I'm glad I can re-invent who I am, day by day, as I need to change.

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