Your New Beginnings and How to Take That First Step

The seasons of a year. The return of spring.
The heart grows glad when it can leaf out,
when light and shadow are known to belong to
one another.

– Gunilla Norris


We are constantly in a state of reinvention, and never is that more apparent than at the onset of spring. Every day, as we look out our window and step out our front door, we are reminded that a new beginning is already underfoot.

I was talking to a friend recently who mentioned how much she loves waking up early in the morning, so she can stand in front of her window to watch the sunrise. Each morning the sun rises, marking a new beginning, but the sky never looks the same. Neither does the day ahead.

The conversation got me thinking of my garden, of course. I have worked in this garden for the last 26 years. When we first moved into our house, there was nothing but weeds and bramble. Over the years, the garden grew, expanded, and transformed.

Three years ago I decided the time had come to downsize and simplify. The garden is almost where I want it to be, and I am looking forward to seeing how it shows up this year.

I more or less know which plants will grow and bloom since I am the one who planted them, but the garden will not look the way it looked last year or any other year. It never does. There are many reasons why. Wintering, the age of the plants, my actions, and factors I cannot predict or know will affect how the garden will look this year.

Our new beginnings tend to unfold the same way. There is a certain level of unpredictability involved.

A chapter in our lives comes to a close and invariably leads to a new beginning. We do not always know how this new beginning will unfold. We have to accept that and do our best to prepare.

When we want to make changes, we are not always clear on how to go about it or where to begin. This lack of clarity can delay our progress. We can become overwhelmed and lose our momentum.

Becoming clear about what we want, why we want it, and how to go about can ease the transition. Clarity will propel us forward and motivate us to take meaningful action.

How do we go about gaining clarity?

In Consolations, David Whyte writes, “Beginning well means seating ourselves in the body again, catching up with ourselves and the person we have become since we last tried to begin.”

What an inspiring way of describing how to begin … we seat ourselves in the body to catch up with the person we have become.

We tend to take ourselves for granted. We forget to look back and recognize how far we have come and the many ways in which we have changed.

Begin by taking the time to meet yourself as you are today.

Pay attention to what keeps you up at night. Your anxieties and fears point to what needs to change and what is holding you back. Question the truth of your fears. Are they real, and if they are, what can you do about it?

Engage in constructive conversation with yourself. Make time to be alone, in silence, so you can reflect and let the answers to your questions bubble up.

Research has shown that even a brief walk outside can improve our mood, increase our energy, and help us reframe our thinking. Go for a walk or a hike and see what comes up for you. Or, sit in your safe space, light a candle, open your journal, and ask yourself:

  • What do I want, and why?
  • What has changed since last time?
  • What is important to me?
  • What behaviors and habits are not working for me anymore?
  • What changes do I want to make?
  • What new possibilities are opening up for me?
  • Am I ready to begin?

When you are ready, put pen to paper, let your thoughts flow, and write down whatever comes up for you.

Prepare to acknowledge the parts of you that do not serve you anymore.

You are not who you were twenty, ten, five, or even two years ago. What worked in the past may or may not be working for you in the present time. There are parts of yourself that you need to let go of. That includes behaviors, beliefs, outdated dreams, goals, expectations, and the way you relate to your environment and the people around you.

You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.

Toni Morrison

Talk to someone you trust and ask for help.

When you are working towards becoming clear, it helps to talk to someone you can trust, someone who can serve as your sounding board and can brainstorm with you. Sometimes, just hearing yourself think out loud can help you become more clear and deliberate. There is no shame in being unclear. You are not alone in this process. Remember, we are always in a state of reinvention, in a state of becoming.

Make room for new possibilities and eliminate distractions.

My experience has been that our physical space reflects our inner state. Take a look around the room you are in. How do you feel about the space? As you look around, what do you see? Do you need and like everything you are surrounded by? If not, maybe it is time to do something about it.

Beginning anything well involves a clearing away of the confusing, the cluttered and the complicated.

David Whyte

What feels cluttered and complicated? Think of your space, your schedule, your mind, your activities. What prevents you from focusing and getting started on changes you want to make?

Clear the space and make room for new possibilities.

Eliminate distractions. Put your phone away and turn the volume off. You do not have to be available at all times. Organize your time and give yourself the space you need.

Make it a habit to unplug for short periods every single day. Use that time to get some exercise, go outside, journal, breathe, close your eyes and rest your mind, check in with yourself, and eat a nutritious meal. Cultivate a beginner’s mind. Practice looking at everything through the lens of open curiosity and discover new possibilities.

Take the first step and let yourself feel the joy of having done that.

You may be thinking that to take meaningful action and accomplish your objectives, you need to have a well-fleshed out plan, resources, and time.

This may be true, but there is also a caveat to spending too much time thinking of what we want to do instead of doing it.

There has to be a balance between thinking a project through and taking the necessary steps to bring that project to being.

Overthinking our course of action can often lead to procrastination and inaction.

Go ahead and take that first step. Then take another one. As you move ahead, you can pause, review, evaluate, make corrections, and begin again. The important thing is to begin.

Change is an internal as well as an external process. We live our lives weaving in and out the seasons, meeting ourselves where we are, trying new things, and answering the call of change and renewal. Sometimes, the season of the year reflects where we are in our lives. It makes sense that spring would make us feel hopeful and renewed.

About a month ago, I launched a free, self-guided course, The Power of Clarity and Intention as a thank you to my newsletter subscribers. If you would like support on your journey to clarity, go ahead and sign up for the course. If you are already a subscriber, let me know that you are interested in the course, and I will send it to you.

Or, sign up for this month’s gathering, The Gateway to the Garden. I am in the process of starting a new group on the third Thursday of the month and I would love to have you join us.

2 Comments

  • Linda Samuels

    You have sparked so many thoughts, Yota. What beautiful ideas about growth, renewal, change, possibilities, and beginning even when we don’t have all the answers. It’s so easy to get stuck in the not knowing. But paying attention to what isn’t working (thoughts, spaces, behaviors) as well as thinking about who you are and what you’d like life to be are great ways of finding your way forward.

    When I want change, but am not sure how or what it will be, I put myself in the opportunity-ready mode. This takes many forms including writing, rereading journals, listening to my inner voice, paying attention to what I see, read, hear, and observe, having quiet time to walk in the woods, meditate, or do yoga, talk with trusted friends and advisors, and NOT rush. Certain things take time, like the changing of the seasons. Spring doesn’t appear in an instant. Instead, we get to experience the joy of discovery a new bloom or bird chirping each day until the landscape is full with color.

    This mirrors our own lives. We don’t become overnight. It’s a process- one bloom, one chirp, one experience and action at a time. As you so beautifully said, “Change is an internal as well as an external process.”

    Thank you for sharing your heart, wisdom, and the awesome quotes! Love the Morrison and Whyte ones.

    • Yota Schneider

      Dear Linda,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. As always, you are an inspiration.
      You are right, spring does not appear in an instant, and we do not become who we are or who we want to be overnight.

      As I read your thoughtful response, I am reminded that we all go through endings and new beginnings numerous times in our lifetime. We navigate change, some times more skillfully than others, we fall and get up again, we fail and try again. We can’t avoid or rush through the process of becoming.

      I know you did not learn how to navigate change overnight but you are willing and open to trying different things until you recognize what works for you. Resources are bountiful but we have to be willing to try and you are great at that.

      Thank you for being here and sharing your wisdom with us.

      Big hugs 💜

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