One of my favorite yoga teachers, Angela, began the year with a series of classes whose theme was just start over.  This is very timely in January, which ushers in, along with the new year, the dreaded (dreadful?) tyranny of new year’s resolutions. Angela’s message at this time is that there is nothing wrong with wanting to change old habits or start new ones, but that if we are to make the journey a healthy one, we need to understand how difficult it is to alter our habits and that we would do well to build some compassion into the process. We all start out with soaring, exhilarating intentions–I am going to start a yoga practice, learn a new language, eat healthier, start and maintain a blog, what-have-you–but, inevitably (and it is inevitable!) we are going to miss a day, miss a month (or two), and our great hopes are shot to hell, so we might as well quit. Right?

Wrong. In Angela’s words, your level of success in any new endeavor shouldn’t be measured by how long or steadily you were able to do well, but by how well you are able to just start over. Deviations off the path are a healthy part of the practice. Can you have some compassion for yourself, perhaps a healthy chuckle, then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and carry on down the road?   In one of the stories of the Desert Fathers that I cherish, an Abba was asked, “What do you do in the monastery?” His answer was, “We fall down, and we get up; we fall down, and we get up.”

You can make a new beginning–today. No need to wait for January; no need to mourn your losses. The Bhagavad Gita says, “On this path no effort is wasted; no gain is ever reversed.” So here I am, on a June day just before the summer solstice, picking up the pieces of my blog, and, in a spirit of humor and compassion, forging ahead.

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