For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Samhain has just passed, marking the end of one journey and the beginning of a new spiral journey in the Wheel of the Year. For many of us, this is a time to look back at where we have been in the last year — what we harvested, what we learned, for what we are grateful — and to look ahead to our journey in this new year, perhaps planting seeds for new goals or new directions.
I like to use this time between Samhain and Winter Solstice to dig deep into my thoughts and experiences, and look at them with fresh eyes with a view to new beginnings. I plant my seeds in my Inner Garden — my Wise Inner Self — for germinating and growing when the light returns with Winter Solstice.
I see this as not dissimilar to the hibernation of some plants and animals around me, here in the northern temperate rainforest of Vancouver. I rest, I reflect, I regenerate, I plan . . . but I do not yet take action. For me, that will come with the light, the rising energies as the Earth reawakens.
Lao Tzu said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” but for some, that first step, that first action, can be daunting. Some are unable to start, perhaps due to fear — fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking foolish, fear of change, fear of how their change might impact those around them.
Fear may manifest different behaviours or choices for each of us. Some may be unable to take that first step, frozen by analysis-paralysis, over-thinking, not knowing how to start, when to start, or what to do. Some may “need” a fully developed plan in order to begin or very specific criteria that must be met or certain conditions that must be in place before they can do so.
But what if the perfect condition, the perfect start, is the willingness to just to plant and seed and take a step, any step?
Why? If you plan your journey through the filter of the ”old you”, can you fully envision where the “new you” could go? What if that first step was just deciding to move forward?
Most coaches suggest having the end in sight before beginning but is it necessary to know exactly how the journey will unfold before we start? The end may look quite different than what we could have imagined before.
And what if the “end in sight” is simply a new way of being and the journey reveals how that will manifest? That way of being, that way of experiencing the world, could be many things: I am open minded. I am in right relationship with those I love. I start from love. I love life. I trust my Self. I see the world through fresh eyes every day. I am true to my Self. I honour the Earth. I allow my dreams to come true. I am worthy.
What might be your new way of being?
And know that sometimes . . .
- the journey is the lesson.
- the journey illuminates where we go next.
- the journey raises our awareness to new possibilities.
- the journey takes us on an unexplored or neglected path.
But how to begin? My advice has always been simple to anyone stuck on that first step: Just do something. Anything. And do it by:
- trusting your Wise Inner Self, knowing that whatever step you take, you will gain wisdom.
- not knowing where it will take you, just that it will take you somewhere.
- releasing the need to know everything before you start
- being open to the outcome being something even better than you could have imagined before.
I’m sharing some of my favourite quotes on beginnings, including one shared in the posted image, musician John Cage’s suggestion to “Begin anywhere”. Perhaps one of these might inspire your journey in this new Wheel of the Year.
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” J. P. Morgan
“Sometimes we can only find our true direction when we let the wind of change carry us.” Mimi Novic
“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” Alan Cohen
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King Jr.
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” Meister Eckhart
“Begin anywhere.” John Cage