Beginnings

Beginnings

Prose by Wayne Visser

~ Every new beginning is just a first step away ~ 

Do you have hopes, dreams and wishes for the future?
Or even just something you have been meaning to do, or longing to achieve?
Why not make a start today towards making it happen?
 
Nothing grand, nothing onerous, just take one small action to set you on your way.
Cathedrals are built one stone at a time, and although they may take generations to complete, they would not exist at all if someone hadn’t been bold enough to lay the first cornerstone.
Lao Tzu was right:
The journey of a thousand miles does begin with the first step.
 
But why is that first step often so difficult to take?
Perhaps it is because we are intimidated by the size of the task before us, the length of the journey ahead?
But remember the old question of how to eat an elephant.
Answer: one bite at a time.
An inspiring vision is important, but it helps to focus on down-to-earth practicalities to get started.
 
Another reason we hesitate to begin afresh is because we have tried and failed before.
Cynicism is the root of all inertia.
If you are dismissive or scornful of New Year’s resolutions, it is probably because you’ve been burned before;
You’ve had your own or others’ hopes dashed as idealistic goals fizzle like damp squibs in the cold light of daily pressures.
Sound familiar?
 
One way to cure cynicism is to change the way we think about beginnings.
Every big ending is the result of countless small beginnings.
We should not expect to achieve our goals the first time we try.
You are saved from failure not by being born again, but by being born again and again and again, as many times as it takes to succeed.
 
The only thing more difficult than beginning is beginning again.
And yet beginning again is the easiest way, indeed the only way, to succeed.
The willingness to pick ourselves up when we fall and to try again is what makes the difference between success and failure, between moving forwards and standing still, or going backwards.
 
Or maybe it is not failure that you fear, but success itself.
What would happen if your wildest dream, your most cherished hope, your secret wish, really did come true?
You would have to change.
You would have to take responsibility for all those things you said would be possible “if only”.
So sometimes we shy away from new beginnings because we are afraid of where they might take us.
But unless we set our foot upon the path, we will never really know where it leads.
 
It is true that not all beginnings are bright and cheery.
Starting an unpleasant chore, or beginning a life without a loved one is hardly cause for celebration.
Yet even these tough beginnings will bring their share of rewards for effort and reprieves from suffering.
 
Indeed, in dark times, it is often the chance to begin again which helps us to make it through.
We take each day, each step, each breath, one at a time, in order to survive.
Remembering that each new beginning holds the potential to change things for the better:
To lighten the darkness;
To ease the load
To heal the wound
To forgive and love again.
 
We can take our cues from nature – each sunrise, the new moon, spring time.
Or we can invent our own reminders – morning prayers, the start of a week, the first of the month, or celebrating a new year.
Or perhaps our beginnings will be inspired by the Resurrection, Ramadan, Passover, or Diwali.
 
We are constantly on the cusp of new beginnings, amidst the cycles of our lives.
And there is no better time to begin anew than now …
And now, and now and …
 

Wayne Visser © 2005

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