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New Beginnings 2024

Personally, I love new beginnings, especially the beginning of a New Year. People all around the world (at least those who go by the same calendar we do) simultaneously embarking on a fresh start. We can feel our connection to the wider world community, and that collective energy supports our individual processes and fresh starts.

At the start of anything new - whether something big like a new job or moving to a new home, or something simpler and smaller like a conversation with a loved one - it's a good idea to get clear about our intentions for that new cycle or endeavor, to begin it mindfully, intentionally. Our intentions are the "WHY behind the WHAT" - our deeper motivation for our choices and actions. They can be quite subtle, and we may often be unconscious of them, though they strongly influence the course of our actions, our experience, and the outcome.

To align with our intentions as we begin something new, we can center ourselves by bringing our attention into our body or taking a few conscious breaths, then ask, "What is my intention for this?" and simply notice what comes to mind. Asking this question, as an alternative to "setting our intention," lets our deeper intentions be revealed to us, which we are then free to modify if needed.

In truth, each moment is in itself a fresh start. Meditation practice is particularly helpful for experiencing this directly. As we meditate and practice bringing our minds and awareness back to this moment, this breath, over and over each time it wanders, we are practicing a way of LIVING: in the present, moment by moment, breath by breath... beginning again and again... and recognizing our capacity to do so.

Self Care Suggestion:

Settle into your body. Feel your hands, and arms.... Feel your seat... legs... feet. Having centered yourself, inwardly ask: "What is my intention for doing this practice right now?" Just notice what answer arises. Modify or fine-tune your intention if needed.

Keeping that intention in mind, begin to notice your breathing. Let your attention follow the breath as it comes all the way in and all the way out. It can be useful to say silently to yourself as you breathe: "Breathing in/out," or "I'm aware of my inbreath/outbreath." (Feel free to adjust the wording so that it flows for you.)

When you notice that your mind has wandered, which it will likely do, see it as an opportunity for a new beginning. Remind yourself of your intention, and return to watching the breath. Each time you recognize and redirect, you strengthen your capacity to manage your mind and align with your intentions, while experiencing directly that Life is just like this: each moment a new beginning, a chance to start again.

"You can have a fresh start at any moment you choose.

Each moment is unique, unknown, completely fresh."

~Pema Chodron

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