There are so many things that happen in life that force a change in our focus and inspire the need to begin again. What if we were to just look down at our feet, click our heels, and everything could go back to (name a date, time, or event)? But we can’t, can we?
I once heard an expression: “There’s a reason why there’s a small mirror on your car windshield. It’s called a rearview mirror, and it’s small because you’re not going that way.” So when you think of new beginnings, you can choose to start at any time. You can start right now, or if you must, rev yourself up to the new beginning. Pick a commitment date, an anniversary, a birthday, or any date you choose. Whatever you decide, let it be a recommitment to yourself.
As a clinically trained social worker, I know that many times people wonder and want to look at what has lead them to where they are in life. And while I realize that there is value at times to diving into the past to discover potential causes, or finding things that contribute to current behaviors. These are not always a productive use of time. Starting where you are right now today is a much better use of time and the beginning to creating a pathway toward wellness. Dealing with life and things that are happening to us in the present moment, coupled with a willingness to tackle them now, is the first step to designing your life.
This may not seem an easy task depending on how you’ve lived your life or been treated up to this point, but it is a necessary one if you are to make strides toward the life you want to live. Having a coach or someone to identify your goals and strategize toward creating that new beginning is helpful to the process and the success of the work you will do to create the life you imagine is possible. As with any other type of coach, you will need to have someone you can trust to help you figure things out and keep you accountable and steady on course, someone who will develop strategies needed to help you toward the desired outcomes you have envisioned. Counseling and coaching go hand-in-hand; a therapist helps you get unstuck from the muck of life, and coaching helps to develop a strategies for a living life more fully and in alignment with who you are and where you want to go.
If you don’t have a counselor, coach or trusted accountability partner yet, you don’t have to wait. There are things you can do today to begin your pathway toward wellness. This is not a one size fits all endeavor. You may have noticed that some of your experiences through each of life’s levels have been unique to who you are and the life you’ve lived so far. We are all unique, and our talents are rightfully the same in that they are the gift we have to offer the world. For that reason it is truly important to follow what is alive inside of you and to know yourself enough so that you will pursue what will bring fuller meaning to you in your life now.
Let’s try this: 1) Turn off all technology; 2) Find a quiet place; 3) Grab a pen and paper to log or journal; 4) Pick a focus activity to clear excess chatter – a leisurely bubble bath, a quick run, some soft music, or some dance or exercise; 5) After you’ve done what you need to do to get the excess chatter out of your mind, set a timer for about 5 – 10 minutes and allow yourself to write, draw, or doodle when the thoughts slow, and you will start to hone in on something important. Whether it is familiar or not, write what comes to mind. Write whatever it is, even if it’s take up knitting, hike the Appalachian trail, or travel to see the pyramids. Just let yourself see what it is that gets ignited when you allow everything else to fall away.
You can do this exercise as often as you like. It may even help to talk to someone about it so you can discover ways to strategize. Consistent practice will help you settle your mental energy so that it is not being pulled in one direction or the other, taking you out of the present. Developing that practice allows you to Be Present and press the reset button so you can begin again.
As you will see, doing this simple exercise even once opens your mind to things you may never have thought of before. Having a trusted person to share this journey with will only make your progress easier. This simple exercise will help you recognize what helps you to focus and what your heart longs to experience to bring you fuller meaning and purpose. If nothing else, the process of checking in with yourself constantly is, in and of itself, a tool to help you refocus and begin living the life you’ve always dreamed was possible.
Jacqueline Muller is Clinical Director and Owner of Dynamic Intervention Wellness Solutions. She is a NY State Licensed Clinical Social Worker.