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How Quietly We Begin Again

Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final

― Rainer Maria Rilke 

Let’s say you’ve stepped into a difficult day. Maybe you’ve received news that’s not easy to process. Perhaps a shadow has crossed your consciousness:  a worry, a fear, a sadness. Or let’s say you’ve stepped into a beautiful day. You’re deep in the flow, and every joy is yours.

Earlier this week, I stepped into that deep in the flow day full of joy. This morning I stepped into that shadowy day. Tomorrow, who knows what will come? It could be beauty. It could be terror. There could be light. There might be darkness. It all comes, and yet nothing ever stays for long.

Twice this week those lines from Rilke have come to mind. The first time it happened, they fell into my hand. I’d opened a book to find I’d written those words on a notecard at some point in the long ago past.  They returned to me like a message from my younger self.  Later, the same words appeared on my computer screen following a series of unrelated clicks on the Internet. You could call it a coincidence, and yet I wont.  These things that enter our consciousness are so often the very things we need most to know.

Earlier today I wrote these words:

You do not have to wait until tomorrow to begin again. You do not have to wait even one more moment. You could begin again right now. Take one step in a new direction. Now take another. Now keep going. Don’t stop until you start to feel better.

Writing those words was my first step. That first step, led me to recall the poem Be Still In Haste by Wendell Berry. Reading this poem again was my second step.

Be Still In Haste

How quietly I
begin again

from this moment
looking at the
clock, I start over

so much time has
passed, and is equaled
by whatever
split-second is present

from this
moment this moment
is the first.

After those first two steps, some of the shadows of this day retreated. Then, I put on my walking shoes and took several thousand more steps out past the fields and into the forest. For no particular reason, I stopped. I took a deep breath. Then I took one more step into a patch of light. That’s when I looked down to find violets in bloom on the forest floor. It was just this little thing on a shadowy day at the end of winter, but it was a little thing that changed everything . Violets on the forest floor. How quietly we begin again.

No matter where you are on the journey today, no matter how you’re feeling right now, just keep going. Even if it feels like you can’t go on, you can. Take a step. Then take another one. That first step might be a deep breath. It might be some words you write. It might be a walk through the shadows and into the light.  Let everything happen. Keep going until you feel better, and along the way pay attention to the things that cross your consciousness. They very well might be the very things you need to know. You can begin quietly again. Start now.

Read:  1st Corinthians 2: 9-10

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Writer, Teacher, Pilgrim. Seeker. Cofounder of The International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi) at http://iTDi.pro Author of a bunch of books. Editor of some others. I give workshops, facilitate retreats, and lead online courses. I also garden and read a lot.

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