“When you feel that you have reached the end and that you cannot go one step further, when life seems to be drained of all purpose; what a wonderful opportunity to start all over again, to turn over a new page.” -Eileen Caddy
These days I am starting over. All of the good habits that I could count on with ease are now feeling foreign. I am addicted to sugar in a way that I can’t remember. My meditations are all about noticing the thinking and trying to remember what it feels like to stay with the discomfort. My voice feels lost to me. I write and erase, write and erase, unsure of my words as I am of this place between knowing better and eating another Skinny Cow dessert anyway.
I admonish myself for my bad habits and bear witness to the indigestion that follows. Sometimes noticing where you fail is little comfort although that is all we really have to begin with. If we refuse to even bear witness to the aspects of life that aren’t working and accept our bad habits without even a tinge or regret than they own us. It is in the ability to be awake, even as we make bad choices that we have to celebrate.
Pema Chodron, one of my favorite Buddhist teachers taught a whole class on the topic of shenpa, as the “stuck” place is called. It is a universal place, although triggered by unique stories, our shenpa is the sticky place of discomfort, disappointment, anger, resentment or whatever else swallows you up. The holidays are full of opportunities where we get stuck and sugar is a ready answer.
So here I am at the beginning of my third year of the positivity quest, realizing that I get to begin again. Learning and re-learning how to make a positive relationship to life is the only path for me. I will begin with my body, today is the first day of a 21-day cleanse for me. No more cookies, candy, sweet breads, and the like. I might even finally get the juicer I have been eying for the last few months and see if the juice fast will change my life as others have shared. The best first place to clean up your life is in your body.
I have had enough pain in the last year to know that there is little in life that the body really is the temple and health is everything. So if you are like me and have used sweets to soften the emotional blows of the holidays, join me in the cleanse. I will keep you posted about how it impacts my ability to think clearly and make decisions, both of which have been eluding me of late.
Starting over is humbling, but with each new year that rolls around, it is a stroke of luck and as Pema says, a reason to rejoice. Waking up to our lives, even the sticky messy places that shame us is worthwhile and, compared to the alternative, a path worth cultivating.