A Fresh Start

After college, I decided to move to Boston, 3000 miles from my home in San Diego. Exhilarated by the idea of transplanting myself to a new locale where no one knew me, I packed up my little Toyota and journeyed east.

The idea of meeting new people who wouldn’t see me through the lenses of my past and my family was so freeing! As an added bonus, I began to see myself differently, too. As if by magic, prospect of this fresh start gave me permission to discard both the self-images that I had created for myself and the ones I had unwittingly borrowed from others.

In Boston, I could be whoever I wanted to be. All of my accumulated mistakes, faux pas, and major and minor embarrassments would be miraculously expunged from my history. The girl who stood up for show-and-tell, went to sit down after her shpiel, missed her chair entirely, but found the inside of a grocery bag instead, would be gone forever. In essence, I would be a tabula rasa, an unknown.

At the start of a new year, our minds travel to the promise of new beginnings. There is something about the idea of a new start that connotes liberation, something that is unsullied by the past. Yet this feeling of freedom is who we are, what life has always been, and we are able to experience the truth of this whenever we live from our hearts and enter the present moment.

In the “now” we have neither history nor mistakes to atone for. We just are. We are awake to life as it unfolds, coming to it innocently, unencumbered by concepts and self-limiting beliefs. In this openhearted way of living, a natural happiness flows.

Animals and babies live like this—in a constant state of wonder. They are radiant and beguiling because unlike adult humans, they don’t haul the heaviness of the past and their self-concepts into the present moment. For them, all there is is now.

If we walk past a particular tree every day, we assume that we know it, so we don’t bother to look. In truth, we have never seen it before, for it has never appeared the way it looks now. To assume that we know the tree is to see it from our mental concepts, rather than really looking.

When we approach daily life the way we approach this tree, from the “I know” mind, it feels flat and uninteresting. This arrogant stand creates boredom because it takes us out of the juiciness of the “now” and dumps us into the mental world of past, future, judgments, and evaluations. It dismisses the miracle and beauty of this moment and instead leads us into an imaginary life populated by what we think we know.

In the fresh start that this New Year represents, set the intention to awaken your curiosity about the mystery of consciousness as it unfolds in form and let yourself experience and feel into it’s flow in each moment, just like animals and babies do. Live like this, rather than from the “I know” mind that sucks the spontaneity out of life.

Who you are is unique and has never lived before and will never live again. If that’s not enough to get you excited, right now you are the wisest, strongest you that you have ever been. Aren’t you curious to see how this “you” dances in the unpredictable, uncontrollable present moment?

Thankfully we don’t have to move 3000 miles away from home to escape from our concepts, and self-images. We can do it right here, right now, simply by letting our awareness sink down out of our minds and into our hearts. From this place, there is no separation. Our hard edges soften and we melt into spaciousness and out of the illusory appearance of “a you and a me.” Once again we experience the truth—our hearts have always been and will always be connected in this one great love.

Here is my New Year’s prayer for you:
· Set the intention to live each moment from a place of wonder and in the spirit of discovery.
· Greet each day with an open heart and the humility of “not knowing.”
· When you are despairing, remember that you are loved beyond measure.
· Trust in life’s kindness and wisdom to flawlessly guide your evolution as it has always done. You are not the doer. The same power that creates an oak tree from an acorn is also guiding your life.