Be joyful even though you have considered all the facts...practice resurrection. -Wendell Berry

Monday, February 3, 2014

begin again

It is snowing a gentle, soft bit here today. There is much to do, but the quiet hum of the washing machine and a pot of jasmine tea invite me to pause. 

I am one month deep into my word for 2014, integrity. It's funny how sometimes when we become deliberate and mindful, opportunities float our way.

A few weeks ago, I began a five week workshop on meditation. A dear friend is leading it, and I had been wanting to rededicate myself to improving my practice. We are using Sharon Salzberg's book Real Happiness, The Power of Meditation to support our exploration. After two weeks of sitting nearly daily, these are some things I have been grateful for...

As I sit down to meditate and the chatter in my mind takes a long time to settle down, Sharon's words remind me that with every breath we can begin again. I have embraced this compassionate message. When our meditating minds wander, we can begin again, with the very next breath. We can, actually, begin again whenever we need to, even when we are not sitting to meditate. Whenever I find myself flustered or challenged or stressed, I try to remember to take three deep breaths and begin again. This simple practice makes life so much easier!  Beginning again is such a compassionate way to treat ourselves. No judgement, no shame, no regret...just begin again.

And this sentence, from the first chapter in Sharon's book jumped off the page and has been my mantra ever since. Distractions waste our energy; concentration restores it to us. Oh, yes, yes, yes please! Let me continue to work on this one! It is OK to do lots of things in a day...just let's concentrate on one*thing*at*a*time, shall we?

Our group meets once a week to discuss the chapter, to check in on our progress and to do a bit of meditating as a group. I like the accountability and support I have found with this group of strangers, who are becoming friends as we practice together. 
If you have a practice of meditating, how does it help you live a saner life? If you don't have a practice now and if you might like to try meditating, I recommend Sharon's book to you. If you follow the link, you will find sample audio sessions there that you might like to try.


P.S. Suz, I thought of your blog title as I wrote this post. xo


  1. I like that idea of allowing ourselves to "begin again". It's good to remember to be kind to ourselves.

  2. Oh yes, I have adored that saying since I first saw it...
    Begin again....again?
    again...begin again'll's easy
    I believe it was Grace Paley who said it this way
    but I may be wrong
    To me, it is as if... I am my own best great mother
    sending joy to happy you found such women friends
    and thanks for the comment on my little Tuula and Finn

  3. I do appreciate the idea to Begin Again. It gives me incentive to, Begin Again.

    It seems that many women bloggers that i follow seem to return to Sharon Salzberg. She gives us so much strenth and inspiration in our daily lives.

    I was distracted from doing my hand-wash laundry to read this blog. But I'll return to my chores and Begin Again.

  4. I was intrigued that you've picked a word for the year. Are you familiar with the 15 minutes of play site by Victoria Findlay Wolfe? She has a fun quilty project for such words. The site is

  5. I love Sharon Salzberg - her books were such a great comfort to me after my mom died. I especially love "Faith" and have loaned it to several friends over the years. Plus, she was the first teacher I went on a retreat to see (with Krishna Das)!

    In the same way that I can't really skip meals I can't skip meditation. Both sustain and nourish. <3

  6. What a wonderful thought. A possible fresh beginning with each and every single breath.

  7. I have meditated off and on since I was in my 20's. I went to the link and did the sample meditation. Sharon's voice had a very calming quality. It was wonderful. Thank you for sharing.