By Vaishali, Author of “You Are What You Love” and “Wisdom Rising”
I have had to start over so many times in so many aspects of my life, you’d think that ‘Square One’ was my mailing address. I’m sure we at least share the same zip code.
I have been diagnosed – terminal – twice. I like to refer to myself as a “terminal over-achiever.” Because of those chronic health problems, I lost the business I spent nearly a decade building. And then it took every cent I had ever saved just to stay alive. I had to start over financially, from Square One.
I have been without a home, and as Blanche DuBois from Streetcar Named Desire would say, “. . . have relied on the kindness of strangers.” No home? No problem. I can stay at Square One – they even leave the light on for me.
I have been lied to, and cheated on, by nearly every single romantic partner I have ever had, which for me, is a deal-breaker. So, the instant I discovered betrayal, I packed up and left. My destination? Square One.
Warning: Self-Construction Zone Ahead
It seems there is nothing about life deconstruction and self-resurrection I fail to understand. If practice makes perfect, then I should be as perfect and as flawless as a diamond. But the best thing about mastering the profound understanding of how to start over ubiquitously, is that when something comes to an end in my life, I now waste no time accepting it: I am able to immediately grow beyond whatever no longer serves me or has fallen away.
I have learned that starting over is just another name for unobstructed, unlimited growth. And what is life without growth? When I think about it, growth itself really isn’t that scary. Without it, I would never have recovered from illness, trauma, heartbreak or the vaporization of cash from the black hole formerly known as my 401K.
Starting over has taught me to trust myself. Life renovations consistently invite me to raise the bar on reclaiming my value, power, and worth. Every time life seems to strip me down to my “naked truth,” I know I have the ability, the intelligence, and the sheer raw nerve to put my life back together: I no longer fear starting over.
I now believe in and value my own strengths; I have developed the faith and discipline to focus on what is within me rather than what has changed outside me. And with every rebuilding circumstance, my return engagement to Square One is an opportunity to reinvent who I am and how I experience myself. What outgrown story, outdated role or mold will I destroy next? Inherent in every new beginning is an empowered occasion to eliminate bad habits or unhealthy behaviors that are not improving the quality of my life.
Fork in the Road
It is so easy, when life remains consistent, to stay committed to those things which are not life enhancing. When everything falls apart, the gift is the conscious and deliberate re-piecing of only the best and most useful of what I know. Starting over grants me permission to actively edit my lifestyle and delete whatever I do not wish to take with me into my new life.
I have observed with great delight and entertainment that starting over and being stuck in a rut never co-exist, and Square One is where I can always trade in my old, rundown stuck existence for a new high-performance life. Every time I practice refurbishing any area of my life, I am actually creating an upgraded version of myself; I am tapping into the option to expand my self-definition. And as I let go of every old, potentially “bad” habit, I am refining and extending the reach of my personal growth. Any time the flow of life gives me the opportunity to exchange “stagnate” for “enlivened”, it is a blessed opportunity to me.
Enjoy the Scenic Route
Culturally speaking, I have found that starting over at Square One has a bad reputation. Collectively we seek to avoid it, smearing it with excuses like: I have worked all this time for nothing; now I have to leave everything useful and meaningful behind me; nothing else in my life will ever work. This “crash and burn” means once again I’m playing “Survivor” on the Square One reality series. But what I have joyously discovered is that within every new beginning are the glorious and highly potent seeds of excitement.
Like any other seeds, these do not just spring up and yield something tangible without the proper environment. They must be watered with the truth that I am a wiser, fuller person because of what I have learned. These seeds need to be nurtured with the patience I use to take the time to collect myself and move forward as a whole person – not just as a fragmented, injured victim. The fertile soil is properly and naturally tilled every time I rein in my attention and focus on the positive. And I must habitually weed out all the thoughts that do not support my new environment. When I maintain this new and healthy space, anything is possible.
Of course, in the midst of a life-altering event, I have noticed a tendency to become myopic in scope. It’s only in hindsight that I manage a self-reflective perception that aligns me with the truth that situations, though tragic at the time, have propelled me into an enhanced version of life. I can even look back on my failed romantic relationships and thank those men for their cheating ways: in the end, after all, I was liberated from the burden of those misguided relationships. Furthermore, I am actually grateful for the very first time I was diagnosed terminal because it forced me to revamp my lifestyle and establish an infinitely healthier one; it gave me the time to build a strong foundation of knowledge to recover from future injury.
Final Destination: Inner Peace
The best advice I can give when starting over, is to get out of your head. The ego is not always your best friend. Do not listen to the ego run an inner narrative that is restrictive, negative or limited. This is not the self-corrective intelligence to rely on when considering moving forward. Personally, my heart and my gut always know when I am being true to myself; the ego hasn’t a clue. If the ego knew all the answers, I most likely would not have found myself in a position of having to start over at all. A genesis strategy will organically come when you embrace a loving, accepting, forgiving, and patient relationship with yourself. That is a quality of self-integration the head knows nothing about.
The heart, on the other hand, knows how to mend and heal. The gut knows what is true and right.
I know my head has thought many times, ‘If only I had a do-over’. Then I remember I do have a do-over. It’s called new beginnings, growing beyond what has hurt and limited me – it’s called Square One.
Vaishali is a spiritual teacher, who has authored Wisdom Rising and You Are What You Love. . For more information on Vaishali and her work, please visit her at www.purplev.com
6 Tips For Starting Over:
1. Starting over is an other name for growth:
What is life without growth? When I think about it, growth itself really isn’t that scary. As a baby I certainly had no issues with it. As a matter of fact, as an infant, that was my full-time job. As a teenager I couldn’t wait to grow into an adult. Without growth I would never have recovered from illness, trauma, heartbreak or the vaporization of cash from the black hole formerly known as my 401K.
2. Starting over is how I learn to trust in myself:
Life renovations consistently invite me to raise the bar on reclaiming my value, power and worth. Every time life seems to strip me down to my “naked truth,” I know I have the ability, the intelligence and the sheer raw nerve to put my life back together. The fear of having to start over has lost its power to paralyze. At this point, I have far too much real life experience to draw upon, to be daunted by that retro threat. I have hard-earned immunity. I am no longer intimidated by the prospect of finding myself once again enrolled in the Life 101 classroom, taught at the Square One campus. I have witnessed the person of substance within me work through any setback and just keep moving forward. I now feel comforted by past lessons of loss. They have ingrained a living relationship of trust, in myself and my abilities, that no one and no thing can take from me. I now know how to believe in and value my own strengthens. I have developed the faith and discipline to focus on what is within me rather than what has changed outside of me. Every time life takes something away, another precious nugget of self-awareness and self-knowledge has been gained and deepened.
3. Starting over is an opportunity to make a personal upgrade:
What outgrown story, outdated role or mold will I destroy next? Inherent in every new beginning is an empowered occasion to eliminate bad habits or unhealthy behaviors that are not improving the quality of my life. It is so easy when things do not change or get shaken up to remain loyal or unconsciously committed to things that are not life-enhancing. When everything falls apart, the gift is the conscious and deliberate re-piecing of only the best and most useful of what I know. Starting over grants me permission to actively edit my lifestyle, inner dialogue and delete whatever I do not wish to take with me into my new life.
4. Starting over and being stuck in a rut never co-exist:
Square One is where I can always trade in my old, rundown stuck existence for a new high-performance life. Every time I practice refurbishing any area of my life, I am really actualizing the creation of an upgraded version of myself. I am tapping into the option to expand my self-definition. As I let go of every old habit, useless or self-destructive pattern or limited way of relating to myself, I am refining and extending the reach of my personal growth. Any time the flow of life gives me the opportunity to exchange “stagnation” for “enlivened” it is a blessed opportunity to me.
5. Starting over is where resiliency and flexibility come from:
Life has taught me that resilience is an emotional, psychological and spiritual muscle: use it or lose it. Resiliency allows me to access and draw on a greater brilliance and inner intelligence that I need when creating a new beginning. Flexibility is how I grow beyond fear and insecurity. I am now aware that every time life throws me something unexpected, and I have to resuscitate some dimension of my existence, I can draw on a vigorous quality of self-reliance and a depth of self-confidence in my ability to abundantly renew.
6. Starting over is about getting out of the head and into the heart:
My heart and my gut always know when I am being true to myself; the ego hasn’t a clue. If the ego knew the all answers, I mostly likely would not have found myself in a position of having to start over, to begin with. A genesis strategy always emerges organically when I embrace a loving, accepting, forgiving and patient relationship with myself. That is a quality of self-integration the head knows nothing about. The ego is purely a divide and conquer tyrannical dictator. The heart knows how to mend and heal; the gut knows what is true and right. Whenever I find myself back at Square One looking for new direction, I take the G.P.S. away from the ego, drop down into my heart, regroup, and remind myself I am here on the planet to grow and learn, and life will never permit me to play hooky, so let’s get going.
As on Oprah & Friends XM, Vaishali is the author of Wisdom Rising (Purple Haze Press 2008) and You Are What You Love (Purple Haze Press 2006). She is also national health & wellness speaker, radio host on KTLK 1150am 11-noon Sundays (greater Los Angeles) live streamed at www.purplev.com Vaishali is a certified practitioner of Chinese Medicine and East Indian Ayurveda medicine. Vaishali is a faculty member of The Omega institute and The Kripalu Center. Her articles have been published in over a hundred publications worldwide. Visit www.purplev.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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