Start Where You Are!

"I'm not sure where to start," I said to Greg after I went through all the trouble of setting up this blog. The ongoingness of it was clear to me, but not the first step. I'd gotten a little ahead of myself. Very me.

"Start" he said. Greg does not like to waste words. But he does like to start things.

My first yoga teacher, Jonathan at Silverlake Yoga, used to say, "start where you are". A lot. I can still hear him say it in my minds ear although it was over a decade ago. Thank you Jonathan.

One thing I've learned since then is that it's best when starting where you are to know where you are. But that sometimes you have to start where you are to find our where you are. Movement reveals. In yoga you find out you are tight in your hamstrings and that your balance is off on your left side by practicing, not by thinking you should practice or figuring our how to get ready for practicing. When you start where you are what you are saying is, I am starting in order to understand where I am. Of course in some sense you are always starting. That is the beauty of beginners mind.

Suzuki's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind is a great place to start.Starting where you are is especially good advice when the way forward seems overwhelming. Say if you have a buttload of weight to lose, a book to write, a divorce to recover from, a career to reinvent, or a planet to reclaim.

I started this blog, or at least set it up, on a full moon without realizing it. That is either beginners luck or using my intuition. Because I intend for this blog to be like the full moon: brightly reflective and inspiring, although hopefully not so crazy making that it drives people to the emergency room!

Another word for start is begin. And as Julie Andrews sang to the Nazi resisting VonTrapps: "Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start." But sometimes you can't start at the beginning. Sometimes you become a step mom of a teenager, get hired onto a project mid-way through, become sober at 40 or are born into a world going crazy with transition. Then you must start in the middle. But still. You can start where you are. You can always start where you are.

Personally I love a story that starts in the middle and loops back around to pick up threads. I love a spiral. In fact I believe that we live in spirals and that this idea that we are born at the begining and move along in a straight line until we die is an idea that has caused us to mis-understand life. It's as if our lives were a race and there was a loud booming voice saying: "Gentelmen, start your engines!" (Do they still say that now with the ladies racing, or is everyone who races considered a gentelman?) But even the race cars go around in laps.) photo by: Alexandre Duret-Lutz CC

I believe our lives are spirals. Like our DNA, like our galaxy, like the yellow brick road! We cover come back around to issues, themes, elements, stories, but hopefully in broader loops, with bigger challenges, rewards, deeper meanings, layers of dimension. (This isn't the first blog I've started, but here I am again and it feel sdifferent this time.) I believe that our lives are are lived in spirals and that to understand that, to really believe it and live it is one way to be 100% Happy 88% of the time!


brazilian said...

ah, but what about finishing?

i am always starting where i am, because im always in a new space...but rarely if ever do i finish anything.

Ramsey said...

This blog spoke to me, and is one of the few times I have read something three times in a row.

I think "Start where you are" is also given a chapter in a Pema Chabron book, I want to say, "when things fall apart", but I'm not sure.

Hope things are well, have a happy memmorial day weekend, piece en sol. Ramsey

Elani said...

Good words.