begin again

graffiti of a stone self wearing a manacles that have broken free of their chainsGood morning this Monday morning. Outside, the light is just bringing me the green of everything that’s finding fall to be a delight; inside, the candles remind me that the day is still early. I tend to berate myself if I haven’t started writing before 6 (let’s not even mention 7), but today there’s a different voice in my head. The dog has her ball. Today, morning looks like something of promise, not a place of loss.

This is the song in my head this morning, ringing over and over, singing me into this morning. And this is what I want to say today – it’s not too late.

Begin again.These were the words I heard as I was easing slow into the morning: There is still time to do all of it, everything we wanted to do.

How can I push into this today? It feels this simple: Today I am not mourning all the time I haven’t spent writing, the books I didn’t publish, the fact that I’ll never be a famous younger author blah blah blah. Today I am holding inside hands with all the selves I have ever been and I am grateful that we made it this far. I am grateful that we lived long enough to get to right here, to get so fully into this body and these words, to get to peel off layers of mask and persona and pretense, to get to find our way into this place of possibility and healing.

Begin again. Today is another chance to do one more piece. Today I get to stand up for those selves that wanted, every day, to be in this world, even though it often hurt more than we thought we could bear.

This is what I want to say. There’s time — there’s ten minutes today to write, there’s an hour to take out the notebook and draw or play in words or jot down notes for a song. There’s a half hour for a run, there are notebook writes to type up, there’s a place for your creative experimentation and discovery. Yes, a lot of time has passed. Yes, there are days and years gone. But we still have time. We still can let our dreams come true.

Does it feel frightening to pursue a long-held dream, especially so long after first dreaming it? Maybe too-late feels easier. Too late has often felt easier for me. What does it mean to give myself over to a dream when I’ve done it before and been so burned? When I’ve tried and failed? When I’ve been rejected or scared or got lost in self-sabotage? I often feel I’ve been defined by my wanting — who will I be if I have, if possibility becomes real, if I have to relinquish my wincing desire because — what? — I have allowed to happen (or taken steps to manifest) exactly what I said I wanted?

This morning I am thick with the certainty that it’s not too late. This morning I can be everything I never even imagined was possible for me — I mean safe in my skin, safe in my history, safe in my reaching, my undertakings, my ambition. (I mean, safe in my skin? Who ever heard of such a thing?) This morning, all my books are still alive in me and I can write them — I am doing the only work that my six-year-old self wanted for us. She didn’t know the sort of travail we’d have to undergo, the long journey it would take us to get to our work.

Some people, they were able to make their journey go faster, they were able to get to the work of their dreams sooner — there are people who underwent worse experiences who have written their books, painted their paintings, made their work already a reality. Me, I took the time and the path that I took, and I would not change a step of it. Today I am sanguine about that. Today I have no regrets. Today I am tender with gratitude: we made it here. Today it’s not too late. Today we get to begin again. We get to do what we can today, and then begin again, again, tomorrow.

You know what a big deal this is, right? I can hear the morning bird outside singing a today song. We made it. We get this life. We begin.

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What are your big dreams, the ones you hold tight to your heart, the ones you don’t even articulate to yourself? What did your younger selves hope for?  What are the dreams you’ve told everyone about for years but that haven’t yet manifested and now you’re just embarrassed to repeat? (Maybe you don’t have any of those. I have a few.) Take a couple of moments and jot down a list of dreams you’ve had for this lifetime — then allow one of these dreams to choose you, and write into it: What if that dream came true? What then? Is there mourning that arises as you articulate this dream? Can you write that mourning, that loss? Or is it a dream that’s already come true that most wants to push itself from the pen today? Follow your writing wherever they seem to want you to go — be easy with you in this writing. (The dreams don’t judge us, I think. They are patient, persistent: they wait until we are ready.)

Thank you for the deep pocket places in your body and psyche that have held your dreams, the dreams of your smaller inside selves, the dreams you didn’t imagine ever getting to say aloud. Thank you for the gentle fingers and palms that welcome those dreams out into the new air, into this morning light, into possibility. Thank you for the kind way you hold the articulated dreams of others. Thank you on this day for your necessary words.

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