Years ago, my husband and I sat in silence with a group of strangers in Joshua Tree for 10 days. As part of this Vipassana retreat, we meditated for about 10 hours every day. Each session of sitting would begin with a recording of the teacher, S.N.Goenke saying, “Start Again”.
To this day my husband and I laugh and say, “Start again” when we’re attempting something hard, something awkward, anything really that needs to be started again.
This past week I had a chance to start again. We’ve moved to a small town off the beaten track to anywhere – a far cry from Santa Monica, CA where friends always found a reason to be “passing through”.
Some women friends, from my life in Vancouver decades ago, were going to be passing through my new town on their way to a backpacking adventure. I invited them to come stay with us. Actually, I kinda begged. We’d only just arrived and had no furniture, but they had camping gear, so it seemed quite doable.
They arrived. We ate, we drank, we walked and talked and talked some more. In pairs, in threes and as a whole group. We talked about beautiful, scary, and painful things.
We laughed, we cried, and we hugged goodbye. My husband christened them, The Mama Wolfpack.
I’ve stayed close to one of these women and I’m in touch with her regularly. I was close to one, but we’d drifted apart. The third, I’d admired from a far in my earlier life, but never really gotten to know her. In this new setting and new stage of life I got to start again, and I can feel the roots of something deep growing.
I’m reminded that it’s almost never too late to start again, whether you’ve:
- Skipped so many workouts that you’re feeling funky.
- Had a fight with your kids, parents, partner or boss.
- Fallen off the wagon so you’re drinking, over-eating, or smoking again.
- Gotten off track from who you wanted to become.
- Stop investing in your well-being or your finances.
- Let a long time pass since you called that friend.
Stop saying these three words and just Start Again. Life is actually full of second chances. And third and fourth and more…