We do quite a bit of snow-shoveling in my parts at this time of the year.
It can seem taxing. It can seem obligatory or mundane. A bit like other parts of our lives.
But, this is where choice comes into the picture.
We can look up and be thankful that we are alive. We can be grateful for our bodies if they allow us to even do something like this in the first place. We can choose to see beauty in the glistening of the snow, or feel amused at the snowflakes as they do their little dance down from the sky.
This may sound floaty, but it is true and it is possible and choosing this way is life-changing.
We can rewire ourselves to make a practice of this choosing. Initially it does take some intention, but over time it gradually displaces the conditioned ways of thinking for which we have maybe become accustomed.
We have opportunities—every single moment of every single day of every month and year of our lives to have a fresh start.
This little act of pausing while shoveling snow is the fresh start available to us whenever we choose to recenter and proceed intentionally.
I feel like so many of us wish we could just reinvent parts of our lives—completely start over.
We might know the feeling of suddenly, or even gradually, realizing that we are in unfulfilling careers, dusfunctional relationships, less-than-optimal health and everything that we feel truly passionate about seems like a distant dream—or only possible in some parallel universe.
Many of us either grow stagnant in lives which we have somehow ended up living on auto-pilot, or as for me, maybe the opposite is true. We may feel we have spent way too much time searching and seeking—instigating too much change without making intentional decisions from a centered place of truly knowing ourselves or what it is that we want.
I spent my 20s seeking. I figured out what I did not want out of life—usually by lighting my own fires and learning the hard way about what didn’t work for me or feel right.
I slowly buried myself in and around and under life circumstances that have taken years to dig my way out of. I have had to go against the grain and the judgments of people close to me to do so—and the challenge has been immense.
I have learned the hard way that this is where the pause comes in to play, and the fresh start can begin.
Maybe we feel locked in to a career that we have poured ourselves into yet struggle to feel fulfilled in because we need to pay for the house that we committed to 12 years ago. Maybe we are in the middle of a marriage where we do not feel connected. Maybe we want to exercise more, but do not have the time. Speaking of lack of time, maybe we even feel guilty that we do not spend more quality time with our children, parents, or good friends.
Does any of this sound familiar?
First and foremost, realize that you are okay.
You are exactly where you need to be right now, in this moment. Accepting this along with gratitude for all of it (yes, every single drop of it) provides the nourishing soil from which we move forward.
Have no regrets, because everything that you have created for yourself is worthy of gratitude—whether certain circumstances are what you would like to maintain or whether they have been teachers of their own sort.
Everything in life teaches us and guides us. While it can seem more efficient to walk calmly toward what we want rather than run from what we do not want, there is value in it all because we are constantly learning.
And this is when we can pause.
Pausing does not mean stopping or growing stagnant, nor does it imply complacency—rather pausing is an opportunity to regroup.
During the pause, we allow ourselves to listen.
We come back to the seed from which everything sprouts and this seed is self-love and self-awareness. From the nourishing soil of gratitude and presence we allow ourselves to grow—from as much inspiration that stems from this self-love as possible, and it doesn’t just nourish us.
We nourish ourselves in order to then nourish others—our partners, parents, peers, and our planet.
It is from this pause that we can both feel and see clearly.
We can envision changes that we feel inspired to make in our lives, and also have the courage to take new first steps—whether this is a career change, the hobbies we have wanted to do forever but have never found time for, or whatever it is that we feel that gentle inner pull and guidance toward.
It is crucial to realize that we are not using this fresh start to grapple toward things or circumstances that will make us happier.
Ideally, the pause is about first finding our innate joy and love and then acting from this place of inspiration.
We often go about this all backwards. For instance, we so often want the career or the fancy house or the perfect partner to make us happy. We search externally for that which we hope will bring us joy and spend most of our lives chasing that proverbial carrot. I know what this feels like and it is exhausting and, typically, futile.
Sure, we might find some happiness here or there, but deep down we know it is fleeting and this only causes us to cling tighter—eventually ending up in a state of fear over losing whatever this is.
True freedom is learning to find joy in any circumstance.
Like shoveling snow.
We may choose to leave our careers. We may choose to leave our marriages. Or, we may simple choose a different perspective, leaving external circumstances exactly as they are.
If we feel the need for change, if we are not fully aligned with joy—we can find our pause, and we can come back to it as often as we need. We are never, ever stuck.
In the pause find your bearings. Look first for joy and love and inspiration. Allow yourself the freedom and play that is always available with a fresh start.
And the good news is, fresh starts are unlimited, and always available—whenever you need them.
Author: Katie Vessel
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren