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New Beginnings

    Healing begins with one step. The first conscious effort you make to change your life for the better is that first step forward. It's a move toward possibility and renewal. It's a move full of hope.

    It doesn't matter if it's a teeny little baby step. It doesn't matter if you take that step and stall right there. The point is you made the effort. You took a first step. It's a beginning.

    The first step of a healing journey does mark a new beginning, but be careful how you think of that. The world we live in today urges us to forget the past and forge on with the present. Yesterday's news is old news. We have to keep up to stay in the game. Lag behind and you lose.

    That is the attitude circulating through society daily, winding its way into every facet of our lives. When we grow weary of our problems, we remedy them according to the way we were taught.

    With a burst of robust resolve, we vow to put them behind us. We say we're going to get a fresh start. We're going to start over again. We're going to cast out the old and bring in the new.

    We take a first step. We do something differently, and that becomes the dividing line between the past and the present. Any problems lurking behind the line are to be forgotten, pushed off into nonexistence by sheer willpower. Everything in front of the line is going to be different and better.

    It's a new beginning. Unfortunately, when that's how we perceive a new beginning, all too soon and all too often, it comes to an abrupt, disappointing end.

    Life is a continuation. No matter how much you wish you could, you can't cut parts of it out and throw them away. Everything you experience becomes a permanent part of your life story the moment it happens.

    The events can't be changed, but your understanding and interpretation of them can. You can't start all over again, but you can steer your life's course in a new direction. You can't start anew as if your history does not exist, but as you come to see it in a different light you can integrate it with the present.

    When it comes to healing, a new beginning is not a dividing line between past and present. It's the starting point of a process in which you move back and forth between past history, present reality and future dreams. It's the beginning of an exploration that joins past, present and future together with clear vision.

    It's the beginning of new learning that will open your heart and mind to the vast potential of your life. It's the point at which your life journey shifted direction because you chose to do something differently.

    The healing journey charts a complicated course. There are steep climbs. There are unexpected twists. There are pitfalls and detours. There are pauses.

    No matter how far the first step takes you or how long it is before you step again, it's a beginning. A new beginning.

    � Sally Scott, M.A., R.C.C.