Start Again…

The photos here were taken in a yurt during the retreat! We had a class here and it was actually profoundly powerful to be in there with everyone. Talk about a lot of love and good energy and empowerment in that room!

(by Danny)

Mara and I keep thinking about last week and all those wonderful people we met and the truly beautiful experiences we had together as a group. There is something so, so powerful in talking face- to-face about the principles we try hard to cover in these short blog posts (though I’m not sure any of the ones I’ve written could be called short). But when you have not only hours, but days to dig into life changing concepts…it allows you to remove so many of the stumbling blocks that prevent people from really understanding and implementing change.

For that, we are grateful to be able to host these (and future) retreats.

Perhaps the biggest challenge comes to attendees in the form of leaving such a supportive and nurturing environment and returning back home. 

Even with our attempts to allow people to practice the tools that bring healing and happiness to yourself and relationships, it is a whole other task to actually bring that into our day-to-day lives.

Of course, this is true for anyone, not just those who attend the retreat. Once you read an inspiring book or watch a perspective-altering movie, once you stumble across a powerful message on a blog or in a podcast, once you hear an empowering lesson or sermon… do you go about actually applying it in your life?

Chances are, your first attempts at practicing this new habit or principle will feel unnatural or fake, and may not even be that successful. You may begin to question whether or not there is really any truth to it at all, or whether you just got caught up in the moment. Or worse yet, you may determine that you just aren’t personally capable of applying it, of changing, of experiencing for yourself what others seem to have experienced on such a personal level…and so it just becomes one more reason to beat yourself up about your inadequacies and insecurities.

So, how do we handle this gap between who we are in the moment, and who we believe we can become?

“Start Again.”

This was the first phrase we heard at the beginning of nearly every single meditation at Vipassana (4 or 5 times a day for 10 days). And it was kind of relieving. Because to be honest, half the time you feel like a complete failure. Your mind wanders constantly, you find yourself focusing on the pain or the boredom or whatever else, instead of doing the work of meditation, of quieting and purifying the mind, of accessing peace. And despite all those repeated and near constant failures, each day you seem to make just a little bit of progress. During each meditation, you manage to get just a little bit further in the development of your awareness. During each meditation, you manage to focus just a little bit longer.

I think that’s why I loved hearing that phrase…“Start Again.” It was said so calmly, so confidently, so compassionately. It was like it didn’t matter that I’d failed to maintain focus for more than 30 seconds in the previous meditation – because right now, in this moment, was a new opportunity to try it again.

The last phrase we heard at the beginning of each meditation was

“You are bound to be successful. Bound to be successful.”

Two perfect bookends in the process of implementing change and achieving personal growth. Start again – no matter how many times you’ve failed before, start again. And if you are willing to do that, truly you are bound to be successful. Bound to be successful.

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  1. Shannon February 26, 2015 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    I am learning this is the most central and compassionate message we all need to hear. I loved it when you two shared it with me on our walk, and I love it now that I'm home trying to apply everything my heart desires to do and be. The reminder that I can start again and am bound to be successful has quickly become one of the best forms of self-care for myself.

    I love all of the truths you share on this blog, but this one especially. THANK YOU.

    • danny February 26, 2015 at 11:59 pm - Reply

      Thanks Shannon, I'm glad it really resonated with you, it is also something that I think about often. I have felt the power of the "bound to be successful", as progress really is inevitable when you continue to return to the basics. When I return to basics (start again), growth seems to flow more naturally, even if it can be slow at times.

  2. Patrycja Lason-Hollins February 27, 2015 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    This is amazing!

  3. Sarah February 27, 2015 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    This is so encouraging! I've been struggling with the same issue what feels like over and over and over again – and while so much of what I've read here and in books and other places seems so applicable and helpful, when I'm in the moment of struggling with the same thing over and over it sometimes feels impossible to actually implement. I find great wisdom and strength in the words "start again" and that you are "bound to be successful" as long as you keep going. Even when it might feel like you are making little, if any progress at all. So much gratitude to you both!

  4. Karen T. February 28, 2015 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    Oh, I just love this. The older I am (I turn 40 tomorrow, YIKES!), the kinder I've become to myself but this is a wonderful reminder–for myself and for my two sons (who sometimes in their childhood/tween angst, feel their momentary failures so, so deeply.) Thank you for this message.

  5. Sonel March 1, 2015 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    I'm curious about something. Have either of you ever used EFT (emotional freedom technique)? It's also know as tapping. You tap on the acupuncture meridians while speaking about whatever you want to change in a specific way. If you google it you'll find a way better explanation of it!
    It seems like the sort of thing that you two would love because it's an incredibly effective way to implement changes in attitude and perspective.
    I originally found it because of Mara mentioning Louise Hay's book. It turns out she uses tapping extensively.
    Anyway if you go to the they're in the middle of a free world summit on it. You can get a taste of how it works. (I'm not associated with them at all, I just seems like the sort of thing you two would love)

    • danny March 1, 2015 at 8:54 pm - Reply

      I haven't heard of that, but it sounds like something that I am familiar with called Emotion Code, and it seems to deal in a similar context with what you are describing. I've never received treatment using it's methods, but was interested because of someone I know who is a gifted healer that uses the technique. The concepts behind it are fascinating, and I'll probably dive into it deeper over the next year or two to understand and apply it.

  6. Sharon March 1, 2015 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    I've always like the phrase, "a do over." It speaks to it all; including forgive yourself, improve yourself, and enjoy yourself. This post reminds me of that. Thanks for the good read!

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