Forty Eight: A Beginner

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – Plato, The Republic

“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” – Meister Eckhart

Yesterday was a holiday. It was also the first day in a while that I had woken up early before everyone else started stirring in the house. An hour of sleep was traded out for conscious solitary time, and I decided to do start with a stretch and do some yoga.

I grabbed a “Beginner’s Yoga” video to guide me along, and yet grimaced at my choice. I’d done this workout years ago, and felt that it was too basic and moved too slow. I felt the need to start slow, so I followed the impulse. Indeed, the instructor offered thorough explanations and slowly moved into each pose. My body felt the need to fill in the quiet time with other stretches and keep the workout dynamic. Then I was reminded of some basic things about myself.

I have a hard time being a beginner. I like to push myself and skip ahead. When I witness this behavior in others, I see exactly where they are missing the steps that strengthen and solidify their efforts. We’ve all heard the story of the “Tortoise and the Hare” enough times to know the value of proceeding slowly and surely.

I rush. I have always run from one thing to another. People have called me an “antelope”. I have a difficult time embracing the transitions from one thing to another; I’ve learned in the last year or so just how important those transitions are in preparing me mentally to truly leave one activity and seal up that energy as I start to open up a fresh stream of energy for a new activity.

Maybe we are all shades of this rushing  and reluctant beginner. Maybe we need to work together more often to remind one another to slow down. To breathe. To practice. And to proceed.

How do you work with new beginnings?


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