A new beginner is someone who starts off in a new direction. Little kids make great new beginners because they aren’t self-conscious and they aren’t afraid to fail. They throw themselves into whatever they’re doing with fearless abandon. If they’re building a Lego castle, they are building a Lego castle. If they fail, if it all comes crashing down, they sweep up the debris and start again.
The best new beginners are the ones who set off in the direction of their true north. They’re like that little kid with his Lego castle. They put it all on the line. And if they stumble, they pick themselves up… and begin again.
Tags: Living The Fully Realized Life, New Beginnings, The Vision
This year’s Chanukah commemorates new beginnings for my family as I emerge from the ruble of protracted divorce to re-build a new life with my three-year-old and my amazingly patient and loving fiancé, Dane. My daughter Ruby does not yet comprehend the idea of being Jewish, and this year I am introducing to her the rituals of the “Celebration of Lights” since last year she was too young to absorb it. Dane, who is not Jewish, will be learning about the holiday right along with her.
At bedtime, Ruby asks me “what are you going to be for Chanukah, Mommy?” A plausible connection to Halloween, I suppose, which is still in the rear view mirror. I don’t have a real good answer and, to buy time, wholeheartedly endorse her plan to be a fairy. Since the family Chanukah party this year isn’t until the end of the week, the best I can do right now to show her that this week is different from all others is to make sure we light the candles each night. Sometimes it’s challenging to make it home in time from work, and Ruby gets to stay up an hour later so we can reinforce the ritual. As a single mom, I feel the weight of ensuring that these traditions get passed on to her. Luckily I have a supportive partner in Dane who cheers me on at the sidelines and makes sure the candles are in place as I skid through the doorway. I recite the prayers in Hebrew, “Baruch atah adonai, eloheinu melech ha’olam…” when my daughter stops me. “No Mommy, that’s not right.” She sings “Twinkle Twinkle Chanukah Lights” to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” which she must have learned at her ultra-conscious, all-inclusive nursery school. We sing her song, followed by the dreidel song, “Dreidel dreidel dreidel, I made it out of clay…” A dreidel is a spinning toy with four Hebrew letters, one on each side – shin, hey, gimel and nun – which are the first four letters of the Hebrew words “A Great Miracle Happened Here.”
Tags: Chanukah, Children, Community, Family, Hanukkah, New Beginnings
Life isn’t necessarily meant to be a neat and orderly affair. Sometimes you set off down one path, only to find yourself drawn to some irresistible wilderness where your true life is meant to be lived. Or you walk the straight and narrow, only to find yourself adrift and out to sea after taking the company buy-out package, getting laid off, or retiring from the job that once kept you anchored close to shore.
I’m from the off into the wilderness tribe. I was supposed to be a big law firm lawyer. Instead, I went off to pursue my dreams, a decision that would set me off on a path I could not imagine, one that ultimately led me home to my true self (which, in the end, is the only destination worth walking toward). I have friends and family members from the straight and narrow tribe and many of them have, in the end, taken a journey that, in its broad strokes at least, resembles mine. By dent of circumstance, they found themselves facing the possibility, or necessity, of reinvention, even though they’d taken fewer risks, and hewed more closely to the traditional path.
Tags: FROM THE EDITOR, New Beginnings, Winter Solstice