Personal reflections · Psychology and mental illness · Religion and Spirituality

Beginning Again

I really appreciate every person that takes the time to visit my blog. It’s 2023, and there are thousands of posts and ads fighting for your attention each day. The fact that you think of my name and either type it into your browser or fight past the noise of your email inbox to click through and read an entire post is miraculous. My blog is one of literally millions and you find my simple observations somehow nourishing to your life. I cannot thank you enough for reading and thinking about what I have to share.

There are several clear reasons for why my writing has dwindled in frequency.

At the beginning of 2022, I started doing high school online. I made a good amount of progress and planned to finish in the winter and spring quarters of 2023.

Then some very difficult things happened. My partner lost someone close to them and we spent November through January dealing with the fallout of that loss. I spent the short month of February trying to catch up, then in March, Ryann got very sick. He was hospitalized for five days and the diagnosis was finalized in April: he had an illness that would never go away. We had to move out of the environment that was exacerbating the pulmonary illness. I had to drop out of school to focus on preparing to move.

Then for six weeks in June and July we were between homes. We moved into a new place the day after my 31st birthday.

It’s been two months now since we moved. We’ve been trying to rest and recover from the stressful first seven months of the year. I’ve had numerous pain flares that leave me bedridden and suffering. Ryann was already disabled from multiple health conditions, and he lives his days in bed.

Things have settled into the regular routine of poverty at this point: carefully stretching where we can to make things work, fundraising as needed, making food bank runs between EBT. Our new place is the perfect spot for us. We are so grateful for the incredible support that has poured out for us during this year. It’s also going to take time to recover from how difficult this year has been.

I’m working hard on my mental health. Since the move I’ve gotten established with a new therapist and started attending clinician-led mindfulness support groups.

We talk often in mindfulness practice about beginner’s mind. There are multiple meanings for this term. It’s about finding new beginnings all the time. You don’t have to wait until tomorrow morning to find a new beginning. You can have a new beginning at any moment, merely by slowing down to pause and notice your surroundings.

Beginner’s mind also means coming into each practice with the mind of a beginner. This means we always have something to learn, there is no such thing as coming into meditation practice as an expert. Even the most advanced practitioner knows: beginning again means there is always something new to be discovered.

I am keeping in mind that the years are difficult and that I can begin anew at any time. So right now I’m going to try and begin again. I’m setting the mindful intention to write more about the present than about my troubled past and uncertain future. Most of my shorter thoughts will go on my Substack, but I’ll still post longer pieces here on my main blog. We’ll see how it goes. Thank you for reading.