Barkley, our beloved three-legged dog, passed away this month. Since he was my first dog I was completed unprepared for emotional turmoil it would stir up inside of me. Saying good-bye to him was probably one of the most unexpectedly difficult things I’ve faced recently.
A few weeks later, as I doglessly strolled through Coconut Point Mall early one Saturday morning, coffee in hand, I noticed a bird who was eagerly trying to build his nest in a small hole on the top side of one of the buildings. He was determined to get his nest built in this precarious spot.
New beginnings are like this. Sometimes they are positive and obvious, like a promotion, the birth of a new baby or purchasing a new house, but many times new beginnings are opportunities disguised as difficulties, like losing Barkley or building a nest in an impossible location.
If you can recognize the patterns for new beginnings you can embrace even the difficult times with a positive frame of mind.
Are you in the middle of a ‘new beginning’? Let’s see!
1. Change. The first way to recognize you are in the middle of a new beginning is you recently experienced a major change. Setting aside the positive and expected changes, let’s focus on the seemingly negative and unwanted changes. Maybe you recently experienced the loss of a parent, a divorce, an addiction or affair, an unexpected move or the loss of a job or a beloved family pet. Any of these changes could be the seedling of your new beginning.
What you can do at this stage. Start by visualizing this situation as a seed that is being planted into your life to bring you a new beginning even if it doesn’t seem clear yet how this might be possible. Also it is very important to embrace your emotions in whatever form they come. Get out a pen, sit quietly and write down all the names of the emotions you are feeling. Are you happy or angry? Sad or relieved? Disappointed or hurt? Then take each emotion one by one and describe what is causing those feelings, in writing. This will bring forth the release so you don’t get stuck in this step and miss your new beginning.
2. Navigation. Now that you’ve dealt with the initial emotion of the change you can move on to the navigation phase. This is where you may feel lost. What you used to do, where you used to go, the things that used to bring you joy are no longer there … or so it seems. Also, like the bird building his nest, you might see what you want but the path may seem difficult or overwhelming. This is normal. Don’t lose heart!
What you can do at this stage. Visualize each step you take and each decision you make as a watering of your seedling. See your seed sprouting roots and ready to send the shoots up very soon. Be deliberate. Be specific. Clarify what you do want for the future in this area. Write it down. Then take steps each day toward making this new desire a reality for you. Don’t be too caught up in how life looks at this stage. Remember, you don’t see roots but they have to grow first!
3. Realization. After weeks or months or even years (yes this requires some patience … but don’t give up) what you desire will come to you if you stick with the plan. You have to go through the first two steps to get to the realization phase.
What you can do at this stage. Visualize your seed sprouting up out of the ground. Be patient. Be grateful. Getting to the realization phase, depending on what you desire, can take a while. During this time keep a gratitude journal to record the small occurrences that prove that you are getting closer to what you want. Be open to opportunities and trust that when you follow this plan your end result must come.
Today I encourage you to embrace those unwanted, unexpected changes and see them as seeds to your new beginning. The loss of Barkley was a new beginning for us and I’m happy to tell you that we gladly welcomed Montey, a 6-month old blackmouthed cur rescue, into our home yesterday. Today is the start of a new beginning for us, and for him too.
NOTE: A big thank you to the Naples Humane Society for helping us adopt Montey (aka Rampage). If you are looking for a rescue dog or cat please visit their beautiful no-kill facility down by the Naples airport.
April O’Leary is a Certified Life Coach, author and the Founder of the University of Moms. You can sign-up today for her free video e-course “Find Time for You and Be Happier Too” at UofMoms.com.