Fresh Start – Establishing and Practicing Mindfulness for the New Year

The first of the new year is often the time we take a look at ourselves, the way we live our lives, our habits, and resolve to make some changes for the better. We might make a new year’s resolution to exercise more, start a diet to lose weight, give up sweets or alcohol, quit smoking, learn a new language, or learn how to knit. There’s something about January 1 that represents a clean slate, an opportunity to begin again, making a fresh start. With the old year now in the past, our gaze is forward-looking to the horizon and whatever lies ahead. We don’t know what the year ahead might bring, but there’s a feeling of possibility, a twinge of excitement that anything could be possible.

Pema Chodron meditation quote

One thing we learn early on in our meditation practice is we can always take a fresh start. In fact, you might say that the technique of meditation is all about starting over, again and again and again, every time we realize we are thinking and return our attention back to the breath, our object of meditation. But then there are other times we might suddenly realize we have been spaced out, lost in a fantasy, and have forgotten what we are doing completely, or maybe our thoughts are coming fast and furious, one thought overlapping the other. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s instruction when we find ourselves in times like these is

 “[W]henever things get too tangled up, just cut it right there. Give the whole thing up and start fresh. Starting fresh means coming back to your posture, to your awareness of your head and shoulders, and then going back to the breath.”

You just begin again. Connecting with your bodily sensations can quickly return awareness to the present moment. You can re-establish your posture, straightening up your spine, feel your hands open and gently placed on your legs or in your lap, your body sitting, connected to the earth, surrounded by space. Taking a fresh start is starting over, beginning again without any residue of what happened in the past influencing this new moment. Not worrying about the future. You are a body breathing right here, right now, open to whatever arises.

In our lives every day, we always have the opportunity to begin again, to make a fresh start, and not just at the new year. Of course, it’s hard not to let what happened in the past impinge on what’s going on with us today, but by remembering each moment is a new moment, just like remembering the technique in our meditation practice, we can begin again, and maybe through our practice come to see the past with fresh eyes, opening to a new point of view, planting new seeds for the future.

Come join us to jump start your meditation practice!

/ Debra Dysart, Meditation Teacher

How to Establish & Practice Mindfulness Meditation at Home

Join our Online Meditation Groups via Zoom. Suitable for both beginners and long-time meditators. All our online group meetings are by donation. Please see link below to register and other helpful resources.

meditation at home illustration


Wednesday Evening Meditation:

Weekly via Zoom, 6:30 – 8:30 pm PT.  
This evening gathering is open to all, for beginners to seasoned practitioners. We start with a short meet and greet, then move to guided meditation, a contemplation and reflection circle. Occasionally, we have a surprise contemplative art practice included. Register

Sunday Morning Meditation:

Weekly via Zoom, 9:00 am to 12:00 pm PT.
All are welcome — newcomers as well as seasoned meditators. Guided group meditation instruction at 9:15 am.  Sitting meditation alternates with walking meditation.  $10-15 suggested donation. Register.

Practical Meditation Resource Links