Starting over? Ahhh…new beginnings. Nothing feels as good as a clean slate, spankin’ new, never-been-done-before, that dewy soft newborn feeling of hope and awe. Understand what I mean? Like a view from the womb? Okay….
That’s NOT the one I’m talking about.
I mean the one where you try really hard, but you keep coming up short. The ones that sends you screaming into the night – right back to the proverbial ‘drawing board’. The ‘starting over’ I mean is the one where you’ve face planted so beautifully, so repetitiously over copious attempts that look back at you with the face of days, months and YEARS. The calendar is, at best, is a suggestion, a blur of meticulously arranged numbers on a grid, waving in the breeze of your efforts.
There’s an album title by the Christian-tinged soft rock band, Switchfoot that succinctly describes this experience – “The Beautiful Letdown”. Disappointment, in its melodramatic way is quite poetic. In his book ‘A New Earth’, Eckhart Tolle talks at length about the experience of feeling pain – and how we unconsciously (for the most part) seek it out –– rather than being numb. I call it an ‘effective defective’. Whatever the case, life is rich with various ‘square one’ opportunities:
A Common One: Weight and Fitness – You’ve pounded treadmills, bought and USED one exercise DVD after the next, cried with all The Biggest Loser contestants and scream when they jump from weight scale bleeper and to commercial RIGHT before the results hit the screen! You take the stairs in public places. You even park in section ‘Z’ of the parking lot for a further hike into the market. Maybe, by now, you feel that stationary bike is mocking you. The only thing that’s stationary (it seems) is that excess poundage or those final few kilos that just WON’T let go. That’s not what Jenny Craig/Tony Horton/Jennifer Hudson said! But, that’s just it. You’ve been watching it and making adjustments so….you try yet AGAIN…or you just eat the dang Frito Pie (with onions)…. then ‘square up’.
A Cinematic One: In the 1970’s motion picture Mahogany, singer and former Supreme Diana Ross, played her first lead role as an aspiring fashion designer who rises to international fame and riches as a super model (though they didn’t use that term until the 1980s) turned high couture fashion designer. That song, “Do You Know Where You’re Going To?” – its sweet melody and provocative queries, have forever residence my brain grooves. I wasn’t digging that ‘thang’ she had with ‘Norman Bates’ (actor Anthony Perkins) – but -SPOILER ALERT: She goes back WITH NEW DREAMS to her first love (played by suavely Billy Dee Williams) at ‘square one’ in the end.
A Lyrical One: The song “Back at One” was a hit recorded in two genres: originally by R&B singer Brian McKnight. McKnight’s version was a Top 40 pop hit peaking at # 2 on United States Billboard ‘Hot 100’ chart for 8 consecutive weeks in 1999. Later that year, country artist Mark Wills hit the chart with his version also peaking at #2 on the U.S. Billboard ‘Hot 100’ country chart – and went on the #1 on the Canadian country charts. (courtesy of Wikipedia and Billboard magazine)
♪♫ “Whenever I believe my work is done, then I’ll start back at one” ♪♫
A Romantic One: I was conversing recently with a friend having an issue with a lady to whom he was newly engaged – and already having trouble in paradise. After spending a number of years seeking ‘the one’ – he’d ‘put a ring’ on it – only for her to have 2nd thoughts. It happens. Our frailties too often define us and we so commonly identify with them as the only source of our identity. My friend asked me in frustration: “Don’t you just get tired of trying?” Being the stubborn….determined woman I am, I said “I understand that feeling, but it’s just a feeling. Never give up on THAT.” There are so many dynamics involved, fickle factors that I won’t go any further. It’s enough to say, ‘square one’ happens – A LOT in this area. The preferred ONE is ‘THE ONE’. If you’ve got him/her consider yourself BLESSED. 🙂
A Noble One: In a ‘Un-PC’ act, I site God Himself on this one. Whatever I’ve ever believed, I KNOW the Great IAM, has never given up on me. Whenever God felt far away, I now understand it was because, my emotions about my circumstances, conclusions I drew with an unclear mind or a broken heart had more to do with that false feeling of separation. Sometimes, he DOES step away from us, to test our faith, to help us see exactly WHERE we are in our walk. He is ALWAYS willing to go back to the start with us – if needed. I believe he sees us as children, stubborn and willing to be unwilling to see His will, our destiny- his dream of us dropped us as a mortal seed, into this life. If you don’t believe like I do, I respect that. It’s called free will. It’s a divinely given right.
Having to start over (and over) can make one feel frustrated and well, just plain stoopid. Of course, history is rife with famous (so-called) failures who tried MANY times before they achieved their ends. It’d be great if it could be like Groundhog Day, and you just get an exact ‘do-over’ that you get to correct until it’s all perfect……sighs. But, as I recall, the protagonist did NOT get a choice in the matter! Every day was an ENTIRE do over.
So then, how do we know when to say WHEN? How many visits to square one are ENOUGH? The key, it seems, is making up the mind. Sounds awfully simplistic – but this is when ‘trying’ becomes ‘doing’. ‘Try’ leaves room for doubt. ‘Do’…well, gets it DONE. ‘Do’ sets things in motion. Easier said than done? Maybe. But if you are the act of doing, there’s no time to worry if there’s enough time. Yoda, the wise old teacher in the Star Wars movies said it best:
“No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”