I was once given some advice about public speaking and I’m sure the same applies to writing. Have an interesting beginning and a punchy conclusion, and make the distance between them as short as possible. So without any ado, let’s get it started and talk about beginnings. Like all topics, new  beginnings is a topic that has a beginning, a middle and an end. I will start at the beginning, with beginning well, then the middle is about how to channel nervous beginning energy, the excitement of getting in at the ground floor of change and end by using your beginning to set the tone for all that is still to come.

Beginning WELL is crucial; like breakfast, first impressions and the opening lines in a novel.

What are your favorite opening lines? A few that make me smile include-

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina

And,

There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it. CS Lewis in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

My all time favorite opening line was in the book called “Such is Life” by Tom Collins, an Australian author. The book title is imprinted on my brain. It seemed to jump off my parents’ book shelf every time I looked in that direction while growing up. I would open it from time to time because I was so baffled and intrigued by the opening lines. It started like this-

Unemployed at last!

Unemployed at last! Without for a second making light the devastation of being unemployed for some people, I suspect these words were intended to celebrate the experience of liberty. Beginnings are full of freedom, shedding the burdens of the past and starting with a clean slate. No matter what your life situation, there is freedom in beginnings. If you have come out of a toxic relationship, “Single at last!” might express your feeling of freedom. If you have found romance after a long period of loneliness, “Together at last!” might say it all. If you’re tired and jaded from being suppressed or censored in the corporate or academic world and are now setting out as a contractor or freelancer, “Independent at last!” might do it. If you are resolving an unsustainable financial situation, “Out of debt, at last!” might capture your feeling.

It’s amazing how many people find a new lease on life when they retire, leave their jobs to freelance, sell large homes to reduce debt, or downsize their lives in any number of ways. The world depends on the free spirited honesty of authors, academics, artists, bloggers and independent spiritual communities to stir things up, and question the status quo in a world that usually operates on auto pilot. They (we) are not always right. But the very act of pushing the envelope and being willing to experiment, even change our views along the way, is healthy for progress. It starts conversations and keeps free thought alive.

Beginnings are a time to shake up your own assumptions, and others, and recommit to living with absolute authenticity. Materialism doesn’t bring as much satisfaction as you hope, familiarity doesn’t bring as much comfort as you expect, and security doesn’t bring as much peace of mind as you imagine. So set out, in tune with higher values like integrity and trust.

Beginnings carry enough boldness and adrenalin that you have a window of opportunity to shed some baggage from the past and stride forward with incredible purpose. Joseph Campbell said, “The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.” No doubt he was referring to the snake shedding layers of skin because it has outgrown them. New beginnings usually arrive at a time when you have outgrown some old belief or relationship or life situation and it’s time to move on, lighter, unencumbered by yesterday’s baggage.

This is not to suggest that it’s easy. The snake loses its skin by rubbing against rocks and hard surfaces. Change is much the same. We often have to rub against something; another person, a nemesis, a rough edge of self judgment, a prickly challenge, rock bottom, to shed yesterday’s skin. It can hurt and it can leave scars.

French author Anatole France wrote,

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another.

It can be painful, but the rewards in terms of fresh confidence and new possibility put all struggle into clear perspective. Unlike the snake who sheds an outer layer of skin, for humans it’s an inner layer of self protection that is shed. It’s an inner snake, like water moving through the end of a hose, wriggling with new life.

In Hindu mythology, the snake lies dormant at the base of the spine. This is the Kundalini energy, the potential for new beginnings within every one of us. Osho said, “Kundalini means your total potential, your total possibility.” When the kundalini energy awakens, it rises through the body like a snake, unblocking energy and releasing stored potential. It aligns all the energy in your body so that you become fully alive, aware and engaged, integrating body, mind and spirit in a melodic three-part chorus that has your feet moving, your heart beating fast and your vision soaring. The kundalini brings together the receptive energy and the active energy (yin and yang) in a powerful duet, conducted by intuitive awareness, that allows you to let go of the life that was holding you back and step into the life of your true calling. This is the power of new beginnings.

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  1. Pamela Baker says:

    This is brilliant, and I am printing it out right now to read and re-read.  Thank you for your wisdom, insight, and unique vision….and your contagious optimism!

  2. Ian, this was perfect for me to read today, as this marks the beginning of my third week as a stay at home mom, wife, and calligrapher! I resigned from my corporate position after nine years, so I could follow my passion for my family and the arts. And, focus once and for all on my recovery from an eating disorder, something that I have been battling for many years and just recently was hospitalized once again. During that last treatment program, I realized I needed to be true to myself and my family…so I quit! It is scary and exciting all at the same time, but the freedom and time I now have has been incredible. I am taking it day by day, one step at a time. Thank you for posting this!!

  3. ian says:

    hi Jennifer, thank you for your comment and honesty. You are an inspiration. I checked your site and love your work. Keep in touch. My thoughts are with you in your continued recovery. YOU have taken charge of your life in the most powerful way.

  4. Ric Beattie says:

    Wonderful article. You are a skilled leader and a sweet pastor!

    Blessings to you and all of C3!

    Ric 

  5. ian says:

    thx Ric. Hope alls well at RU. WOuld love to come back and visit some time.

  6. [...] but they also bring a lot of nervous energy. This is part two in a series on new beginnings. Part one looked at the experience of liberation in new beginnings. Part two will look at how to handle [...]

  7. [...] but they also bring a lot of nervous energy. This is part two in a series on new beginnings. Part one looked at the experience of liberation in new beginnings. Part two will look at how to handle [...]

  8. Bigmac says:

    I love this site!

  9. Bigmac says:

    how do I get your posting on a regular basis?

  10. [...] of beginnings is what keeps life fresh. This is the third point I will make about beginnings. The first piece on new beginnings was about the opportunity for renewed authenticity. The second was about [...]

  11. ian says:

    hey, we send out a weekly newsletter with updates on articles- you can sign up on the site.

  12. ian says:

    thanks Pam. I wrote an affirmation today about trumpets and thought of you. Trumpet as an analogy for finding your voice.

  13. [...] New beginnings are an awesome opportunity for renewed authenticity. Even the nervous energy is a gift to channel your best and most urgent efforts. The ground floor is where it all begins, and where you intend to jump in and set the tone for all that follows. Set your best foot forward, and the other is sure to follow. [...]

  14. Carol Shimp says:

    Greetings Ian, I’m a first time responder to your site, I follow you on Twitter. I like your discription of the Kundalini. Like water running through a hose. I’m wondering if you would give me a book review on my memoir “Love From the Other Side” when my Kundalini was awakened. I still have many questions about my experience. Blessings Carol Shimp

  15. Serena says:

    So perfect that I read this tonight!! I start a new job tomorrow. Love your writing. :)

  16. Carol Shimp says:

    Thank you Serena, I’m pleased to find this quick response.

  17. ian says:

    hi Serena. I hope your first day went well. :)

  18. ian says:

    hi Carol, thanks for writing. Im curious about your book. .Do you have a site?

  19. Carol Shimp says:

    Thank you for asking Ian, My book is on Amazon and my webpage is, http://184212.myauthorsite.com If you e-mail me your adress I can send you one. Blessings.

  20. Yes, this great beginning really hit home. I became disabled 12 years ago. An end of my “career” as a project engineer. A beginning of a new life in which PASSION was the path. I followed my passion for music & songwriting, leading to multiple awards, ASCAP membership and a published song available on iTunes etc. Passion made the work enjoyable & my enthusiasm for the craft is moving me to achieve more. My story doesn’t end here but it begins with a life changing event that could have led to a path of destruction. By following my passion it led to a path of new successes.

  21. ian says:

    hi Howard, thanks for writing. What an awesome inspiration you are. Thank you for sharing your genius and courage with the world.

  22. Monica says:

    Thanks for soulseeding my life – truly inspiring site :).

    /Monica 

  23. [...] Joseph Campbell (drawing a parallel with the snake that sheds a layer of skin it has outgrown) said, “The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.” But, in actuality, a snake’s new skin is already there, beneath the old one … and it begins to appear as the old skin peels away. [...]

  24. Just Me says:

    Inspiring words. Many times, change is unfortunately easier said than done.  whether in our personal lives, or our professional lives. I applaud those that are able to do what is necessary to accomplish those changes. Sometimes, we get stuck and realize that no matter how much we want the “change” ,  we cannot and continue going through the motions just doing what is expected of us. I speak from firsthand experience.

  25. Elisa says:

    I recently discovered your blog via Twitter.  My friend, I am feeling it!
    I completely “get” what you’re saying and am applying these very similar philosophies to my everyday life.

    Your words, enlightenment and vision are so on my page!

    Much Love from Texas.
    Elisa
     

  26. ian says:

    oh, thanks Elisa. How good to connect with you. Keep in touch.

  27. Perfect timing once again! From the new beginnings of self-employment and the launch of our life-site…to our search for wellness in 2012 starting with the Kundalini, you seem to have touched it all. Thank you again and again for doing what you do!

  28. HelloDearFriend says:

    I Have To Agree With The Rest And Say Impeccable Timing. A New Year Is Approaching A Time For Beautiful Beginnings. Soul Searching Can Be Difficult There Is Often Pain. The Scars Left, Are Reminders Of How We Built Our Strength. Thank You For This.

  29. Foxy says:

    This article really spoke to me. Especially the quote from Anatole France. I usually never say what I truly feel, and I don’t usually share my secret hurts and hopes to everyone, but this article seems to reflect everything I’m holding inside. I teared up while reading it. Thanks for this.

  30. Thanks Ian, I appreciate your supportive words.
    I am in the midst of a big shed of the old and rebirthing myself out into the world. It is scary at times but when I trust my deep sense of what is true for me and live in the now most of the time there is love, joy, freedom and peace.
     

  31. Thank you Ian! The link for this post appeared at just the right time for me, 1st day of spring and the 1st day I have spent a significant amount of time ‘de-cluttering’ – something I have been saying I want to do for many many months. Instead of bookmarking the link, this new ‘de-cluttered’ me opened and read it immediately and I am so pleased I did! It’s really helped with my renewed sense of purpose.

  32. Jess Randall says:

    This article really hit the core with me and where I am in my life at the moment. It gives me the courage to pursue my dreams. I look forward to the next one in this series

  33. Thanks for posting a great article, which comes at the right time for me, even though there is NO right time. I am struggling with letting go of the past and my present life and moving towards the future and a better one.

  34. Caroline says:

    Such a beautifully written, inspiring article … thank you :)