Starting can be a challenge. Re-starting something can be a challenge, too. Saying "hi" to someone new can be nerve-wracking. (Re)kindling a relationship, a practice, a habit, a routine, a ritual can take guts.
Starting can lead to ease. Starting can lead to failure. Starting can unfold into joys and sorrows. Starting can lead to saying "yes" to adventures I didn't even know were attainable for me – that you didn't know were attainable for you.
Starting seems to be a way of saying "yes" to change, to the flow of life, to the experience of being human. Since one truly cannot know what happens after starting, it seems to be saying "yes" to risk and uncertainty.
Often, starting isn't the profound moment of an experience. It can be, for sure, but what starting does best is lay the groundwork for epic things to unfold later on.
In my experience, the starts that I look back upon as vital are the ones that directly (over time) led to meaningful adventures. Looking forward, no one knows which starts will make it and transform into middles and endings – epic or not.
A few days ago I said "yes" to an adventure with a friend (who is a reader of this newsletter and has greatly supported me in starting my two former newsletters and this one as well – thank you, friend) and Ernest (the dog I call kin, who you will certainly hear a lot about here).
Ernest and I drove up the long gravel driveway to the house that would be our home base for the adventure. We were all tail wags, wiggle butts, and hugs hello upon arriving and then I promptly used the restroom. We met the instant needs and desires of initial connection--and I met the need of post-long drive and drinking a huge bottle of water.
After these immediate needs and desires were met, our friend (after this weekend she is now likely one of Ernest's best friends so yes, "our" friend is correct), showed us around a bit and then we got ready for a hike around the land.
It was after returning from our hike and wander that my whole self had fully arrived. I now had more of an understanding of what and who were a part of the ecosystem around me. Though it seems that more necessary was the physical movement and the visceral connection that gave all of my parts time to sink in and attach to the sensory and tangible elements of this place. I have noticed that though my body arrives immediately after long drives, the other parts of my being need more time to touch down.
Now this next part happened before we arrived, during our hike and after we returned to the house: we each shared our desires, needs, dreams, and visions for our time together – and for our lives in these present times.
In sharing our desires, needs, dreams and visions with one another, we gave one another the opportunity to meet and see one another from the other person's perspective. From the more straightforward (of me not eating certain foods and why) to the expansive (of me dreaming of starting a business cooperative – and why), when these needs, dreams, desires and visions are spoken aloud and supported by another, the threads of belonging are given the chance to strengthen.
From dinner specifics to shared work projects, we both welcomed our needs and wants to actually be met. Sometimes needs, desires, dreams and visions might be spoken aloud and supported in the moment but then internal and/or external blocks might prevent them from actually being met.
If you haven't caught on yet, this written piece is a starting moment, too. I feel all the feelings that I am growing accustomed to with (re)starting something. I am noticing that I am inclined to place a bunch of expectations on this starting moment. It should be profound, epic, lavish, and just really all the things.
But that's not what starts are for.
Let's do what starts are for:
1. Meet any immediate needs and desires...
I am so excited you're here and connecting with me through reading this starting moment. If we were physically together and had masks on, I'd ask if you wanted a hug and Ernest would likely sniff around you and then sniff you and might want to be touched (if it's his first time meeting you). 😄
If you're reading this and not subscribed, I highly recommend it! You subscribing immensely supports my creative work. If you're viewing this on the website click the green button at the bottom right that says "Yes, I choose to be with you."
What are your immediate needs and desire right now? How can you meet them or ask me to help you in meeting them?
2. A tour around to let all the parts of our beings touch down through physical movement and sensorial connections...
Since you're reading this on a digital tool, physical movement and emotional connection often need to be encouraged. On a hike, we're naturally moving and connecting but here... it needs to start a bit more facilitated.
Here's what I just did. I'm sitting at my sit/stand desk so I noticed I wanted to move my spine so it was actually aligned above my pelvis rather than leaning forward. I also decided to move one foot so it is now connected directly to the ground rather than up on the base of the chair. I've let my pelvis sink into the chair sit a bit more and oh, now both of my feet have gravitated towards the earth. I'm now noticing my jaw wants to soften just a bit, and my belly and chest want to as well.
Now my arms want to stretch up to the ceiling and the front of my body, as well as my mouth – and yawn. My eyes look up and then I realize I want to actually see out the window in front of my desk, so I open the blinds and look out to the sunny and slightly breezy afternoon.
Unless you're sitting a desk with a similar set-up to mine, your body likely wants something different. Listen for just a moment and follow what feels good and safe for you.
I now notice the small piece of dried sage from Montana sitting atop a small plate with some other special objects; I pick it up to smell it. I notice the empty can of ever & ever water that I have kept as branding inspiration. I notice the multiple notebooks, books, pens on my desk. I take a drink of sparkling water from the big mason jar. I adjust my pelvis again, releasing the arch of the small of my back.
Noticing the tangible and sensorial environment helps me land here and now, helps all of my parts.
We also have the digital environment to land in.
You're potentially reading this in your email inbox. I click open my inbox to take a look around. Since I don't want to totally distract myself, I let my eyes gravitate towards the folders on the left of the screen. I notice myself feeling some pride in how I've culled through my email subscriptions over the past months and I'm at a point where email doesn't suck me dry like it used to do. I go back to the web browser I'm typing this in and notice the 15 tabs I have opened. I close all but two. Tidying up isn't a requirement, I realize, but it is a result of my noticing.
I now hear tapping coming from left of me. Ernest is in the midst of a lively dream.
What do you notice around you – physically, tangibly and digitally? Could you allow the noticing to bring all the parts of your being to this starting moment?
3. Sharing our desires, needs, dreams, and visions for our time together – and for our lives in these present times...
The desire and dream that is top of mind for me is to deeply connect with you now and over our time together. Connection with fellow humans is vital for my well-being and you are someone I desire and dream to connect with – to belong with.
I hold a vision for this newsletter to serve as a pathway for connection and for all that connections can invite in such as joyfully and mutually beneficial collaborative projects, storytelling, shared laughter and tears, healing old wounds, and so much more.
I have a need to receive feedback from you. Feedback loops are an important reflection to me and doubly important when digitally and asynchronously connecting. You saying "yes" to receiving this newsletter is a wonderful example of feedback. You are welcome to reply to this emailed post or email me at email@example.com with a tiny or big deal something whenever you want.
What are your desires, needs, dreams and visions for our time together here? What about for your life in this present time?
Sharing with me (or another someone) allows me or them to support you. If both beings in the relationship have capacity for it, sharing also allows space to find ways to meet your desires, needs, dreams and visions just like you are meeting mine. 😊
Thank you for being with me in this starting moment, however mundane or profound it feels. I'll write you again next Tuesday.
Thank you for being here with me today,
P.S. Here's the whole paragraph from Cait Flanders' Adventures in Opting Out:
"But therein lies the solution: the word 'try.' what if you gave yourself permission to simply try going down the new path? To not pressure yourself to reach a specific goal, which only leads to the conclusion that you will either pass or fail, but to just try something new? What if you gave yourself the grace to stumble and make mistakes? To not have to do something 'right' or perfectly, but to face the challenges, see what you're capable of, and discover who you will be on the other side? What if you let yourself change direction partway through, or change your mind and stop whenever you wanted or needed to? What if you didn't feel as though you had to stick to this decision for the rest of your life? What if you go on an adventure in opting out? What if you could know that it will come with risks and uncertainty but also rewards and lessons that could change your life in ways you have never imagined? Does that sound a little less scary?" (p 7)