Keeping Change Fresh: the Power of “New”

The chance to start over again is like walking in newly-fallen snow. So fresh! So clean! So begging to be marked! Like newborns with extraordinary intelligence, we blissfully revel in opportunity, our life opening to our desires in a way that’s refreshingly different…. most of the time, it’s hijacked by practicality and fear. At the start of each year, we collectively stuff our fists into that snow, and lob the resolution snowballs at each other: “I’m quitting smoking!” “I’m changing careers!” “I’m losing weight!” “I’m going to be a better parent/child/friend/lover/__________!” We get high! It’s fun!

By the next day, the snow is packed and trampled, by the end of the week dirty from exhaust, and by the following, melted into sludge along with our promises to ourselves. And we’ve got 50+ weeks of work to get through before that new-car feeling can hit us again. While the newness is appealing, we are also creatures of habit. We like to know what to expect…and our habits, however unhealthy, give us that assurance.

Do we really need to wait? A few decades ago, a slogan hit the rounds briefly. “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Perhaps it’s time to resurrect it. To be willing, however much we truly love the comfort of the predictable, to be reborn daily. To practice a little of that beginner’s mind that not only Zen Buddhism but many spiritual practices support.

So today, take a different way to work. Wear something unlike anything you’ve never donned before. And find, within the many events around you, one you have never before attended, or participated in. Get used to new. After all, life really isn’t predictable, and we truly are waking up to new snow each morning.

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