The Value of Beginning
To begin . . .to start, to commence, to undertake a task. Beginnings can be exciting – a new job, a new marriage, college, parenthood or any other unfamiliar change can set our hearts aflutter and fill our minds with the promise of unlocked opportunity. Yet beginnings can also unleash fear, feelings of incompetence, inadequacy and of being a fish out of water.
I have experienced this firsthand recently. I left a job in a work environment that was draining and went back to school after 6 years of working full time and attending classes part time. A huge change and a bold beginning. Yet all kinds of fears have risen to the top: How will I manage the homework for 3 classes, a home, a business and a marriage and how will I care for myself in the mix? Add in a class in 2D design that assumes far more art knowledge than I possess and panic attack city, here I come. Beginnings can be scary.
But think of the way a child learns to walk: he or she first crawls, then takes a tentative step while holding onto surfaces, takes a tumble a few times, gets bruises and bumps, practices, then walks without hanging on and eventually runs.
Learning in general is much the same way. We often undervalue beginnings and want to jump right to expertise, assuming that mastery is easier. Mastery may be more comfortable, but it doesn’t teach us as much. Beginnings teach us to humble ourselves, to be receptive, to listen and absorb, and to lean on others for help and support. The greatest life lessons arrive wrapped in hard work and discomfort. That, my friends, is when we learn about ourselves. We learn what we are made of when we are pushed beyond our limitations.
What am I learning by being outside my comfort zone? I am learning to push through my resistance at being a beginner. I am learning to tell myself that even though I may be a beginner, I am not untalented. I am learning the value of having a foundation to build upon. I am learning to be open to receiving the gifts that learning through baby steps has to offer. I am learning the value of beginning.
Remember, brave ones, that moving forward can be measured in many ways and that moving in any direction is OK as long as you are moving. Baby steps. . .
Can you think of a time when beginning (even if you were beginning something you desperately desired) scared you? How did you handle your fear to find joy in the change?
Your Mission: write, create a piece of art or photography that shows what beginning looks like to you.