What is “a Fresh Start”?
When most people think about a “fresh start,” they bring to mind a complicated series of choices and actions they can take to change their lives. Often that leads to frustration or discouragement because it seems like a big deal to people who are struggling with life.
As I work with clients wanting to change, I realize that they are missing the true and only real source of change, a change in their own state of mind and level of understanding that allows them to see life through “new” eyes. It really is difficult to envision a fresh start at the same level of thinking and understanding at which everything looks bleak, even though you may be certain you need a fresh start. Trying to “make a plan” and stick to it without any change in your own understanding of the role of Thought, and what a shift in Consciousness means, is fruitless.
Here is an example. I worked last year with a client who had spent a considerable amount of time and money with a “life coach” examining everything in his life that was and wasn’t working, sorting out what his goals were, seeking awareness of his gifts and untapped abilities, reviewing what he could learn from disappointments and failures, etc, etc., etc. He had a whole notebook of ideas and plans and strategies, but he did not have a fresh start. He was discouraged because he felt he worked very hard on himself, and yet had failed to change.
In a couple of phone calls, I explored with him what a state of mind is, how our thinking works. We considered the nature of Thought as a Principle — a power, and the capacity of Consciousness to lift our awareness of how we create reality, as well as to bring each momentary thought to life as a temporary reality. He saw that the intellect is never the source of a fresh start; it functions like the draftsman who draws the specific plans after the builder dreams of the house and lays out a vision for it. The builder is insight that flows from wisdom as our mind quiets, our spirits lift and our thinking changes. The draftsman can’t draw something new unless the builder has a new idea. So a fresh start begins with a fresh thought, a fresh outlook, a fresh idea, something out-of-the-blue-new that inspires you. No one else can give you that. Insight comes from within, from our own spiritual creative force.
Fortunately, we are both the builder and the draftsman. We have the capacity to “see” change and then to implement the change we’ve seen. But we can’t “see” change that other people suggest to us; we can only “see” for ourselves, from our own vision and insight. Once we see it for ourselves and it becomes a new reality, we can start taking actions that make sense to us in that new reality. Once we are inspired by a new thought and we enter an entirely new reality, actions that occur to us do not look difficult, or impossible. They just make sense.
So, a fresh start is a thought, one thought, an inspired moment. It can happen at any moment when the mind quiets and leaves room for new ideas. It feels like an “Aha!” It comes with a beautiful feeling of relief and hope.
Here is an example of that. I was, years ago, the CEO of a service business for medical practices. That is actually how I encountered the Principles; one of my clients was Dr. Bill Pettit, one of the first doctors to adopt the Principles as a foundation of his care for patients. I was burning out and burning up in my business because it was overwhelming. My clients mostly tended to be highly stressed and curt and demanding. I took their questions and complaints personally, and I “suffered” as a result, trying to overcome the stress I was generating in my quest for perfection. I knew I needed a fresh start, and I was looking for a plan to close the business and maybe move to an island somewhere, or just somehow get some peace and quiet in my life. But I knew that, morally, I was bound to honor the contracts we had and try to do my best to work through it. So I spent a lot of time seeking advice from business peers about how to make things easier, and the truth is I did receive a lot of good advice. But I couldn’t act on any of it. I was too consumed with the distress and effort to keep my head above water. I used to tell people who asked me about my work, “I do the impossible for the ungrateful.” (I’m not proud of that, but I have to admit it so you’ll understand this story.)
Then, within a few weeks of sitting in on groups Dr. Pettit was offering to families and friends of his patients who were puzzled by their loved ones’ dramatic return to mental well-being, I started to calm down. I could not have said why; I wasn’t listening to his groups to get personal help; I was listening to the groups to understand his practice well enough to do a good job on his business plan. But I could feel that my mind wasn’t racing as much. One day, as I was paying for my lunch with a MasterCard, I happened to notice the 800-number on the back of the card when the cashier handed it back to me. “Hmmm,” I thought, “I’ve never called that number.” Then it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t ever called it because the card always worked fine. Why would I call the 800-number to tell them that the card was working and I had just completed yet another transaction? I had a truly life-changing insight. “I am in the service business! I am the 800-number for my clients! Of COURSE they don’t call me to tell me everything is fine; they only call when something isn’t going right. OF COURSE they’re upset when they call. They have a problem that is interrupting their already busy day. They pay us to solve those problems.” I realized if I ever had called that 800-number, I would not have been in a good mood when I called it. I would be fuming and impatient at some cashier’s station because my darn card didn’t work!
While that could have been obvious to me from Day One, it wasn’t. While other people had tried to explain that to me in the past, I had gone immediately into “Yeah but…” mode and dismissed their words. But when I saw it for myself, it was a moment in time that absolutely transformed my life and my business. I saw my own innocence and the innocence of my clients. I hadn’t understood my role correctly; I had failed to recognize their humanity, the natural tendency of all of us to be grumpy when we think things aren’t going the way they should because it’s easy to get stuck in negative thinking when that happens.
As of that moment, I got a totally fresh start with my business. I actually fell in love with it. I started getting really good ideas about streamlining operations and making things easier for all of us. I felt love for and patience with my clients, and started to realize that if I could remain calm and help them calm down, problems would get solved easily.
Within months, everything was entirely different. I had implemented a totally fresh start. It did not look anything like the “plans” I was trying to come up with when I was discouraged and exhausted and stressed and self-pitying, desperately looking for a fresh start. Nothing I had thought of in that state of mind looked any better than what was I was already doing.
After I had that insight, though, I felt inspired, renewed, creative, optimistic, engaged with solutions, I had a whole stream of new ideas, things that would never, ever have occurred to me in my sad, plodding, victim-y state of mind before. Some of the ideas that started to make sense actually were things other people had suggested and I had rejected because I couldn’t imagine them working from the low state of mind I had been in before. It was thrilling and enjoyable to implement new ideas because they were coming from a whole new level of understanding of myself and others.
And that was the beginning of my journey into work with the Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought, the fresh start, a funny thought that popped into my head while I was standing at the counter of a deli paying for lunch, that gave me a whole fresh start on the rest of my life. It was the first, not the only, but it has always stayed with me as a magical moment because it introduced me to the truth about humanity: We have everything we need within our own grasp, always.
It brought the power of our natural capacity for wisdom, insight, original thought, and most especially ease in life into sharp focus for me. I hadn’t been looking for that thought. It wasn’t complicated. It elevated me into an entirely new reality, and the experience taught me that a change in Consciousness, a change in understanding, a move into quietude, is the doorway to the answers we need. And the answers arise from within our own minds. When they do, change is easy and wonderful.
In The Missing Link, Sydney Banks writes: “Throughout time, human beings have experienced insights that spontaneously and completely changed their behavior and their lives, bringing them happiness they previously had thought impossible.”
I, so many colleagues in Innate Health, and the tens of thousands of clients we have worked with are testament to that.
Mr. Banks goes on to say, “Finding wisdom has nothing to do with time. Achieving mental stability is a matter of finding healthy thoughts from moment to moment, Such thoughts can be light years or a second away.”
The source is peace of mind, a shift in Consciousness, that allows for quietude and that one thought that is a fresh start.