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  • Jolene Roehlkepartain

Exploring Unfamiliar Beginnings

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

We often naively think that beginning something new means starting over, starting at zero. But that’s never the case. Whenever we explore unfamiliar territory, we’re also in the midst of ending and letting go of something else, which brings mixed feelings to a new start.

With all the events of the past year, we often have felt caught in a hurricane swirl, bashed around without much to hold onto. Yet the uncertainty has shaken a number of things loose in me, things I’ve needed to let go of and rethink.

Many spiritual leaders talk about adopting a beginner's mind, which is a helpful way to start the day, to start anything. It's about being curious about what's next, being open to trying something different, being mindful that many perspectives and paths exist.

This year, I started painting with acrylics. I’ve never done this before, and it was frightening and intimidating at first. Yet, the more I practiced and learned, the more I found myself enjoying the process of painting: the feel of the brush in my hand, the technique of adding paint with different strokes and weights, the colors and textures that emerged on the canvas.

What surprised me even more was how the process calmed my spirit in the midst of this hurricane storm of events. I grieved my losses. I embraced my pain. I shouted about the injustices. And the more I did these things, the more I could delight in the beauty around me.

“Facing the immensity of the suffering in the world, you come to see the pathways that are open to you,” writes Christina Feldman. “In the quiet whispers of your heart, you intuitively know the pathway you are called upon to travel.”

For now, I’ll keep painting and see where the path leads.

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