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A New Start

By Ian Chisholm

Begin again. — meditation teachers everywhere

What does the future hold? It’s really up to you.

September 1st has always been a new start for teachers and learners. And January 1 is a new start, too: These are my resolutions… Spring, summer, winter, fiscal year-end, they’re all a bit arbitrary. Monday’s arbitrary, if you get right down to it. We call it Monday and it has a whole energy surrounding it. Friday has an energy. But it’s all just constructed.

We construct these arbitrary “new starts” in order to give ourselves exactly that: a new start. A clean slate. If you think of it like a paragraph, we need that full stop and the new sentence on the other side, beginning with a capital letter.

New starts are kind of awesome. We need them. We need to organize toward them. Oftentimes we need to change a few things so that our new start can be something different. It’s actually really necessary that we give ourselves that clean slate and that chance to start again.

This September, we are collectively engaged in creating a new way forward. It will look different for your organization than it does for ours, but it’s a collaborative movement toward something better. It starts below the surface. It’s time to take a look at beliefs that you’ve had up till now — beliefs that are driving your actions and are creating certain things in your life. A new start is a chance to ask yourself whether any of those beliefs need to change.

Our friend Kim Nemrava, retired from the Red Cross and an expert in disaster management, notes that this is an environment of massive change. She says if there’s one thing the pandemic has reinforced, it’s the interconnectedness of everyone and everything. COVID-19 highlighted the risks and vulnerabilities to our organizations and communities, but it also has shown us opportunities to respond, reset and move ahead differently. We’re now moving into phase four of the disaster response cycle, where we align more closely with our values and rise again — cleaner, stripped of the unnecessary, ready to serve.

I’m in a different place now coming into September than I was when the pandemic first hit us. A lot of us are going through a review of everything we’ve ever learned. There’s more information to fuel my intuition. We’ve got five months under our belt of seeing how people are behaving, both individually and as a system. My intuition is more informed — even though what is around me is still quite strange and ambiguous. I trust it. You should trust yours.

If there’s a theme today, it’s about giving yourself as many fresh starts as you bloody well want. It is time to make ground.

The moment of change is now. And now. And now.


Ian Chisholm is a founding partner of Roy Group.