New beginnings or new endings?

By Safaa Nasser

Safaa Nasser is a lecturer at the Department of English Literature, Faculty of Arts, Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. Her interests in scholarship and research include comparative literature, identity issues and gender studies in Middle Eastern and Canadian literature and literary history. She also has an interest in the intersections of theoretical or historical work and contemporary theatre practice. Nasser received her Ph. D. in English literature in 2001. She has published numerous literary articles and researches in Egyptian and Canadian periodicals. Her previous experience as a lecturer includes teaching essay and creative writing, literary and practical criticism, introduction to poetry and novel, creative writing as well as English language skills. Presently Nasser is on leave from her academic position and resides in Canada, where she works as a professional freelance interpreter.
Safaa Nasser is a lecturer at the Department of English Literature, Faculty of Arts, Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. Her interests in scholarship and research include comparative literature, identity issues and gender studies in Middle Eastern and Canadian literature and literary history. She also has an interest in the intersections of theoretical or historical work and contemporary theater practice. Nasser received her Ph. D. in English literature in 2001. She has published numerous literary articles and researches in Egyptian and Canadian periodicals. Her previous experience as a lecturer includes teaching essay and creative writing, literary and practical criticism, introduction to poetry and novel, creative writing as well as English language skills. Presently Nasser is on leave from her academic position and resides in Canada, where she works as a professional freelance interpreter.

There comes a time, for us all, when one resolves to have a fresh start. One is then faced with such questions as where, when and how to initiate a new beginning?

The first step should be taken with unflinching determination and faith in your inner power and capability to change your life.  This initial step is always the most grueling, because, according to Lao Tzu: “new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings”. It is always traumatic to relinquish the comfort zone of the past, with all its failures and adversities, for the terra incognita entitled the ‘new’.  Out of the fear of the unknown, one often prefers to cling to one’s familiar suffering.

It is always traumatic to relinquish the comfort zone of the past, with all its failures and adversities, for the terra incognita entitled the ‘new’.  Out of the fear of the unknown, one often prefers to cling to one’s familiar suffering.

Another major stumbling block on the way for beginnings and change is deciding the best time when one is ‘ready’.  But, what does it even mean to be “ready” for a new relationship or a new business? One should realize that “ready” actually means “I’m willing to make a change”, or “I intend to overcome my doubts and fears.”  There is no such thing as ‘ready’. There is only now. Now is a good time as any.

Prior to making a fresh starting point, it is of the utmost importance to perform the vital task of terminating the old; of letting go of yesterday and turning a page.  There will come  a day when you realize that turning the page is the best feeling in the world since it is a chance for you to discover that your book is full of more interesting pages, than the one holding you hostage. Ignore what is lost, treasure what remains, and look forward to what lies ahead. Be willing to let go of struggle and eager to open your heart to learn through joy. The secret of achieving a successful change is to focus all your energy, not on combatting the old, but on building the new, with positive thoughts and expectations.

Don’t commence your new life with the shattered pieces of the past.  Rather, take a chance to rebuild and remodel your life. Be like the caterpillar, who, at the very moment when it thought that her life was over, she spread her newly sprouted wings and began to fly. Take delight at the prospects lurking every new day, and the anticipated magic waiting somewhere behind the morning. Don’t be satisfied with being merely a dreamer or a visionary. Take concrete steps to actualize your vision. Be a beginner and start living the life of your life of your dreams instantaneously.

According to Stephen Covey in his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit 2 is to “begin with the end in mind”, or to begin today with the image, picture, or paradigm of the end of your life as your frame of reference or the criterion to examine everything by.  This means you need to start with a clear understanding of your destination and to know where you’re going so that you better comprehend where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.




Originally posted 2016-02-22 04:02:25.

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