New Beginnings

The written word. Taking our hands to write or journal.

I recently listened to an inspirational podcast from Good Life Project in which they interviewed SHAKA SENGHOR.

His TED talk will share about his life story, and I encourage you to listen.

In 1991, Shaka Senghor shot and killed a man. He was, he says, “a drug dealer with a quick temper and a semi-automatic pistol.” Jailed for second degree murder, that could very well have been the end of the story. But it wasn’t. Instead, it was the beginning of a years-long journey to redemption, one with humbling and sobering lessons for us all.

Shaka began to talk about the letters he wrote to his son and father. The letters and writing became a healing process for him that included acknowledging, apologizing, and atoning. It was through the written word through the years and the journey inward along with mentors that healed him.

I went back to listen to the Good Life Project podcast and paraphrased what Shaka shared about journaling:

Letters articulate how we feel and think about the journey we are on. The process of journaling is the internal work of getting to know yourself which is the greatest adventure. Sitting with your thoughts and processing is a gift you give to yourself. It is the ability to travel inward. How does love feel in my mind and in my spirit? Vulnerability translates to honesty and the process of taking one step forward no matter what the circumstances and to move from one space to the next. Writing shows up in all that we do. The acting is based on the script. Your favorite song began with a piece of paper and pen. Looking back to the pages of our journey inward moves us, and we realize we've become a vessel. Shaka Senghor

His life is a model for new beginnings that we can anchor to and ask ourselves are we ready to begin anew? What does that look like for us?

And one of the things that we talked about is the three things that I found important in my personal transformation, the first being acknowledgment. I had to acknowledge that I had hurt others. I also had to acknowledge that I had been hurt. The second thing was apologizing. I had to apologize to the people I had hurt. Even though I had no expectations of them accepting it, it was important to do because it was the right thing. But I also had to apologize to myself. The third thing was atoning. For me, atoning meant going back into my community and working with at-risk youth who were on the same path, but also becoming at one with myself. (Shaka Senghor)

I’m working on new beginnings. Finding space and the freedom to recognize and trust my journey. My path is becoming one with myself as a focus on God’s plan for me. When we define ourselves by the roles we play and the narratives spoken over us by others or our culture, we can struggle with our identity. It is so easy to settle in this space because it is what we know and it provides distractions enough to not have to deal with what is going on truly for us–our inward journey. I’ll close with a quote that may seem oddly out of place.

Better by far you should forget and smile
   Than that you should remember and be sad. Christina Rossetti - 1830-1894

Through study, practice, and caring for my vessel, I am learning that it is okay to go inward and let go. To live with the memories and also forget and smile. I acknowledge that we don’t forget completely. It is in the practicing of living and loving that we can dance with sadness and see the beauty in new beginnings.

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

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