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Katsushika Hokusai: The Day Before the Beginning of Spring
(c. 1790) Publisher: Tsutaya Jūzaburōe

" … simply the sum of those restarts."

I imagine this morning that I am beginning, not merely beginning, but beginning again, ReBeginning. I've begun before. I've started way more than I've ever finished and I do not intend to correct that imbalance. Finishing seems way over-rated. The beginning's the thing. I figure that if I could only master beginning, I might be capable of anything, I might even, eventually, complete something, so I practice ReBeginning this morning in the belief —or is that a hope?—that this time, my efforts might finally amount to something.

I have been in the middle of the repainting project for so long that I can no longer remember the initiating premise for the work.
I lost the initial motivating force in practice, a common experience for anyone engaging in something significant. A point comes—from where I cannot determine—where an indifference takes the reins, where impassioned preferences seem to evaporate. Another day dawns which seems unlikely to witness much in the way of progress and will most certainly see no closure. Everything's middling and nothing even threatens to offer significance. Maybe discipline alone forces me up onto the scaffolding, but I've lost my mojo, and don't I know it. I could tuck down my head and rush the exit, hastening more quickly than I started, more quickly than ever indicated, cheapening my product. Or, I could just start all over again again, and engage in a little ReBeginning again.

I am not attempting a do-over, for what's done remains done, however dirty. What was will now remain was forever. I can only influence subsequent trajectory. I'm ReBeginning, not reinventing any wheel. Going forward, I might still pursue the objective I once thought I knew so well, at least until ennui and over-familiarity overtook me. Then, the story I was creating lost its magic, its epic frame, its good name. It's in need of a fresh backstory and perhaps a slightly different trajectory. Not all of what I'd presumed before the last beginning came true, of course, so I might deem necessary some acknowledging shift of course. I imagine that I could engage in ReBeginning every morning, and work, in turn, every compass point from the center, thereby exploring every alternative, traversing the entire universe in just this one repainting project. I might grow weary of changing instead of feeling weary of the sameness and still make little progress. Regardless of what the paint can says, nobody seriously attempts to paint the world.

We only ever repaint our future. It might seem as though I'm repainting my past, but my past remains finished business. One only ever paints into their future, each brush stroke a ReBeginning, each coat covering pasts already expended. This morning, I imagine myself inhabiting a rather magical place, one which seems carefully crafted to my tastes. The apricot, my favorite tree ever, will see ripe fruit next week, just as I move my scaffold nearby where I can better access the high fruit, just as if a master plan had engineered that placement at precisely that time. It was more influenced by apparently random orbits, but I need not acknowledge that I might have not had any hand in that outcome, for I was present here, even in my absences, each act contributing something to the unfolding story, which, this morning, once again promises to eventually become epic again.

When lost, ReBeginning can help. When found, ReBeginning still works. Whatever the difficulty, ReBeginning might be indicated, since the issue might always be some variant of neglecting to recognize that each morning, indeed, every afternoon and evening, too, offer opportunities for ReBeginning. The same old story might continue continuing, imaging fresh chapters or sections or parts. Stories come in so many pieces, each a ReBeginning of sorts. It might be that we only ever come to the end of any story by a process of continuous ReBeginning, that ends were always simply the sum of those restarts.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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