Did you know that there are entire books dedicated to first lines of books? From "Call me Ishmael" to "It was a dark and stormy night," and, "It was the best of times, It was the worst of times," first lines are famous for setting the tone of any story and foreshadowing what’s to come. They're arguably the most important excerpts of any published work. The irony, though, is that they're often finalized last. This might seem counter-intuitive, especially if you don’t fashion yourself a writer. But – just like in life – sometimes you have to make it all the way to the end of a story before you can understand how the heck you got there in the first place.
That's been my experience, anyway... not to say that I’m at the end of my story now, but I‘ve definitely cycled through a few chapters – and identities – along the way. This constant changing-of-the-guard within my heart is what led me to the concept of “Living in Bloom." From this girl's humble perspective, I believe we fight to be born, we grow, we deteriorate, and we die – over and over again – all in this one, physical lifetime.
Think of it this way: Are you the same person you were at 15, 25, or even 30? I bet there’s at least some time in your life that you can point to and say, “I’m not that person anymore.” Before I met my husband, for example, partying and dating were like second jobs to me. Now, that's certainly not the case. In fact, at this stage of my life, I’m probably more like the quiet yet daring 10-year-old girl I once was, whose unapologetic attitude stemmed from having the world at her feet.
Until the world taught it away...
And so it goes.
In religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, this endless cycle of birth and death is called, "samsara." The word literally means, “a wandering through.” However, samsara often refers to reincarnation – the wandering through of your soul as it journeys from one physical existence, or "body," to the next. I think we reincarnate ourselves in this one physical existence, though. Like perennials in a garden, we keep coming back. After all, a single seed can sprout many lives.
Why do we feel the need to do this? The simple answer: because we have to. We are desperately trying to pin-point our exact coordinates in this world – and until we get that right – try, try we must.
Some of us are so close to knowing what those coordinates are – we see our purpose, yet it always feels just out of reach. Is it our circumstances? Our job? Fear of evolving beyond our peers, our loved ones – ending up alone? It seems we do everything but live on purpose sometimes, falling under the illusion that time is forever on our side. And, even if we're blessed with living into middle or old-age – granted years that others never received – with each passing birthday and blown-out candles on the cake, we can't help but feel "unfinished." The heaviness of regret leans hard against our heart.
However, if there's anything this life has taught us, it's that we can always start again.
So, here we go. How will you begin to live your next new life? What will the first line of your new story be? Just like the first line of this blog post suggests, I’m going to start mine with a question. I hope you'll come with me on this journey of questioning – we might not figure out all there is to know, but maybe, if we do this together, we'll not only bloom – we'll flourish.