School is ready to start and I can feel the excitement in the air. I’ve always enjoyed school and the first day is my favorite. It’s the smell of new books, paper and freshly sharpened pencils, along with the curiosity of what the classes and teachers will be like, and the new friends to be made. But I think what I love about it most, is it feels like a new beginning, filled with unlimited possibilities.
This is the fourth time I’ll be teaching Entrepreneurship in the Arts at Wichita State University, and I’m excited about what the semester will hold. Being a teacher is a different kind of excitement. I still love the first day of school and meeting the students I’ll be working with for the next 13 weeks. It feels like we’re beginning a new journey, where anything can – and will, happen. And, when the journey is over, we’ll all be reformed from the experiences we’ve shared.
Another new beginning that’s in our very near future is the eclipse of the sun, coming up on Monday, August 21. I hope you’ll be able to stop what you’re doing and experience it. (Here’s a way to see it safely, without eclipse glasses.) Some people believe that eclipses symbolize new beginnings, moving out of the shadows of what has held us back and moving us into the light of new possibilities. This gives us an excellent opportunity to do some introspection, to think about how we want to move forward in our own lives, by creating a ritual to honor the moment.
Rituals are an important way to acknowledge milestones and transitions. Celebrating the unity of two people in marriage ceremonies, and honoring our loved ones when they transition out of this life with funerals, are so common we may not even think of them as rituals, although they do mark significant moments. The first day of school can also be thought of as a ritual. Laying out the clothes we’ll wear the night before, getting school supplies ready, looking through text books, all done in preparation of a big day. Scientists have found that performing rituals help comfort anxiety by giving us a feeling of being in control and many other positive results.
My assistant doesn’t know it yet, but while we take a break from our office time to watch the eclipse, we’re going to try a ritual of our own and set the intent for a “new beginning.” She’s met me, so she’ll probably be fine.
While the moon is moving over the sun, putting the earth in its shadow, we’ll think about the things that aren’t working in our lives, that we want to leave behind like unhealthy habits, fears and heaviness. During the eclipse, we’ll meditate on releasing the things we want to leave behind and their power from our lives. After the eclipse, we’ll take a few minutes to set our intentions by imaging what we do want to create in our lives and write down a couple of goals that will help us get there. Feel free to borrow this idea and try it for yourself!
Of course, this “ritual” doesn’t have an expiration date. You don’t have to wait until the next eclipse to try it, if you can’t do it Monday. Creating a ritual around new beginnings will give the idea a greater significance and make it more fun. Every day can be a new beginning.