Beginning Anew

"Beginning Anew creates harmony and keeps communication open. Those who live together can practice it once a week. Some families like to practice on Friday evening, so they are renewed to enjoy their weekend even more.

"We come together and sit in a circle, in the center of which is a small pot of flowers or a single flower. Someone is the bell master. We begin with a few minutes of silence. Then a person who wishes to speak gets up, walks mindfully to the center, picks up the vase of flowers and takes it back to her seat and places it before them. The flowers are a reminder of our freshness and our desire to speak in a loving way from our heart. As long as that person has the flower, only she has the right to speak. While she is speaking, everyone follows their breathing and listens. When she has finished, she replaces the flower in the center and another person can go to the center, bring the flower back to their seat and speak. While she speaks, everyone in the circle follows their breathing and listens. The bell master may want to invite the bell to sound between each speaker or after several people have spoken.

"There are four areas of Beginning Anew. We don't need to practice all four, but it's always good to start with flower watering. This is the first part of Beginning Anew, expressing appreciation. We acknowledge the other person, perhaps something they have done in the past week that we noticed and appreciated. We nourish the flower in them and allow it to bloom. The second part of Beginning Anew is an opportunity to express regret for something we have done, perhaps something we did that might have been hurtful, thoughtless, or unkind, or something which might have led to misunderstanding. The third part of the practice is to express hurt. This can sometimes be difficult. Sometimes people prefer to do it alone, just with the other person and perhaps a third person as facilitator, rather than to do it with the whole group. We use mindful speech, and are careful not to be accusing. The other person cannot respond at that time, but can have a chance later on, at an agreed upon time, perhaps in a few days or in a week at the next session of Beginning Anew. This gives each person a chance to reflect on how they may have contributed to the situation before they meet again to speak. The fourth part of Beginning Anew is to express something we want to say that is in our heart, something that has made us sad, that may be affecting our behavior, or something that has brought us joy. The practice of Beginning Anew brings us lightness, energy, and joy, and a greater capacity to transform what is negative in us, as well as to transform the situation outside."