Just Begin Again
In meditation, when you realize that you’ve lost focus and have been carried away by your thoughts, you simply “begin again.” Just gently bring your attention back to your object of focus for the meditation (this is often the breath, but could be almost anything you choose to focus on: the sounds around you, a candle flame, a mantra, the feeling of your feet on the floor - whatever works for you). Bringing your attention back over and over again from distraction is the work of meditation; it’s like doing reps at the gym to build muscle, only we’re building our attention and concentration.
The phrase "Begin again" has has given me such relief in my meditation practice. I don't have to be "perfect". I'm not doing it wrong when my mind wanders. I can have a fresh start at any point. That's actually what the "practice" of meditation is all about: beginning again, bringing your attention back, without judgement, nothing is wrong.
I woke-up this morning with the thought in my head that “Just begin again” is also applicable in so many other areas. If we didn’t fit in a workout we’d planned or we ate something that made us feel crummy or we lost patience with our kids, we can simply take a deep breath and begin again. Giving ourselves the permission to begin again may just be an antidote for perfectionism.
As long as the sun rises and we continue to breathe, we can continue beginning again.