A friend sent me a link to The Restart Page. It’s a collection of Restart dialog boxes from vintage computer operating systems. Each one has an active button that, when clicked, replays the entire Restart sequence from that OS. Cool!
It got me thinking about the need for a restart system for life—my life, at least.
I remember my first encounter with a daily restart, at a church youth camp when I was 12 or 13. We were each given a copy of Forward Day by Day, a quarterly collection of daily meditations. On the inside front cover were two passages we were to read as soon as we woke up.
A Morning Resolve
I will try this day to live a simple, sincere and serene life, repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking; cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity, and the habit of holy silence; exercising economy in expenditure, generosity in giving, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a childlike faith in God.
In particular I will try to be faithful in those habits of prayer, work, study, physical exercise, eating, and sleep which I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me to be right.
And as I cannot in my own strength do this, nor even with a hope of success attempt it, I look to thee, O Lord God my Father, in Jesus my Savior, and ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For TodayO God:Give me strength to live another day;Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties;Let me not lose faith in other people;Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them;Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity;Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things;Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;and make me the cup of strength to suffering souls;
in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Later, after I discovered the regenerative power of writing, I adopted Julia Cameron’s technique of writing daily Morning Pages, as described first in The Artist’s Way, and the The Artist’s Way at Work. Cameron describes these three-page stream-of-consciousness exercises as “spiritual windshield wipers,” to clear away the creativity-stifling crud from one’s mind so one can clearly see the new day.
Twelve Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous have this daily restart thing nailed. They don’t talk about forever, or even long-term goals. They counsel their members to change their lives one day at a time. Every morning is a new start. A young high-school student I was mentoring through her senior project introduced me to this statement, which has been part of my morning routine:
“Just for today, I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
Just for today, I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Just for today, I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.
Just for today, I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my “luck” as it comes, and fit myself to it.
Just for today, I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out. I will do at least two things I don’t want to—just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it
Just for today, I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low, act courteously, criticize not one bit, not find fault with anything and not try to improve or regulate anybody except myself.
Just for today, I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.
Just for today, I will have a quiet half hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.
Just for today, I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.” ~Kenneth L. Holmes
Daily restart? I haz it. Do you? What do you do to reboot your life?