Up until five minutes ago, I had no idea what tabula rasa meant. Tabula rasa is a Latin term for scraped tablet. According to dictionary.com it also means: 1. A mind not yet affected by experiences, impressions, etc. 2. Anything existing undisturbed in its original pure state.
Tabula rasa sounds much sexier than clean slate!
To me, September has always felt like a month of new beginnings. The combination of the air feeling a little cooler and drier, all of those years of school beginning in September, and my birthday being in September probably accounts for that fresh start feeling. Now after 45 years, I am not sure I could ever bring my mind or body to its original pure state. (college parties, baby oil and a tar roof, the damage is done). Honestly, I do not want a perfectly clean slate. Life is about experiences and those experiences, although not all favorable and some regrettable, have certainly brought me to right here, right now, right where I am supposed to be. So how do I get my tabula rasa?
I envision it to be just like when I was a kid and got my brand new school notebook. So that is what I do. I get a brand new notebook, my tabula rasa, and it is empty and clean. I like to keep things simple so mine is a two subject, one side for personal and one side for professional. I look at this empty notebook and think, I can do anything, what is it going to be? I write down my professional and personal goals and ideas. Some are crazy and lofty, but that is ok. That is what a clean slate is all about, possibilities.
I look at last year’s notebook and take things that I want to keep doing or enhance and add those items to my lists. Everything else, well, that stuff just stays in the old notebook. Why would I want to mess up my tabula rasa with crap from the past?
When do you begin your tabula rasa? The beginning of a new season? New Year? On a Birthday? Even if you have had a difficult year, looking at a blank piece of paper, imagining that anything is possible and writing it down; can do wonders.
Sarah E Stewart, MSW, CPC, Life coach and Author