A Beginner's Mind

Photo by  Matthew Sleeper  on  Unsplash

I have begun my long- term travels this past month, and what an adventure it has already been. It has been a mixture of experiences ranging from the amazing to the frustrating to the inspiring. Talk about a change of lifestyle- I signed up for a big one with this step of living on the road and the adjustment has been a little clunky at times. To note, I have noticed that moments of grace and calm find themselves into the day as well, especially when those days include quiet forests and impossibly blue skies.

Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

During this adjustment, I am reminded of the concept of the Beginner's Mind- the ability to always come back to a place of open-mindedness and learning, no matter how accomplished or educated you think you are. A Beginner's Mind is a concept from the world of meditation and is essentially a term used to remind us that every time we begin our sitting practice, we should start with the mind of a beginner- no past successes or challenges to compare to, just being present to what is happening right now. It is the first time, every time. No comparing to what has come before, no expectations for what may lie ahead. A Beginner's Mind keeps you in a place of seeing the wider view, accepting concepts and ideas more easily while being fluid and flexible during a time of growth.

So, here I am, moving from a lifestyle that I know well and I am very confident in, to a lifestyle that I know little about and have no clear guidelines for. Its a “make it up as you go along” way to live. While it can feel freeing (and believe me, it has felt that way at times) it also can feel incredibly ungrounding and confusing at times.

I am reminded of the challenges that anyone going through a big change in their life can face. I have seen it with my clients and I am right there with those of you who are navigating new territory. Making the choice to do something new and different can be exhilarating and scary, rewarding and fatiguing. Some days are exciting and feel like a big win. Others can be frustrating and like I have taken 2 steps back. And, I remind myself as often as I can that it is all just part of the process of being a beginner. :-)

My new practice has become waking up in the morning and mentally letting go of anything that may be keeping me in a mindset of comparison or expectation. I have used a combination of visualization exercises and meditation to facilitate that process. To me, letting go of these things is the first step to being in the Beginner's Mind. It helps me make room in my mind to learn and (hopefully) get my ego to shut up for another day, instead of letting it harass me about what I should, could or would be doing otherwise.

For those of you who are facing the challenge of significant change, try to remember the Beginners Mind approach whether you are feeling successful or defeated. Every new day has an opportunity to start fresh and learn with an open mind (Really, every new hour or even minute has that option, if you wish)! Not sure where to begin using this approach? Reach out to me and maybe together we can create a way to start your day while embracing the Beginner's Mind.

Here's to forgetting what you know and seeing with the eyes of a beginner. Good luck out there!

Photo by  Dan Gold  on  Unsplash

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

“Serious transformations begin with two commitments: The courage to try new things and act in new ways. The honesty needed to no longer hide from, or lie, to ourselves.” ~ Yung Pueblo 
Jennifer Leonard