Learning Something New – Be Like a Toddler

This re-post is dedicated to the people I have the privilege of teaching and mentoring.

ooOoo

As adults we are so used to being competent and knowledgable…. at least in some areas of our lives!
So when we take on a new challenge or want to learn something new it can be difficult.

I teach new yoga students and yoga teachers, and see how tough it can be for some to get their heads around being a beginner again.

Learning something new as adults makes us feel vulnerable. It’s a time where old fears about our worthiness surface, self doubt seeps in and egos rush to defend ingrained thinking and old beliefs.

beginner's mind

One way of countering this all too human reaction is to apply the Zen wisdom of Beginner’s Mind. This concept refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level.

Here are some steps to practice:

1. Be open and curious. Beginner’s Mind is about using the spirit of enquiry.  There’s a Zen story about this:
A student visited a Japanese master to inquire about Zen. The master served tea. When the visitor’s cup was full, the master kept pouring. Tea spilled out of the cup and over the table.
“The cup is full!” said the visitor. “No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” said the master, “You are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

2.Take one step at a time and let go of the outcome. Focus on what needs to be studied at each step.

toddler running and falling

3. Be like a toddler. Fall down seven times, get up eight times. Celebrate falling down as well as getting up.

4. Let go of knowing. Embrace “I don’t know” thinking rather than conditioned “I know or I should know” thinking. We only know things up until now. How can we expect to know something beyond our experience?

5. Shake off shoulds. Shoulds are imposed on us. Instead, be the best you can be in that moment and take responsibility for your actions. Own your own life rather than ‘shoulding’ all over it.

6. Use your experience. Keep an open mind on how to apply your experience to each new circumstance. Get creative with what you know and what you are learning.

7. Experience the moment fully. Slow down and pause. Be fully present to what is going on around you and within you.

When you do this your mind quietens and you make space for the new. You find your Middle Ground.

Namaste

Inspiration – Joy

Inspiration is always worth repeating and sharing. I hope you enjoy this one.


“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are”. ~ Marianne Williamson

autumn sunshineWe humans have a built in default of negative thinking. Its part of our survival mechanism that the ego has reenforced ever since we were little. As we grew up we became alert to scarcity and threats.

So for many of us, it feels natural to go around looking for what is wrong and criticizing things, other people …  and of course, ourselves. We may not even be aware of it.

Negativity feels acceptable and normal. Being safe becomes our preferred state. Even when it makes us miserable. After all “better the devil you know … ”

When we are in this state, the idea of positive thinking is likely to be rejected as ridiculous and fake. Remember, this inner critic is our ego wanting to protect that ways things are.  If we were to be more positive and less fearful, it would lose its power over our thinking and behavior.

Yet, neuroscience shows us that we can change our thinking by reenforcing new neural circuits in the brain. With practice, our brains are able to grow and change.
We are not hard wired in our thinking but we can be hard headed.

Here are some ideas to inspire you into shifting your thinking and creating new neural pathways:

  • Instead of looking for what’s wrong. Look for what’s right. For example, write a post it note and keep it with you all day as a reminder. Or catch one of your children or an employee doing something right.
  • Take time to look at something ordinary as something to be grateful for. For example, sitting at the table with your family tonight. Or watching the sun shine through the leaves.
  • Before going to sleep reflect on 3 things that you are grateful for.
  • Keep an achievement journal. Write down everything that you accomplish, including the small stuff. We usually filter out our strengths and accomplishments and focus on our losses and weakness. Balance out your thinking by writing down the good times. You will be surprised.

Recognizing these moments will start to transform your neural pathways into ones that recognize how good things really are.

This is where joy lives.

My Garden Center

I am finding so much joy in my garden this Spring. It has been an abundant one for growth and blossoms.

It is my Center.

Luckily I haven’t had to go to many commercial garden centers, as everything seems to know how to magically fill in the space it has and how to express itself.

Such joy to nurture this and share 💛

Have a Curious Day

This morning I woke up and decided I will have a day where I am curious.

agriculture animals baby blur

Photo by Trinity Kubassek on Pexels.com

People who are curious tend to:

  • Engage more in the world and tune into the environment
  • Turn everyday tasks into interesting and find the extraordinary in the ordinary
  • Think from a place of possibilities and openness
  • Have closer relationships with others because we are interested in learning about them
  • Intuitively know that curiosity leads to passion and meaning
  • Seek to learn and build knowledge … and are open to what we don’t know
  •  Play well and add a sense of playfulness to what we are doing
  • Embrace uncertainty and rediscover the pleasure of surprise
  • Be happy with life

To be curious we must pause in the moment.

No longer skipping and skimming our lives into the future or letting ourselves be stuck in the mud of the past.

To be curious brings us to our Middle Ground and we flourish here. It awakens creativity, gratitude and our inner Presence. It is the gateway to transforming all parts of our lives and awakening our spirit.

Why not join me in seeing how curious you can be today? We might surprise ourselves and each other!

Haiku – find your middle ground

space

Photo by Martin Damboldt http://www.pexels.com/

~
Without testing life
We cannot prove anything.
Reach to new limits
~
Live beyond the knowing
Wonder at the unveiling.
Break free from within.
~
Take time for stillness
Seek balance in Yin with Yang.
Find your Middle Ground

 

These words came to me today as I realized that much of our lives are played out in what is known and the expectations of those around us.

How can we live beyond the knowing? By stepping out of our comfort zone and trusting that there are new limits to explore. To embrace the wonder beyond the knowing.

It doesn’t begin with more activity, the setting of goals and targets. These are the Yang aspects of life. It begins with setting aside time to be in stillness. To be with our thoughts and discovering the deeper, hidden parts of our being. This is where Yin resides.

In Yin we find the place beyond thought. The knowing that is within us all, that wants to break free.

Namaste

Noticing Mondays

This is a re-blog from 2015, when I began to notice the tension when trying to get caught up with posts on Word Press.  We don’t need to be actively interacting, to know that we are a part of this community. Gratitude and love to you ❤️

oooOOooo


not being present

Noticing Monday morning and its regular gift of a slight contraction in my body and mind.
My ego alert with thoughts about getting a head start and how much to get through.
No, not work…

The blogs I follow expand with content on Monday mornings.
An avalanche of goodness awaits.
Leading to some feelings of overwhelm and not enough time.

So I take time to notice and pause…
Slowing down and breathing in order to be present for each one.
Letting go of thoughts to hurry through and get it behind me.
This is not a task, its about connection, listening and community.

These feelings are like an echo of how I lived most of my life.
Hurrying up to get things done and get ahead of the present.

Skipping forward towards some goal.

If only I knew then what I know now …
Thank you bloggers for this lesson on mindful presence today

Namaste

be present

Don’t Diss the “Dis”

Listen for what you need.

How come when we feel discomfort we don’t give it comfort.

When we have disease we don’t give ourselves ease.

Its like what we “dis” we DISS”.

Today, and every day day, be kind.

Don’t diss the dis.