Cultivating a Beginner’s Mind

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.

– Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki

Do you remember when you were young, and ANYTHING was possible? You told anyone who would listen you wanted to be the next Madonna – never once thinking you couldn’t do it.

You had what the Buddhists call a beginner’s mind.

Then life got in the way. Experience, maybe even failures started weighing you down, making you more ‘realistic’ about what to expect.

We think this is a good thing – that it is crucial to be prepared, to know what to expect. But what about approaching life differently? What about wiping the slate of expectations and judgements clean every day, so that you approach every person and every situation with a beginner’s mind?

This might look like…

♦ Instead of labeling foods as ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’, you allow your body’s reaction to be your true authority instead of blindly following what an expert says.

♦ Instead of expecting things to be a certain way, you are open to whatever happens.

♦ You approach whatever life throws at you with curiosity instead of trying to dictate the way things should be.

♦ Instead of mechanically doing things, you discover them anew and take excitement in them again.

♦ By treating people with an open mind that isn’t weighed down by how they’ve hurt you in the past, you create a healthier dynamic in your relationship.

Just for one day, give it a try. No judgements, no expectations. It could change your life.

On Self Love

It’s Valentine’s Day and everyone seems to have an opinion about it – too commercial, too lonely, too cheesy…

My take is that happiness in a couple starts with self-love.

Sounds strange? Consider this: If YOU don’t find YOU attractive, will you believe it when someone tells you you’re beautiful or will you just think, ‘Liar’?

If YOU are not able to stand up for yourself, is it fair to expect your better half to do it for you?

If YOU are not able to take care of yourself, why should someone else know how to do it for you?

Self love is not selfish – it’s the foundation for healthy relationships.

Airline emergency briefings are spot on when they tell parents to first put on their own oxygen mask before helping their child put theirs on. After all, what use would a parent without an oxygen mask be to the child?

Similarly, I firmly believe the best investment we can make to our relationships is to always love and care for ourselves first so we can be the best possible friend or partner to others.

 It’s not your job to like me. It’s mine. – Byron Katie