Thinking Outloud

A Beginnner’s Mind Is An Asset

A Beginnner’s Mind Is An Asset

I’m learning Dutch from my 22 month old granddaughter, Hanna. I recently spent 2 weeks in the Netherlands with my son Jon, daughter-in-law Claartje and 2 granddaughters, Emma 5 & Hanna 22 months. This was my first time to see them since January 2020, just before Covid took over our lives. 

 

My son’s family members including the 2 little girls are fluent in Dutch & English. Hanna, at 22 months has not yet learned how to use the 2 languages in a separate way so while she understands my English only, her reply may be a charming mixture of both languages. Of course, a bi-lingual 2 year old has the distinct advantage of saying “no” in 2 languages.

 

On my flight home I realized that I approached my Dutch language limitations with a beginner’s mind. As a result, I learned a lot of Dutch talking with Hanna. Now I’m practicing Dutch on the Duolingo app every day.

 

It occurs to me that living with this phase of the Covid pandemic also requires a beginner’s mind. It’s become cliche to say that Covid has permanently changed the world & life as we know it. External forces have and continue to change around us almost daily. A closer look suggests that the more profound changes have occurred from within. Covid has turned us all into beginners. 

 

For many, lives came to a full stop. For others, like healthcare workers, it sped up beyond recognition. Families with young children were navigating daily chaos. We learned what we could & could not do without. Priorities shifted dramatically. 

 

As we begin to re-emerge, it feels like we are all at a starting line of sorts. Some of us are pivoting to new jobs, even new careers. Others have decided not to return to work at this time. New priorities & a different balance are emerging. Home, family and connections have taken on a whole new importance. We know from lived experience that life can change in a heartbeat. 

 

One client I’ve been working with decided to take a position in a different department that was a step down. It was the pandemic reset that made this possible. Working from home, the family was able to manage with 1 car & eliminating the commute time made home cooked meals an everyday occurrence. The overall savings funded the job change and removed her from a toxic position. This opened up real, as well as emotional, time & space. Now she is taking yoga teacher training. Stay tuned. More life enhancing changes are no doubt in the works. 

 

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities but in the expert’s mind there are few.” – Shunryu Suzuki

 

In her recent blog post entitled The Magic of Beginner’s Mind for Thrive Global Community, Bianca Alexander, EMMY Award-Winning TV Journalist + Host, Conscious Living TV describes 

Why Humbly Embracing What You Don’t Know is the Key to Wisdom and Mastery

For many mindfulness practitioners, the key to spiritual evolution is simple. Instead of focusing on having the “right” answer to every question, the task is witnessing and accepting that which is unknown. Through detachment, surrender and grace, we can expand beyond current habitual patterns, feelings and beliefs into a broader experience of who and what we truly are. With an attitude of openness, eagerness, and humility, we can embody what many Zen Buddhist practitioners call “Beginner’s Mind.”

To ignite the magic of your beginner’s mind, try practicing the following techniques in your everyday life:

  • Be Present
  • Practice Detachment..
  • Be Curious
  • Eliminate “Should” Thinking
  • Enjoy the Adventure
  • Embrace Failure

Can you tap into your beginner’s mind? As old, outdated patterns and hierarchies are swept away, you have the opportunity to create what is a more just, equitable, thriving & sustainable in your life and in the life of your business or organization. Let’s talk about how coaching & consulting can help you navigate these changes.

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