It’s not unusual to create a New Year’s resolution to make a change or try something new, but how often do we actually change our perspective on things? Often, our resolutions don’t succeed because we’re carrying forward the same pre-conceived ideas into our “new way” of doing things, and it’s these that our getting in our way.
One of the pillars that support mindfulness is something called beginners mind. It’s a bit like being a child and experiencing everything as if it was the first time. No preconceived ideas, no past experiences colouring your perspectives just something completely new for you to try with an open mind.
Childlike curiosity is a great way to experience the world
There’s nothing quite like the excitement of a child experiencing something new. We all laugh at how easily toddlers dance “like no one is watching” seemingly without a care of how they look or “getting it right” and that’s because they don’t! They’re happily living in the moment.
This is what we mean by “beginners mind”. In this state of mind, you’re:
- filled with curiosity
- free from preconceptions
- free from expectations
- open to a world of possibilities and opportunities
It’s something we’ve all lost along the way. Perhaps influenced by parents, teachers and other adults around us.
From school age we’re taught that there’s a right and a wrong way of doing things and we learn to carry this across into all areas of our life. “Am I thinking about this the right way? What if I get this wrong?” The what ifs can quickly turn into anxiety and stress, but they can also limit our lives, we might miss things we find fun, interesting and other opportunities because we’re afraid of “getting it wrong”.
In one of my previous mindfulness sessions I encouraged people to go to the cinema but without knowing what was showing at the time. When they arrived, they had to get tickets for the film that started next and watch it without preconceived ideas of what it’d be like or if they’d enjoy or not.
It’s like being a child again when your parents took you to cinema to see what they wanted to see. You didn’t really know what you liked then, or even what the different genres are! You just enjoyed the experience of going to the cinema, eating a snack and watching something new.
Past experiences can often get in our way
I asked my husband once if he wanted to try a yoga class. He immediately said “no, that’s not for me!” So, I asked him why, he said “it just isn’t, I’m not interested in doing yoga”. To cut a long story short, he did go to a yoga class in the end and he loved it!
I share that example because it’s so clear how we’re stopping ourselves from trying something new and limiting our own experiences and opportunities by bringing pre-conceived ideas to the table. Stereotypes of lycra clad women might spring to mind when a yoga class is mentioned, but classes are full of a diverse range of people of all abilities, genders, and clothing styles!
Think back to the times you’ve been invited to go somewhere or try something new and you’ve said no. Why was that? How do you know that something isn’t for you if you’ve never tried it?
Channelling your inner 5 year old can be a great way to avoid saying no to things “just because”.
When you’re asked to try something (or thinking about it) try not to assume anything and ask questions like “why?”, “How does that work?”, “Why is it that way?” “What does that mean?” like a curious 5-year old who’s constantly questioning everything in an attempt to understand. You can have the conversation in your mind or with the person that’s asking you if they’re open to it.
The point is to cut away those shallow layers and really see what’s there, rather than our preconceived ideas.
Are you saying no to a better way of living?
There’s no “right or wrong way” of living your life, only your way but are you letting preconceived ideas and the thoughts of others limit you, and what you do?
Have you considered signing up for a course but haven’t followed through? What might you gain by attending the course that you’re stopping yourself from experiencing?
Maybe you’ve always wanted to give mindfulness a go but you’ve been putting it off thinking that it’s “a bit woo woo” or you’ve struggled with meditating before and think you’ll struggle with this too. Are you letting what you think you know about mindfulness get in the way of finding new ways to explore your life differently, reduce stress and be a happier more confident you?
This is what one of the previous attendees said following an 8 week course.
“I came to do the mindfulness course because my wife thought I would benefit from it, however I was a sceptic ,but I have learned along the way to trust my wife ,so I stepped out from “my box” and went along to see what all the fuss was about. Well I can honestly say it has changed my life completely and opened my eyes to things that most people miss in their lives. Debbie is truly inspiring and a fantastic teacher/mentor in all aspects of mindfulness. From the first day arriving on the course, I was surprised to see another guy which broke the stigma that it’s just for women! Being in a small group meant we all soon became familiar with each other and found that we all relaxed quickly. This was the start of what has now become a way of life for me. I know who I am as a person, I know how my brain works and my body, I am better equipped to deal with whatever life throws at me and I enjoy life a lot more. I’m happier and it helps with my anxious and depressive feelings, which I struggled with for so long. I cannot recommend Debbie’s mindfulness course enough for guys and women, sometimes we all need a little help, so take it. Thank you, Debbie absolutely fantastic!”
I have a new mindfulness course starting on the 7th January 2020 and I would love for you to come and join me to experience childlike curiosity again by dropping the preconceived ideas that are limiting your life right now. Will you join me? Click here for further details and to sign up now.