An open, “beginner’s mind” allows us to be receptive to new possibilities and prevents us from getting stuck in the rut of our own expertise, which often thinks it knows more than it does. No moment is the same as any other. Each is unique and contains unique possibilities.
– Jon Kabat Zinn, Ph.D., Full-Catastrophe Living
The new school year has officially begun. I remember the mixed sense of dread and excitement looking at a class syllabus for the impending semester. How would I get it all done and how will I ever know enough about _______ to say anything in a paper or pass an exam? More often than not I would get stuck in the rut of my own insecurity when it comes to school. I would get nervous about the ways I would struggle, what I’m not good at, and what I don’t like to do. I had this lingering sense that I was just not smart. Adopting a “beginner’s mind” seems like letting yourself feel stupid, which is something I worked pretty hard to avoid when I was in school. To be honest, I still have one foot stuck in that rut of insecurity. I don’t like to feel dumb, vulnerable, insecure. No one does – I know, I know.
I needed to have written across the top of the syllabus, YOU ARE NOT EXPECTED TO KNOW ANY OF THIS BEFORE YOU LEARN IT. Maybe that should go without saying, but I need to be reminded of the obvious.
I have a hunch about a couple of topics on my syllabus for this coming year. Some of the topics are ones I could avoid and worm my way around learning about all day. Like my temper. Or potty training. Ugh. I would like to be sick the week I have to learn how to potty train my two year old. I think I might write on our bathroom mirror;
You are not expected to know any of this until you learn it. You are not expected to know any of this until you learn it. You are not expected to know any of this until you learn it. You are not expected to know any of this until you learn it. (100 times)
The next Daily Bread Yoga retreat is this Saturday, August 29th, 9 a.m. – noon, at Philo Presbyterian Church. It’s the End Of Summer Reset. We are going to pull each other out of the ruts of our own expertise (and insecurity, fear, lethargy, confusion) and get our Beginner’s Mind firmly in place for the great year of learning and growth ahead. But, it will be more fun than that sounds, I swear. And I always bring snacks. So, no worries, eh?
Why don’t you come? The cost is $20 (if that works for you) to be paid that morning. Please bring a bottle of water and a yoga mat, or let me know and I will bring one for you to use.
If you have any questions, concerns or want to register for the retreat — GREAT – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I really hope that you have a wonder-filling year of learning ahead of you. Let’s all be patient and kind to ourselves, eh? We aren’t expected to know any of this until we learn it.
Peace on your smart and lovely head,