You might have had similar experiences in life . . . you feel alive and excited about a new "something" or "someone." You land the job and career path you've always wanted. You move to the place you've dreamed about. You start school (again). Your soul mate appears. Your world is vibrant and you can't wait to get up in the morning!
Over time, life becomes routine. Weeks, months or even years later, you might ask yourself, "why did I choose this path or this person?"
As stated in The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz and his son Don Jose ". . . all humans live in their own world, in their own movie, in their own dream." It is our personal experience and perception of life that matters.
So how do we get back to a fresh start?
The meaning of Shoshin in Zen Buddhism is to have an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceived notions.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities,
but in the expert's there are few.
- Shunryu Suzuki (1905-1971)
We follow the practice of Beginner’s Mind in Nia by paying attention to body sensation and what is, in this moment. No matter how many years of experience dancing or teaching, we can come back to the basics.
This past summer, Debbie Rosas led a "Festival of Nia" in New Jersey (video above). We were doing a simple movement together and as I let myself go fully into the motion, tears rolled down my face. THIS was the sensation and feeling that attracted me to Nia in the first place. I found Beginner’s Mind in that moment, being open to the experience as if it was my first class.
So how can we experience Beginner’s Mind more often?
Be like a child, as if you're seeing someone or doing something for the very first time:
- Look at the trees, the sky, and the gift of colors on your drive to work or to school.
- Notice the unique qualities in people's faces on the bus or train ride.
- Use the computer or phone to share your words with impeccability.
- Treat clients as if you're hearing them for the first time, without judgment.
- Acknowledge "Namaste" in your partner, spouse, coworker and friend.
Imagine many more possibilities to experience little moments as breaths of fresh air. Then, each day becomes a way to Begin again.