You've probably heard “new year, new you” quite a bit over the past week. How about this year you focus on “new year, fresh perspective?” How about letting go of all of the things you think you’re supposed to be or do, and focus on what you already are? Shift from what you think you know, and approach life with a beginner’s mind. When we let go of our preconceived notions, and our ideas about how things are supposed to be, it opens up a world of possibilities.
One of my teachers, Tias Little, had this to say in his recent newsletter about his intention to have a beginner’s heart and beginner’s mind this year:
As the years flow past, it is easy to habituate to the same old, same old. John Cage famously said, “I can't understand why people are frightened by new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.” If not careful, you might end up confined to your home, going round and round on your private hamster wheel. With beginner's mind we slough off the old identity and marvel at the world with innocent eyes, open to multiple perspectives, clinging to none.
We often spend a lot of time “shoulding” ourselves. We might say or think things like: "I should lose weight," "I should work hard to earn a promotion," or "I should eat better." When do you ever give yourself credit for what you’re already doing? It's time to look at things a bit differently. You might flip the script, and say "My body is perfect as it is," "If I take a break from work for 20 minutes to go for a walk, then I’ll be better able to focus when I come back to it" or "It’s not the end of the world if I eat that cookie." Try it for yourself, and see how it feels.
You can also practice approaching life with a beginner’s mind in yoga. Yoga is as much a process of unlearning as it is learning. Approach the practice with a beginner’s mind – there’s more possibility when you start from a place of unknowing. Let go of what you think yoga is supposed to be, and what the poses “should” look like. Let the poses help you explore and get to know your body, and how it works. We’re not all built the same way, so the pose might look different for me than it does for you. That's the beauty of it.