One of my favorite times each week is yoga class. For me, it is a time to be calm and learn about myself. Sure there’s sweating and stretching, but it is more about taking time to be in the moment while the world is spinning by.
Today’s class focused on the idea of beginner’s mind, one of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s steps to a mindfulness practice. Here’s what he has to say: “We tend to take the ordinary for granted and fail to grasp the extraordinariness of the ordinary. 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 . . .”
Whoa. So, in class, it meant moving with intention from one pose to another. Not getting caught up in assuming we knew what was going to happen next. Being in downward facing dog for the first time. Feeling something we have never felt before in forward bend. Being present with a beginner’s mind is freedom from the expectation of perfection.
Here’s what spoke to me about today’s practice in relation to my craftiness. I would benefit from time playing with my materials, especially those materials I don’t often gravitate to. Play with paints, and oil pastels. Don’t set a time limit. Don’t expect every piece created to be great, in fact, be comfortable with creating just to create. I know what it’s like to be stuck in a rut, and it stinks. A beginner’s mind can give us a boost out of that rut.
Creating with the idea of beginner’s mind wasn’t easy. I’m not 100% happy with how this came out. But ultimately, what does that matter? I created something literally for the first time. I mixed those colors and mediums together for the first time. I was in the moment, even though it was super uncomfortable not knowing where I was going.
My yoga teacher share this quote by Zen monk, Sunryu Suzuki at the start of today’s practice: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities but in the expert’s mind there are few.” It seemed fitting for this piece, a reminder that there are unending possibilities in art and in life.
What I used to play today: Dylusions journal, Dina Wakely’s White Gesso, Dylusions paints, Distress crayons, Stampin’ Up Write Marker, Reeve’s Oil Pastels, and a random stencil.