This week I found myself giving my 7 year old a lecture about how you should arrange a shoe rack. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does really weird things like this.
I had arranged the shoe rack functionally so that my husbands heavy shoes were at the bottom keeping the rack functional and the shoes we used daily were at the top so they could be accessed easily. She had arranged the shoe so we all had a shelf each. Only there are only 3 shelves and 4 people so my shoes ended up not on the shoe rack. Instead of being curious and asking why she had done this, I simply lost it.
Not one of those moments which will get me a best mother award.
So why am I telling you this?
In mindfulness there is something called the beginner mind Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki said, in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice, “In the Beginner’s Mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.” According to Zen, we should all try to have a Beginner’s Mind. In my moment of being an expert parent (which you understand I clearly am!!) I had completely missed that there were other options.
I missed that there were other ways to see what had happened.
Instead of my daughters intention to help, I just saw my neat nice systems being messed with. I missed the fact that she feels securest when she has an area she can call her own. I missed the fact that having this conversation just before school was a rubbish time to do it.
I missed that in everything we do there is a truth and in everything others say they are expressing their truth, even if we disagree with it.
So how does this all fit in with being creative?
One of the things I often find myself saying when I’m teaching stress management from stage is “stop.. stand back… take the blinkers back”. With a Beginner’s Mind, you will be more open to possibilities and more creative. You will also form closer bonds with others in your life as they experience your interest in them and your appreciation for their thoughts and ideas.
It is a great way to get out of creative block and to see a world where we can be grateful and thankful. In those moments we find our peace rather than our frantic need to prove ourselves as an expert. All to often as we present ourselves in the world as an artist, because we don’t feel good enough somehow, we pretend to be that expert and we miss relationship and opportunities to be truly ourselves.
Some habits to consider
- Take one step at a time.
- Fall down seven times, get up eight times.
- Use Don’t Know mind. Don’t pre-judge.
- Live without shoulds.
- Make use of experience. Don’t negate experience, but keep an open mind on how to apply it to each new circumstance.
- Let go of being an expert.
- Experience the moment fully.
- Disregard common sense.
- Discard fear of failure.
- Use the spirit of enquiry.
- Focus on questions, not answers.
As we begin to slow and use a beginners mind we will find that we can be more creative as we aren’t striving to make things happen, but we are truly being in the moment