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Big Baby! (AKA: Beginner's Mind)

January 28, 2016


In mindfulness education we talk about the concept of a beginners mind. This is the idea that we strive to experience the now, by seeing it through the eyes of a beginner. Having an attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions.  As if you’d never seen it before.  How you would you look at something you’d never seen, experience your daily commute, or drink your morning coffee if you’d never experienced it ever before?


Navigating my busy life in Washington, I worked to achieve a beginners mind in my day to day life.  Newly living in Cape Town, I am now reaping an abundant crop.  Moving 10,200 miles across the globe is an accelerated journey to the land of a beginners mind. 


My husband first said this but I’ve using it a lot, “I am like a really, really Big Baby.” Meaning I might look like a full grown adult that knows what the hell is going on; and how to navigate my world, but don’t let that fool you. I am really just as inexperienced and mystified as a new born baby.


When I’ve given talks and workshops on mindfulness an example that is easily accessible for people is driving.  You’ve probably heard it before and I am sure and experienced this yourself.  It the example where when you first learn to drive you perform your 16 point check and meticulously follow all of the rules of the road paying attention to EVERYTHING.  Eventually you get to place where you can drive to and from work or school and home without noticing ANYTHING.


Driving is an area where this Big Baby is in the NOW.  The rental car we have right now is a stick.  You know manual transmission, clutch, etc. I drove is stick in 198something (won’t date myself here) but not in the last 20 years have I driven a stick.  Welcome to South Africa Big Baby.  You get to drive a stick AND on the wrong side of the car AND the wrong side of the road.  Direct ticket to beginners mind!


Remember learning to count money?  No me either, it was a long time ago.  Well learning a new money system and exchange rate math is really good to get you into the present moment. My tactic on this one is to never pay with cash and don’t pay attention to prices. Not good for the budget or when the husband asks how much was the ice cream for the 5 kids you dro