Imagine living a life guided by curiosity and wonder.
Imagine days filled with gratitude and amazement.
Imagine a deep undercurrent of joy running through your life, no matter what the surface brings.
Imagine erasing your mind of everything you think you know, everything you’ve been taught, everything you believe, and beginning again.
Imagine a beginner’s mind. What would that be like?
Our daily lives get to be very routine. Most of us like the comfort of that routine. It gives us a sense of security, and the illusion of control.
Deep down, we are all creatures of habit. But a life of habit can make us mindless. We lose track of time. We can’t even remember the ride to work. We wonder if we took our pill this morning or not?
We waste away the hours in front of some screen or other. We practically live on muscle memory alone, moving through our days like zombies.
We can break ourselves out of this mindless cycle by challenging our daily routines and habits.
Start small. Move your toothpaste to another place in the bathroom. Or move your waste bin to another place in your kitchen. Notice how many days it takes you to change your habit. Notice how you react to the change, physically, emotionally, viscerally.
Even simpler, move all of the icons on your phone. Switch them all around. Notice how habitual your strokes have become. Notice what happens when you have to be mindful rather than mindless. Notice your reaction to the change. (I started doing this every week, just to keep myself on my toes. It has become sort of a game.)
When you free your mind of what you already know, your preconceptions and judgment, and you imagine yourself as a beginner, you can start to see everything with fresh eyes. You can look at everything with curiosity, wonder and amazement.
Giving up Facebook for a week seems like a very simple thing, and it is. But it is also a curious thing because I am learning a lot about myself and the way I interact with my world.
Giving up alcohol for a month was tough the first time I did it, because beer was my biggest form of social media! It was what connected me to everyone and separated me from them at the same time.
This extended period of sobriety has opened my eyes to so many curious and wonderful things. Socially, I am a beginner again, because I don’t have my old tipsy behaviors to lean on. I’m developing new muscles.
I’m not saying everyone should give up the things that make them comfortable. I’m just recommending that you look at each thing you do, all day long, each interaction you have, and ask yourself, have I become complacent? How can I make this brand new? This conversation? This task? This hour? This day?
What would it be like if I let go of my prejudices, my assumptions? What would it be like if I dropped my defenses, released my fears? What would it be like if I treated this as a brand new experience? Could I live a brand new life?
What would my life be like if I could be brand new?
Aren’t you just a little bit curious?