A couple weeks ago I read a young adult book that I picked up on vacation as a pool side read, and there was something in it that has had me thinking since I read it. The book was what I like to call, “light and fluffy” despite the actual plot dealing with some pretty deep stuff. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord is a book about a girl who was dealing with the after effects of her boyfriend’s tragic and accidental death the year before. She is still dealing with the crippling fear of swimming (he died in a drowning accident) as well as trying to feel like herself again. (I call it light and fluffy because it’s a romance story that is playful and cute, without getting incredibly deep outside of the death of her boyfriend.)
As the new school year begins, Paige, our main character, makes a list of things she wants to do so that she can begin again and get better. Her list compromises of 1. Parties/social events (to which she had been avoiding), 2. New group (getting involved in some sort of organized group activity), 3. Date (because dating after your boyfriend dies is a difficult thing), 4. Travel and then finally 5. Swim. The part that really stuck with me throughout the story was her getting involved in a group and how one of her friends encourages her to go into it with “Beginner’s Mind”.
Beginner’s Mind is when you drop all preconceived notions about something and go for it as if you were learning about it for the first time. In the story, Paige joins the quiz bowl team, initially thinking that it’s something kind of lame, and using Beginner’s Mind to wipe those feelings away and enjoying it as if it was something she had never thought of before. This leads her into this great friendship with someone new and helps her grow and expand as a person.
I want to start having Beginner’s Mind with more things in life. I want to stop looking at things and saying, “That sounds dumb, I don’t want to do it.” and choosing to say, “Let’s do it.” Now, I know myself and I know that I won’t always want to try new things, and I know that the idea of Beginner’s Mind will go right out the window at times but I want to try and make a conscious effort to get outside of my little bubble and experience the world in ways that I may not have even considered or may have been too scared to say yes to.
So here’s to a new choice, here’s to living out Beginner’s Mind.