We sometimes (ahem, always) bring a little baggage with us. This baggage ruins our chances at living (and loving) in the moment. Beginner’s Mind is the key.
Having a beginner’s mind in a relationship seems almost impossible. That’s right, almost impossible. Though it’s very challenging, there are several ways you can be open and curious and bring a student mentality to your relationship. You can bring a beginner’s mind into your dating or existing relationship. Yes, really!
If you are in your mid-40s like me, you may have dated a few people or a lot of different people over your lifetime. Either way, chances are you’ve been heartbroken or hurt at some point. Most likely, you have experienced a couple of unhealthy relationships, too. Yes?
Here are some helpful techniques I have learned along the way to hold a beginner’s mind in my relationship. I often share these techniques with my clients so their experience with their partners goes as smoothly and beautifully as possible. Now I’m giving you the goods, as well!
3 Ways To Stay in a Beginner’s Mind:
1. Constantly ask yourself this simple question.
As I went out on what seemed like my 1000th first date, I had all kinds of thoughts. I knew exactly how a first date was going to go. I thought I’d be dating forever, until one day I had an epiphany. I thought to myself, “What if I have no idea how this date is going to go?”
It sounds so easy, but is it? How many times do we put our expectations onto an event? How many times do we map our expectations onto someone? The problem with that is we’ve just slammed a lid right on top of what’s possible, and we aren’t even aware we’ve done it.
I started using this simple tool and repeatedly reminded myself before going out with a man what if I have no idea how this date will go? My dates got better and became amazingly more fun. Why?
- My head was freed up to be with the person in front of me.
- It allowed for the surprise, awe and magic of the moment.
- I could roll with the evening—the good or the bad—and not let myself get disappointed when things didn’t live up to my expectations.
- I trusted that I could surrender more and trust myself.
Now that I am married and travel a lot with my husband, I still ask this simple question. Since I now live in a foreign country, it’s even more important to ask, “What if I have no idea how this event will go? What if I have no idea how our conversation will go? What if I have no idea who I will meet? What if I have no idea how our trip will go?” If you want to become more proficient at living from a beginner’s mind, practice using this question everywhere in your life. See how this can give your mind a break, and you more space to enjoy.
2. Consider yourself a student every day.
A student? Wait, you already completed your schooling when you were young! Yes, but who really taught you about love, dating, sex and relationships in school? Nuns? Teachers? Your parents? The kid down the block? Yes, exactly my point.
If you think you’ve learned it all, and you’ve got it down pat, then good for you. Do you think you could still gain some knowledge in the area of getting to know someone, having a relationship and being in this thing called “love”? By exploring with a beginner’s mind, you become an inquisitive pupil. Take on the practice of being a student, and you may find a new level of excitement as you discover things newly with your partner. You could fill your relationship with more joy, fun, curiosity and tenderness that could last a lifetime! That is, if you’re willing to keep studying these subjects as a student.
3. Don’t be a know-it-all.
This is a pitfall in relationships, especially if you’ve been lucky enough to have been in quite a few relationships over the years. The slippery slope is thinking you know how men or women are or how a relationship should be. These are ways to easily sabotage a good thing. We often put a filter over someone because we think we know who they are. We think we already know what he or she will say in a conversation. Sound familiar?
Almost certainly, what you think they’re going to say is not what they’re going to say. Doing this tends to get you into hot water fast, if it hasn’t already. I recommend you be curious about the other person. What if you didn’t know what he or she was going to say? What if you are surprised by his or her response? What if you have no idea how the conversation will go? Being in the wonder of it can give you access to being open, surprised and in the moment. If the other person is being open as well, it gives you both the opportunity to have beginner’s minds.
When you have been in a relationship with someone for two years, five years, 25 years, or more, what if there was always something new to learn about them? This is the difference between having a relationship that’s a constant exploration and a relationship that has gotten dull, boring and stale. If you’re up for a relationship that’s exciting and an adventure, ask questions and listen to the answers. You may be stunned. Isn’t that a fun way to live?
Whether you are exploring a new dating situation or fully engaged in your existing relationship, practice these three simple techniques over and over. Then, watch how your relationship can become not only more interesting, but one great, big playground!
[image: via 55Laney69 on flickr]