Posts Tagged With: Beginner’s Mind

Day 2100: A Child’s View

If you’ve viewed my blog before, you might know that I often find my title and my theme from something I’ve viewed the day before.


“A Child’s View” reminds me of the concept of Beginner’s Mind, which I wrote about here, five and a half years ago.

I like using a child’s view and beginner’s mind, which help me get in touch with wonder, openness,  optimism, eagerness, and non-judgment.  Do you see any of those in my views from yesterday? (If you need a better view of anything, just click on it.)


As I view the week and the new month ahead, I try to keep a child’s view and beginner’s mind. I shall also remind the inner child in myself and in others to let go of fear and to be open to whatever happens.

“Searching” from Child’s View by Nobukazu Takemura  has a surprisingly low number of views on YouTube.

What’s your view of today’s post?

It’s time to view my thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for viewing it.



Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Day 1799: New and Wonderful

Yesterday, I saw a new and wonderful sign,


a new and wonderful movie,


and new (to me) and wonderful children’s books.




Here are more new and wonderful photos from yesterday:






I am sorry whenever I temporarily lose the ability to notice the quietly profound, amazing, new and wonderful things around me. When that happens, I take another look, and there they are.

Last night, I watched the new and wonderful   50th Anniversary celebration of the Carol Burnett Show. Here’s the wonderful Sorry! skit from The Carol Burnett Show.

If you watch that skit, you’ll see that Vicki Lawrence says a new and wonderful line at 12:49.  I assume that because of Carol’s reaction and because of her wonderful response: “That’s a new one, Mama.”

What’s new and wonderful in your world?

Thanks to all who helped me create today’s new post and — of course! — to you, on this new and wonderful day.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 782: How to look at things

Because each one of us is unique, with different experiences and assumptions,  we all look at things differently.

So, Jeepers!  How can I possibly have the nerve to title a post “How to look at things”?

Well, dear readers, let’s look at the suggestions in this post more as guidelines than rules, okay?

Guideline #1: Be open to seeing unexpected similarities.

For example, be open to this sort of thing when you’re visiting two old friends who live in very different parts of the Bay Area of San Francisco:

IMG_5753 IMG_5801

Guideline #2:  Be open to seeing cause-and-effect connections.

For example, if you see roses, where might the roses come from?

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If you see a daily activity chart, what might be the cause of that?



Guideline #3: Be open to the possibility that your first assumptions about what’s in front of your eyes (also known as “peepers“) might not be complete or correct.

For example, an activity chart for dog-walking might refer to a dog different than the one you’re seeing right now.

More examples for Guideline #3: what are YOUR assumptions when you look at these photos?

IMG_5814 IMG_5815 IMG_5816

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What assumptions do you have about the who, what, where, etc. of each of those photos?  I’m sure that if I did not have my privileged knowledge as the chooser and taker of those images, I would be making all sorts of assumptions about them — some “correct” and some “incorrect.”

Which leads me to the next guideline:

Guideline #4: Be open to letting go of assumptions, but also trust your own eyes, instincts, and experience.

Nobody else can tell you the “truth” about what you see and what you have seen with your own eyes, and about what all those mean to you.

For example, when we look at art, we each see different things and have different thoughts and feelings.


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Nobody can tell you or me that what we see in that artwork is right or wrong.

Guideline #5: Be open to seeing things through somebody else’s eyes.

For example, if you’re with somebody who is different from you (say, younger, different gender, different style and perspectives), let that person make choices about what things to look at, even if those choices are different from yours.



Guideline #6: Be open to seeing new things you’ve never seen before, even if you’re not sure how they work and fit in with the rest of your known universe.


Guideline #7: Be open to seeing mundane things as special.

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For example, if you first saw somebody very important to you at Peet’s Coffee in Cambridge, Massachusetts USA several years ago, feel free to look at similar images, 3000 miles away, as important.

Guideline #8: Be open to how the past affects how you see the present.

For example, I might see things in a retro-style diner that evoke images of my childhood:



Guideline #9: Be open to transforming disappointments about what you see into opportunities.

For example, if something you wanted to see is closed, appreciate and accept all richness there is to see in the present.

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Guideline #10: Be open to identifying with what you see.

For example, when you’re using the closet of the flown-the-nest daughter of a beloved friend, see how you might have some things in common with her:


In general, this is how to look at things:


Be open.

I hope you know I am very open to questions and comments about anything you’ve looked at here.

Thanks to Margaret Keane (who created those big-eyed paintings shown in Guideline #4, above), to my son, to my boyfriend back home in Boston, to my friends (including Marcia and Lawry, who have both opened up their homes to me on my current travels), to every person, place, and thing I’ve looked at recently in the San Francisco area,  and to you — of course! — for looking at things your own unique way, today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 38 Comments

Day 362: Not Knowing

When I came up with the title for this post, I immediately thought of another post, from Day 80, called “Learning from everything (Beginner’s Mind).”

I’ve been doing that a lot lately: remembering Posts from Bloggings Past.  I don’t know why, exactly, but here are three guesses:

  1. I’ve written hundreds of posts, at this point*, so there are lots to choose from.
  2. New Year’s Eve is approaching, so nostalgia is everywhere.
  3. Human beings tend to focus on the past.

In the moment, here are some things I am Not Knowing:

  1. What I am going to say in this post.
  2. What I am going to do, during the five days I am taking off from work (starting today).
  3. How I am going to transition this blog, at the end of the year, to whatever it’s going to be next year.

Now, that’s NOT what I expected to be writing about today. I thought I’d be writing, right now, about my mixed feelings about Not Knowing, which run the gamut from fear to love.  And there’s a lot I could write about that, because I have so much experience with Not Knowing.

As a matter of fact, here are some things I don’t know, every day:

  1. What’s going to happen that day.
  2. What’s really going on with people I meet.
  3. Every-day details, including names of places, people and things; how to open friggin’ modern packaging; the “right way” to maneuver around other people when I’m walking; many rules of etiquette (including whether anybody even pays attention to those things any more); how to use my computer (and other machines) the way I want to (especially when technology keeps changing); etc. etc.

What do I notice, right now, about that list?   I notice that some of them are related to my imperfect memory. Other are related to:

  • What other people are thinking.
  • The future.

Am I alone, in Not Knowing those things?  I think not.


Because Not Knowing can be uncomfortable, I would like to move on, to something I DO know, before I end this post.

I know that I love seeing these things in my office, every day I’m at work:




And I don’t KNOW,  but I think I’ll be seeing those again, next Thursday.

Thanks to Erik Gehring for the photograph “Willow Island,” to the artist who painted that lovely landscape (whose name escapes me now**),  and to everybody who’s read anything I’ve ever written, which would include you — of course! —  today.

* Personally, I find that amazing.

** And which I hope I will know again, soon.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 94: What sticks, what doesn’t, and putting things in perspective

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in previous posts, certain things we experience seem to stick more than others.

To put it simply: The negative sticks, more than the positive does.

To re-state that, with more detail: Negative thoughts, feelings,  people, memories, encounters, and words tend to take on more importance, become bigger, and hang on in the mind — more than positive thoughts, feelings, people, memories, encounters and words do.

That’s been my experience, and also the experience of most people I encounter.

In a previous post, which I wrote (when?  I can’t find it) (oh, well), I described a half-assed theory of mine about why that is, having to do with our ancient ancestors and survival.

Who knows, maybe that theory is more than half-assed. Maybe it’s three-quarters-assed.  No matter how fully assed my reasoning is, there are studies out there, I believe, that have similar conclusions, with real data.  I’m not going to look these up right now, though. I have to go to work, and this is The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally, not The Year of Backing Things Up With Empirical Data.

Therefore, in conclusion:

  1. The negative sticks
  2. The positive doesn’t
  3. #1 and #2 make it difficult to figure things out (“things” including what you want or need, people, yourself, TMOL) (The Meaning Of Life)
  4. Good luck with all that.

That last point may sound dismissive. It’s not.

With all the distortions, assumptions, outdated patterns, sticky negatives and non-sticky positives  that cloud our perspective, we can use all the help we get — whether it’s luck, support, letting go of judgment, re-thinking things, beginner’s mind, wisdom, other people’s perspectives, or our own ever-learning experience.

So good luck to you, dear reader, and to me, too!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Day 80: Learning from everything (Beginner’s Mind)

I like the term “Beginner’s Mind.”  I’m not sure when I first heard that phrase, but it’s been a very helpful concept, professionally and personally.

When I just googled it, I found Wikipedia’s entry on Shoshin, which includes this:

Shoshin (初心) is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind“. It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would.

and this:

“Beginner’s mind embodies the highest emotional qualities such as enthusiasm, creativity, zeal, and optimism … With beginner’s mind, there is boundlessness, limitlessness, an infinite wealth.”


Man, I don’t know if I need to write anything more today. Just reading that Wikipedia definition helps me feel ready to face the day.

I’ll just riff briefly, before I get ready to leave for the day.

I love the thought, “I can learn from everything.”  I find that a really helpful phrase.  That reminds me of my personal “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” antidote for when I am feeling hopeless and powerless. That helpful phrase is, “I will come out the other side of this, with some gifts I can use.”  (By the way, I STILL  forget to tell myself that when I’m very down.)  (I’m working on it!)

Here’s one recent example of a gift I got from Beginner’s Mind, when I was in the role of “Expert” (therapist):

I’m not wild about that word “antidote,” which I’ve been using for strategies for challenging cognitive distortions (unhelpful thoughts).  Somebody in a group, yesterday, used the word “remedy” instead.

I like that better.

I hope you find this post helpful, dear reader, and even a personal remedy.



Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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