Have you ever witnessed a baby discovering it’s hand for the first time? The absolute wonder in their expression as they realize that they can move it about, that the fingers can open and close into a fist, and then the expression of amazed accomplishment when they purposely direct this wonderful appendage into their mouth.
When was the last time you really looked at your own hand? Regardless of whether it is wrinkled, or corded in raised veins, and never mind if their are spots of age mottling the surface, this wondrous body part has served you everyday from the first time you first discovered you possessed it.
Over the many years of life, your hands have enabled you to touch, to feel, to hold, to work – even create, and yet when was the last time you actually marvel at their mechanical genius and really seen them from a fresh set of eyes and renewed respect?
I draw your attention to the miracle of your hands as an exercise to bring you back to the present and to focus on something that you might have taken for granted every single moment of your waking days. We never even consider their ability to do the things we expect them to do, unless of course for some reason they no longer work as they once have.
Now in the tradition of the triple Goddess, or maiden, mother and crone, and in correspondence to the wheel of the year, spring would represent the maiden with the youth of fresh life and verdant growth. The summer/autumn season is the mother Goddess, ripe with life and the manifestation of the harvest. The winter season is for the crone with it’s dark slumber and of earthly death. But in February, the earth is like the infant, everything is open to possibility and to the surprise of the re-birth of the land. It is also at this time of year that we too should refresh our perspectives of life and take on the infantile outlook of the curious beginner’s mind.
The beginner’s mind
Refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject or skill , even when learning at an advanced level.
December and January has wiped the slate of nature clean once again. The storms of winter have pounded the earth into a barren state. In February, the earths stirs in its first previews of life. Like the infant, the earth discovers the wonders of living once again. It is innocent and vulnerable and with the re-birth of the land, nature inches out of its cocoon of slumber with a naïve outlook to what the coming spring will bring forth.
It is in February that we too can experience this state of wonderment. To wipe clean our expectations of the seasons to come and instead enjoy the early gift of this newborn stage of nature.
Think of our everyday lives. Once we humans have mastered a skill, we begin to take for granted that we can complete the step required to repeat the skill over and over again. It becomes rote in our minds and is filed as an unconscious program in our brains. But the element of wonder and achievement gets lost when we no longer have to think about a skill any more and so while we may be proficient in our ability to preform this perfected skill, we are no longer living in the present where life is truly alive. We are instead living on autopilot.
Like your hand, which gifts you every waking moment with it’s dexterous abilities, we have lost the amazement of the simplest functions of the world around us.
And so this month, this vulnerable month of nature, when winter is losing its hold over the land and nature is beginning to test her strength by sending out tender shoots for the first time this new year, is it also time for you to consider doing the same? Where in your life can you act with the beginner’s mind of wonderment and re-see your world again for the first time as well?
Mother nature offers her gift of renewal every year at this time. How would a renewed perspective on a issue in your life benefit by doing the same? Is there an old problem that needs a new view? Would looking at it from the totally naïve outlook of the beginner’s mind offer a chance to clear out the ingrained programs of past conditionings? Could taking on a curious attitude of learning something again for the first time break the patterns of well mastered opinions?
I used the example of the hand as a metaphor for all the things in life that we take for granted. The things that to the beginner’s mind of an infant, who is discovering the wonders of life for the first time, and reacts with unfiltered excitement and awe, are always available to us as well. We need only to untangle ourselves from the rote programs in our minds that dominate our daily lives and open ourselves to the wonderment of life.
February is when nature re-boots her yearly cycle and once again sends out her tendrils of possibilities, eager to burst forth and create, but still vulnerable to the waning hold of the bleakness of winter. But here’s a little spoiler alert for you and maybe the proof for the case of taking on the optimistic attitude of the beginner’s mind – spring’s innocent curiosity and pure desire to grow, always wins out in the end.