If you have kids, or remember being one, you know – everything seems possible.
The options are boundless, time is limitless, money is just paper. The words “fear” and “fart” might as well be the same 4 letter word because they’re both laughable.
The other day, I was walking in the park and saw a young girl, probably about 4 or 5, learning how to rollerblade. All armored up, I watched her take on a small pavement hill that to me looked to be a speed bump, but to her looked to be, well, a bump for speed.
Eye on the prize, she gunned right for it to realize the bump’s demise. I can’t be certain whether the entire park went into slow motion with her but I do remember watching her hit the pavement and come face to face with the large yellow painted letters written on the bump – “SLOW.”
The writing was on the…ground.
But between her pre-reading skills and my certainty that “that was that” for her future in the roller derby, this little girl got right up, scooted her way back to the starting line and asked for seconds. Best part – her family packed together on the sidelines like a group of college football cheerleaders and rooted her on:
“FIRST OUTTA TEN, LET’S DOOOOO IT AGAIN!”
Now, I might not know you that well but I can assume you’ve had your share of falls in life. Chances are you’re “falling” right now – tripping on self-judgement, belly-flopping with doubt, hitting the pavement and finding it hard to get back up. Even writing this, I’m face down in perfection – wanting the sentences to just fall out of my fingertips without effort.
So, in times like these, I need to take a step back. No, seriously – I mean it. Do this now:
- Stand up
- Walk away from your computer about 2-3 feet
- Grab your glasses if you need them and read this outloud:
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.”
– Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
What if that little girl saw the speed bump, then took out a pad of paper to access all the ways it could go right and it could go wrong? This is what we, as adults, do everyday – we approach even the smallest tasks with caution. And in the process, talk our way out of the pure possibility to just try. Now, I’m not saying the solution is to always throw on the old helmet and jump. What I am saying, and what I think the Zen teacher, Shunryu Suzuki, is saying, is to relax the urgency to know all the answers and take on new challenges as if anything is possible.
Now, where did I put my moon boots?