Start at the very beginning

etchasketch.blogDecember 31st.  The end of this year.  One step away from the year to come.

I am ending and beginning my year with beginner’s mind.  Open.  Curious.  Passionate.  Allowing.  Accepting.

Beginner’s mind is creation mind.  For me, the best and only place to be.

Last January, in the beginning days of this blog, I wrote about beginner’s mind and Shunryu Suzuki Roshi’s book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.  I love this book, love how it both enlightens and mystifies me.  Suzuki Roshi knew creation mind.  I am sure of it, because this is what he said:

‘The Zen way of calligraphy is to write in the most straightforward, simple way as if you were a beginner, not trying to make something skillful or beautiful, but simply writing with full attention as if you were discovering what you were writing for the first time; then your full nature will be in your writing.  This is the way of practice moment after moment.’

Then further along, he says:  ‘This is also the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.’

This is how I am choosing to end and begin, stepping from 2015 into 2016.  This is how I am choosing to live 2016.

Be a beginner.  Give myself permission to play.  Be open and curious and in love with my life.  Risk the possibility of ugly art and bad writing.  Risk the possibility of beauty that shines through the drawing and sings in every word.  Use everything in my life, and see what happens.  Let myself stand in this present moment and receive what is here for me.

Do this, and through it all, choose love, choose love, choose love.

Happy New Year, Cat!  Happy New Year, all of Us! xoxoxo


In this post:

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, originally published in 1970, currently published by Shambhala

Beginner’s Mind

Old Coyote Trick (standing out)
Old Coyote Trick (standing out)


Start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

I wake early this morning, with these words running through my mind.  They are the opening lines to the song Do Re Mi (Doe A Deer) from the movie ‘The Sound of Music’.  Yes, Julie Andrews singing me awake.

Then I think about knowing things, and not knowing things, and beginner’s mind, and how much I prefer to Know (yes, capital K).  So much for going back to sleep at this point.  My mind is awake and already playing.  I decide to let my mind play, and see what shows up.

The Zen Buddhist Master Shunryu Suzuki taught beginner’s mind.  The book ‘Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind’ is a collection of his talks.  I have read it a few times.  Some of it I understand.  Some of it baffles me.  Every time I read it, the parts that I understand and the parts that baffle me change.  I am a different person each time I read this book, years passing between one reading and the next.  The part that always sticks with me, and that I always understand, is beginner’s mind.

Beginner’s mind is essential for me.  It is where I am when I create my drawings and when I write these words you are reading.  I cannot be a creator without it.

When I am in beginner’s mind, I am present, aware of my body, my thoughts, my feelings, my environment.  I am HERE.  My mind is open, receptive, allowing of whatever comes.  I find it interesting that I can be like this when I am creating, because this is not my usual way of being.

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