Posted in Mindfulness, Practices

The Mindful Attitudes: Beginner’s Mind

Understanding Mindfulness

To be mindful is to be awakened to now, presence from moment to moment. As you awaken to life in the now, you’ll begin to release expectations of future moments, as well as the grip of the past. Before arriving here and now, this very moment was considered the future, and will soon become the past. By bringing your attention to the present you are tuning into the only moment that decisions are made, change is created, and life is experienced. Now is when everything is happening.


Mindfulness is best experienced rather than explained. Expanding your awareness and examining your inner world is a life-altering experience. In order for you to appreciate the magnitude of this shift in perception, this is something you must feel on your own and not just take the word of someone else. A good way to introduce yourself to practicing mindfulness is through the avenue of adopting a certain set of attitudes, allowing you to focus on the present moment. In today’s article, I’ll be focusing on the attitude of the beginner’s mind.


podcastart-1Click here to check out the beginner’s mind podcast episode


What is Beginner’s Mind?

A beginner’s mind is the attitude of experiencing this moment as if it is the first time, with curiosity and open-mindedness. Other ways to tap into this experience are recognizing the feeling of wonder and excitement, surrendering to the unknown in your life, and allowing yourself to be new at something.


Just as mindfulness must be practiced to be understood, the attitude of a beginner’s mind is meant to be applied to the present moment. However, the mind has a lifetime of stored memories that it will refer to when similar emotions are experienced. Therefore, you are likely to anticipate, assume, expect, or plan out moments rather than experience them for what they are.


When was the last time you surrendered and accepted that you simply don’t have the answer, in a way that’s not defeat-est but rather curious? By the end of this article, you’ll understand the beginner’s mind, how to recognize when you’re reliving a past experience, and how to tune into the now.


Take a moment to think back…


Bring to mind a time that you were feeling some sort of suffering, discomfort, anger, or negative emotion.

This isn’t the first time you’ve felt this way, and it isn’t the first time you’ve felt this way for this particular reason.

Maybe someone in your family knows exactly what to say to push your buttons.

Maybe your partner isn’t listening or communicating with you again.

Whatever it is that is bringing up these emotions within you is something that is familiar. And the familiarity invites predetermined thoughts, behaviors, and feelings into the present moment.

Because you have been through something similar before your mind is smart enough to connect the dots and bring you right to how this usually plays out for you.

This is an example of an expert’s mind, the mindset claiming to have all the answers, allowing you to move forward with a sense of knowing, having a specific plan ready, and leaving little room for something different to happen. Everyone is guilty of an expert’s mind.

A beginner’s mind, instead, is the attitude of curiosity that encourages you to remain open to what’s going on rather than expecting what will happen. Even if whatever is taking place happens to be something that has happened before or maybe happens frequently.

It’s difficult to detach yourself from the emotion or thought pattern that happens so frequently, but by doing so you are allowing space for something new.

By choosing to be curiously aware of the present moment you are opening yourself up to possibilities, opportunities, and the chance of a different outcome. The attitude of a beginner doesn’t have expectations of how things “should” be handled or experienced, because it perceives this as the first time.

A beginner is present with their experience without the feeling of attachments to particular outcomes or resistance towards others. There is a certain level of acceptance that comes along with a beginner’s attitude. You must accept the insights that come with your past experiences while also accepting that you don’t have all the answers.

Real change occurs when you are recognizing that what creates expectations, attachments, and limits within you are related to past experiences that are not happening right now. 


Being in The Now

By choosing the attitude of an expert’s mind you are basing your behavior and decision-making on similar past scenarios and circumstances. When experiencing a negative emotion you’re likely to remember the sequence of events that followed. If this involved other people then you’ll remember how they acted toward you and how that made you feel.


These memories are so powerful just the thought of them can make the mind and body believe it’s happening now. If you’re recalling the same thought patterns, which are attached to negative emotions, the moment you are experiencing may feel indistinguishable from the past. Your past holds great insight into certain possible outcomes but it can also be a shackle chaining you to the same outcome.


Each time you connect back to a previous event instead of connecting fully to the present moment, you narrow the chances of alternative responses and solutions. If there is going to change, there must first be awareness of what needs changing, and that happens by tuning into that experience.

The past can’t be changed, it can only be a heavy influence on the present moment. It could also serve as a reminder that you can make a conscious choice to choose differently this time. How you use the past boils down to your intention.

The intention you bring alongside the attitude you choose is essential because it’s guiding you on your path. The intention behind an expert’s mind is often to have the solution, to “know already” and maybe even anticipate what’s to come. The intention behind the beginner’s mind however is purer, more allowing of the unknown and therefore more open to what’s possible.

Only by recognizing where your attention is focused can you become aware of your mindset. And by setting the intention of remaining open-minded and curious, you are welcoming a new set of moments to unfold. Below are a few mindful prompts to help you understand which attitude you’re operating from:


Recognize when you’re experiencing an expert’s mind

  • Bring to mind the present moment and how you’re feeling about it.

  • Notice and listen to your internal dialogue for a few moments.

  • Then ask yourself, “Am I anticipating the next moment or a few moments?” “Am I placing blame or judgment somewhere?” “How does my reaction make me feel?”

  • Become aware of the “unimportant details” or “familiar scenarios” you’ve already solved.

  • Ask yourself: Where’s the majority of my attention invested? Am I reliving what has already happened to me?

  • Once you’re aware that you are choosing an expert’s attitude about a situation, begin to list the pros and cons. How does this way of thinking serve you? How does this way of thinking limit you?


How to experience a beginner’s mind

  • Take 3 long inhales, followed by deep exhales inviting you into the present moment.

  • Become aware of the situation that has you feeling intense emotions.

  • Bring to mind the ways you anticipate this unfolding or how it usually does for you.

  • Ask yourself what part of this situation, that has not happened yet, have you already decided upon in your mind? Bring awareness to how that makes you feel and invite the possibility of something new

  • Now match your expectations with a dose of curiosity. Welcome the idea of something new and focus on remaining open to possibilities.

  • Notice resistance to the present moment and allow yourself to lean into it. Feel your feelings, sit with your emotions, and be present in your body.

  • Revisit the present situation and your emotional relationship to it.



Keep Coming Back

The biggest challenge of adapting one of the mindful attitudes is coming back when it gets challenging. It’s important that you remember you didn’t acquire your way of thinking by stumbling upon it, your mind-body connection has powerfully been cultivated through years of repetition. By deciding to change the way you think you must also accept the challenges that will follow, starting with keeping a focus on the present moment.


To practice mindfulness can be explained simply, but to be profoundly understood can only come by being in the present moment. Start by recognizing a situation or circumstance that you continuously have an expert’s mind, and set the intention to open up. Become curious about your thinking as well as how life is unfolding. Be aware of your body’s reaction to the mind, and how all of this is impacting your experience.


Make a choice to keep coming back to setting intentions, admitting that you are a beginner in life, and becoming a witness to the life unfolding before you. Keep coming back and watch what begins to surface.


Love. Heal. Grow.

Check out the replay of this live stream about dropping expectations.
Posted in Mindfulness, Practices

A 4 Step Guide to Calm

How is Stress affecting you?

Stress is experienced through various channels such as mental, emotional, personal, and relational. Whether it be a thought or experience out of your control, the stressor that has triggered an emotion becomes a part of you as energy.

Stress can turn into physical tension, emotional baggage, mental health issues or problematic behavior in the relationships in your life. There are certain stressors that are simply apart of life however, their impact on your wellbeing should not be as easily accepted.

The way you perceive the world plays a pivotal role in how you are reacting to the stress that occurs. Your perception of others is a mirror of what is happening within you. Therefore the gateway to responding consciously to stressful situations in your life is to raise your level of self-awareness.

After years of studying mindful awareness and stress reduction, I’ve come up with a simple practice that reminds you of how to remain calm and come back to the present moment.

Learn to Check Your G.E.E.K.

Gratitude, ego, expectation, and kindness are the 4 prompts that help ground you when experiencing strong negative emotions. This practice can be used when you are frustrated with yourself, angry with another person, or with a circumstance that happened outside of your control.

Below you’ll learn the power G.E.E.K and how to practice it.

Gratitude: Set an intention of APPRECIATION

Gratitude is the answer to living a happy life. The best way to practice gratitude is to find the good in what frustrates you and what you view as a problem. Everything is an opportunity to practice patience and growth. If you can begin to shift your perspective to thinking this way you are making progress.

Ego: Set an intention of EMPATHY

The ego is always living in the past or the future. It is threatened when you experience a negative emotion and will encourage any thinking that involves staying angry or retaliation. Often times it feels natural to lead with egoic thinking as a default. Practicing pause to ask the following questions is an interruption to emotionally driven thinking, giving you the chance to reframe your thoughts to problem-solving not problem sulking.

Expectation: Set an intention of PATIENCE

Expectations are always attached to particular outcomes you assume will unfold, often without awareness. Therefore both disappointment and happiness can be tied into the expectations you set for yourself and others. When overcome with intense emotion work to find the root of the issue by understanding what expectations allowed you to feel this way.

Kindness: Set an intention of COMPASSION

Practice a kind and generous way of thinking, being, and living. The way you treat yourself will reflect on the relationships you form in your life. Bring attention to negative self-talk and practice a compassionate inner language.

fashion woman notebook pen

Practices and Journal Prompts

for Finding Calm

The following questions are meant to interrupt your emotional mind from wanting to react and encourage you to shift your perception to one of compassion. Before you more on to the next intention and set of questions be sure to pause and take 3-5 deep breaths.

While you are in the midst of a pause your breath is the tool that will navigate you through what your autopilot would normally take care of. When focusing on your breath you are bringing the mind into the present moment to truly process and comprehend what’s happening and what follows.

The more you practice pausing the more you will continuously interrupt an unpleasant habit of thinking, which would most likely lead to unpleasant behavior. This is the way to control your moods.


With the intention of appreciation in mind, ask yourself:

Finding 3 things to be grateful for in what is currently causing you to suffer. Finding appreciation in that which causes you unpleasantness is the ultimate shift from victim to wisdom.

Ask yourself, how can I find the goodness in those who test my patience?

Notice the power of gratitude and the positive shifts you’re making with your thoughts before moving onto exploring ego.

Take 5 deep breaths and with each exhale invite a smile of appreciation for doing the inner work to shift your perspective of yourself and others.


With the intention of empathy in mind, ask yourself:

Am I comparing myself with someone else rather than expressing compassion for them? If so, how healthy is it to be comparing myself to others right now?

That which frustrates you can often be a mirror for areas of improvement in your life. Ask yourself, can I honestly see my own mistakes/shortcomings mirrored back to me?

What ways can I practice letting go?

How can I practice empathy to better understand this circumstance? Or the perspective of the other person?

Take 5 deep breaths and with each exhale extend understanding to yourself and others who may be experiencing suffering in any way. Clear your mind and welcome a clean slate for a fresh perspective.


With the intention of patience in mind, ask yourself:

Whenever we feel disappointed, frustrated or upset it is due to an expectation we set for ourselves or for another. With that in mind ask yourself:

What expectations have I set that allowed me to experience this emotion?

Understanding your control lies within the response, not the circumstance is a powerful realization. Ask yourself

What is a positive way to respond to this situation?

Take 5 deep breaths and with each exhale release your grip on this situation.  Clear your mind and welcome a clean slate for a fresh perspective.


With the intention of compassion in mind, ask yourself:

After analyzing this situation with an open-minded perspective it is important that you end your thoughts on a note of kindness. Ask yourself:

Am I being kind to myself in this circumstance?

Consider the voice that’s been answering these questions for you. How was the tone of that voice? Were you gentle with your responses or did they surface as harsh?

If you noticed judgment in your self-talk try replacing it with a response you would say to a friend in your situation. Be understanding, kind and positive.

Am I being kind to those around me?

Take 5 deep breaths and with each exhale invite kind circumstances to yourself and others. Clear your mind and welcome a clean slate for a fresh perspective.

If you’re feeling better about the situation move forward with compassion and inner trust that all is unfolding as it needs to. If not, go back to the top and spend a little longer on whichever section is speaking to you. Use this practice as much as you need to. Take note of the questions that caused you to pause a bit longer or challenged your thinking.

Checking your G.E.E.K. can be a short in the moment practice or a longer one for deeper reflection. However, you use it be sure to embody the intentions you set before asking yourself questions that raise your self-awareness.

Remember that change begins with awareness of self, and it starts with you.


Know Better: Magic vs Logic

Since childhood my head has been filled with extraordinary ideas. Any idea that I was passionate about I held on to tight. I would dream about it, write about it, talk about it and begin to work towards it. Thinking it through with logic and dissecting what could go wrong if I pursued it was never a strong suit of mine. In fact I don’t believe any child should follow a dream with that kind of thinking. If I wanted it and believed in it there was no reason in sight why it couldn’t become a reality. Having others share my excitement and enthusiasm for these ideas was of great importance to me, sometimes just as important as my own opinion. If someone close to me did not agree, or see the possibilities, I allowed the negativity to take over.


When I would share these thoughts I held high expectations to the responses people gave me. If I didn’t receive positive feedback it felt as if someone let the air out of my dream. I was discouraged, frustrated and let down. I allowed other people’s reaction to validate my way of viewing the world. Some couldn’t fathom how it could be done while others gave me reasons as to why it would be too hard to accomplish. After a while the points were making complete sense and logic seemed so much stronger than magic ever could be.



In order for me to truly be happy and keep my passion alive I knew had to change my idea of acceptance. It took years for me to see how detrimental it is to give anyone that type of power over a decision that is ultimately my own to make. Everyone has different mindsets to go with different dreams and no one needs to agree for it to be possible. I decided I was no longer going to allow approval or validation to come from anywhere other than within.



As a grown woman I have vowed to keep the passionate child within me alive. The difference is now I am careful who I share my ideas with. I am conscious of the energies that wish me well and those who do not. At times I still find myself becoming discouraged due to the actions or beliefs of others, particularly if they are hurtful. Instead of getting frustrated I have decided to thank myself for being able to notice when my emotions take the lead, forgive myself and begin again.



It has not always been easy to turn a negative circumstance into a positive lesson. It takes moments of stillness to collect my thoughts and constant reminders to forgive and be kind. It takes a great amount of mental discipline to keep all of this in mind while remembering never to take it personal. I must extend these feelings of love and acceptance to those around me as well, especially for those who do not wish the same for me. Being mindful of my sensitivity toward actions out of my control has proven to be a way of strengthening my patience and understanding. It has also taught me that the intentions of others are not to prohibit me from striving toward my ultimate goal. This obstacle continues to appear in different times and events along my path, helping me grow into the person who is capable of becoming successful while remaining full of compassion, empathy and love.




Logic states something is valid within a particular set of principles and/or strict rules.

Magic gives us the freedom to believe anything is possible.








Posted in Mindfulness, Personal Growth

A Day of Mindfulness: A Life Long Messsage

A Sunday well spent


At 7:45 am I set off to the Blue Cliff monastery which is surrounded by mountains in upstate New York. The ride was about an hour and a half, 45 minutes consisted of miles and miles of immense trees. It began to drizzle and quickly stopped, as the grey clouds separated revealing a beautiful autumn sky. The closer I got to the mountains the fluffier they became, almost as if the clouds were aware of my plans and were conspiring to set the tone. After having an intense week filled with stress and responsibilities I had been counting down the minutes until I began my day of mindfulness. It was finally here.


Upon my arrival the monks and visitors had already begun singing Buddhist songs of love and peace, setting a welcoming vibe as I walked across Mindfulness Road to join them. As we put hands together in gratitude I looked around at the handful of people I’ve never met and yet felt at home with. Experiencing different walks of life that inevitably brought us all together for a day of peace and calm. Collectively we bowed our heads and set an intention before starting our mindful walk through the forest. For the mindful walks I have done in the past I usually focus my attention on my feet; slowly placing my left heel down and then my right, almost as if I’m walking in slow motion. This time I decided to change my intention to focusing on my breath and simply appreciating life.


If you’ve never heard of or experienced a mindful walk I highly suggest giving it a try. There are many different types of mindful practices, all of which consist of paying attention to an action, or actions that we usually don’t give a second thought to. We are turning off our autopilot and noticing it as if it were the first time. The mindful walk allows us a chance to view walking from a different perspective. We get from one point to another and often never pay attention to the in between. The how. It helps us practice gratitude for this simple act that we do every day.


For the most part the mindful walk was silent, only the sounds of footsteps crunching twigs and the wind that kept us company. When we first began it was difficult to silence my thoughts, especially because I had such a stressful week. It felt as if every second my mind thought of something else to distract me. Whether it was wandering into responsibilities waiting for me at home or replaying the events of the past week, focusing was difficult. Remembering my intention was to focus on my breath, I reminded myself of just that, over and over and OVER again. After walking for about 30 minutes we paused for a few moments to just be. Be grateful, be patient, be still.  Above me trees were swaying while others were immovable, all of them unapologetically beautiful in their stance. There were tiny chipmunks unseen but absolutely heard, while the birds were quietly in the open. Our walk continued and there were many different statues of Buddha surrounded by piles of 3 rocks on top of one another. People interpret this in different ways. I saw this as a chance to acknowledge that I was at peace and that I have the power to cultivate this at anytime.



“By realizing my emotion I understand impermanence.”

After our mindful walk through the forest we were given sometime to ourselves before sitting in on the dharma talk. I chose to use this time to watch the clouds of course, after all this is my favorite pass time. They were so beautiful I almost lost track of time. The breeze picked up and blew cool mountain air all around. I felt peace of mind for the first time in…I can’t remember when. I headed over to listen to the wisdom of the monk speaking. As she walked in, and again when she sat down, we joined our hands and bowed in gratitude together. Before beginning we collectively paid our respects to those who lost their live 15 years prior on the morning of September 11th. Strangers coming together to create a peaceful and loving feel on such a profound morning. The energy in the room was comforting.


The topic of the talk overall was how our emotions change due to the behavior of others. The example given was when someone does something we do not like we put them in a negative category in our mind. Once someone, or an event, is placed into a particular category it is not likely that we will cleanse our mind of those thoughts and labels. This got me thinking about the stressors I have been experiencing and the labels I have created for them. Just as I had experienced a bad day, or few days, so could the people who upset me. I felt my judgment toward them melt away. I decided that every being in my life had the right to a clean slate, just like me. We were then given a breathing exercise to try: when we inhale we realize the emotion that we are currently feeling, when we exhale we acknowledge the behavior caused by these powerful emotions. Listening to her speak was a life changing experience for me. Her words flowed through the room as if this were all so simply to understand, therefore easy to embody the next time an obstacle feels impossible to get through. Later on in the day I practiced this meditation next to a statue of Buddha and placed my own three rocks atop one another.


She continued on to explain the concept of nondualism. “We are not the same, but we are not different.” What I took from this is that we are all interconnected and yet still individuals who can not be compared to one another. As the lesson continued I began to understand how our emotions tie into nondualism. When a person or event causes us to experience a certain emotion we are quick to judge, and often not change the judgment we have passed until another experience occurs. This is because we have judged ourselves as well, creating an us vs them mentality. Nondualism embodies the principle that we do not have to have similar interests, lifestyles or mindsets for us to thrive together as human beings. It is imperative for humanity to accept that difference does not mean distance, rather it could present the possibility for an opportunity of understanding another way of life. The broader we expand our horizons the faster we break down the barriers between knowledge and ignorance, comfort and fear. When the dharma talk concluded I felt a shift in my being. I felt a boost of confidence in my ability to spread peace and love. Above all else I felt compelled to share these beautiful words with as many people as possible. If you’ve read this until the end, thank you. Do not underestimate the power of positivity. Please pass it on to someone who can benefit from these lessons. Namaste.

Posted in Mindfulness, Self-Love

I wish I were here

It is too heavy to hold on to the mistakes we have made in the past. It is too vast of thought to worry about what-ifs. The only logical way to live is in the moment. Right now life is happening to us.

We are creating memories, overcoming obstacles, laughing out loud or crying about a devastating loss. Living life to its fullest potential comes with experiencing emotion with great intensity. It is easy to become frightened by what we experience deeply but we should never let this fear make us cowardly.

We should embrace all of our feelings, whether we label them negative or positive. We must remain present with them. We heal and learn through the worst of times by understanding that it is temporary. We rejoice and celebrate through the best times by being grateful because it is temporary.

Letting go of anything but the present I feel light and full, together. Worries are lifted from me while acceptance keeps me grounded at this moment.

In the past when I have experienced pure joy I notice myself go from being fulfilled to questioning its intensity and duration of stay. I used to doubt everything in front of me because I knew it would change, maybe not soon but sometime down the road. Instead of using the time to appreciate my life at the moment I would anticipate how it could be, ultimately wasting my thoughts on ones that cannot be answered without experiencing it.

Our brains are programmed to be one step ahead but our memories push that even further and begin expecting the worst. We associate whatever situation we are currently going through with a time when it didn’t work out.

Reminding future me how much it hurt consequently steals the well deserved moment of happiness from the present me. It is almost as if our brain is training us to get hurt, to get disappointed, to get our hearts broken but we could never really be prepared.

To be mindful is to accept without judgment that this is your life today. What we think we become so the answer lies within us. When our mind brings us to the negativity we have to stop those thoughts by taking deep breaths and remembering to be still.

Be here with the happiness you will one day miss, be here with the sadness that will one day pass, and be here with the people that could be gone tomorrow.

Today I choose to be awake. I feel with the same intensity I always have just with an added understanding that I do not own this feeling. I possess it for the time being and will make the best out of it. It may hurt me or it may heal me but it will always teach me.

Nothing is too good to be true, we are all deserving of happiness and goodness in our lives. Our minds are just not entirely sure how to receive such joy without matching it with disappointment. Letdowns and bumps in the road are guaranteed but the happiness you feel at this very moment in time is not. Someone wishes they could feel that way.

At some point in your life, YOU probably wished for this feeling to overcome you. When it does do not hold on to it for it is not yours. Do not let go simply because it may one day fade. Be with everything you feel until it is time for it to pass and keep your heart open for what lies ahead.

Stay Mindful