Monday, May 21, 2012

Shosin and Life Changes

Let's just be upfront and say that when you think of "zen-like" people, I am not the first face that probably comes to mind.

I'm a little chaotic, sorta frenetic when I get on a task or idea that's new and shiny, and when I'm on, I'm bouncing around at 1,000 mph.

But this concept of "shoshin," or beginner's or child's mind, popped up last week in a blog I was reading about knitting (go figure), and then again in a business presentation book I grabbed on the way to taking the kids to the playground. (It just so happened to be the top book in a donation pile and the only thing I had time to snatch up in our hurry. Figures.)

Both explain the benefits of this state of mind, especially in the face of stress, major changes, and new experiences. And well, if these days we're living through right now aren't all about stress, major changes and, soon, new experiences, then I don't know what they are.

Sometimes, when I'm knee deep in trash bags and donation boxes and I still can't see the floor, I forget that this is something we wanted. The whole time. This move is something that I made happen, even in the face of opposition, lack of opportunities within my own company, and general common sense. I pushed through lack of cash flow, lack of housing contacts, and lack of employment support and we bought our tickets and sold our stuff anyway.

I mean, really, when does a family just pick up and move within seven weeks when mama is in her third trimester of a surprise pregnancy? Well, when they really, really want something new and positive in their lives, I suppose.

Late at night, I can't sleep. I think about just how awful rolling into a new town with absolutely nothing but the clothes on our backs and a few sentimental knick-knacks just might be.

What are we going to sleep on?

What are we going to eat on?

How are we going to make it all work when the relocation money starts thinning out?

What's our safety net?

I don't sleep so great these days, can you tell? (Hell, I haven't really slept great since about 2009, but that's beside the point. Love you, Boo Bear!)

But then, twice in one week, shoshin has crept into my consciousness and Shunryu Suzuki, the great Zen teacher, whispers things like:

"In the beginner's mind there are endless possibilites, in the expert's mind there are few."

What if the point of this episode is to see the entire thing like a child would? Each new sight and smell is something good and noble and worth pursuing more of. Things like houses and beds and forks find their way to you if you're open and accepting. Do things really work like that?

Do I limit myself by trying to have all the Is dotted and Ts crossed before I even step foot back in Texas? What if there's something amazing on the other end of the journey and I completely bypass it because I had to have it all mapped out from afar before the adventure even began?


That's a word people have been using around me lately as they see us off and wish our family well.

"View it as an adventure and just enjoy it."

I nod and smile and say that I will, but really, I'm thinking about the fact that the money will only get us so far when we get there and then what will we do?

Who wants an adventure with no coffee tables?

Well...a beginner does. A child does.

My son could care less what we stuff the new house full of.

He just wants to see the new neighborhood and look for a pool and a park. He wants new smells, new people, new food, new toys, new sheets, and a new bed.

The rest of those details are unimportant to Boo and when they're decided eventually, they'll be just fine with him.

Brilliant boy, that one.


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