Are You Making Time To Learn And Grow?

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” 
T.H. White

Ben and I are off to attend a three-day conference today, as part of our professional development. Three big days of learning, discussing ideas, and meeting new people.

We make it a point to find a couple of learning events every year. Sometimes about business, sometimes about the state of the world, sometimes about health or culture or some other thing that piques our interest.

From worm farming to real estate investment to World War Two history to green smoothies to straw bale building technology we’ve dipped our toe in the water. Staying curious isn’t hard with such a smorgasbord of topics on offer.

Learning opens us up to new ways of thinking. It gives us fresh topics for discussion and it often triggers further searches for related information.

One of the wonders of our modern world is that learning is so accessible. Sure, we can travel in person to a conference or a lecture. But we can also live-stream an online summit, join a webinar or online course, attend a festival, watch a youtube video or TED talk, listen to an excellent radio program or podcast, join an online forum or mailing list, or read a book.

How about you?

Are you creating space for learning in your life? What is fascinating or deeply engaging you right now? I’d love to know, so let me know in the comments here or over on facebook.

Sending love your way, Nicole  xx

PS – Want to dip your toe in the water of my world? Come join me for our Channelling and Guided Meditation Evening, or for one of my workshops over the weekend of May 25-27 here in Brisbane, Australia. I’ll be teaching foundation spiritual practices, meditation and mala making. No matter what level you’re at I’ll have something for you on my program. More details here!

Embracing your Inner Beginner

Image from www.doremejourney.blogspot.com

Image from www.doremejourney.blogspot.com

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” ~ Steve Jobs

In this time-pressured life of ours, where everything is vying for our attention and our money, and where there is so much emphasis on success, I’ve observed something that saddens me greatly.  Most grown-ups I know are more and more reluctant to be a beginner.

Oh sure, people want to try new things.

But they try new things based on hoping or expecting that they’ll be good at it, and if they aren’t they quickly move on to something else.

Even worse, I know people who won’t even start something because they feel they should have begun learning that thing twenty years ago. Starting late they may never go on to have the results they’d dreamed of.

But do we need to do everything for an external validation of success?

And what happened to the joy of being a beginner, embracing our curiosity, and giving ourselves permission to be REALLY bad at something, in order to perhaps become better, one day, with practice? What happened to doing something just because it makes us happy?

Sometimes the picture in our mind of how we should look/act/sound/perform/create prevents us from getting out there and having fun or giving shape to our most cherished dreams!

Often, when we embrace new things, where we end up looks nothing like we’d expected, but is wonderful and enriching anyway.

The Sydney Banjo Band - www.sydneybanjoclub.blogspot.com.au

The Sydney Banjo Band – www.sydneybanjoclub.blogspot.com.au

A friend of mine took some singing lessons and joined a local choir. He’ll never have a recording contract, or be a household name, but he has found out that he loves to sing and to perform, and he’s made some terrific friends.

Another friend of mine went to an embroidery class with her mother, to give her lonely mother an outing and perhaps spark an interest. Instead my friend’s interest was sparked.  Years later she makes commissioned pieces such as christening gowns, bunny rugs and heirloom blankets for family and friends.  It’s not a full-time job, just a much-loved hobby, but it has shaped her life and given it extra passion and meaning.

A client, who had wanted to be a doctor, ended up married young and being a full-time mother instead. When her marriage ended, long after her children had grown, she decided to go back to study. She was very much a beginner, and had to first complete high school subjects, learn how to use a calculator and computer, and then learn the language of academia – how to study, how to submit papers and so on.  It was a long road, and she was older by far than everyone else in her class.  She graduated at age 64, and now has a job in a rural community as a general practitioner. Allowing herself to be a beginner wasn’t easy but it changed her life!

Image from alpbuzz.blogspot.com

Image from alpbuzz.blogspot.com

Being a beginner is a powerful creative and spiritual act.  Giving ourselves permission to be a beginner takes all the pressure off, and enables us to better enjoy the ride.  Maybe we’ll be good at that thing, maybe we won’t. Maybe it will take time (yes, really!) to know if this new thing is for us, or if we will in fact ever have some small measure of skill. But every journey to a new place teaches us something, and often leads us in unexpected directions.

So today I’m encouraging you to embrace your inner beginner.

Do something simply to try it out.  Do it for the fun of it. Do it without caring about the outcome, or your productivity level.  Do it badly.  Do it laughingly.  Do it earnestly, and with devotion. Because new experiences enrich us, they sharpen our minds and keep us young at heart. They help us grow. And most importantly, in a place of newness, devoid of expectation, miracles happen in the form of transformation…

545334_10151062278213410_593505694_n