Beginner’s Mind, Beginner’s Heart

Beginner’s Mind, Beginner’s Heart

This month, I celebrated my 20-year anniversary as an Ashland massage therapist. I’ve often heard it said that it takes 20 years of practicing a skill to become a “master”. That makes me laugh – out loud! I have a beginner’s mind when it comes to massage and won’t be calling myself a master anytime soon;  as in the rest of life, the more I know, the more there is to learn. However, my massage has become more masterful, most importantly in the realms of presence, intention and focus.

One of my clients called me an artist, and that is an amazing compliment because to me, his comment means that my massage is fluid and changing, and suggests that he’s not receiving a cookie-cutter massage when he comes in. That’s important. With each year that passes, I bring more of myself to each aspect of my life, and my massage practice is no exception. Experience, yoga, dance and other mindfulness practices are responsible for my strengthened focus, intention, and openness, and I share these qualities with my clients in every massage.

I relate to what Rob Brezsny, author of Pronoia, writes about beginner’s mind and beginner’s heart:

‘Beginner’s mind’ was originally a Zen practice. Many artists and thinkers now use it to stimulate their creativity. To achieve this blessed state, you dispense with all your preconceptions and enter each situation as if you’re seeing it for the first time. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities,” wrote Shunryu Suzuki in his book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, “but in the expert’s there are few.” As much as I love beginner’s mind, though, I have an even more important assignment for you […] Cultivate a beginner’s heart. Approach every encounter with love as if you’re feeling it for the first time.

I try and practice this with each massage I give.

Thank you to all of my clients – past, present and future – for trusting me with your well-being and giving me the opportunity to have a career of 20+ years. You are part of my celebration!

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