What's new, Pussycat? ... woah, woah
Today, I want to explore having something new in your life on a regular basis. Although I don't do this on a prescribed quota basis, I have noticed that my life is often full of newness. There are three advantages that I see to this:
New things affect perspectives.
The way we view life, including our limitations or difficulties, are driven by the lens we use. This is made up of what we know already, through experience or second hand beliefs, etc. Introducing new experiences by it's nature creates a bridge to a new thought. That can help towards a slightly modified lens. A few of these together or layered can start to have significant effect on the way we view ourselves and life. A change of one degree now has a much bigger impact down the line. My top tip is going to a meetup group at a location of your choice, a good way of being exposed to a lot of new people and perspectives around your subject of choice (www.meetup.com)
Building acceptance muscles
By its nature, new things can seem alien. That helps you learn to accept uncertainty in life as well as difficulty sometimes in getting up to speed fast. This is great if you are a perfectionist that needs to learn to let go, laugh at yourself and appreciate what you are good at. New things need practice most times. So in the process of adapting to something new, you start to accept yourself as human. You also find yourself using your transferable skills to gain ground. Not all challenges will get sustained interest, but they will still contribute to your ability to remain standing on shifting ground. That sharpens those survival skills that are transferable in themselves in your everyday life at work.
New experiences can help achieve goals
I went on a 10-day silent meditation retreat a month before my MA dissertation was due. I had a mental block and simply couldn't complete write. Given a day of travelling either way, I had two weeks to finish a 40,000 word start to a novel. The meditation unsettled me and so much came up, but I was only to observe and let it go. No writing, no speaking, co calling. No other outlet. I was chomping at the bits to get out by the third day. The snoring in the dormitories was keeping me up. The bell rang at 4am every morning for pre-breakfast meditation. I was exhausted and hungry much of the initial period. I was so stiff all the time I had to stretch a lot in the gardens during the breaks. We spoke no word to each other, all few hundred of us, and passed each other without eye contact. Even that could be deceiving and this was to be an entirely personal inner experience practicing four noble truths, including no deception. By the sixth or seventh day I had had an experience of being nothing, immaterial, during a meditation. By the end, I was feeling lighter, more enlightened and had material that I knew would lead to something meaty. I ended up writing till the early hours in the days to come and submitted the part-novel that earned a distinction, and since then have finished the novel that has got some touching reviews. The new experience was empowering and I never saw the world in the same way again. If you want to try it, visit http://www.dhamma.org/en-US/index And now a treat for you. And remember to enjoy every newness in your life.