Holy cow

 The Princess and The Pea (Eleanor napping on top of a bunch of pillows that I left on the couch)

The Princess and The Pea (Eleanor napping on top of a bunch of pillows that I piled up on the couch)

I watched a TED TALK by Carol Dweck* last evening: “The Power of Believing That You Can Improve”, which dovetailed beautifully with another study that I had just read on Cecile Betit’s website called, “Relearning the art of asking questions.” Two days ago I bought the book, A Curious Mind.

OK. Something is trying to get my attention….three very compelling messages about asking new questions/responding to life in a new way, have shown up in the past week.

This morning I sat outside with my cup of coffee, watched the sun come up, and thought about how I responded to questions that pushed me to think outside my comfort zone or challenged my way of doing things. Did I get defensive? Sometimes. Did I try to make up answers that I thought the person wanted to hear? Sometimes. Did I babble? Sometimes. But I also stayed open at times, genuinely responded with curiosity, and often said, “I don’t know, but that is a good question”, or simply, “I don’t know.”

The visual part of Dweck’s talk helped me to see questions, challenges, and even “failures” in a new way. I could see that when we shut down, defended our limitations, felt bad, retreated into ourselves, or in any other way closed ourselves off from challenging situations/questions, our minds didn’t grow…didn’t”light up”. But when these same situations were taken on with a mindset of adventure, quest, or even the attitude of fun, the brain lit up.

We can all see this in others. When we ask a question and the response has the tone of, “This is the way it has always been done” or “Don’t you dare challenge this. Who do you think you are?” or “It is written….”, we have run into a closed mind. We can feel it when others, whether they are institutions or individuals, think that their way is only one way, and it feels like a wall. We know it when we’ve run into someone’s sacred cow. Yet it is not so easy to see these in ourselves.

But what if we, right now, began to change this? What if we looked at every question and every new and challenging situation as an invitation? What if we imagined that each one of these “problems” was lighting up our brains and turning on our minds to brighter, happier, and more fulfilling worlds? What if we saw these as actually good for us, like “brain training”?

I don’t want a flabby mind. I don’t want to protect my sacred cows. I want a mind (and heart) that lights up with new questions and responds to life with open energy.

“What would it feel like to live with an open heart and mind, right now?”,  is a great question to ask and then to forget…to drop it into the Universe like a pebble in a pond….and let the answer return to us in waves of new opportunities, happy coincidences, and delightful encounters.

*Carol Dweck researches “growth mindset” — the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet? A great introduction to this influential field.

15 thoughts on “Holy cow

  1. I need this message now, today. I don’t want a flabby mind either, wow! Last night while lying awake a short time the thought came to me; tomorrow morning Mary will have a message for you that you need to hear and heed. I’m listening. So difficult to be into resistance and not see my sacred cows. Thanks for a timely message Mary.

  2. “HOLY COW” indeed!!!
    This is marvelous what wonderful things to share
    I love new ideas, new perspectives, this will keep my mind going for days, interweaving new thoughts with existing thoughts…
    Infinite growth
    Thank you Mary for being you one of the wisest, kindest, most open minded women I know!

    Blessings, joy & love to all of you who share the journey


  3. Mary, I love the term defending our ‘sacred cows’. I think of how when things are balanced in my life, I tend to feel more complacent. It’s a nice space to be in. I must admit that it’s nice to have those breathing spaces in my life where my sacred cows are not being challenged. It’s interesting because this week-end I have two B&B guests who are here to take a workshop on Theta Healing. One does not have a car and getting up here into the country from the city an hour away was a challenge for her that seemed overwhelming. I thought on it, asked if she would like me to contact the other guest driving in here and would she consider trying to meet up with her by bus. I put it out into the Universe and here they both are, the carless one took a bus on a milk run into the country to meet the car guest, neither knew each other and they’ve ended up this morning, giggling at the breakfast table so hard they couldn’t eat their breakfast. Why? Well, that’s our secret…but I’m wondering if there wasn’t something else at work here…being open, thinking how this problem could be solved. And I’m learning something about Theta Healing.
    SandyP, In S.Ont.,Canada

    • Hi Sandy,

      Thanks for writing about Theta Healing. This is the first time I’ve heard of it, most interesting! I truly believe we can heal others and ourselves.
      Sounds like you’re having fun with your guests – fantastic!
      Hugs & good wishes,

  4. Two weeks ago we came home to find that our dogs had destroyed part of a door frame and door (original from the 1920’s). For the past 4 years they had been fine being limited to the kitchen while we were out. We decided to get crates for them, as they liked the crates they used to sleep in. Maggie started chewing the inside of her plastic crate and scraped her nose & face. She was obviously stressing out, ignoring treat filled bones & chew toys.
    Instead of figuring out another way to contain them, we did the exact opposite, by leaving open the door they chewed and letting them have access to more of the house. The crazy thing is that they haven’t destroyed anything else! They brought their chew toys into the living room & obviously slept in their usual spots on the couch, but that was it. Keeping our fingers crossed…:)

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