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Painting Something New in Life – Developing a Beginner’s Mind Perspective in Life

Do you ever find yourself feeling stuck? Or feeling like you can repeat the same day over and over again? If you’ve ever seen the movie “Groundhog Day” (Ramis and Albert, 1993), you can relate to the idea of feeling like you’re going through the same motions over and over again or repeating the same day over and over again. This can be a normal human feeling at times – to feel stuck in the same routine or to feel that life is repetitive. In working with clients struggling with either depressed or anxious thoughts, or addictions, there seems to be similar thought patterns that people struggle with. People seem to have a certain thought that they are fixated on and notice that same thought comes up repeatedly. They may feel like they get caught or trapped in a negative feedback loop. An example of a few unwanted thoughts may be “I am flawed at progressing in life” or “My life will always include this addiction”.

Recently, I was working with a client who struggled with looking at his life without alcohol. Even though he had been clean and sober from alcohol for almost two years, he spoke about alcohol on a regular basis as if it were an active part of his life. While I supported his active awareness of the potential for relapse that alcohol could have in his life, I wanted to encourage him to look at life and the new possibilities he could create. We discussed the analogy of a looking at life as a blank canvas where he could choose different colors that he wanted in the painting.

Applying this idea to life would be looking at life in a completely new and fresh way, with the total absence of unwanted thoughts. Furthermore, shifting perspectives would be looking at life with fresh eyes or what mindfulness perspective refers to as “beginner’s mind”. This idea stems from the Japanese word shoshin (Brzosko, 2018), which means seeing things as new and fresh, as if for the first time, with a sense of curiosity. I wanted to encourage him to see his life with infinite possibilities and cultivating new enjoyment in his life.

How would our lives be different if we approached it as a blank canvas to paint on that day? What colors would you choose? What images would you paint? What would you create or shape in life that day?

How to Cultivate a Beginner’s Mindset:

  • Listen to a visual imagery meditation – Read or listen to a guided meditation that is focused on visualization such as by a stream, on a mountain path, or at a beach.
  • Brainstorm fresh eyes ideas – Make a list of new things that you have been wanting to try or ask friends if they are part of any interesting groups.
  • Do something different today – Add variation to your daily schedule such as starting the morning with a meditation or yoga, talk to a stranger on the train, journal about an interesting experience, or take photos of something interesting.
  • Learn from others – Ask a friend or colleague about a new experience they tried recently or of a recent life lesson they’ve learned. People often like being helpful to others and seeing others succeed.

If you are or have been feeling stuck recently, caught in the same anxious or sad thought and want to freshen your “beginner’s mind” perspective and gain new inspiration, contact Symmetry Counseling.


Brzosko, M. (2018, March 26). How to Cultivate Beginner’s Mind to Become a True Expert. Retrieved from

Ramis, H. (Producer) and Albert, T. (Director). (1993). Groundhog Day [Motion Picture].

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