Lately my soul has been whispering to me, "Learn how to paint" which I think sounds intriguing. I know nothing about painting - couldn't tell you a paint brush from a paint brush or what type of paint I'll be using. I don't even know what's different about paint types.
I am 100% a beginner. Awkward and unsure. Willing to try.
Since junior high I have painted exactly twice. Both of them within the last year and one just this past Saturday. I took one of those guided classes where everyone creates a version of the same picture with guidance from the instructor.
What's interesting is how ok I am with being a beginner. During the class my inner dialogue was actually quiet. I was trying my best and allowing the results to be as they were. My attitude was, "I'm not selling this on ETSY or whatever...this is just practice and learning."
A couple of the other women in class had a different attitude. They were saying things like, "I don't like mine" "I'm afraid to get started" "Mine doesn't look right" and so on. A younger version of me would have been doing the exact same thing. I'm not judging anyone on this, only observing what was happening.
I realized, THIS is what 20 years of yoga has done for me. Not the yoga butt, not the not looking my age, not the physical health and vitality.
Yoga has given me the ability to have a calm, quiet mind that can simply observe what is happening.
Yoga Sutra 1. 2 says, "The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff in yoga." A calm, focused mind is yoga. Not the fancy poses, not the yummy stretches, not cute outfits.
That is what I was experiencing during the painting class. I was not ecstatic, not judgmental of my awkward beginnings as a painter, not disturbed by the other women's hardness on themselves.....Ahhhh - Yoga. True yoga. Union. Wholeness. Peace. An undisturbed mind.
The call of my soul led me to a sweet moment of yoga.
Yoga reminds us all that it's ok to be an awkward beginner. At anything. Being a beginner is the firs step towards not being a beginner - at yoga, painting, cooking, hiking...whatever your soul is calling you to.
And the next morning when I looked at my painting I thought, "Hey, that's awesome!"