“Look at everything in the world as if you are seeing it for the first time, and paint everything as if you were seeing it for the last.” Andrew Hamilton
Imagine seeing a loved one tomorrow – a family member, a friend, maybe your favourite dance instructor. But you see them with fresh new eyes, as if you don’t know anything about them yet but you already have a deep and meaningful connection as if you have known them for years.
Wouldn’t you show up more lovingly? Wouldn’t you make more effort to get to know this person, to wonder about them? Wouldn’t you be more present?
I’ve been trying to figure out how we can all see the new in the old so that we never take anything for granted, so that we are always seeking wonderment. How do we improve? How do we elevate?
Two months ago I discovered the secret.
I was teaching Salsa Level 1. This is the class that stresses me out the most. I’ve taught this class hundreds, if not thousands, of times but teaching the reverse turn is rough. On a technical level, it’s hard. It is a win for me if 70% of the students get it. So like the hundreds of times before, I taught the class of 40 students and everybody was getting it.
Nobody even felt like it was a difficult move and the energy was popping and I was smiling. I was glowing and the students were practicing to music and my assistant, Shelley, ran up to me. “Aleks, this is the best class you have ever taught. This is amazing!”
“I know! I felt it and I didn’t want to jinx it but it is definitely the best!”
Shelley: “It’s incredible! What did you do differently?”
Then I panicked. I didn’t know. I didn’t remember and she didn’t remember. I ran to my notebook and jotted down all the analogies, all the ideas that I could remember because after seven years of teaching this class and this move, I finally got it!
The class wrapped up, the students left, Shelley left and I smiled as I looked around the empty studio. At that moment I realized what happened.
I looked at the old with new eyes. For three weeks, I had been at the studio two hours before the students and one hour before my assistant arrived and I would teach to an empty studio. I would teach the moves I have taught hundreds of times, over and over again trying to improve. Sometimes I would get frustrated and think “I already know this, I don’t need to look deeper.”
But then I would pause and think and wonder. “No. Maybe there is something I missed. What else can I do? How can I make it better? How do I engage the students and make it more fun?”
And because I wondered and thought, I kept finding new and cool things about these same old moves. And it made me fall even more deeply in love with teaching and with the moves. It also made me show up more lovingly and excited to give more to the students and make them feel like they #belong.
Things don’t get old, we just need to work at seeing the new in the old.
Approach things you care about with a beginner’s mindset.
When you see your loved ones, when you go to work, when you go back to that hobby that you’ve been doing for weeks or months or years, show up as if it’s day one.
If you approach things with a beginner’s mindset you will find new and beautiful and wonderful things that will ignite you and those around you.
After seven years of teaching, I did. I’m not special, it just took a little work.
Wouldn’t it be amazing and wonderful if you could wake up tomorrow and see your loved ones with fresh new eyes? How would you want to show up?