My White Belt

Yes, this is my white belt and it is one of my most treasured possessions. I received this as a gift from my ontological coaching program Newfield Network as a reminder of the importance of being a “white belt” in life. Simply put, wearing my white belt grounds me in the awareness of embodying life as a beginner.

I keep it in my bedroom so that I can maintain my daily intention throughout my day. As I greet my day each morning, I engage in a practice of holding it. We often only think of practice as a verb — learning to master something in order to get there: thinner, smarter, richer, etc. However, when used as a noun, practice describes something you engage in as a regular part of your life — not as something that you do, but something you are.

My son, upon hearing my attachment to it, laughed and said, “No mama, you’ve got it all wrong, you want to have a black belt — not a white belt.”

Yes, I get the black belt stuff. It’s everywhere. Our brains are constantly having this conversation about lacking, needing, more. There is an abundant supply of this everywhere. Our world does not let us forget that we always could be better and do more — that a “good life” is being the best and having “the best”, always striving for more. I’ve tried the black belt thing and find this way of being leaves me tired, empty and anxious.

Most importantly, my white belt represents the power of choice — in how I choose everyday to see things in my life. Every moment, every day, I have a choice in how I choose to view life.

As I contemplate starting my day, I choose to see life as learning and being a beginner. There is an ease and lightness in the simplicity in keeping it small. The lens of a beginner makes everyday tasks and even tough moments a lot easier to tackle.

My white belt gives me permission to be “the fool”, be silly, take risks, be bold and mess up. In being a beginner, I can live in the questions without knowing the answers. I can live in a mood of curiousity, rather than having the “right answers”. This creates a sense of awe in which we can let go of the certainties to touch the mysteries in life.

My white belt invites the paradox of being complete and incomplete at the same time. I trust that I am enough. I am good, I am pure, I am whole. I am not perfect, nor do I need to be. When I have this foundation I also can see where I need to grow, learn and tackle new challenges.

This seems to be the foundation that many of us are missing as we’re moving through our lives as black belts. No thing can make us more whole or complete. No accomplishment. Nothing can do this but us acknowledging our essential goodness. From here, yes, anything is possible.

When wearing my white belt, I choose to be grounded in the present instead of reaching ahead. When we are striving for results we often become future-focused, which limits our way of viewing life. In this mindset, we confuse living with control and think the answer to a “good life” is managing and controlling the world around us. A wise man says, “when we have the truth, we expect others to obey us.”

With my white belt, I choose gratitude. I appreciate what I have and see that it is enough. Often in pursuing the black belt, we lose gratitude.

I continue to “earn it” everyday as my white belt has become a practice in daily living. It is never done and always unfolding. However with my white belt, life is viewed as a learning journey. Instead of worrying about tomorrow and what’s coming next, I accept the mystery as part of the journey — and a part of life.

I invite you to try on your white belt today and see what shows up for you.

“Dwell as near as possible to the channel in which your life flows.”
~Henry David Thoreau