Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

The other day through the usual process of bumping into something online, then colliding with it again and again in real life, I arrived at Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. The manifesto is a list of principles that guides Bruce Mau Design’s process. At last count, the manifesto had forty-three items, and because the list is so-called incomplete, I imagine more items will be added. I love this.

The image is striking, isn't it? Begin anywhere. It’s number nine on the list, but in some ways I think it should be number one. (Sidebar: I suspect the principles are not listed in order of importance.) Begin anywhere. How simple! If you are surrounded by options, your only true task is to take a first step. Whether that step is “good” (number two) or “cool” (number fourteen) is irrelevant.

I think of how I began yoga, and I literally began anywhere! There was a small studio in my neighborhood, and I just went. I didn't do any research, I didn’t spend too much time thinking about what I would wear. I just went. And when I walked into the studio, the teacher told me to put my mat “anywhere.” Of course, the poses progressed in an orderly fashion -- not just anyhow! -- but at the end, in savasana, I felt like I was floating above the floor... somewhere... anywhere...

I think this is the beauty of the Zen Buddhist teaching of “Beginner’s Mind.” To begin anywhere is to begin without preconceptions (number seventeen,) to slow down (number thirteen) in order to be receptive to new experiences and events (number one.) Growth can start anywhere, so why not with you?