Perhaps some of you are like me in this way: when I don’t understand something, I may get curious, become inquisitive about it. However, if I dig further and still don’t understand it, I can be quick to dismiss it as—in the worst cases—a bunch of nonsense or—in the best scenario—as something that’s just not for me.
Reflexively, the idea that I have to put in extra effort to get somewhere with that new thing, that I have to start from scratch, is often off-putting.
It’s strange how the notion of practice can lack in appeal. It seems to reek of toil and grind, of an overwhelming lack of instant gratification. And we love instant gratification, don’t we?
Having to repeat something day after day after day strikes us as the opposite of exciting.
It is time to reverse the prejudice against conscious effort
and to see the powers we gain through practice and discipline
as eminently inspiring and even miraculous.
So much in life is a practice.
Gratitude is a practice. Yoga is a practice. Taking a deep breath before speaking instead of just blurting the first thing that comes to mind is a practice.
Writing is a practice. Cooking is a practice. Being in a relationship is a practice.
Getting out of our comfort zone is a practice. Moderation is a practice. Compassion is a practice. Being authentic is a practice.
Comparing ourselves is a practice. Gossiping is a practice. Loathing ourselves is a practice.
We already practice so much, often unconsciously, thus greasing grooves that can dictate the flavour of our life, making it sweet or bitter. We have to grow wise, and aware, about what we practice.
Practice means to perform, over and over again
in the face of all obstacles,
some act of vision, of faith, of desire.
PRACTICE IS A POWERFUL THING
It wasn’t until I became consciously curious about the idea of practice that I actually started to put it… into practice! Deliberately, at least.
If there’s one thing practice is not, it’s doing things perfectly. In fact, I believe that it’s basically the opposite of perfectionism. Practice isn’t obsession; it is consistency. Practice is not being attached to the outcome, but being enamored with the process.
Practice isn’t about doing things right all the time: struggling is an integral part of every practice. The struggle makes it rich, and awkward, and sometimes painful, but always worthy. A practice without struggle isn’t a practice, it’s a straight line. And nature doesn’t deal in straight lines.
You can look to the horizon, feel that it’s your final destination, and be paralyzed by the fear of imperfection.
Or you can start moving, step after step after step. Don’t hype yourself up, just do it. Do it once. And then do it a second time. And again, and again, and again. Move slower than you thought you would. Get muddy along the way.
As slowly as you may go, one shambling step at a time, you start getting somewhere.
Once you get to that point which you first saw on the horizon, you’re bound to realize that there’s just so much road ahead of you. Or more than one road.
That, to me, is the magic of practice.
Who knows what you will discover?
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