No “thing” just happens.
Everything takes practice. The Dalai Lama talks about practicing compassion. The key word is practice. It takes practice to be compassionate just like it takes practice to be able to run a 7-minute mile or to be punctual. Nothing just happens. And the list goes on. Life is about practicing, not always about perfecting. Learn new things and practice them forever. I don’t believe in mastery. There is always room to grow and more details to find, we are all eternal students. And so this is why I word my new learning in this way.
This year I’ve learned:
- How to practice a freestyle flip turn
- How to practice being compassionate
- How to practice taking photographs
- How to practice living in the moment
- How to practice uploading photographs to Flickr
- How to practice editing photographs
- How to practice eating healthy food all the time
- How to practice making a lot of different food at the same time for my family’s needs and health
- And so on…
Want to Try?
Choose ONE thing you would like to improve or better yet something you have always wanted to do but held yourself back because of an excuse (valid or not!). Choose just one thing – maybe the first thing that pops to mind. Now make a commitment to practicing it consistently. You don’t have to sign anything or make a public declaration; it’s your word, your honour.
The “thing” you choose might have to be practiced every hour on the hour. It might be more often, like every time you open your mouth (?!), or once per week.
Every “thing” takes practice.
I’ve been practicing to be compassionate to everything. Even mosquitoes. I have made a conscious effort to assist any insect that happens into my house, back to the great outdoors (where I think they’d rather be anyways).
Here’s how I did it:
- First, I enlisted my husband to catch the insect and gently put it outside.
- When he wasn’t around I’d have to build up the courage to approach the insect on my own.
- With practice and experience I became less fearful and more comfortable with the task.
- I found myself spending many minutes in a dance of catch the insect, often letting more in house in the process.
Now, I know I have reached a state of compassion for all bugs. I look at them with fascination, curiosity and kindness. They have as much right to life as do I. As a result I have found one of my pleasures is to photograph insects. Who knew this could happen? All because I decided to practice compassion.
It takes practice to wake up a few minutes earlier every morning to practice my bed stretches. It takes practice to time my meals so that I am well fueled and adequately digested in order to practice my body maintenance exercises.
There is nothing special about me which enables me to run a 7-minute mile, to do a freestyle flip turn or take the time to relocate an insect to the great outdoors. All I’ve done is learned how to apply this magical element that is within each and every one of us, but has taken on an out-of-this-world status.
And it’s not that practice makes perfect. I’m not after perfect. “Perfect is a moving target.” Practice Makes. That’s it.
As my husband says: “It’s all about Discipline. And sure it’s Simple, but its only Easy if you Practice.
When we practice and focus our energy on something meaningful it seems like amazing things happen. But those amazing things are actually just run of the mill kind of things. Ask anyone who looks as though they are doing AMAZING things. They’ll just nod and shrug it off; to them its just a natural part of living – simply, who they are and what they do.