There is hardly a day that goes by in my house when someone does not get frustrated because they can’t do something.
It is always a physical or mental challenge or skill that one of us just can’t do. (Right now anyway.)
You often hear these words, “It takes practice. You’ll get there. Keep practicing.”
It’s only been in the last few years that I realized that practice is a perpetual part of daily life. It happened when I switched my training focus from losing weight to practicing a skill. (Thank you Ever-Patient.) I am able to measure my strength by completing the challenge I have set for myself – a full push-up, a chin-up, a pistol, a 12 kg kettlebell snatch, etc. My training routine revolves around mastering the skill.
Practice, for me, has become a form of trying to master something in the form of repetition, routine, and ritual. Whether I am beginning a new morning ritual of sunrise,prayer and meditation or a new training practice to do a handstand, or writing every day for a 100 days, it is a practice.
There are two things this year that I am practicing for the first time: speaking Spanish and doing yoga. I am dedicated to learning these skills. These practices are bending me in ways that I never thought I could bend – physically and mentally.
Travelling to three Spanish-speaking countries this year has forced me to ramp up the practice and face my fear of looking like a fool through using mixed up words, wrong phrases, ugly accents and even mixing in some French words by accident.
Yoga forces me to move slow and pay attention to my body’s strength in a different way. I am approaching it like my physical training – mastering a skill but it is challenging. I am practicing balance, body awareness, and breathing.
Until I tried to learn yoga and another language, I didn’t realize how much I don’t breathe. Speaking with a different accent actually requires a varied pause of breath as I form the words in my head and try to make it flow. While yoga simply draws me to witness my breathing.
I understand Martha Graham’s reference to a “satisfaction of spirit” as I perform my daily practices. My mornings have become a practice of conversations with myself, God, and my husband. This dedication to learning and practicing new things has led me to see things differently and to get to know myself better.
Shunryu Suzuki writes in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind:
“Waves are the practice of water.”
Life is a practice. It is a never-ending journey of learning to become and to remember who we really are.
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.