Thursday, November 12, 2009
practice: 1. to do or perform habitually or customarily; make a habit of 2. to do or perform (something) repeatedly in order to acquire or polish a skill. I was thinking of this word today and it created some interesting questions for me. First of all I was thinking of all the things that we practice in this world. A doctor doesn't 'do' medicine, she practices it. Lawyers practice law. I'm a massage therapist and I don't 'do' massage, I practice it. I'm also a witch and we don't 'do' magic, we practice it. This is one of the things that drew me to this path, that we are always learning what works best for ourselves, not dependent on what others have done, simply using their experiences as guideposts for our own exploration. One of the most common things we think of as a practice is yoga. Hatha yoga is a practice of physical poses but the practice of yoga goes much further than that. Yoga is a life-long practice of integrating our mind, body, and spirit and can be applied to anything we do with meaning in our lives. Meditation is an important practice, whether it's a part of our yoga or not. There is so much beauty in the things we practice and the very idea that we are practicing gives us the feeling of not needing to be perfect. So I wondered, what if we take this practice a step further? What if we agreed that we're all always practicing everything? If we knew that we are all practicing friendship, for example, would we be more forgiving, less judgmental? If we agreed that we are practicing love, would we be more patient with our partners and remember that our relationships take effort and that they deserve work? If we realize that we're practicing parenthood, would it help us to strive to become better at it? I think that's the thing that struck me today about that word and gave me so much comfort. If we're practicing, we don't have to have it all figured out. If we're practicing, we know that there is room to get better, room to grow into what we're doing. So when we're letting our inner critic run her mouth, lets take a moment and remind her that we're here to practice, for goodness sake, and we'll do better next time. Sorry for using the word 'practice' so many times but I'm just a writer practicing.