I’m beginning to see how my world went from opinion to personal journey. I was having personal realizations as I gave my opinions on interpersonal and intimate relationships. But I also knew I had to practice what I preached. The more I practiced being honest with myself, the more I evolved. Perhaps not as quickly as I had hoped, but it’s an ongoing process. (The evolution of this blog, from opinion to personal journey, is just more proof that my opinions truly do hold deeper meanings.)
And before I go too far on the importance of practice, I want to mention that I’m beginning to see that the biggest challenge of this psychospiritual journey is trying to make linear sense of it all. I love sharing my inner wisdom with you all, but after so many years of engrained “Pythagorian rhythm,” I’m coming to embrace that psychospiritual is simply out of order. It’s the shapeless flow I mentioned before. So I hope I’m conveying all of this in a way that speaks uniquely to you all as individuals.
I realized something. Taking my own advice and practicing what I preach, while it is the right thing to do, it’s tough. Why? Because being an adult and practicing something new just is. And I hadn’t given it much thought until now.
So why is practicing tough the older we get? Well, I think it’s because of the adult routines. They are tried and true. Safe, and directly tied to responsibility. And our responsibilities divert our focus. And practicing anything new requires a youthful, uninterrupted focus…and a willingness to face the uncertainty of the unknown. Otherwise known as a willingness to take a risk.
Giving this more thought it’s clear that nowadays I simply do what I do, which is seemingly what I’ve always done. It’s familiar and it’s safe. And while I try to make the changes necessary to do or be something different, I’m pretty good at becoming easily frustrated and giving up. Mostly because I feel as though there’s not enough time left to make mistakes.
First Foray Into Practice
I have a very vague memory of learning to tie my shoes. I was in preschool. My dad showed me the loop and then over and through. I tried and tried. I practiced but I just didn’t get it. And I don’t remember being frustrated about it. I suppose this was amongst the first times I figured I’d get it when I grew up. Then, what seemed like a moment later, my friend showed me the “bunny ears” technique her parents had taught her. Boom. Got it first try. And while I don’t remember when I made the switch to the grown up version of tying my shoes, it seems as though it didn’t take long.
The moral of “find a simpler way to accomplish a goal, it builds the confidence necessary to go further and hone new techniques” definitely stands out. But I can’t help but see something more profound. Something many of us need to reconcile. As adults we can’t simply surrender to “I’ll figure it out when I grow up.” We’re there. And we perceive our responsibilities as something which we must “do the time” and endure, so we may someday alleviate them. We’ve surrendered to our responsibilities.
As adults we don’t really see any logical way to simply surrender our responsibilities. But surrendering them, even if only in our minds, would give ourselves permission to refocus our attention on something more desirable as we simply wait for a future time when we will somehow “figure it all out.” But that takes a type of youthful trust. And many of us have had our trust shaken by the outer world we experience each day.
So how do we practice? Practice this surrender I’ve mentioned? How do we practice finding our passions, or even just practice finding our imagination? How do we practice anything? Especially when we simply have no time to practice. Because we must focus on doing what gets us by. We must do what pays the bills.
Just a Peek
Are we all just destined to be tied to life as we know it? Destined to long for a change we think is unrealistic but dare to peek at from time to time? Are we destined to just survive until we somehow release some of these responsibilities, let out a sigh of relief, and then start the practice of something different? Because then the almighty question, “What If,” comes to mind. What if by then it’s too late, you’re too old for such change to matter as it does right now, etc?
No. That simply won’t do. Instead, start deciphering a plan. And the first thing is, put some goals in place and put them on a timeline to accomplish. Make them simple. But not simple minded. Choose something you want to learn or do. Write it down. Tell yourself what you need to get there. Then practice imagining it. Over and over. That’s it. Don’t take any action just yet. Don’t try and figure out what you need to do to bring it about. Just let things unfold. This is the first step of practice.
Practice surrendering to the practice of using your imagination. Because the way to accomplishing a goal is to see it clearly in your mind. After all the years of placing our attention on the barrage of outer influences and responsibilities, we must practice how to refocus. And learning how to imagine things again is the easiest, and most rewarding way to practice.
Practice, But Not Like Me
As you know, I’m codependent…hopefully a lot less these days…but part of my codependency means I like control. No surprise there. But that’s where practice showed me that I was trying too hard to use my imagination. How is that even possible? Well, just like trying too hard in school, I try to do everything right to avoid punishment. (Welcome back awkward childhood.) It definitely makes giving up and going back to what I know works much easier, but still leaves me longing.
So I’m learning, and practicing. Practicing embracing my imagination. It’s a private experience anyway, so the only punishment I could possibly endure would be self inflicted. And my journey through the darkness has helped me there. Now I know that if it feels wrong, I can simply choose again. I’m honing my skills of imagination, which allow me to practice focus, which is also the practice of surrender. Truth is, by committing to my goal of healing myself I’m practicing all kinds of things to help me improve so I can become someone I would like to experience. And if I don’t like that person, I can choose again…and again. After all, this is the experience of life we all say we want, isn’t it? To “experience it all.”
So while it’s not as easy as it was when I didn’t have to worry about adult things, it is becoming easier. Because I know that practice makes mediocre before it makes perfect.