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Practice does not mean it will ever be perfect

May 16, 2017

Meditation is a practice. Yoga is a practice. Mindfulness is a practice. In our current world where many of us are bombarded or seek out daily reminders of how to live a kind, intentional life, we are also reminded of how many things we need to work on.

Empathy can be learned. Skills can be taught. Capabilities can be adapted. Practice, practice, practice.

Practice does not mean it will ever be perfect.

You might never be a master at this valuable, intangible characteristic or skill that you rehearse over and over again. Yes, even if you put in your 10,000 hours. (How the heck can you find 10,000 hours?!)  Even if you get your 15 minutes of fame. Even after all that, you may still find inconsistencies in your behavior, gaps in your knowledge, others who do it better or differently.

Writing is a practice. That’s what I’m doing here, as if you couldn’t tell. It’s not always obvious if, or whether, you are getting better. Still, the practice, the time, the doing, is valuable.

At what point do you stop judging yourself so harshly? When will you give yourself credit for having achieved some semblance of success?

Practice. What isn’t a practice? Even love, which often comes to us organically and freely, can be hard to muster up on a particularly difficult day. We sometimes forget how to love our partners as we used to. We need to practice. Kindness, particularly to strangers, can be a hard muscle to flex.

And empathy? Empathy often comes easy to me, Except it doesn’t come easily for me. I am not as gentle when judging myself as I tend to be with others. And empathy in the heat of the moment? Any moment? That continues to a vital area for practice.

So is all of life a dress rehearsal? Is the joy in the practice, the doing, the getting there? For many parts of life, I say yes.

I don’t need to practice relaxing, curling up with a book and unwinding. No rehearsal needed for a Saturday afternoon wiling away the hours on a sunny porch with a beer and some buddies. Sitting on the couch on a lazy Sunday, singing a song we just made up or acting silly. No effort required and the moments are what keep us motivated for the rest of our practices.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2017 23:17

    It is the journey, not the destination I suppose. And being human, we seem to fall in and out of such flows. And yet, to keep on it best we can seems to be the best course of action!

    Like

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