Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes practiced. I had a decent LOL when Sophia Wise One first shared that updated aphorism with me. Sunlight was pouring in to my high cleaned, teal painted apartment and we were sitting in matching diminutive gingham patterned arm chairs, facing each other with a large window looking out over the street in between our seats.
Learning isn’t linear, healing happens in a spiral. It’s useful to have been practicing your practices when central casting sends the same tired script your way with new people playing the same old parts. When we’ve been practicing, it’s possible to use these tools to make new choices and live differently.
Pretty much anything can count as practice: meditation, yoga, hiking, cleaning, dancing, singing, knitting, skating, running, eye gazing, showering, direct communication, journaling, praying, swimming, and whatever else resonates with you. Any activity done mindfully is practice. Heck, even when we do things un-mindfully, we can still be engaged in practice.
All practice has the same purpose, to bring us back into the present moment, relentlessly. Kim Fleisher said that on a podcast I listened to a few years ago and those words have changed my relationship to consciousness. That’s all I’m ever really trying to experience here on Earth: presence.
Literally all that exists is happening right now. Eckhart Tolle says that the point of power is now. When I can come into a practice with myself, another person, or a group of people, then I’m connecting with the present moment, and that’s what I want.
I practice doing these things that work for me when life feels easy, happy, fun, and flowing so that these practices are second nature when I feel grief, anger, worry, and fear. I forget and remember and forget and remember, and it’s all ok. Often in one of those remembering moments, my prayer is, “Thank you for expanding my capacity for presence. Thank you for helping me to stay here. I want to be here now. What would you have me do next?”
I surround myself with other people who practice presence and I learn from their examples. Mark Nepo says “We take turns being student and teacher. We take turns being awake and asleep. We take turns being confused and clear. Those who wake are the students and those who stay awake are the teachers.”