Ah Practice

It was when I was learning piano as a child that I made the decision around it all being about performance and pleasing the adults. And in that decision I lost for years the beauty of just practicing for the sake of practicing.

Where oh where has Henry been? When last we left our hero he was headed off to a gathering of his tribe of Leadership leaders 3 weeks ago. From that time to this he has been moving from one consciousness opening event to another with a day or two in between. So there has been loads of realizations, awarenesses, openings, decisions, fun, sorrow, and just life in general that hasn’t been brought to this blog.

A couple of posts ago I was writing about the distinction that I had discovered between practice and performance and how I needed to move more from a life based on performance to a life based on practice. I think I have been shuffling around between those two over the last 3 weeks not really choosing either path. I notice I am having a difficult time letting go of performance, much more difficult then my enlightened self would care to admit. I also notice that when I leave out my practices my life slips inevitably back to the familiar and sometimes abusive habits and patterns that homeostasis still insists on identifying me as being.

Those practices are always with me and gently calling to me suggesting how much more alive and conscious I will be if I simply step into these familiar old friends. That act of stepping though has so much junk and old beliefs clinging to it that it can sometimes feel like taking the first step on the moon, exciting and scary at the same time. The other challenging thing about that first step or choice is that I want to now keep performance out of it. I would often use “should” as the way to take that step or I would take that step to “look good” for Karen, the world, life, or you readers of my blog. Should and looking good are performance based motivation that will ultimately lead me back to those same old patterns and habits. No that step is for Me mySelf and I only. It is a step that I take regardless of the conditions of my life or my world because I know that it is always there to take, it is simple and I know how to take it. I take that step and make that choice because I know that it is a step that I take that I will never finish taking because there is no destination or goal, there is no place I will arrive at and say “whoa that journey has been worth all those steps and practicing”. In this journey there will be no applause or rewards for arriving somewhere. There will be no goal weight reached, no waist line achieved, no test passed, there will only be the ongoing satisfaction that happens as mySelf becomes more integrated and conscious. Oh sure there may be things that happen to me along the way that will be remarkable and greatly satisfying, but I can’t be setting those things out in front of me as goal and then start wrapping them up in performance. With these things that I have found to be true and good for me I need to do my Best to practice them and avoid choices around them that lead me down the path of performance.

I want to be clear that I am all for goals and performance based results for certain circumstances, just not in relationship with these practices.

Here is another truth that I can easily drop when I get busy. It is never the ‘wrong’ time to do practices, I am never too ‘busy’ to do practices. I have a very clear idea as to what practices to do on the road and when I am busy that will allow me to do my best at keeping my word to mySelf and growing my consciousness. I also know that there will be times when I slip and slide my way into not practicing and those times will lead me to less consciousness and a feeling of being a bit lost and out of touch with mySelf. These times are not ‘bad’ and I am not ‘wrong’, I haven’t even failed. Because I know that the practices are always right there to pick up and start using again, I feel them there gently nudging me back to consciousness and to growing this amazing being that I am.

I am also not sure I need to use this venue to hold me accountable for performance of the individual practices. I do want to continue to write about this journey and what I am learning and expanding in my awareness through these practices and sometimes it may be helpful to tell the truth about my practice, both in times of solid practice and times of slipping and sliding, but I am reminding mySelf here that I am not doing that for you readers, I am doing that for mySelf. I need to be aware of the seduction of performing for all of you out there who read this. That too can be a siren call back to performance.

2 responses to “Ah Practice

  1. AH – practice and performance – a subject near and dear to my musician and music teacher (16 years) heart. I love working with musicians as a coach precisely because they have familiarity with and curiosity about practice/performance.

    For me, in my daily practices, I have found it helps to be a bit compulsive. ha ha. When I travel and even when I share a room with someone, I still do my nightly Reiki and prayer routine and I still journal and meditate in the mornings, but I have this kind of travel-sized version of everything.

    Jim Fixx wrote in his book on Running – on the day you don’t feel like running, just suit up and go to the place where you run (out your door or down to the beach, wherever). Then you can go home if you want. Fact is, most of the time, one runs. I know it worked for me in my running days. It works for me still in all practices.

    I relate to the travel piece too in the way that I make up that when I am traveling I get to eat whatever or if I’m at a party, same thing. But that’s when my practices were related to performing … by which I mean to say I was performing my practice (as you put it). So it felt heavy and burdensome to practice. Same with gym routines, etc.

    Feeling watched while practicing also leads to performing for me. (like my windsurfing and tennis days) That is what I hear you saying with regard to this blog. You are not performing your practice for us. I admire your honesty in saying so.

    Performing practice is what many coaches in training feel when they are in certification. It impdedes curiosity and thus, creativity and learning. In the paradox of practice and performing, I suspect, we’d find the road to mastery.

    Generally, in the end, I found that remaining curious and creative I have been able to discover practices that speak to the whole of me Body, Mind, Spirit, Heart in a way that has me love the practice and forget I am performing while still achieving my goals, whatever they are for that practice.

    Meanwhile, I continue to perform like crazy (as you know) and it is on ongoing practice to surrender and release.

    Blah blah blogging back at you with love and gratitude! Thanks for giving my muse a shot in the rear today.

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