Practice, practice, practice.
It reminds me of the punchline to an old joke: “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”
Practice, practice, practice.
This year is already shaping up to be my year of practice:
I constantly have to remind myself:
These are not destinations…
They are journeys.
Practice is patience.
Patience is a practice.
Two words so intertwined.
Two words that I have to wrestle to the ground every day.
Two words that I try to incorporate into my daily vocabulary… as I stumble through the amorphous world of being an entrepreneur. An independent producer.
A woman who moved to a place (Hawaii) where I am no longer bombarded by distraction (Hollywood).
A woman who is making a conscious effort to find balance and (if I am lucky) a new way of being. My adrenal gland should be happier. My cortisol production has got to be a fraction of what it was when I was a corporate executive.
But I still wake up every day very task-oriented. Schedule oriented. Success oriented.
Some of that works. I am a firm believer in routines, schedules and tasks. I believe most of my previous success came from these self-imposed rules. But now the measure of success is different. With no corporate ladder to climb, and no imminent paycheck in sight, what is the measure of my success?
I am accustomed to a letter grade, a title increase, a promotion, ratings, rankings, winning and losing. But I stepped off the proverbial “hamster wheel” to redefine success because I wanted “more.”
More creative control.
I wanted to stop marching to the beat of someone else’s drum (i.e., having a boss) and the rhetoric of corporate agendas. I wanted to be my own boss. Create my own projects and feed my soul.
But in doing that, I am required to spend a lot more time alone. Alone with my own thoughts. Often a scary place to be because my thoughts are fast-moving mine-fields of self-doubt and negative self-talk.
So I am still learning to be with that new boss: Me. She is a taskmaster. She is very judgmental. She is very impatient. She is very results-oriented. She is me. Me is she. I am not sure there is room for the both of us.
Which is why I learned to meditate. As I have said before, meditation is a practice. I have talked about how difficult I found it at first, but I continued to practice. It has been a year now. Finally, a few months ago, I had a breakthrough in my practice. I have developed a love of this daily practice. A serenity (or ease) that I have never felt before.
But meditation has not been enough to drown out the voices in my head. (It’s a stubborn head.) So I needed to re-introduce yet another “practice.” Yoga. I had done a bit of yoga way back when… way back before I had children. But I lost my yoga practice when my favorite studio (and teachers) were too far from my home (and work). Finding the right teacher is so key. Maybe that’s true with any training, but for me, yoga truly needs that connection with the right teacher and environment.
Yoga is a little like riding a bike, but in this case, the metaphorical “bike” has not been oiled or serviced in decades. So there is some memory of postures, but my body doesn’t bend and fold in the same way that it might have 25 years ago. In my practice, I am reminded (and humbled) by my limitations.
Then there is writing. Like meditation, this is a new muscle. A new discipline. A new passion. A new practice. As I write this blog, I am reminded just how much practice this muscle requires. In some ways, this is the least tangible of the “practices.” In yoga, I am rewarded when I touch my toes or hold my “plank” position for extra time. In meditation, I just have to survive 20 minutes at a time with my eyes closed in a comfortable seated position. But in my writing practice, there is no tangible measurement of “doing well” or “progressing.” So all I can do is continue to practice... and be patient.