Wednesday, December 19, 2018
What you practice expands
What you practice expands into other parts of your life - from creative efforts, to health and diet to success at work.
Last July, on my birthday, I decided to commit to an art practice. I decided to paint every day for 108 days. I’m still not sure what drove me to make this promise to myself, but I did. I kept it loose – even holding a paintbrush, picking up some paint and depositing it on ‘something’ (because I paint just about anything I can get my hands on this ‘something’ could be a canvas, some paper, a piece of furniture, some garden tools). I wanted to keep it light, with the focus on the practice instead of results.
What happened? Did I paint absolutely every day? No. I painted almost every day thought. And I approached painting differently. And as I painted more, my painting changed and morphed and became something I had not anticipated, both in terms of content (what I paint has shifted, much to my surprise), but also in terms of feelings associated with painting. Gone (mostly lol) is the heaviness that I felt when I approached painting thinking I needed to produce something of value. Now I can paint for 5 minutes and count it as a win. Often, I paint for longer, but the win happens in very little time… the rest is just a bonus.
Something else also happened though, something pretty cool and momentous. The discipline of painting daily bled into other areas of my life. I found myself making other life changes. I changed the way I eat and it was easier than ever. I started writing more. I added steps to my day… lots of them. Why did this happen? Now I’m not totally sure but I think when I started feeling successful every day, I started feeling more equipped to take on other challenges. After all, I was already proving I could do something that I considered challenging. The key, for me, is to make success super duper easy. I have a tendency to want to jump into something pretty extreme with impossibly tight deadlines and then revel in the adrenaline rush… while it lasts (which typically is not all that long). This is looser, easier, although not always fun it is more often fun! It runs completely counter to my usual approach but it is working. More than three months in, what have I learned?
Everything changes when you practice. The work changes and YOU change… in ways that you would not be able to predict when you started. Maybe you want to join me in picking something you want to move forward on and pick the tiniest daily step you can possibly imagine… and then commit to a practice… and recognize your wins. Can’t wait to hear what you choose! And if you want some support and companionship along the way, perhaps we can walk this bit together!