“Continuous practice, day after day, is the most appropriate way of expressing gratitude.”
This year of #continuouspractice is dedicated to my teacher, Natalie Goldberg. With love and eternal gratitude for all she gives.
Last week Marisa Goudy wrote a knockout post about her #365 projects and how they’ve helped her integrate her “real” life, her life online, and her creative process. Today I want to share what I’ve learned in the the first full month of my #365 project, #continuouspractice.
I must admit, the first for or five days were difficult. I was anxious about getting the writing done writing day after day and wondered if I would be able to fulfill my public promise Around day ten, I noticed a change. I felt more relaxed about the practice and began to look forward to it. It felt like an oasis in my morning, and reminded me of the wisdom of past teachers and coaches about practice and the nature of habit
Here are four good reasons to create a #continuouspractice or any other #365 project:
1) Eliminating decisions relieves anxiety. The daily struggle of whether or not to practice dissolves with a #365 project. It’s a done deal.
When you eliminate decisions by way of a daily practice, struggle and resistance give way to grace.
2) Any thing you do every day, no matter how small the effort, has the capacity to yield big change. Or as Natalie Goldberg says, it can move mountains. I notice myself surrendering to whatever comes up in my morning writing. Making the 365 day commitment has freed me. I don’t try to write well. I don’t judge. I am open to whatever surfaces in the moment, and feel that extending into other areas of my creative life.
3) Art camp counselor and coach, Lori Wostl, says it takes 21 days to form a habit. Human beings are creatures of habit. Since we form them whether or not we set out to, we might as well be intentional about them. Three weeks into #continuouspractice, your brain goes on autopilot, and you have a new, nurturing habit. (More on habit during the month of February.)
4) #continuouspractice is sustaining. A few days ago, I posted on Facebook that #continuouspractice was building something inside me that I couldn’t yet articulate. My friend, Melodye Shore, commented that she found the practice sustaining. That sounded correct, like a muscle that supports you in movement, or a good meal that takes you through the morning.
My invitation to you:
Join me in #continuouspractice. Let today be Day One. You choose your practice. It doesn’t have to be writing. Deirdre Walsh has made a practice of stopping to breathe every day and taking a photograph wherever she happens to be. When I see her pictures in my Facebook stream, I remember to breathe, too. Sharyn Dimmick is recommitting to her meditation practice. When I post my #continuouspractice photo to Facebook, she checks in about her own practice in my comment box.
Once you’ve completed your daily practice, you can photograph and post to Facebook, Instagram, or Google+. Add the hashtag #continuouspractice so we can find you. In addition, I’m starting a Facebook group for us to check in with each other. We can share experience and support each other there.
What’s holding you back from starting your own #continuouspractice? What would it take to make today Day One?