In my last post, we explored that ever exhausting and confounding mystery of “Why can’t I do the thing that I really want to do?? That thing I say is SO important to me, yet, I can’t seem to get it going!”*
I told you fear, self-judgment, and practice were three things getting in your way of doing the thing(s) you want to do. Three things that you can do something about. Right now. And I meant it.
So, we started at FEAR and I shared some super effective and simple strategies to move through it.
But what I didn’t mention (but focused an entire post on a few weeks ago) was that fear doesn’t go away. You must decide whether you’re going to acknowledge it and keep it moving or let it control you.
How do you not let it control you?
Welp, in addition to loving up on yourself and actually acknowledging the fear vs. avoiding it, you gotta get in the ring, on the mat, ’round the track!
I’m talkin’ ’bout yer PRACTICE, hon. Yeah, it’s a slightly gussied up way of saying “action”, but there’s an important distinction here for you.
To be clear, this is NOT action for action’s sake; thoughtless, charged-by-fear-leaps-into-the-mystery kind of action. not just a one off.
Practice is about:
- getting intentional with your action > (what do you want?)
- committing to it/yourself/your dreams > (what do you want to experience?)
- finding joy (!!!) in your journey, because no one else will if you don’t
- overcoming your fear with the powerful antidote of action
- being disciplined enough to allow it to unfold over time with continued, aligned actions > (who do you want to become as a result?)
I GET IT. At times, we all want to get the quote without reading the book. Cash the paycheck without doing the work. Flow right into upward facing bow pose just 2 classes into the discounted 10 class package at the yoga studio down the street but might as well be across state lines.**
Of course you’ll meander and get off track. That’s the point of it all. Practice will help you to bring yourself back to center.
A teacher of mine, the brilliant and soulful Gail Straub, once said this about her 30 years long meditation practice, “Sometimes I feel the full fruits of my practice when I hit the pillow and sometimes I feels like it’s my first time.”
Embrace the uncertainty of it. Start before your ready.*** In our world of instant gratification, we’re desperate for certainty.
Just like trust, love, and all other worthy and valuable things that come from INSIDE not OUTSIDE, you gotta build it. Work for it, boo.
Practice will give you certainty in a world that feels anything but.
Oh and BONUS!!! There’s this brain science concept called the confidence-competence loop. This is legit science proof that practice works.
Basically, as you show up and do the practice (yoga, meditation, walking, breathing, exercise, focusing on your emotions as they arise, writing, making art, being kind to yourself, mindfulness, drinking water, eating slowly, dancing, making soap, reading, anything can be a practice if you let it) you become more skilled. More competent.
Your fear shrinks and your confidence blossoms. As you get more confident you get better at the practice (more competent). The reward is in the process — in the ups and downs — not the final outcome. TA-DA!
Truth be told, it’s not all fireworks. Change is subtle. It’s little by little then all of a sudden. Your life is not a fast food burrito wrapped in a piece of greasy foil, guac on the side.
You’re slow-cooked. Fermented. A rich and beautiful beast.
* If you haven’t read it yet, give it a whirl. There’s also Joan Didion’s new South And West…ooooh.
** This has 100% been me. I’m now miraculously able to grab my foot in pigeon pose as I lamaze breathe through the hamstring cramp. No shortcuts here.
*** Got Marie Forleo’s email this week with her mantra “start before you’re ready.” I can dig it.