a quick note, but still a love note:
practice is holy.
a friend asked me today how i am, and it amazes me how good i am right now today. i could point to external factors, recent good news or accolades, but that would be an act of misdirection because what i want to point to is within me, deep in the folds of my mind and the muscles of my body. deep in the love discipline of my spirit.
i have been meditating each morning, sometimes only a couple of moments before an early swim; sometimes over an hour, quiet in the dark or the moonlight. my friend Sendolo recently showed me a meditation for pleasure where the whole meditation is just asking my body and spirit what could increase my ease and comfort?
i stand up and do at least one sun salutation before moving beyond my bedroom. that sometimes leads to more yoga, but often doesn’t. i adapt the flow to include a pilates bridge pose in the middle because i’m strengthening my abs and hips to support what my knees can no longer do.
i play wordle and quordle and the daily challenge on woodoku.
i swim every day, mostly in the mornings. i listen to audiobooks when i swim. before or after my swim i do a qi gong practice i learned from my friend Mawulisa at the BOLD national gathering. she called it 13 joints – i rotate and stretch my neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles.
i write every day. by which i mean i ideate, organize thoughts, draft things, share those drafts, process feedback, sing things, catch poems out of the ether.
to write long-form pieces, i romance myself a bit with tea, beautiful music, candles, incense. i celebrate the feeling of completion with play, even though writing is also a kind of play for me, imagination and design and world building and problem solving and dreaming.
i take vitamins and supplements twice a day.
i have reminders in my phone for all of these practices, even though many of them now feel embodied. i have a kegel reminder going off now, as it does three times a day. i also have reminders for practices related to financial management, home management, people who need a bit of extra love and attention in my life, and milestones for work. everything is small. everything is changing me.
i am paying a lot of attention right now to right sized extension of my energy – not overextending beyond what i can give with authentic presence, and not withholding my life force. there is an abundance of me in the right conditions.
i am also attending to how i view the world – i am not taking it personally. everything is an invitation to practice being free and interacting with other free beings.
i extend energetic and material resources to those in crisis, both intimate private crises and international war and climate catastrophe. i remember we are all always connected and dedicate my practice to everyone’s happiness and wellness, to all beings experiencing freedom from tyranny and violence.
i am giving up practices that don’t align with my values or well being. which doesn’t mean they never happen, but they are more and more aberration than practice.
i reflect each day – what am i learning? are these practices working? am i able to be accountable to myself, my people, my time, my generation? do i need adjustments?
i think all the time about how Octavia E Butler said habit was more important than talent. i reread a lot of Thich Nhat Hanh this month, and i read atomic habits, and both things reminded me of the sacred work of practice in creating life satisfaction, in making life my practice ground and focusing energy where i have agency.
what good is freedom if we don’t expand into it, if we still operate as if someone else has all the control? i could have more freedom, always. these constructs are so fortified. i am still focused on freedom as the full realization of humans loving ourselves in most of my work.
but i take none of my current freedom for granted. i have the freedom to become more and more self-aware and self-responsive every day, which allows me to be a more honest, boundaried, authentic and loving member of my relationships, communities and species.
even the simplest practices become deep when i think of how much history and struggle it took generations to claim the time i have to now sit quietly, listen for a poem, swim in a public pool, read books of self-improvement, say what feels true, love myself as i am, and reject any construct that limits my humanity.
five months ago i was in despair, barely able to function without weeping. at that time all i could practice was grief and facing reality. i needed to acknowledge the truth of that pain. swimming helped me find myself in the tsunami. breathing meditation brought me back to the scale of my body. focusing on what i could practice brought me back into the realm of possibilities.
if it all feels like way too much, find one practice you can commit to every day, even if you start with only one minute, one rep, one bow, one cycle, one lap, one stanza, one page. one cry. one moment of choice. do it deeply, with reverence. or quickly, haphazard…but do it. we become what we practice.
what are you practicing?