What Your Daily Practice Can Teach You About Yourself

What Your Daily Practice Can Teach You About Yourself

Do you have a daily practice? Perhaps you journal, do yoga or meditate. Have you ever noticed how aspects of your practice can tell you more about what’s going on for you generally at any given time? It acts as a mirror, making it a useful tool to show you where you might need to slow down, or be a little kinder to yourself, for example.

Here are some questions to consider regarding your practice and how you might learn what it’s showing you.

How often am I doing it?

A really effective practice runs like a connecting thread through our days, acting as an anchor or touchstone. When we let go of the thread, especially if up until that point we’ve been maintaining a daily practice for some time, things can start to go awry fairly quickly. When I let my daily practice slide I feel a particular kind of ‘off’ that impacts on other areas in my life; I have a shorter fuse, take less good care of myself, and if I let things slide too far, can end up in a hole that then takes time and energy to climb out of. What’s more, letting it go is a sure sign that something’s up between ‘me and me’. My practice is an important part of my self care, so if I’m not doing it, that’s a warning sign.

Check in: Have I done my practice today? If not, is it for a specific reason or am I starting to slide? If my practice is a barometer of the kind of care I’m taking of myself, and I’ve let my practice go, what is that showing me about where I’m at right now?

What am I actually doing?

If your practice isn’t quite working for you, it makes it that much harder to keep it going. For me a practice needs to be easy, fairly quick and able to fit seamlessly into my day. Short term practices come and go for me, and that’s fine, but the one constant ‘anchor’ is Tai Chi. Tai Chi works for me for all sorts of reasons pertaining to who I am; a practice needs to align with you, whether you like something that takes time and allows you to go very deep, something that’s lighthearted and flexible in approach, or something else.

Check in: What is my practice? Is it enjoyable, simple, and easy to fit into my day to day life? Does it reflect my preferences and traits? If I’m over complicating things, is that showing up elsewhere in my life? How might I adapt or swap it for something that will really work for me and who I am?

When am I doing it?

Sometimes coming to my practice is the last thing I want to do {and on those days it tends to happen around bedtime!}. It can bring me round to a more peaceful mindset, but if I approach it while resolutely fed up for example, I’m setting myself up for a potential meltdown when I make a mistake or it doesn’t flow. Then I miss out on any benefits I may have received and possibly don’t even complete it. Most people find the morning to be the best time for a regular practice; it sets them up for the day, bringing a feeling of peace and accomplishment first thing.

Check in: Is this a good time for me to do my practice? If it isn’t can I make a promise to myself to do it before I go to bed tonight? Do I need to put it in the diary to really help me commit to it? What do I need to hear/feel/have in my mind so I can approach it with a calmer, more positive or at least neutral attitude? What does the timing of my practice reveal to me about my preferences, or what strengthens me instead of depleting me?

What does my creative practice do for me?

Sometimes a practice will feel like the most annoying thing ever and the inner tantrum thrower will start to make an appearance. On those days I try to ask myself before I’m too far down the spiral whether letting it slide for today will actually be my best plan {proactive choice} or whether I’m likely to do it so awkwardly and with so much discomfort that it could actually make me feel worse. Sometimes a reminder of how much better I will feel after is enough to make it happen; sometimes bribery is required. 😉 My practice shows me what I need, while also being one way to give that to myself. It’s kind of magical like that!
Check in: Can I call up all the pluses my practice brings me as a way to encourage myself to do it even when I don’t feel like it? Is my practice bringing me a feeling of calm centredness? If it’s continually sticky or frustrating, do I need to look at finding something else?

What choices am I making?

A choice to not do your practice on a given day is still a choice, even if it’s that you forget or can’t be bothered. Are you making a conscious choice or letting it slide? If I’m apathetic towards my practice, you can pretty much bet that I’ve got some apathy going on elsewhere in my life. The trick is to notice, make no judgement, pick up the thread again and keep moving forward. {I know I’m saying that like it’s always easy. 😉 }

Check in: What am I consistently choosing here? Am I making similar choices elsewhere in my life? Is that helping me feel good in my day to day life? If not, what can I do about that?

In my experience a daily practice comes with bonuses that can improve its benefits immeasurably. Things like self kindness, patience, flow, pleasure, satisfaction, a softening into life and so on. I am inclined to believe that the practice itself is less important {within reason of course; regular illegal drug intake is clearly not an ideal practice} than the consistency with which we do it. Finding a practice that works with the uniqueness of who you are, however quirky you think that might be, can make all the difference.

Do you have a practice? Do you ever notice it showing you things about yourself or your life? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

One thought on “What Your Daily Practice Can Teach You About Yourself

  1. Great blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
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