When you build a new practice in your life, you are as much building the practitioner, that is you, as you are building the practice. Let me explain.
Earlier in the program I made the distinction between simple habits, and practices. A habit is something you can do unconsciously and without significant effort like for instance, flossing your teeth or making your bed in the morning. However if the routine you want to build requires you to be either mindful, or to engage your will, then its a practice. And typically when we start out with a new practice, our mindfulness or will needs building. If they didn’t need building then we would be equal to the practice and already doing it.
And growth of any form begins at the end of our comfort zone. It requires us to stretch even just one degree further beyond what we can currently do. And thats uncomfortable. And in my experience this meeting of the moment of discomfort is the hardest part of building a practice.
Most people when they encounter discomfort instinctually turn away. It telling us something, right? Isn’t pain the body’s way of telling us something is wrong? Well, if you have ever done flexibility, strength or cardiovascular training then you know that discomfort is a natural and essential part of the process of building capacity. The same process applies to the development of your self-authoring capacity.
The difference between them is that whereas the growth of physical capacity is experienced as discomfort in the body, the growth of self authoring capacity, or fitness as I call it, is experienced as discomfort in your emotions. Which brings us back again to the first law of practice which is that it can’t be done without discomfort.
So we can either be comfortable, and live our life within the current boundaries of our self authoring fitness and what it is able to produce for us. Or, we can choose to make a stand for more of what is important to us in our life, and accept the discomfort that comes with that.
The discomfort comes in many shapes and sizes. If you are trying to lose weight for instance then you’re probably on some form of calorie-restricted diet, which entails the discomfort of feeling hungry. If you are trying to spend time on a hobby, or craft or learning a new skill, then the discomfort will involve sacrificing the time you would otherwise spend doing something else you enjoy. What they all have in common is this. Because the amount of time we have in our life is finite, in order to bring new things into our life we need to sacrifice something else that we value.
“Hang on” cries out out TV enjoying Self. “I didn’t sign up for this!” Our community of selves is in rebellion, and there are only two ways through it. We can either give up on the new practice and the discomfort it is introducing, or we can learn how to master moving through and beyond our discomfort. In tomorrows video we will talk about meeting this moment.