December 9, 2018
So the question of the day is, of course, what exactly do you practice on a really regular basis???
Do you practice feeling peaceful and relaxed? Or do you practice feeling stressed out, anxious, sad, or mad?
Or let's look more closely at the reasons why people often feel stressed out, anxious, sad, or mad...do you practice sleeping poorly, eating, drinking, or exercising in ways that don't support your particular needs, or maintaining troubled relationships?
Any of my students will tell you that there’s a Chinese saying I quote literally all the time: you can't appease the appetite by reading the menu…in other words, if there’s a habit or attitude you really want to show up in your life on a regular basis, all you have to do is practice.
My good friend Sr Rita Woehlcke* sent me an AMAZING YouTube video a couple months ago (which has since gone viral) called What Do You Practice…just in case you missed it, however, go ahead and take a couple of minutes to watch it.
See, I told you it wouldn’t take long! And what a simple yet THOUGHT-PROVOKING video, right?
But think about this whole concept for a minute then ask yourself if anything REALLY GOOD ever simply landed fully formed smack in the middle of your life like random bird poop falling on your head while you’re out for your daily walk one morning?
I bet that absolutely nothing comes immediately to mind…I think we'd all have to agree that the best things in life all require practice.
Now I have a confession to make (but I bet if you’ve read my story you probably won’t be entirely surprised to hear what I’m about to say): until just about 9 years ago the one thing I practiced almost 100% of the time was feeling SERIOUSLY inadequate. And to make matters worse, my sense of inadequacy was a blindspot, or something I didn't even know that I didn't know. So until my epiphany (just about 9 years ago), I practiced feeling inadequate SO MUCH that almost every decision I'd ever made in my entire life (up to that point) was at least influenced by that underlying feeling.
Then one day I began practicing joy through movement (in other words the AMAZING & EASY moving meditation I've been telling you about for years now known as T'ai Chi Chih) and slowly, over time, I'm SOOOOOOO happy to report that my almost-lifelong-held sense of inadequacy is simply dissolving. (Of course that little I'm-not-good-enough voice in my head still shows up all the time, but now at least I know it's just a voice in my head, not the truth…the blindspot is gone!)
So again I ask you, what exactly do you practice on a regular basis? BTW did you know it takes only 30 days of focused attention (in other words, practice) to make or break even a really bad habit? (And if you don't believe me, did you ever notice most rehabs are just about 30 days long?)
And if you're not 100% happy with how are things going these days, I'm delighted to offer you an opportunity to learn how to practice joy (AND A WHOLE LOT MORE LIFE-ENHANCING SIDE EFFECTS) beginning in about 30 days (so you can even practice THINKING about creating a new positive habit between now and then...that’s a super easy, highly do-able babystep towards changing your life, right?!)
My next round of T'ai Chi Chih sessions commences the first full week of January. Plus I'll make this even easier for you: not only do I teach introductory-level programs at two convenient locations, the first class is always FREE! (Truthfully no one's ever attended my first class without signing for the remaining 8 but at least this way you don't have to put too much skin in the game before deciding whether or not T'ai Chi Chih really is for you…remember I always say the only healthy habit you'll ever practice on a regular basis is the one you like, right?)
And if you've taken intro-level TCC before but have somehow fallen off the wagon that’s a perfect reason to sign up again…even Accredited Teachers (including me!) take intro-level courses from time to time (TCC is kind of like an onion…the regular practitioner’s understanding of the movements, and therefore positive side effects, keeps getting deeper and more fulfilling as time goes by.) I also teach TCC Guided Practice, however, for folks who would rather participate in a more continuing ed-ish program (click here for more info on ALL my upcoming TCC classes.)
Look, I know most of you have all kinds of holiday hubbub on your plates and minds these days, but January 1st is really only right around the corner (that magical making-resolutions-time-of-year.) So why not resolve to make just one small change in your life that's WAAAAAY easier and a heck of a lot more fun than overhauling your diet or showing up at the gym every day but could literally change EVERYTHING?
And to almost-quote the immortal John Lennon, all I'm saying is give joy a chance…
What have you got to lose???
*Rita Woehlcke, SSJ is certainly no slouch when it comes to practicing love, joy, and a whole bunch more of the most important human habits…she’s spent her entire career providing spiritual and physical care for “dear neighbors” all over the Philadelphia area WITHOUT DISTINCTION including some of the poorest, most marginalized, and vulnerable populations you can even imagine: those who are homeless, addicted, teenaged & pregnant, survivors of abuse or human trafficking, you name it. Then on October 5, 2018 The Center for Great Expectations (a nationally recognized organization for their work in breaking the cycle of homelessness, substance abuse, and poor ‘starts’ for children) named Rita their Humanitarian of the Year. Rita began her relationship with the CGE in 1995 when she was instrumental in creating their mission statement plus designing their vision for comprehensive care…the Center’s philosophy is to enable each client to experience “something new” in order to be able to make different life choices, and then provide the internal and external resources and support required to help each client maintain their new life. Rita views her work with CGE as one the most significant experiences of her ministerial life. Rita also heads up a lay organization called the SSJ Associates (which I joined in 2014 specifically so I could spend more time with her)…our mission is simple yet profound: loving others unconditionally and inclusively while simply living the circumstances of ordinary life.