A Living Practice

We’ve all heard the addage ‘practice makes perfect’ and further itterations state that ‘practicing perfectly makes perfect’. In the realm of our health and fitness practices, these pithy sayings point us to the principle of enduring sustainability. So many times our personal approach to exercise and nutrition resembles a mish-mash of practicing or following the latest trends for exercise and diet programing. It’s no wonder we get lost and burned out trying to perfect our well-being when we chase after ever-change models of wellness. Is there a better way to ‘perfectly practice’ for the outcomes we desire in our health?

According to Terry Patten, author of The New Repbublic of the Heart, knowing what matters most to you and having the courage to pursue it is a good start, but it’s not enough. He posits that you must act on your choices, your values over and over again. He believes you’ve got to “make a practice” out of living.

He writes that life satisfaction is a byproduct of transitioning from being a seeker, or someone who wants a certain lifestyle, to a practitioner, or someone who lives that lifestyle day in and day out. “Practice,” Patten writes, “is about waking up again and again, and choosing to show up in life in alignment with one’s highest intelligence,” or what matters most.

So the question for ourselves today is: What practice am I perfecting? In regards to my health? In regards to my stated goals for improved fitness? Today, what choices am I making and what behaviors am I reinforcing? Are my actions supporting my values, my beliefs, my goals? Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. Patten writes, “A whole life of regular, ongoing practice is necessary. We are always reinforcing the neural circuits associated with what we are doing. Whatever way we are being, we’re more likely to be that way in the future. This means we are always practicing something.”

This knowledge behooves us to live our practice with actions that support the values we have identified as foundational to our well-being and well-living. How do we accomplish these value oriented goals over so many tomorrows? I think we can make it simple for ourselves, by simply making our practice the practice of living…authentically, thoughtfully, whole-heartedly.