Many moons ago…no, seriously, I mean like over 500 moons ago, I first learned about the idea of having a daily practice. As it turned out I had one, still in the developmental stages to be sure, but right there in the middle of my life was a burgeoning daily practice. You may have one, too.
That particular practice was centered on my spiritual quest, but the more I learned about how different practices worked I realized I also had one within my creative work. I got a little cocky about that, thinking I knew more than I did, and the result was that I crashed and burned a few dozen times on my way to gaining a better understanding of what makes a daily practice actually work.
There are two basic pieces to a daily practice: its structure and its components. To help this make sense, think about your morning routine for a moment.
To understand the structure of any practice we need to look at its components and not just what the components are, but why they’re there in the first place. In other words, what is the overarching goal that has put the individual components in place?
When I was developing my first spiritual practice my goal, lofty as it was, seemed clear to me: to evolve within my understanding of the spiritual by becoming more connected to myself, other people, nature and God. It didn’t seem as daunting then as it does writing it now these 500 plus moons later. It’s one of the advantages of youth; we really have no idea what we’re getting into.
The aim of your morning routine (think daily practice) is to get ready for your day. You have coffee or tea, eat something, shower, go to yoga, think about going to yoga, walk the dog, wish you had a dog, read your emails and text messages, send some emails and text messages, talk to your life partner or roommate, wonder why you don’t have a life partner and only have a roommate, figure out what to wear, brush your teeth, walk out the door. Something like that. Plenty of elements that fulfill the goal of your morning routine.
The good news is that a creative, intellectual or spiritual practice has fewer elements in it than most morning routines. The common thread is that the elements of both shape their structure. And that structure is what we live within so we can obtain our higher goals. If we simply have a lot of semi- or unrelated elements (tasks), then we’re busy, but we’re not in alignment with any defined goal. We easily get off track, start something only to abandon it, and we’re left wondering why we feel stuck or unproductive much of the time.
A daily practice that evolves from our conscious attunement to it provides us with a fresh way to accomplish what our most significant goals are. We often don’t know exactly which elements to put in our practice and that’s why asking for suggestions on what might work best for us is a good idea.
Whatever the goal of your practice is, search for elements that support it. Guidance is available in many forms. When you learn to access that guidance through touching into your intuition, reading and talking to informed people, you will be well on your way to developing a daily practice that will be customized to your lifestyle, personality and heart.
Already have a daily practice? I’d love to hear about it.