I’ve been in a bit of a rut with my research recently (being sick doesn’t help I’m sure). When I get in these stuck spots I turn to writing for help. This time my writing took me to the idea of developing a self-practice and what goes into it. I’d like to share what I came up with.
I started off pondered the question of: How do we re-pattern ourselves – our mindset – to have a balance of reaching for both the delayed and instant gratification? How do we establish this as a practice and ultimately develop a more resilient mindset?
What I found was in order to develop a more resilient mindset; we need to develop a self-practice. This self-practice needs to include three things: a practice of reflection – self, purpose & path; a practice of communication; and a practice of ritualistic/centering activities. Allow me to explain further.
A Practice of Reflection – Self, Purpose & Path:
Reflections of Self is to understand where our current mindset is at, name our patterns and identity with our authentic selves. An understanding of one’s self, allows us to construct more succinct pathways and educational tools to support our goals and objectives. It can be done through writing, dialog, or an activity and writing/dialog, which ever works best for you. However, I recommend writing. This ensures your reflections will not be forgotten. Guiding questions: What excites you? What makes you sad? What environments and activities support you? Which ones do not?
Reflections of Purpose is the continual evaluation of desired goals, skills, passions & fit in community to discern the best possible placement for both self & community betterment. By continually updating and checking in with our vision of purpose, we can renew our drive and motivation towards pursuing our goals. Guiding questions: What are you passionate about? What are your skills? How can you fit your passions & skills within the community?
Reflections of Path is the continual evaluation of our path – the planning and construction of it. Purpose is our desired end goal. Goals, objectives and perceived gratifications/rewards are the milestones that define our journey toward our purposes. By reflecting on these we give ourselves the opportunity to course correct our paths & adjust our objectives and needed instant gratifications to better support ourselves and the success of our journey. Guiding questions: What are your goals & objectives (g’s & o’s)? What are the things you need to do to accomplish your g’s & o’s? What are the potential rewards for your g’s & o’s? Does your current trajectory support your g’s & o’s? If not, what do you need to change and how?
A Practice of Communication
Developing a self-practice is great in theory, but it is not something truly successful in a vacuum. Community is needed to provide support, feedback and opportunity. Reflections need to be shared to help establish value & worth to the individual. This validation from community supports our vision of self-worth and purpose. Feedback from the community allows us to adjust our paths. Communicating with community can be done through a number of ways with today’s innovations: talking with friends, giving lectures/workshops, writing letters, writing blogs, writing publications, posts on Facebook & Linkedin, participation in communities of practice, online book groups, etc. However, it is important to note that communication is a two-way street. You putting your information out there is one way. You commenting, critiquing, and offering feedback on someone else’s information is the return and second way. As the saying goes, “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”
A practice of communication supports our vision of self-worth and purpose by providing validation, feedback, and guidance. Having this practice also allows for the sharing and growth of knowledge. It allows you and others to stand on the shoulders of giants. Guiding questions: How do you communicate with your community? How do you seek validation and guidance? Do you withhold information our of fear of rejection, failure, or change? Are you too stuck to your ideals, your art, your project, to share it with the community? Are you too stuck to the idea of being perfect? When was the last time you listened to someone else share their reflections and provide feedback?
A Practice of Ritualistic/Centering Activities
A self-practice also includes elements of structure and experience. These are the familiar routines or rituals you have in place to support your flow. They are what you draw upon to connect the inner and outer selves and create understanding and learning. This could be running, yoga, walking your dog, dancing, painting, doing the dishes, nature, etc. The important thing is that the experience provides stability and support your ability for reflection and communication. Guiding questions: What supports your flow? What do you do in your daily/weekly/monthly schedule that is ritualistic and helps center you?
Thinking of self-practice in this way, helped me see what I am missing. How do ‘you’ define and keep a self-practice?