PRACTICE MAKES LIFE
Everything is practice.
I just exhaled in relief.
Learning to nourish our bodies takes practice. Loving ourselves takes practice. Being a good friend takes practice. Creating art takes practice. These things take practice, but they also are a practice. A lifelong exercise in doing them as well as we can each time we do them and freeing ourselves from the expectation that perfection is the goal. Perfection is stagnant, it implies a formula or process with a guaranteed result. It is staged and therefore certainly isn't compatible with the messy beauty of living. Practice by definition is ongoing, a forward movement. It is meeting the next choice you have to make with your best self in that moment.
Something I find so beautiful about certain faith communities is the way they describe their faith as something they practice. Prevalent amongst the Catholic community for example is the idea of being "a practicing Catholic". It describes a faith in action, but does not assume an arrival. I have found my own faith community to lack this perspective. There is a compulsion to achieve perfection, to get to a point where faith is no longer a struggle but rather a part of our life we have mastered and where we no longer falter. To view my faith through the lens of a practice feels like grace upon grace.
When I remove perfection as something worth achieving I'm able to get my hands and heart messy. I'm able to live and love the best that I can here and now and trust that that will be enough. For me when perfection is my goal it brings an onslaught of anxiety. I thrive on meeting expectations, whether my own or other's, and when I sense that I can't my mind spirals. So this shift to seeing everything as a practice provides so much space in which to move. I can try something new, trusting that an uncertain outcome doesn't deem a choice irresponsible. Beauty is always found in imperfection, in the cobbled together pieces of you and me.