Practicing or Performing

Practicing or Performing?

A question for this week:
Am I practicing or am I performing?

Am I practicing yoga or performing the asanas?
Am I practicing mindfulness or performing meditation?
Am I practicing service or performing philanthropy?

Am I practicing confidence or performing confidence?
Am I practicing relaxation or performing relaxation?

I’m finding that the valley that connects performing to practicin’ is embodiment. It’s the difference between knowing something intellectually and knowing it in our bones. It’s the difference between having our thoughts far away from the task at hand instead of being fully present with the sensory experience of that moment. It’s also about knowing it for ourselves, in our bones, instead of just trying to convince others.

Am I practicing peace in my mind — addressing thoughts and belief systems — and in my body? Of course the divide between mind and body is also a construction in many ways, and surely our changes in thoughts can have tangible effects in the rest of our bodies (watching a horror movie for example).

Is the knowing of this peace felt in my jaw, the weight of my arms, the depth of my belly?

Am I performing community: going to things even with ambivalence, laughing at the jokes, nodding the head, and fitting into expectations…or am I practicing community: deep belly laughs, hearing the words behind the words, reflecting what I appreciate about others even when it feels vulnerable or intimidating, and sharing the details and feelings of what it’s like to be alive in this body and this heart at this time in the world?

These questions arise without the need for answers, and definitely without the need for self-critique.

Here’s to the power of asking, and of practicing for the sake of practicing.

by Maggy Navin

Beauty, reverence, and compassion are my foremost values and daily practice. One way I practice these is through writing Gentle Musings, bi-monthly writings on topics like peacemaking, gumption, wonder, delight, and embodiment (among other things!). With a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and a background working in sustainable floral design and integrative, mindfulness-based postpartum care, I am currently a Master's student in American studies. With this, I hope to further engage my values in practice through ecologically-conscious interior design and creative direction. Among other things, my passions lie in social ecology, accessibility, networked communities and resources, and peacemaking. I am eager to live into the fullness of my passion, and feel strongly about contributing and serving like-minded projects that are excelling at this gracefully.


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