Are Your Practices Making Your Life Better or Worse?
by Sopan Greene, M.A.
“Baby, life’s what you make it. Can’t escape it. Don’t back date it. Celebrate it. Anticipate it. Yesterday’s faded.”
The results you experience in life come from the practices you engage in everyday. Most of these practices you probably don’t even realize you practice. Every word, thought and action you create repeatedly will affect your present and your future whether you like it or not.
So what are you practicing? Think about this for a minute. What do you remember ourself thinking, saying or doing day after day or week after week or even year after ear? How about the input and output you allow into and out of your life? Look at how you spend your time to get a clear picture of this.
If you start a journal practice of simply writing down what you notice yourself saying and doing every hour for one day I bet you’ll be shocked at what you create. This is a very effective awareness practice. You can do it for longer than a day, but start off committing to do it for one day. That’s a small enough commitment that you know you can do it and it will begin to advise you on how you spend, invest in or waste the 24 hours you’re given each day.
As you become aware of the unconscious habits you have you’ll probably choose to change some of them and this can create tremendous results for you. See, your habits are really practices. So when you say you have a ‘bad habit,’ what you’re really saying is that you keep doing something over and over that gives you negative, unhealthy or unfulfilling results.
Anything you’re doing repeatedly is a practice – even, and especially, the work you do every day. Is your job bringing you up or down? Is it contributing to the world or making the world worse? The work you choose to do takes up more time, and creates more results, than anything else you do so it better be a positive practice. If it’s not, simply take at least one step a day to move yourself out of that job and into one that is a
Recognizing that habits are practices is very helpful. Humans tend to consider habits as being something they are powerless over. (Of course this is just a belief and you can change it whenever you like.)
When you talk about your habits, whether you think they’re good or bad, you probably don’t give them a lot of consideration. When most people acknowledge their habits they shrug their shoulders in a self-defeating gesture signifying, “Hey, what can I do?
That’s just how it is.”
Well, for starters you can take responsibility for your life including the habits you choose to create, keep or modify to better serve you. This is why seeing habits as practices is helpful. When you hear the word practice you are likely to think of conscious habits like practicing playing the piano, practicing a martial art, or practicing playing a sport. These are all conscious activities that people make time to put their energy into so as to better their lives. That sounds a lot more powerful than a habit, but it’s simply a conscious habit.
Besides practicing how to do something better, you can start to be aware that the unconscious habits you allow in your life are also practices. Procrastination, not exercising, eating too much, complaining, working 40 hours a week at a job you hate and negative self talk are examples of practices that hold you back and keep you down. Whether you love ’em or leave ’em, they’re the results of your choices about how you use your time.
So are you choosing practices (habits) that serve your highest interest? What types of people and activities do you allow to fill your time? (Remember, it’s your time – no one holds a gun to your head each minute forcing you to do activities against your
What kinds of books, magazines, movies, TV shows, video games, music and conversations do you allow into your life? People who watch a lot of TV have a much different practice and life experience than people who use that same time to play an
instrument, paint, write, meditate or build something creative that expresses their soul.
This isn’t about being ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ it’s about becoming aware of your choices, owning your decisions of what you create with your time, and using that power to consciously create whatever a successful, fulfilling, loving and joyful life looks like to you.
Once you look at what you’re practicing you put yourself in a much more powerful position. A lot of beings complain about their lives as if they have no power over their lives. Once you consciously pick your practices you will become more of a conscious creator of your world rather than an unconscious volunteer playing victim to circumstances.
It is very helpful to remember that you created your life and you can de-create it. You are powerful beyond measure when you choose to use your power rather than give it away to other beings or circumstances.
Look at the life you’ve created. It took a powerful being to create your current situation. It’s time for you to reclaim that power and consciously express the highest and best practices possible. You, and the world, deserve nothing less than the miracles and contributions you uniquely have to offer.
So I invite you to practice keeping things simple, being love and living joyfully. The choice of how and what to practice is yours.
What are you going to practice beginning right now in this very moment? (Uh, oh. You didn’t expect this article to end with an assignment, did you? Well, I guess it did, so get to it! Afterall, we’re only talking about your life here. What would you like to do with it anyway?)
© 2004 Red To Greene, Inc. All Rights Reserved.