Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shirley should practice what she preaches.

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So this is what my sister has to say about doing "the work" on this statement (made by me) "Shirley should practice what she preaches." I found it really interesting, and I'm glad she shared it with me, and so here I am sharing it with you.

After the fact, I will tell you I thought this would be a quickie. The turn around was in my head in the 'been-there-done-that' sense of myself. I was somewhat amazed, increasingly so when I got to the real turn arounds, by the depth I found in this simple, universal thought. I investigated I should practice what I preach and came away truly amazed at what I could reveal to myself through it. This is the question of a master archeologist... an individual who maps out a piece of ground and meticulously brushes the dirt away from the bones... This question brought me to a point of self awareness that I have circled for some many years...

I should practice what I preach.
Is that true? Seems undeniably true.

Can I absolutely know I should practice what I preach?
Well, no. Not really. Perhaps what I preach isn't all the good for me!

How do I react when I have the thought I should practice what I preach, and there I am doing exactly the opposite of what I preach?
Depressed, disgusted, angry with myself, hard, mean, contracted and paralyzed. Good for nothing, weak, pathetic, self indulgent, undisciplined, lazy, irresponsible, and indolent...

Who would I be if I couldn't have the thought I should practice what I preach?
I would be doing what I do when I do it and feel like it was the right thing at the right time. I would be more open, energetic, and positive about the future that I'm creating for myself. I would be less preachy and live by the values I hold true, or more acurately, my values would be expressed through me by my actions, not through my beliefs about them.

Turn it around:
I shouldn't practice what I preach.

  1. If I don't, that is reality and a good place to further my inquiry.
    What is stuck between me and my values?
    What is keeping me separated from the life I want to live?
    What exactly am I preaching that I don't practice?
  2. I notice that I am unwilling to practice what I preach. Not only is it honest, it is good to know about myself and a more open place to be than the place of "I can't seem to... or I should..."
  3. I can also notice that I'm happiest when I'm in synchrony with my values and I can begin to notice what I'm thinking when I make choices that don't jive.
  4. Perhaps what I preach is a belief system that isn't true. Maybe all that is required for my freedom is for the content of my sermons to fall away...maybe I would be in 24/7 bliss if my sacred religions all collapsed...
  5. I can notice how judgmental is feels to disapprove of the disconnect between what I say I believe and what I live. I can be more forgiving of others who can't seem to practice what they preach either - as Katie says, "If it's so easy sweetheart, you try it!"
  6. I can be very grateful when I run accross someone who can practice what they preach and I can feel true, deep admiration for them. What I can truly appreciate in someone else must also be alive in me - I wouldn't be able to see it if that wasn't true.
Let's go to a deeper level here -

What is stuck between me and my values?
Could it be that what I'm really after from wanting to practice what I preach is a sense of superiority? Could it be that I want the persona of she who has her stuff together... ? Could it be that I can't seem to manifest that superior being because she is a figment of my ego and my ego can't ever be fed enough, no matter how many achievements I churn out...?

What is keeping me separated from the life I want to live?
There is a pattern of self recrimination that cripples good, spontaneous impulses of 'right' and loving action; the self recrimination comes from hidden, conditioned thinking, thoughts that are terribly scolding because I'm not living up to some idealized vision I have for "me"; that hidden conditioned thinking often worms its way in to the point where I avoid doing TW or, more pointedly, I am convinced I can't find the stressful thinking... the more I do TW the more I sense that I am afraid of finding the stressful, conditioned thought - it is uncomfortable and scary... and in the next breath, I'm going to go exactly there -

What exactly am I preaching that I don't practice?
Consistency, focus, hard work, determination, effort...
I am unwilling to practice yoga; I am unwilling to exercise (to a certain point for a certain length of time, i.e., I am unwilling to break a sweat); I am unwilling to really clean the house regularly, on a schedule; I am unwilling to defer certain indulgences in favor of work; at times I am unwilling to forego (questionable) pleasures for (satisfying) purpose WOW. That was interesting...

I am unwilling to do certain things in a disciplined way - that is setting aside time for them and applying myself to them consistently, over time and to a point - this would include drawing, writing, exercising, housekeeping, caring for family, raising dogs and children... I AM UNWILLING TO BREAK A SWEAT AND I AM UNWILLING TO GET OUT OF MY SAFE, COMFORTABLE HABITS... No wonder my favorite television entertainments involve people put into situations that require superhuman stamina, determination, effort, and willingness to break out of their comfort zones...!

I am unwilling to work first, play later and I can't admire that at all...

This was magic - something fell off me or the shell cracked. Could you feel it happen I wonder?

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Daniel B. said...

Yes I could, but I wonder what does it all mean for you today in the here and now? Are you more authentic now than you were before all these statements? What will change if anything? and do you want those changes? Just curious.

Two Feathers said...

These are good questions Daniel. I feel a post coming on...

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