I keep reading books that require me to work.  I want so badly to pick up a fluffy little novel and read without thinking or feeling the need to highlight every other sentence… But, for some reason, the books that stack up on my nightstand are the books of practice.

I shouldn’t be surprised; I’ve always picked practice.  I love to work, to learn in whatever ways life allows.  Most often, this practice shows up on my yoga mat.  If you are reading this blog post, I’m guessing you unroll your mat on occasion too.  Regardless of whether our goals on the mat involve finally balancing in Flying Pigeon or more deeply understanding ourselves, the work is a PRACTICE.  We have to try, to study, to experiment and, sometimes, to fail.

When it is on the mat and our practice involves a physical pursuit, it seems likely to use the word – PRACTICE.  But, when we start to talk about some of the larger things we’d like to cultivate in our lives: courage, compassion, connection – the word PRACTICE isn’t used as frequently.  Why?  Why do we expect ourselves to “just be” courageous or compassionate?  As if those mighty words were easy feats to accomplish.

The book that has been the most recent victim of my highlighter is Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, and I love it.  I love it not because the writing is brilliant or I’m reading ideas that I’ve never read before; I love it because she takes huge concepts and defines them clearly and concisely, and perhaps best of all, she reminds us that we have to PRACTICE these concepts if we want to live authentically.

This week, I am practicing:

1. COURAGE: To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart

2. COMPASSION: To Suffer With

3. CONNECTION: The energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.

I’m also practicing Flying Pigeon.