Belief out of Practice

According to Terry Orlick, the first two elements of excellence are commitment and belief.  They form the axel around which the wheel of excellence rolls.

Again, he shares a couple of quotes with us:

I was really confident. I knew I was good enough, that if I put everything together, I could win. But I wasn’t really thinking that. I was thinking how I would put it all together (Olympic Champion)

 The focus is so clear that you shut your thoughts off and you trust yourself and believe in yourself.  You’ve already prepared for years and years. All you do is go, it’s very natural. (Kerrin Lee Gartner Olympic Champion – Alpine Skiing)

And again, this doesn’t describe me.  But I have noticed some things.

I don’t wonder whether I’ll be able to keep exercising.  Sure, I miss a day or two here and there, but I generally exercise every day.  I look forward to it, expect it to happen, and make time for it to happen.

And I don’t even think about reading books anymore.  It’s like the air I breathe.  I’m always listening to, or reading, books.  Whenever there’s a spare moment, or I’m doing a “mindless” activity like folding laundry, then I’m reading a book.

When I began this blog, I wasn’t sure I would have anything to say about practice beyond the first few posts.  Now I’m beginning to believe that if I just sit down and do the work, the post will come.

The practice builds belief.  The more I practice, the more I believe.

And if I have someone to practice with, then we feed off one another’s belief, positive or negative.  So I want to practice with someone whose belief edifies my own, and make sure I reciprocate.  That doesn’t necessarily mean our beliefs are the same; just that one doesn’t poison the other.

We want our belief to grow in a positive direction, and to encourage that positive growth in others.

Blessed Are the Ordinary

Blessed are the ordinary, for they are accepted and complete in Jesus.

Does that raise your hackles?  Sounds like heresy doesn’t it?  “Good enough isn’t good enough!  Don’t settle for anything less than excellence!”  After all, this blog is supposed to be about practice right?  About getting better?

The work of the enneagram is embracing the shadow, the part of ourselves we wish to deny; the part we hide from the light, from the gaze of the other, from the eye of God.  The grace of God has redeemed the shadow, as well as the False Self, the mask we forge to face the world.  By grace we are saved through faith into a single whole, our genuine self, an ordinary person.

Accepting who I am, the “bad” with the “good,” has been the most blessed and powerful experience God has ever given to me – the blessing of being ordinary.

The greatest gift God has given me is the gift of self-acceptance.  If everything I do has to be extraordinary, then nothing I do is good enough.  If nothing I do is good enough, then I must be a bad person; a fig tree that bears no fruit, fit only to be cast into the fire.

It’s hard to practice when I’m plagued by those kinds of thoughts.

We don’t despise a bouquet of roses because they look like every other.  We accept them gratefully as beautiful.

The odd thing is that being ordinary allows me to write, allows me to meditate, and allows me to practice.  If I am accepted and complete in Jesus, then I can gratefully bear the fruit God has given me knowing it is enough.

Shaming children who fall short of the 10,000 hour rule may be the road to greatness, but it is not the road to blessedness.  Enjoy the work of your hands, and with it bless the world, even when it’s only ordinary.