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IMPERFECT BEGINNINGS: A BLOG (cross-posting on Facebook as Susi Gregg Fowler, Writer)

PRACTICE MAKES POSSIBLE

Just part of the studio chaos
I’m in the midst of a major sort in my studio. I’ve been talking about it for months, if not years, and I’m finally on it. I've schlepped dozens of craft and inspirational books out to the Friends of the Library resale shop in recognition of the fact that I’m never going to re-read them and probably never read several of them in the first place. It’s not that they don’t contain both information and wisdom. It’s just that what they really serve up—for me—is distraction, and I do a pretty good job of providing that on my own. Harder to deal with are the dozens and dozens of journals, drafts, and dream notebooks. These I do want to read through before discarding. This blog post and its title spring from the notes I took following reflections after a long-ago Friends (Quaker) meeting, and later scribbled on a piece of lined legal paper. Settling into the silence that morning, I found myself thinking how grateful I was to be returning to spiritual practice. Whether I’m returning to Meeting or to the meditation cushion or to our lovely neighborhood church, the experience of returning to spiritual practice is more the same than different. The word "practice" that particular morning gave rise to the old phrase "practice makes perfect." I understood immediately that I didn’t only mean spiritual practice but also writing practice, relationship practice, exercise practice. But my next thought was that I disagreed with the common wisdom. Practice is a discipline, but it does not necessarily make “perfect.” Deciphering my scribbles, I read, “Practice makes possible. And dwelling in the possible is a gift that makes life bearable to me.” I made some more comments about writing and living, but I can’t actually decipher much more of my handwriting. I’m sure I was profound. Right? Okay, even if I wasn’t, I was still on the right track. Though I'd been struggling at the time, I was also connecting—communing if you will—with inspiration, with trusting that hard things could be borne and even get better. The idea of “possible” helped me step outside of being utterly overwhelmed with paying bills, trying to be a good mom, a good daughter, a good community member, a spiritual person, keeping a clean house, and somehow finding time to write on top of it all. Maybe—with practice—some of those things were possible. They weren't guaranteed, but without practice, they were pretty much pipe dreams. That thought kept me going then—and keeps me going still. And so I concur with that long ago self. Practice doesn’t have to “make perfect." I'm not sure I even believe in perfect. Opening the door to possibility? That's a pretty good result. "Possible” may well be a first cousin to hope, to courage, to action, in both the small things and even in the world-changing things. It's just possible that I can accomplish some goals--including wresting order from the chaos of my studio--IF I keep at it. I'll leave perfection for somebody else.
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