The Decision to Practice
Text from "Zhan Zhuang - Standing like a Tree" manual (PDF)
In the book "What I talk about when I talk about running", Haruki Murakami tells us about when he interviewed the Olympic runner Toshihiko Seko and asked him: "Does a runner at your level ever feel like you'd rather not run today, like you don't want to run and would rather just sleep in?" He stared at me and then in a voice that made it abundantly clear how stupid he thought the question was, replied, "Of course. All the time!"
The decision to practice is taken daily and in that choice is the discipline. To connect with your body and take the responsibility of listening and caring. Our modern lives are characterized by daily hubbubs and demanding schedules. Anxiety and tension have become the norm in our everyday routine. So the challenge involves taking steps to include the practice of cultivating energy and making it happen. There are a few simple ways of making this choice easier.
To decide ahead of time how long you will practice and where this will happen may be decisive in starting a routine.
Setting aside "emergency exercises" for when you are caught in unexpected circumstances or when you simply don't have enough time give you an extra chance to stay with the practice. Sometimes interrupting the routine is enough to make you lose ground and give up.
Engaging in the practice as a permanent research being aware of when you need more stimulation. This can mean taking a group class, asking a friend or colleague to practice with you, researching a question you have or discussing an issue with a teacher.
The motivation to keep a practice going has to do with so many different aspects but in the end what makes is the difference is the ability to stay curious and willing to question and dig deeper. The responsibility of practicing comes from that need.
'Most people run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you're going to while away the years, it's far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running does that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that's the essence of running, and a metaphor for life.' 'What I talk about when I talk about running' - Haruki Murakami