How to create a regular creative or spiritual practice
There's something about having a daily practice that is strangely comforting and secure. Having a practice means feeling a calm and clear pull of knowing what to do. A daily creative and/or spiritual practice is much like any other habit, with focus, mindfulness and a higher purpose. Even the word "practice", and the very idea of it, simultaneously gives me both serenity and butterflies. However, as with creating other new habits, creating a daily practice often starts off promising - before we start to doubt ourselves, our intentions and ultimately give up the whole thing. I've found that there are a few ways of doing it that can make it easier and more compassionate:
One of the key aspects of creating a successful daily practice is to make it small and meaningful. Especially in the beginning, it's valuable to start so small you barely notice the change at first. How about five minutes of meditation, one photo a day, write 100 words or recite a short prayer? When this is established, you can increase your commitment slowly until you reach your desired daily amount of goodness.
Make it authentic
When you start a new practice, make sure you spend some time investigating your reasons, both for why you want it to be a daily thing for you, and also how you are going to do it. No need to start a daily yoga practice, if writing is what you really feel called to do! Sometimes, it's easy to fall for something we wish to be true about ourself, instead of acknowledging what is. It is also imporant to stay clear of the "should"s. Listen to yourself, are your intentions clear? Will it bring you closer to who you truly are, or push you away?
It's a good idea to experiment with life changes before you set them fully into the world (that's what the Freedom Experiment is about, after all). I suggest experimenting with different practices for about a week or two at a time. Which experiment feels more compelling afterwards? Which idea did you give up on day 3? This is valuable information when you finally feel ready to commit for a longer period of time.
Do it regularly
It's really helpful to make a decision to do something regularly. Daily is a good idea, since it then becomes sort of like a habit, and you won't forget about the whole thing. However, having a daily practice might not suit your lifestyle. No matter how often you decide to do it, it will be very helpful to do it as regularly as you can. How about every other day, every weekend or once a month on a set date?
When you have found your thing, the whole point of having a practice is to fully commit to doing it, even though you don't feel like it on the particular day. Look at it as a commitment to yourself and wow to honour it the same way you would with your best friend or a family member. Showing yourself the respect of showing up is so meaningful for your relationship with yourself!
Don't beat yourself up if you miss a day or two. Be compassionate and again, treat yourself as you would treat your best friend. A day or two off can be a good thing, just tune into yourself and listen to what your needs are. Is this the time for showing up, or for giving yourself some space? You already know the answer, just listen for it.
Having a practice can be even more meaningful if you share it with other people. This goes especially for creative practices, but spiritual ones too. Sharing might create a community around what you do, and you might find a lot of nourishment from interacting with other people who do the same as you do. There are so many ways to share, and since you're reading this post, you're probably familiar with blogging. Other ways to share include sharing with a friend or family member, documenting it or starting a local group. Again, listen to your heart and share only what feels right.
One poem a day
As I've mentioned before, Bentlily does it beautifully.
One photo a day
One self-portrait a day
One drawing a day
This comcept originated from a book called The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. Basically, you write three handwritten pages every morning without editing of second-guessing your writing.
Journalling or writing a diary
Compliment someone every day
Write one "Today I'm grateful for..."-sentence a day
Read for a set period of time every day
Take a morning walk
Write a handwritten letter
Mindfully make a cup of tea
Take a daily or weekly foambath
Do you have a regular creative or spiritual practice? Do you want to start one?