While sick last week, when your clouded head, congested chest and weak body won't cooperate with anything you formerly deemed productive, what do you do? I surfed Facebook videos. Mostly mindless entertainment. But then there was this one... a young eight or nine year old boy with big deep-set eyes who asked, right to the camera, as if he was peering into your soul, "What do you practice?"
I was ready to pass this one by, but there was something about it that riveted me. He kept asking the question, "What do you practice? Whatever you practice in your life, you will get good at." Now whether this was staged or rehearsed, or this kid will be the next Gandhi, I don't know and never will. But this child's message GOT ME - perhaps at a weak point, or that renaissance springboard of a new year when habits can either become practice or stranded resolutions.
His question about practice wasn't just about a skill - like playing soccer or writing music - but rather one of virtues. He explains that if you practice complaining, you will get very good at it, and you will have more and more to complain about in your life. If you practice anger, then you will get angry about everything that happens to you, and bitter about the things you don't have in your life, rather than see the blessings.
His recommendation? To practice joy. (Something we'd all love to get better at, right?)
And so I have been asking myself that question, "What should I practice?"
On the personal side, I need to practice counting my blessings more often. Every. Single. Day. I need to write them down. Look for the good. I have a beautiful family of great young people embarking on adulthood. They're good citizens of the world, already. A husband who showers me with love. I'm going to be a first time grandmother in May. I have my health. I have a bevy of wonderful, caring friends who make me laugh, smile, think. I have skills to write, create, speak and make music. Plus, I have a sense of purpose. And I think one of those purposes is to ask you, "What do you practice?"
I hope that JOY is included as one of your answers.
With love and overflowing joy,