Donna Brooks is a somatic movement educator and therapist, Yogi, and embodied meditator who has 35 years of experience teaching, counseling and coaching in movement and the healing arts.

Does your practice dull your curiosity?

Practice makes perfect. That’s our ideal, right? To really get those Yoga poses, dance moves or movement patterns JUST RIGHT. After all, then we will be happy or accomplished or perhaps worthy of our art.

But what about awareness? You know, that subtle and ever so succulent place of being fully engaged with our feeling, our sensing, our knowing beyond what we think.

What would your your life be like if you lived from awareness more than from practice?

Don’t get me wrong. Practice is good. It helps us to understand, develop skills and concentration. But too much practice locks us into habit. We repeat what we practice.  Often over again and again and again.  A certain inquisitiveness disappears. We become proficient; experts even.  But what do we lose?

Any long term practice can put us at risk for losing our open ended curiosity. And curiosity is juicy. It makes you available to surprise.  In my own life I experience how awareness gives me options.  It lets my “pallet of the possible” widen and that in turn makes my creativity POP. Awareness  brings a vitality and joy to my actions.

A simple way of becoming more aware? Just take a walk and ask yourself if you can notice the background of your surroundings. Instead of noticing the prettiest tree or the most brightly colored home, see if you can risk looking into what is boring, taken for granted or otherwise unseen. I’d love to hear what happens!

What do you think about the relationship between practice and awareness in your own life and work?

3 thoughts on “Does your practice dull your curiosity?”

  1. Having a practice without awareness is a potential way to hurt yourself in the long term. Particularly if you are ambitious and only setting goals. That would be a good subject for a blog in and of itself. Practice with awareness is a whole body practice: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I would love to do a yoga class with you when I am back in Northampton. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of awareness. I will take it into my day today.

  2. Donna,

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. I love to do walking meditation and think it’s great that you bring it up as a way to increase awareness. I don’t find it easy to do, though! For me, it’s actually easier the more I can remove myself from human distraction–cars, noise, houses, busy human traffic of one kind or another. Nature trails and woods are best, though it’s hard to find time for them. Maybe you could do a walking mediation class or incorporate it in some way into a yoga class!

    I appreciate your thoughts about getting unlocked from habit, experiencing the “pallet of the possible” and opening one’s self up to curiosity. All really useful and healing ideas. I’m sure woods and nature trails aren’t prerequisites for these ways of being.

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