When we experience something tremendous, we often feel it inside of us as a longing, a wanting, a possibility.
At age 6 we see an astronaut come to school and we want to be one.
At age 14 we see our favorite singer on stage and we want to be on stage too.
At age 21 we read about CEOs who are 30 and we lock on to that dream.
At age 32 we see so many books being published and we want to say “I am a writer.”
Into adulthood we experience inspiration to be, to become, to gain that title, that paycheck, that leadership role.
In order to get there, we must first be a practitioner.
Before we can teach others to meditate, we must have meditation so deeply instilled in our bones that we no longer have to make time to sit and mindfully pause because it is like breathing.
Before we can be the professor, we must do the hard work of research that opens doors for new thought on old topics and we earn…EARN….that PhD….and teaching is like unbidden thoughts arising in order.
Before we can stand in a pulpit on a regular basis, we must have more than just a love for Jesus…embracing the role of disciple until doing the gospel is as fluid and everyday as making the coffee.
Before we become the piano teacher, we must love the arpeggios that our fingers tap out on any flat surface until our friends make jokes about us.
In order to get to our “there”, we must first be a practitioner.
Richard Rohr writes about the first half of life being a time of collecting, and the second half of life about applying what we’ve collected. Perhaps the demarcation isn’t so clear. But most certainly, we must collect, reflect, decipher, unpack, face head on, and do our inner work as we then become the one who might inspire.
No agism here….a 9 year old who has meditated everyday on their own volition for years can be my teacher.
But if I have only meditated for 9 months, even everyday straight, I am still a novice practitioner and have no business teaching. But you can come sit with me and I’ll sit with you and we’ll practice together.
We must honor the process of becoming. We do that with conscious effort, and the humble stance that just because we are inspired, we are not yet there.
We get there with practice.
That space of being a practitioner is delicious. It is hard. It is a gift. It is consoling. It is a determining factor in whether or not we have the chops, the call, the vocation to one day be the one up front. It is an incredible space for just being a practitioner with no future aspiration. That future if it is to be, will show up at the right time. For now, practice.
Do your work. Do your practice. Listen when people around you say “One day you will be a fine instructor/astronaut/pianist”….but it is not this day. This day is to be in the practice. Listen when people around you say “You are ready.” And humbly continue your practice, even as you step into the embodiment of your dream.
From one practitioner to another, with love,