1. What is a practice? It is a way that you take your existence seriously, one breath at a time, one thought at a time, one moment at a time. It is the daily routine of paying attention where you have intentions. It looks like the silence of deep space filled with the fire of a single star. To put it simply: it is spending a significant amount of time every day focused in one direction.

2. What is a creativity practice? It is the way you turn your passion into fruit with names like books, symphonies, and paintings. Your creativity practice is the way to astonishment and joy as you attend every day to the loves of your life. You sit and write your poem. That is a creative act. You sit and you write every morning. That is a creativity practice.

3. What are you practicing? You are practicing the quiet heroics of the trinity: truth, beauty, and goodness. An apple tree makes apples; you make a child smile and a dictator cower, you channel sunlight and shadow, you turn your heart into something another person can feel and know. You practice art. About this you are serious, and therefore you do it daily.
4. How do you practice? It is hardly a mystery. It is not arcane. It requires no workshops or textbooks. You practice by opening a daily window to your serious intention to create. This window is not to let a warm breeze in. It is to let you out. Every day you quietly, sincerely, and joyously set yourself free.

5. What if you are anxious and afraid? Maybe you are full of fear. Maybe that fear overrides everything else. Maybe the fear is who you are today, who you have become. Maybe the fear is so pernicious that it blots out your sun. In that case you will not feel equal to this practice. So that will be your starting point: feeling fearful and not equal to the task and beginning anyway.

6. Where do you start your practice? You start your practice where you are. Where else can you start it? Can you start it over there, or over there, or over there? No. You can only start it right where you are, deficient, proficient, anxious, calm, ready, unsteady. Maybe you would like to start your practice in another place? You can’t. You are here.

7. Maybe a voice in you says, “Why bother?” It is a very powerful voice. It represents your doubt that you matter. It represents your conviction that all is illusion, including your beating heart. It represents your fatigue in the face of reality. It represents your understanding of mortality. “Why bother?” you say; and you mean it. That could be a day of no practice. Instead you dispute all that and practice anyway.

8. What are the elements of practice? The following twelve: simplicity, regularity, solemnity, honesty, self-direction, intensity, presence, ceremony, joy, discipline, self-trust, and primacy. Explain each of these to yourself. Each one matters.


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