Monday, June 14, 2010

practice practitioner

last year, i completed an organizing fellowship that, among other things, equipped new paid organizers with practical and time-tested skills central to effective organizing. we learned about various methods of outreach, different styles of doing one-on-ones, various aspects of campaign and leadership development, various methods of centering, and on and on. all of these intensive trainings were always infused with a focus on intentional practice. intentional practice is what we constantly focused on, as distinct from default practice. the difference here is not a shocker: default practices are what we do without thinking--deep-rooted behaviors that we rely on and rarely question--while intentional practices are what we do when we make conscious informed decisions about the way we want to think, act, and engage with the world.

here's an excerpt from an article one of the organizing trainers wrote on practice:
"When we begin to look at our own practices and then practice on purpose, the first thing we want to ask ourselves is: “What matters to me?” “What do I care about? “What am I committed to?” The answers to these questions become the guide for taking on new practices."
--Ng’ethe Maina and Staci Haines
"The Transformative Power of Practice"

so it should come as no surprise that i've been thinking a lot about my personal practices, both the ones already embedded in me as well as the ones i'd like to pick up. in the latter category, i've been making some progress with daily practices of stretching, meditating, and writing. one i'd like to get in the practice of is:

reading beautiful shit aloud

maybe out a window, maybe in the morning, or before i go to bed at night. but there's definitely something affirming and enriching about having feel-good words roll off the tongue. hearing your own voice repeat sounds so well-crafted and enjoyable to say, they make you tingle--creating a new space in the universe filled with positive, aurally incredible speech. that matters to me. a small intentional counter to all of the negative words, music, and sounds i'll likely come into contact with throughout the day.

let's practice! here's a little piece of rbsa from arundhati roy's the god of small things:

suddenly the skyblue plymouth looked absurdly opulent on the narrow, pitted road. like a wide lady squeezing down a narrow corridor...within minutes, the road was swamped by thousands of marching people. automobile islands in a river of people...the sound of a thousand voices spread over the frozen traffic like a noise umbrella.

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