being a student

I have a daily meditation practice. I come to my pillow first thing in the morning and sit crosslegged for an hour. And in the evening before bed, I hit repeat. Ever since my divorce five years ago, this simple act of sitting has helped me to move through all kinds of emotions and helped me overcome all kinds of difficulties and challenges while also making me see beauty in every moment. And ever since giving up alcohol, sitting has become easier and therefore more enjoyable and my practice is often flush with Aha! moments and today was no different.

I had a good Aha! during my sit this morning. It stemmed from the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of perfect practice to obtain mastery over something. Think about it. 10,000 hours. That's a lot! and if you are practicing for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, it will take you just over 5 years to master that subject matter. And longer if your practice of something (like art, or music, or sports, or meditation), is not how you support yourself so time for those things is relegated to an hour a day at best. The notion that it takes 10,000 perfect practice hours to become a master renders us students for most of our lives. And if I want to become a master at something that is not my job then drinking doesn't help me get there unless I want to be known as queen of the beer bong.

Amazing things happen the we surrender to the idea of being a student. When we are open to the idea of learning we automatically start to become more curious, wondrous, and interested, (and interesting as well!). And in this space Life can really surprise us. When I was in college I was doing well. My life was running mostly smoothly. I was strong. Ideas flowed easily. My art practice flourished. Work was fun. Everything felt easy. And a big reason was because I literally was a student. I was open. I was learning. I had no preconceived notions about how and because of that Life was able to show up for me in a really big way. I was open to learning and open to receiving and that made all the difference.

Of course I still had relationship angst. I was married at the time and things were't going so well. When I graduated, it was as though that degree suddenly made me more worthy and the fall after graduation I ended up getting divorced. After the divorce I was so broken and felt like such a complete failure that I grasped at Life in an effort to hold on to some kind of mastery. I wanted to be master of my own life and all that grasping and holding on made me miserable. I stopped being a student and I closed myself off to all new experiences out of fear. I effectively shut God out in an attempt to retain mastery over Life. And Life without Mystery is simply mundane.

So, my Aha! was in remembering that in being a student I am more open to receiving and am more open to Life and in that opening, fear automatically falls away. Being a student removes the craving to be a master, the craving to succeed and instead opens doors to wonder and process. Doors that are rendered invisible when we are hooked on outcomes. Being a student of Life helps me to become. To become more of myself. Being in tune with wonder and process benefit my art and writing and help me to move towards mastery while still being present to the beauty of the moment.