I have been teaching some wonderful writing students and mediation students, and as much as I’d like to give them a magic button to push to instantly be brilliant writers and instantly have glorious visions in their meditative states, there’s no substitute for good old fashioned practice.
I have studied both writing and meditation for over 25 years, and it’s given me a bit of confidence in both and a few insights to share, and I am more than happy to see my experiences benefit my students. What I’m just beginning to learn is how to help young people be OK with not being at their destination right now. I can see the long haul to proficiency and success ahead of them, and I am just getting a feel for how to communicate that having fun even though you don’t have half the skills you want to have is desirable, and it will make years of your life more fun than spending those years focusing on the frustrations of knowing you aren’t perfect yet.
Maybe it’s living in Austin, Texas that’s helped me take a step back and enjoy where I am and what I am doing, even if it’s not where I thought I’d be when I was 50. Maybe it’s just being 50. And no one could have told me much of anything about patience when I was 25, but I do remember a person here or there who just seemed content. I remember wanting to be like them. I guess, all I can do is be a little more content, a little happier every day, and hope it leads by example, rubs off a little, seeps in by osmosis, and my students walk away a little more content with where they are today.
If you want to get good at something, great! Do it until it’s second nature. Learn from people you respect. Do it every day, for years, and then stop and notice how much better you are than when you started. One day you will realize you feel comfortable doing it, sharing it, and people may start asking you to teach it. But, as far as I know, there’s no substitute for time and practice. Time and experience. Time.