Low-light photo of railroad tunnel

Source: The New York Public Library

I've begun framing many activities I routinely engage in as "practices." These activities include yoga, meditation, writing, reading, and so on.

I find framing these activities as "practices" useful because it best captures my approach towards engaging with them. These are activities that I routinely practice in my day-to-day life because they are intrinsically meaningful to me. I don't care about getting paid to write; I write because it's a fun way for me to think, learn, reflect, and share. I'm here for the writing, not for the money.

Describing an activity as a "practice" also captures my intention with engaging in it, which is as a practitioner. I get out of my practices what I put into them. Through this effort, I experience joy in my practice while learning and growing.

Having an activity so aligned with my values that I feel compelled to do it without an expected outcome is the baseline for qualifying my activities as a practice.

I also see my practices as an exercise in meditation; I strive to experience the present moment so fully that any downstream consequence from my practice is irrelevant.

Whether my blog post receives one comment or one thousand, the focus while I'm writing is on the writing, not the outcome from the writing. Would receiving a thousand comments be nice? Yes. But my engagement with writing as a practice goes deeper than whatever external validation I receive from what I've written. My focus is on my daily practice of writing, first and foremost.

I've also found that practicing something regularly without expecting an outcome typically provides the most surprising, well, outcomes. Doing without expecting is, by its nature, a recipe for enjoying the present moment and serendipitous results. It also feels like a good way of reducing disappointment from reality not aligning with our expectations.

I acknowledge that this may be semantic hoop-jumping, but it's working for me.

What activities in your life are you a practitioner of?