Practice Joyfully

What have you learned lately?

In the beginning of a career or hobby we take in a lot of information in a very short amount of time. It is an exciting and exhilarating process. For many of us, this physical and intellectual push is what got us into the variety arts in the first place.

After a while, however, things can start to lose their luster. This can happen for a number of reasons. Perhaps most significantly, the learning curve can taper off, especially with the physical skill element of what we do. The gross motor skills that beginners learn can be picked up fairly quickly. As our level of achievement gets higher and higher, the refinements that we make tend to be finer and finer, smaller and smaller.

This is why our progress can start to slow down. With juggling, to get from 3 balls to 4 is not that big of a deal. Being able to juggle five is somewhat more difficult. Getting a handle on 6 and seven takes a significant deal more of work. The higher numbers take longer. Furthermore, learning tricks with 3 balls can come pretty easily as compared to learning tricks with 5.

It’s easier for us to simply stop the learning process. Many people take a break from regular practice or stop all together.  A lot of folks justify it by saying, “I am doing gigs. My focus is on booking myself now.” Or they tell themselves that they just juggle or do magic so that they can socialize at clubs. The problem with that attitude is that over time, things can get a little boring.

 Are you feeling bored with your hobby?

If the answer is yes then you should ask yourself what it will take to feel more stimulated. The easiest way to get excited all over again is to challenge yourself. Set some goals. Learn something new.

What to learn, though? An important aspect to rekindling your passion for an art is not to focus on what you “should” be learning. Rather, approach it with a sense of play. Try practicing to music, something new or unusual. Find music that brings you joy, and then do your practice inspired by the music. Make it a joyful dance instead of a physical chore that you have to do.

You might try practicing in a new location. Maybe at the beach or under a bridge or in the woods. Find a place that can inspire you. Let the architecture or the natural forms around you suggest the direction that your play takes.

You can learn more by playing than you can by being a drill sergeant.

It helps me to pick up odd objects not intend for juggling and find out how they move and balance. Essentially, I just open myself up to playing with weird stuff and this has led me to make discoveries of interesting shapes that are fun to work with.

Don’t forget: when all is said and done, our passion about our art-form is meant to serve our life. It is meant to make us happy. If your goals are draining your life of pleasure, then you should reassess why you are doing what you do and figure out how to have more fun.

Brad Weston is a writer, juggler, and  joy-seeker from way back. For more information about him and his work check out his website at http://www.bradweston.com

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