Last night was the final Tuesday evening class for our cohort at CIIS. Next week will be the final Monday morning call for our Martha Beck Life Coach Training. The end of the training period is nearing. And I’m left feeling, “Just as I’m starting to get the hang of this and it’s all sinking in, it’s over!”

Of course, this is just the beginning. That’s what feels so delicious about it. At the same time, I want more. I want the community to continue, the relationships to deepen, the sharing to become even richer.

At other times when I’ve approached a graduation from school, I thought, “Yay! I’m done!”. This is the first time in my life where I’ve actually wanted the learning to continue. It’s not that I long for a student’s life. I actually am looking forward to putting this knowledge into practice in the real world. I’m eager to find ways to share what I’ve experienced and to be an example of transformation for others to witness.

And I am just getting started with my own deep practice. I’m no novice, because I’ve been fascinated with music, personal development, and how people behave for most of my life. But I feel that my personal practice – with insight and awareness – is just beginning at a whole new level.

Practice, of course, is a specialty of mine. If there’s anything that I completely mastered, starting at the age of three and continuing with consistency until I went to college, it was daily practice. I recognize now that I’m so grateful for that set of skills and discipline which serve me in everything I do. Not only in the obvious areas like meditation, yoga, writing, eating, and thought work. But also in the not-so-obvious areas like fun, creativity, freedom, space, and joy.

Yes, all of these so-called “soft” qualities require a discipline to cultivate and practice. You don’t just “arrive” at creativity. You don’t just “become” free. You practice them.

Same goes for the less desirable attributes like stressed out feelings, overworking, worrying, being in pain, holding on to anger. All of these are practiced just as diligently as any other skill. Ever notice that people who act like this tend to actually enjoy being this way at some level? They’re practicing, and they’re getting some kind of reward from it. We become the things that we do repeatedly. Period.

So now that I’m starting to get the hang of this coaching thing, and I have tasted the freedom of making music with other people in a creative way, I’m going to keep practicing! I’m going to practice staying aware of the direction I take myself in every time I practice something else. And I’m going to gently work the edges as I go deeper.

I’ll try, I’ll fail, I’ll look bad publicly, I’ll make mistakes, I’ll disappoint some people. But in being willing to do all of this, I now know that I am on the path of getting better all the time.