22. better than

A wise person claims that asking yourself, “Am I better than yesterday?” is a powerful daily life practice.  Whether the answer is “Yes” or “No” during the pursuit of mastery, the practitioner’s reply must be a life-affirming, “Yes, I’m getting better at this because I practice.” Wisdom claims that answer drives doggedness through the stagnant times and frustration.

Easier said than done.

I reflect on my own pursuits which spread across parenting, painting, writing, climbing, fitness, mindfulness and admit there is no clear and simple answer.  I have given up in the past.  I’ve conceded defeat.  I’ve believed I can’t do better. I have many excuses too, and I hate excuses. I’ve discovered that what you might call my doggedness is not certitude, but an overall concession and helpless defeat that I can’t do anything else than this.

So, without anything better to do, I continue to practice. Sometimes I remember to ask myself.  “Am I better than yesterday?”  But mostly I don’t.

Then, sometimes I come across a project or circumstance that reveals my progress and I get a second wind. This painting is it.  It is my answer to the question.  Yes, today I am better than yesterday.

C) Marika Reinke – Adventures in Art with Heart, Humor and Spirit.

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