Practice Power: How To Get It

You’ve decided it is time to start a new practice … a practice that will fulfil your soul or somehow positively change your life (writing, Hatha yoga, a fitness routine, playing the clarinet – that sort of thing).

Having made that decision, here are some questions that might follow:

How much free time do you have for the new practice to take hold?

How many hours can you realistically lounge around smoking a hookah, draped over the arm of a chair, reading poetry?

How spacious is your life?

One of the first obstacles that block people from beginning a new thing, is time. Because, let’s face it, life is manic. We may have been promised days of leisurely idleness by the gadget revolution, but in reality life now seems busier, faster and more crammed than ever before.

We no longer sit and play cards or converse whilst sipping tea.

Instead we flick through TV channels with one hand and check our social media notifications with the other, in between answering various online chats and questioning Siri about how many people hippos kill each year in an attempt to win a debate we had with our spouse over a TV dinner.

With this level of intensity present during an hour of our evening chill, how the heck do we make time for gentle pursuits that will restore us into properly functioning human beings again? How do we summon the power to get our new practice in place?

Here are some ideas:


There’s not much we can do to curb lack of time until we decide to become aware of what we’re doing within that time. By endlessly indoctrinating ourselves with the mantra of “I don’t have enough time”, all we do is hypnotise ourselves further into believing that.

By pressing pause and taking a long, slow breath and then leaning back and looking our life, we can begin to reframe our experience and see that we DO have a lot of time and we CAN choose what we fill those time containers with.

Thanks to my friendly phone, I get to know how much time I spend on social media each day. I expect your friendly phone will also be telling you the same thing. One day, after deciding that I needed to clean up how I spend my free time, I deleted all of my social media. I managed to stay off it for three months. In the first week I gained around two and a half hours a day. That’s a lot of time to be doing other stuff.

Okay, some of that time was spent sitting in the car and looking out of the window whilst Ads drove or hanging out in a doctor’s surgery twiddling my thumbs, but instead of phone scrolling I was able to sit there and feel quite time abundant and think different thoughts.

Studies have shown that we touch our phones 2,617 times a day.

That’s a lot of times.

And a lot of time (mostly) wasted.


Apologies for the insulting title.

It was my meagre attempt to try and break the pattern of being a nice friendly Bethan and wake us both up a bit. Because that’s the trouble with routines and patterns … they eventually turn you into a robotic sleep-walker who needs to be shaken up a little.

Yes, routines are handy. They’re a good way of negotiating the zillions of small, mundane tasks we have to do every day to survive and avoid blowing our brains up with the overwhelming nature of life. But these routines and boundaries can, if we’re not careful, make our lives constrained and fixed. The thought of then starting something new (Hatha yoga, writing, lounging around reading poetry and smoking a hookah) feels disruptive and difficult and out of one’s comfort zone. Bringing in a tiny new bit of freshness in the form of a practice then feels like an insurmountable re-haul of our entire existence.

It’s not.

It’s just a new practice.

Thankfully, becoming aware that our routines are just repetitive habit patterns, can be enough to open a tiny, small window of opportunity. It’s enough of a prod to help us realise that making little simple shifts is actually waaaay more possible than our boring, dullard routine selves would have us believe.

What could you do different for five tiny minutes of your day?

How could you bring in a slither of a practice in just 300 little seconds of your day?

How could you change up the mechanical plod of your day to open the threads of reality and allow something new and unusual in?


I live in a house where my bed is also used as a desk/study, a laundry folding surface, a continual sleep-zone for the dog, a mosh-pit where all family members roll around and play with the dog, a writing room, a meditation space and frequent wrestling ring for two boys. And so whilst having a  room of my own to do all of my lovely tranquil practices is a gorgeous dream, for me – and many others – it really isn’t a reality.

Having said that, practices do require space. Physical space. They also often require physical things. When we honour our practices by giving them a physical space, it then a lot easier to give them time too.

The space that you offer to your practice doesn’t have to be much and it doesn’t have to be permanent. For the aspiring home-practice Yogi, it could be a rolled up Yoga mat that is then unfurled in a designated space in the lounge. For the aspiring sketcher, it could be a box full of pencils and a sumptuous pad of cartridge paper that lives on a special shelf.

One way of making space – and time – for my personal practices, was to buy a special ladder shelf that is next to my side of the bed.

Inside it I keep my latest journal(s), my pens and my books for illustration and art. I also keep my laptop on one of the shelves, because on the desktop there’s a special file where I keep all of my guided visualisations that I listen to every day. And so whilst my bed is used for all sorts of unconventional activities such as wrestling, laundry and dog-fussing, next to it is the space that is boundaried off and allows me to maintain the practices that keep me sane.

When we commit a little physical space and then we commit a little time … just tiny sprickets of effort each day … those efforts and days begin to thread together like tiny beads on a necklace and before we know it, a practice is born.

What microscopic thing could you do to offer your practice an inch of time or space today?

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