Becoming better, then good, then even better and finally a master of ourselves. Would it not be good to have appreciation whilst we are in the process of becoming a master?
When we master something we find that we can do it ‘with ease’. Of course! But do you know what I have learned? Sometimes it takes hard work, patience and a long time, during which seemingly it feels like I am making no progress at all! My Dad called that the ‘plateau’. Some might think that means there is no more progress to be made, but that is not true. It’s a time to strive.
I once dreamt that I was driving a rickety old train along a track towards an exciting vibrant city that I could see way off in the distance, in front of me, over a bridge that crossed a shimmering large body of water. I was excited, but filled with anticipation which was almost nervousness like (have you noticed how hard it is to distinguish the sensations of excitement from anxiety?) Behind, a fast modern train was bearing down on me at speed! Fortunately, just before the crash came, my train veered to the left letting ‘Speedy’ plough on by.
I found myself trunddleing on a circular track, around and around an orchard of fruit. The pace was slow enough for me to able to get off the train, stretch my legs and reach up to gather all kinds of delightful fruit. There was also a compost bin in which I could put all of the no longer needed items, littering the train from my previous (what now felt like a long and arduous) journey. It took me a short while to recognise I was gathering and replenishing my resources for the next stage. ‘The plateau’ I heard my Dads voice laughing and saw his nodding head ‘you are on the plateau!’
That encouraging nod was enough for me to feel that I was on the right track and although I never dreamt it, I was left assured that I would reach my goal.
Far too often that internal nodding voice is a critical one. Some left of remnant of a bye gone era that play tonelessly and annoyingly yet incessantly insistently. A judge some say it is called. A judge which some of us allow to intervene in the normal unfolding of our everyday life. Yet, if you are to before a proper judge, you will be treated fairly and have representation, an advocate to make your case. I bet many of us forget that part.
The reality is, we can and should expect from those around us supportive community encouragement. They can be our advocates, for example, with a smile for when we atempt something, make a stab or approximate how to approach the task. An encouraging nod when we fall just a little short, just before adjusting ready for our next attempt (The Royal Artillery use such a process to target their guns) and a clap on the back when we do try again.
We should also expect the community to be patiently encouraging whilst we are on the plateau harvesting, honing and testing our gifts, strengths and talents. Mastery? It’s all in the preparation. Who makes your case?