A Dedicated Practice

How are you shaping your work, vocation, craft, or practice? And how is it shaping you?

“We become the work to which we dedicate ourselves.”
(Janna Malamud Smith)

“We shape our work, and then, not surprisingly,
we are shaped again by the work we have done.”
  (David Whyte)

I love the tingle of recognition when guidance arrives at just the right moment. I’ve been reading David Whyte’s Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity (2001) and listening to his newer audio book, What to Remember When Waking. Then the September issue of The Sun arrived by mail. It includes “An Absorbing Errand,” a piece from Janna Malamud Smith with gorgeous insights about the demands, efforts, and requirements of sustained practice and the imaginative, generative, and the deeply satisfying nature of dedication to a craft.

What they have to say clicks for me because I’ve touched and grappled with and wondered about this aspect of life, over and over. Work. Vocation. Practice. Craft. Sometimes this feels very solitary, and there is a lot of doubt that comes along the way. Staying steady and trusting the longing for purpose and meaningful work has required much more of me than I imagined. And also reveals, settles, and fills this life with gratitude.

“Once we have built our work and our contribution around our natural gifts, we have joined a great gravitational river where the current is flowing in the direction we must travel. Longing is a deep current of gravity that we perceive will take us home, or to a new home, and being caught in that gravity field is the sense we have of belonging.” (David Whyte)

What are your natural gifts? For what are you longing? What would it take to release your work, contribution, heart’s desire, offering, or gifts into the current of belonging?


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