Six of Cups with Eight of Pentacles


Developing a skill is all about practice. Practice is all about repetition. Repetition… well who looks forward to that? Doing something over and over followed by one hundred and overs

That’s one of the elements of refining and perfecting which we sometimes dread. I’ll raise my hand if you’re calling on someone to be honest; that’s what can deter me from developing a new skill or perfecting a half-baked one. The imagination gets put on hold and suspended in liquid nitrogen in favor of mechanical motion. No matter how cleverly Mr. Miyagi instilled karate reflexes into young Daniel-san it still has us dreading the notion of waxing a dozen cars.

Practice and rehearsal have a way of extracting the fun liquid center from any endeavor and replacing it with cams and gears that call for us to do it again with each grind of our burgeoning albeit not yet perfected skill set. It is the Sisyphean eternal application between where we are in our progress and where we want to be.

Sometimes I wonder… and I’m just spitballing here, thinking out loud… if that constant repetitive application that becomes the Lidocaine to our delights is an indication that the particular pursuit we are undertaking is maybe not for us? I know I normally apply my ideas much more definitively in these posts, but I’m giving myself license to mull out loud here. I suppose I’m looking at it from the perspective of a young musician who is learning to play guitar, or a young athlete who takes shot after shot at the hoop. When we’re young and we first fall in love with wanting to be the next great fill-in-the-blank, we will go at our new endeavor with wanton abandonment. There is no thought of the drudgery of repetition. There is only us and that melody, that swing of the bat, that stroke of the brush applied once after another after another after another- that love of whatever it is we chose to pursue being so great that we lose time in the rinse and repeat cycle. We see perfection in our mind’s eye, and each application of the exercise whispers the promise of its attainment the next go round. If we reach it, we do it again for the sheer delight of experiencing it, where we will likely trip again only to try again.

Do we see a treadmill of loathsome repetition awaiting us in between our here and now and the developed skill we desire? Perhaps we need to see if we are truly and madly in love with all that the skill encompasses. If so, our practice of it will temporarily banish time. If instead the spectre of chore shows up during its application, perhaps our attraction to that particular skill was not love, but merely infatuation.


Eight of Pentacles

Eight of Pentacles
A craftsman diligently carves out pentacle after pentacle, honing his skills

When we set an intention on a desired outcome we are imagining what we want to incorporate into our lives. When we manifest that outcome we have reached a point where we have incorporated the realized intention into our identity.

Between setting an intention on what we desire and becoming the person that has attained that goal is a process of shaping the intention to match who we are. We begin by taking the first step in moving toward our goal, but we rarely reach it with a single step.

At some point with enough tenacity we find we have gained the ability to attain what we originally set out to manifest. However, making our goal happen is still tenuous at this stage. We are too green to be truly proficient and accomplished, so maintaining a successful position is precarious at best. We realize we are able to do what we were not able to before, but it is still new, foreign, and uncomfortable. We need to shape this aspect of ourselves much the way we would break in a new pair of shoes.

To truly manifest our desired outcome we need to know with complete certainty that this goal is part of our identity. To become certain of this we need to have our application of our skill become like second nature. We have to move in this manner without thinking, with a fluid effortlessness that only comes with repeating our applications time and time again, where our errors are minimal, where we function as if on automatic, where the task at hand has taken complete ownership of our focus.

Once our efforts toward our goal become an extension of our mind and body, we have finally incorporated our actions into our identity, and manifestation occurs unwaveringly. This extension occurs through continuous trial and error, through repetition, through crossing the threshold from skill to talent, as is only possible when we create a natural rhythm of our efforts through continued and diligent practice.