This Principle of Enactment is one of the five emergent Principles of Appreciative Inquiry. This is a concrete Principle because it’s about action. For those of you who like to get into action, this one will be extra satisfying for you.
Courageous Actions Comes from Baby Steps
The Principle of Enactment implies it’s fine to start change with baby steps; to try on new behaviors and test them out to see what works and what doesn’t. It means bringing new ideas and behaviors into your way of being and doing. Once you start to make little changes, it's more likely you'll begin to make necessary adjustments and the change begins to get more deeply integrated into who you are; and guess what! Your behaviors and thinking change also.
Practices of Enactment
There is inner self talk and outer enactment. Three basic practices for you:
1. Just start! Even if you fail and want to give up, if it’s in your vision for who you want to be, you’ll find a way. Be gentle with yourself. Stay open to possibilities without judgement.
2. Experiment! You have to feel it to know it! That’s what enactment is. It’s being in action – you feel the energy, the results, the power, the love at a cellular level. It washes over you in a good way.
3. Trial and error works. Start small; and with a tiny taste of success, you’ll see it grow. When we enact in the present that which we so desire for ourselves, and is aligned to our vision and purpose, we take risks because, you know what, to be only safe, you’ll end up sorry! The Principle of Enactment enables a life filled with life of courageous actions.
Personal Story of Enactment
Let me illustrate with a personal story. It’s about my yoga and meditation practice. I wanted to be really good at both. They were both important to me. Yet, for years I struggled to make them part of my life. I found yoga too slow; and meditation, as I understood it at the time, didn’t work for me because I could not “empty my mind”. Every time I sat on the mat, my mind was racing and I’d get very agitated that I couldn’t do it and I kept “failing”. So I stopped trying. Years passed. I kept up with all my high energy aerobic fitness program, biking, running kayaking etc. I’m proud to say I even completed a triathlon.
Convenience Builds Routine
One of the issues I had with starting a yoga practice is that I didn’t have a center close by and therefore couldn't start a routine practice and see any improvements. I need to see and feel results. I had no way of embodying the practice so it could became part of who I am. Until, I had a BFO – a blinding flash of the obvious!
Four years ago I found an app, called Yoga Studio and it changed my life. I love this app. I practice Yoga every second day and sometimes when my schedule or the weather doesn’t allow me to go outdoors to walk, I practice it daily. I now enact my yoga practice, and it’s part of me. If I miss more than two days, I’m not a happy chappy! By following the program in this app, I started with the basics and I worked my way through the program. I now can do it with my eyes closed and really get into the zone.
Opening the Mind
With regard to my meditation practice, that change came earlier. As I learnt more and more about embracing appreciative, strength-based, positive methods of change as a professional, the biological and neurological scientific research that supported the benefits of meditation resonated strongly as I integrated those disciplines into the spiritual traditions of meditation practices.
I stopped being my own worst critic and started a beautiful meditation call Loving Kindness Mediation. I still practice. And being able to “empty the mind”, doesn’t stress me anymore, because I’ve learnt there is so much more to a meditation practice than “emptying the mind.”
What's your story? How does this Principle of Enactment show up for you? What's something that you started in a small way, but has led to a practice that you are now grateful for?