That's short for:

Crawl, Walk, Run, Fly

It's something I say often, and an attitude I practice, although I forget it sometimes, and have to remind myself about it.

In anything I do, I have to start somewhere.  Eventually I build on that somewhere, and go from new, shaky, awkward, and limited to gradually being more capable, until I reach a point of excellence.

It occurred to me this morning that I practice CWRF all over the place.  I practice it in my health, with how I eat, and exercise.  I practice it in my work, as I constantly am teaching myself how to do things, and refining things I've already done to work better.  I practice it in my polyamory, my writing, everywhere!

I suppose another way to state the truth of CWRF is There's always improvement that can be made.  You have to be careful there though, because that can sound negative, and perfectionist.  That's not it though.  It's not "This isn't good enough yet." but rather, "Awesome!  What can I do next?"  It's the forward movement that matters, not the milestone.

And the thing is, each of these stages is great in its own right.  When I'm in "crawl" on something, I get to move at my own pace, explore, make mistakes, and find value in the discovery.  There's something great about being in that newborn state, gently poking and exploring and figuring out not just what I'm doing, but what potential every choice even has.

Then when I move up to "walk", I trust some of what I have already done, and begin to build upon it.  For example, in writing I'll have demonstrated some aspect of a character's motivation previously, and now can artfully weave in the barest nod to it, almost like a background detail, and suddenly the reader knows them better.  Or in my coding, I'll take some long-handed way to do something, and refactor it to be simpler, more elegant.

When I get to "run" on something, I have great trust in myself, and I'm using what's worked for me in the past to really book it, get great chunks of productivity accomplished.  I love being in the run state.  

Eventually I get to "fly", which in its own way is eerily reminiscent of "crawl", because now I can really let my imagination go, and explore anything and everything, but now with a set of tools and competency supporting me.  I know my patterns and habits over a thing, and can rely upon them.

There's so much that goes into this paradigm, that's part of the recipe for using it:

  • Mindful attention to the moment
  • The Taoist concept of the soft overcomes the hard, like how rainwater carves valleys
  • The Taoist concept of 'u, the un-carved block, inside every block of wood is the potential to be anything.
  • Maitri, the Tibetan Buddhist concept of loving-kindness for oneself
  • Shenpa, the Tibetan Buddhist concept of attachment.  By staying present, you transcend shenpa, to move forward.

I'm so grateful that I practice this, so grateful I can fall back to crawling in any aspect of my life, and know that there's value there.  

There's a Lao-tzu quote I really love, which I have just gained new insight about.  It goes like this:

If you do not change direction, you may wind up where you are heading.

When I first learned it, I used to take it as a gentle rebuke for being too obsessed with an end goal.  But I've since come to see while that's true, it's simultaneously an encouragement to move forward.

Time to get moving again.

AuthorMako Allen