Pillars and Tapestries

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Pillars and Tapestries

20th Feb 2022

When thinking about where to start, I kept coming back to the “pillars” because it has been the distinction and practice of the pillars that have brought me to this place. Talking from direct experience also makes this about sharing what I have learned and what I know. It is not based on dogma nor does it require anybody to follow what I say.

It is merely a perspective that I share from my own direct experience, and experience for me is the true teacher.

I define a pillar practice as an activity that:

I prioritise, do frequently and consistently, and enhances my personal integrity, my internal and external capacity, and my experience of life. 

The action is specific, occurs at a specific time, and for a specific period of time.

  • I prioritise – because I know that by fulfilling it, I am living consistently with what it means to me, to live a life of personal integrity. 
  • I do it frequently – generally daily, weekly or fortnightly at a specific and measurable time, and for a specific and measurable period, either alone or with others depending on context.
  • I do consistently – because I know that it fills my cup, serves me and enables me to serve others. It makes a difference in my life and the lives of others.
  • Cultivates internal capacity – and my ability to reference from within and as such, reduce the impact of external stimulation and validation
  • Cultivates external capacity – is aligned with what I am doing and who I am being in the world, and contributes to creating and having a life that works.
  • I experience – a sense of peace, calm, that I matter, and a feeling of connection to myself and to others.
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Pillars are integrated with tapestries and have all the same qualities and parameters as mentioned above, other than one. In contrast to pillar practices, tapestry do not occur at a specific time, for a specific period, and the action itself is often less specific.  

See Tables 1 and 2 below (Pillar Practice vs Tapestry)

Table 1. Pillar Practice
Activity Measurable Specific
Time Measurable Specific
Period Measurable Specific
Example Meditate, twice daily, every day At 8am & 8pm, in my room, for 20 minutes
Table 2. Tapestry
ExampleCharity, set proportion of my income, each weekWhenever, to whomever, and however I please

Let me illustrate both with an example. I will use meditation as an example of a pillar practice and tithing as an example of a tapestry. 

My meditation practice as pillar practice is as follows: 20 minutes, twice per day, in a seated closed eye posture, usually done alone but sometimes done with others. Mornings predominantly at sunrise and outdoors, and evenings predominantly in the meditation space I have created at home, performed in the early evening. A total of 14 sits per week for a total of 280 minutes which equates to 4 hours and 40 minutes.

My tithing practice as a tapestry (practice) is as follows: on a weekly basis I manually transfer money via a banking app from my spending account into a tithing account. The amount is 10% of the money that goes into the spending account. I then look for opportunities throughout the week to use that money in various acts of service, from buying raffle tickets in local fund raisers, to purchasing food for homeless people. I have decided not to automate transfers from the tithing account, so that I can be fully conscious when the money is used.

My pillars and tapestries are my oxygen mask. They are what feeds my inner cultivations, my integrity, my capacity, my sense of self and my commitment to what I am doing in the world.

As such I am completely committed to them as distinct from attached.

Committed means that they are prioritised and they are prioritised in proportion to the immense value they give me. They are absolutely at the forefront and I do not put other activities before them.

I also recognise that life by design is unpredictable, it ebbs and flows, and sometimes unforeseen things come up. Sometimes, flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of the moment require me to temporarily set aside my pillars and tapestries. Committed but not rigid, disciplined but not mechanical. When they are set aside it is done with intention and awareness, and a clear commitment to living with integrity and responding in a way that is consistent with my values.

the sit. blog pillar practice mike britton writing men group men circle

My pillars and tapestries are not set in stone, but changing them is always done in a considered manner. 

As of today, 6 January 2022 my pillars are:

(for this practice)
fortnightly date night with CarolineFAMILYpartnerconnectedfortnightlyCaroline4 hours
dinner at my parents one night per weekFAMILYparentsacceptance & servicemonday eveningsmy parents and my sons2 hours
8km run – once per weekPHYSICALouter healthin actionlunchtime or weekend afternoonsalone but what is missing could be a buddy40 minutes
one on one time with my son LeroyFAMILYchildrengrateful & presentMonday evenings post my folksLeroy90 minutes
dinner with my sons at my folksFAMILYchildrencalmfortnightly Monday evenings after Kung-fuRohan (and the folks and Leroy there as well)2 hours
kung fu training twice per weekPHYSICALouter healthcommittedMondays and ThursdaysMy sons and with Brett1 hour each
One HIIT session & pool or ocean swimPHYSICALouter healthfocusedMondays and ThursdaysSven90 minutes
strength training session – once per weekPHYSICALouter healthcommittedTuesdaysJason1 hour
gratitude practice twice weeklyPERSONAL EVOLUTION & CONNECTIONserving othersgratefulMonday and WednesdaysOn my own10 minutes each times
Mens group Eastern Suburbs (fortnightly)SOCIALfriendsgratefulMondays fortnightlythe men2 hour
journal once per weekMENTALclarity – doing and beingcommittedMonday mornings 6:30 – 7:45on my own75 minutes
face to face connect with a a man or men once per week- can include coffee, walk, lunch etcSOCIALfriendsabundantIt has been Friday mornings but not really workingA man in my world1 hour
The Sit Avalon every Saturday – meditate, train, swim, coffee with the crewSOCIALlocal communitylight and playfulSaturday morningsThe Av community3 hour
Meditate twice per dayPERSONAL EVOLUTION & CONNECTION freedaily twice per day for 20 minuteson my own and in community20 minutes per sit
the course in miracles dailyPERSONAL EVOLUTION & CONNECTIONspiritual developmentconnecteddaily in the morningon my own10 minutes
smoothie DAILYPHYSICALinner healthconsistentdaily each morningmy family10 minutes
And my tapestries are:
no dairy, no cherries, no pine nuts, no salmon, and eating really good quality protein and good amounts of vegetablesPERSONAL EVOLUTION & CONNECTIONintentionalDailyNA
Keeping my desk and working space, my car and my cupboard completely organisedMENTALintentionalDailyNA