In a wild world like ours, your character, left untended, will become a stale room, an obnoxious child, a vacant lot filled with thorns, weeds, broken bottles, raggedy grocery bags, and dog droppings. Your deepest channels will silt in, and you will feel yourself shallowing. You’ll become a presence neither you nor others will enjoy, and you and they will spend more and more time and energy trying to be somewhere else.
Well tended, your character will be a fragrant garden, an artist’s home, with walls and halls full of memories and beauty, a party with live music and good jokes and pleasant conversations in every corner. You’ll be good and deep company for others and yourself.
That’s why, through the ages, people have tried to find ways to tend themselves, to do for their souls what exercise does for their bodies and study does for their minds. Through these character exercises they give birth to a person they are proud of becoming, the person they are happy to be, the one who is trying to be born every day – a hero, a best friend, a loving beloved and a beloved lover.
(from Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices)