i have been ruminating much lately on the power of routines.
i admit on the front end that part of my comfort with routines comes from the immense blessing of being born a virgo with a scorpio moon (orderly, wilderly). but i see the benefits of routine in the life of every person i know who actually get things accomplished.
for me, being in a place of good, flowing routines opens up more of my brain for visionary, creative and complex concepts. instead of spending time picking out breakfast, i make a smoothie that i know will be delicious every day, and my first thoughts can stay focused on analyzing of the bits of dream my memory was able to catch in the waking process.
in fact, i could basically live on smoothies (rice milk, organic pre-frozen bananas, strawberries, water-soaked flax seed, a handful of spinach, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and occasionally other fresh fruit) and my lentil soup (red lentils, yellow split peas, red quinoa, 1 chopped vidalia onion, 2 bulbs worth of crushed garlic, and any vegetables you want to toss in – spinach, mushrooms, corn, kale, olives have all worked. squeeze 1/2 a small lemon on when serving, and add a cube of feta for non-vegans). this has allowed the part of my brain that used to spend all of its time thinking about the next thing i could eat to instead stay focused on whatever it is i want to be doing.
with physical activities too – when i swim i set the time goal, adding a few minutes every few days. my stroke is freestyle, and when i am done i do 5 backflips in the deep end and then float the pool length. my body knows to do this, so my mind and spirit can focus completely on breath and meditation, not switching up strokes or running around to different parts of the gym, watching TV or reading magazines while my body works. i have reached depths in meditation during swimming that i have rarely reached anywhere else – such deep quiet.
my work routines bring me pleasure as well – every monday i do email aikido *aka cleaning out my inbox* and then run through the to-do lists on my online work management systems (i use basecamp for my ruckus and personal work) and prioritize. knowing i am going to do this means that throughout the week i rarely have a moment of not knowing what to do, feeling overwhelmed, or even stressing too much about falling behind. and even if i need to procrastinate on one task, i can check the list and find another more interesting one, and still be accomplishing necessary stuff.
of course there are a lot of things that hopefully aren’t routine…while a healthy eating routine is wise, having exciting cooking and eating out experiences ensures that i stay connected with those most delicious aspects of living. while an orgasm-a-day routine is wise, having routine sexual experiences isn’t. and so on.
i’m blessed in that for years now i have been able to craft flexible home/office situations. that means i wake when my body wants to, i can do the long late-night work sessions my inner insomniac romanticizes. it means i can work out mid-morning or mid-afternoon if i want to. for me, a 9-5 office routine doesn’t serve my best creative life process.
but the routines that have emerged, especially in the past few years as saturn’s returning stripped my life of excess, exposed patterns and left me with a lot of fertile ground for the next couple decades…those routines are so fulfilling and simplifying and i am awakening all kinds of creativity! like – children’s books, collages, science fiction anthologies, sci-fi erotica ideas, life structure ideas for every organization i know, singing, somatics exercises and that’s just this week.
i feel like i write a lot of times about the exceptional aspects of life, but in some ways its the routines which give me more consistent, steady joy.
or – possibly even better than joy, peace.