True confession. I am a person who does not care too much for routine.
Dictionary.com has some clues as to why that may be:
2. commonplace tasks, chores, or duties as must be done regularly or at specified intervals; typical or everyday activity: the routine of an office. 3. regular, unvarying, habitual, unimaginative, or rote procedure.
Ick! (Though you may find that comforting and that’s great, too. The world needs all of us!)
I’m also a person with a lot of projects, all going on at once just now.
Recently I realized that there’s so much that needs to get done that I’d gotten a bit overwhelmed. Not much was getting done.
The calendar in my iPhone is much easier to tote around than the ancient Aztec version pictured above, but not a good process match for me in many ways.
The supplemental paper calendar with gorgeous Newfie photos that my sister sent for my birthday always makes me smile. I just don’t seem to be able to smush a whole day worth of life into a box smaller than a postie note.
Then I spent half a day trying to figure out when one thing ended, another began, and how far behind I might be on a third. (And a fourth!)
It seemed like a good time for a change.
So, back to my old friend from before the days of iPhones. Levenger’s Circa system.
The soft black leather cover I’d kept all these years. And actually knew where to find! Current pages. The ones with little monthly squares and the really cool ones with two whole pages per day. (Just having those two pages to list and doodle and ponder a day is like heading out to the Farmers’ Market and coming home to discover an expansive 5,000 square foot house, full of light and space, where my cramped relic of an early 60’s ranch once stood.)
Then came the big task. Getting everything into one place.
I’m almost there. It’s taken a bit of time. Along the way, I learned something new.
While I don’t care for (at least the connotations of) routine, I do like ritual.
This is a word I connect with. (As noted before, you may need a different word. It’s all about choice!)
Again, Dictionary.com is helpful, though a bit limited in this case:
an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite…a prescribed or established rite, ceremony, proceeding, or service…or ceremonial acts or features collectively…
Already, my new calendar and I are beginning to build some rituals that feel not only helpful but also soothing to me.
After the dogs have been out the first time and I have my favorite sunny yellow mug with hot water and lemon in hand, I turn on Luther’s special music and start the audio version of my day’s meditation. By this time, the dogs are snoring gently again.
I write the main thought for my meditation in my calendar.
Check texts and email.
Adjust my plan for the day, or–more likely–add a few things to my list, complete with my favorite ultra fine point Sharpie markers in whatever colors move me.
And then, some more meditation, less interrupted than usual by the mental monkey panicked at the thought of forgetting something.
Again at night.
It really does feel soothing. Which is kind of the purpose of rituals. More so, perhaps, than some strictly religious rites.
And soothing leaves more room for creativity and growth.
We, along with our kids and our dogs, are pattern learners. For me, rituals are more about making space for inspiration than they are about following routines. They’re also about belonging.
I want my girls to have that sense of belonging, along with the space to be inspired. To be in the moment.
We make things. Corn bread. Easter eggs. Art. Sometimes we polish nails. Their choice of color!
One day, I hope they’ll realize that the ritual was in the making together. The laughing. The process rather than the outcome, so much.
I hope that they’ll hold belonging deep in their consciousness.
They may need different words. You may, too. It’s really ok. It is, perhaps, the space that counts.
Space for individuality. Space for creativity. Space for spontaneity.
All the while, being safely held and soothed.
That’s a lot to learn from a new calendar! (The tech police will need to adapt!)