I know a lot of people can feel trapped in their daily routine. And then get sad that they’re missing out and that their life has become ho-hum. I know many parents feel this way – everything has to be slotted into a schedule that repeats each day, each week. And office workers who have to clock in and clock out, and each day passes into the next.
I share this thought for those of you feeling this way. I read recently that poet Mary Oliver is a fan of habits. (I also wrote about her take on diving into love, yesterday.) Most writers and creatives attest to the value of having a morning routine in particular. But Oliver goes a step further.
She says routine can provide a sort of “stand-in” flow to our life. We need flow to thrive. Thus, routine “liberates our vitality”:
“What some might call the restrictions of the daily office they find to be an opportunity to foster the inner life. The hours are appointed and named… Life’s fretfulness is transcended. The different and the novel are sweet, but regularity and repetition are also teachers… And if you have no ceremony, no habits, which may be opulent or may be simple but are exact and rigorous and familiar, how can you reach toward the actuality of faith, or even a moral life, except vaguely? The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us. Our battles with our habits speak of dreams yet to become real.”
Three theme: We need flow to access our peace; we need precision and deliberateness, too; it’s important to struggle with our habits.
I find all three comforting and true. You?