How to avoid general wonkiness in everyday life.
I’ve had to ask myself this question a startlingly frequent number of times over the past few weeks while driving:
“Wait, where am I?”
Not good. Even worse, sometimes it takes me a moment to focus on the streets and landmarks before I remember where I am and where I’m supposed to be going. In essence, one could say I’m a little off kilter these days.
It is in moments like these, or in other moments when I’m inexplicably angry or sad or uninterested in life, that I default to my list of three.
There are three things, I’ve now come to realize, that I need to include in my life on a pretty regular basis in order to maintain a state of well being and balance. If one of these things has been absent from my routine, everything starts to get a little wonky. Usually I sense this wonkiness before I realize that my habits have been out of practice. Diagnostics of my daily activity then confirm that, lo and behold, one or more have been seriously neglected.
My list of three:
3. Morning Pages
Okay, I like the alliteration. And, yes, these words are representative of larger concepts:
Meditation: Yes, this could actually (and ideally) mean sitting in lotus for 20 minutes, twice a day, and practicing primordial sound. But it doesn’t have to. For me, I’ve noticed that my own thoughts and ideas tend to develop with quiet time, time without distractions or noise, when an idea can marinate for a while and be allowed to blossom. It is usually when I allow myself the time to be alone with my thoughts – in meditation, or just doing seemingly mundane activities in the house or yard, or on a walk – that the brightest inspirations tend to come. Maybe it’s just me – I’ve noticed that I tend to operate on a slower pace than the rest of the world. But it’s my pace. And I know it well. So I also understand that I should never underestimate the power of giving my thoughts time to grow.
Movement: Yes, exercise. But also stepping away from routine. One of the best things about my time living in New York was the opportunity to see something different every day. There was always a new stimulus, a new experience, crazy things happening on the street corners. In other cities, it has been more of a challenge to lay eyes on new things. So, yes, for me, practicing yoga, running, and surfing are regular habits in my ideal schedule, but also taking those activities into new places – a long walk at the end of a road trip, for instance, or a hike in that place I’ve always wanted to check out – these are things that fill the well. For me, movement – both sensorial and physical – is inherent in finding balance.
Morning Pages: Yes, Julia Cameron. We love her. If you haven’t worked through The Artist’s Way, I really recommend it. (Yes, I have three copies. No, I’ve never worked through the entire thing. Yes, I keep meaning to go back to it. Actually – thank you – it is now coming with me to the cabin next week. Packed!) Anyway, morning pages. Writing. Journaling. It is not the most startling revelation that I actually have to write on a regular basis in order to maintain sanity. But I think this one acknowledgment is also the defining moment of a writer’s life (or an actor’s life, or an artist’s life – fill in the blank). It is that moment when we realize that we have to do what we are meant to be doing, because if we don’t, life gets wonky and we all go batshit crazy.
These are my three. For someone else, I am sure they would be entirely different. But knowing yourself well enough to know what you need is part of the process. Now, finding the time/space/opportunity to honor those necessities…maybe that’s a different blog post.