I am very much a creature of habit, routine and ritual. In fact, if I were a fantasy being, I’d likely be a Hobbit, comfortably snuggled up in my Hobbit hole with books and pets and food and wine. Because for me, “adventuring” is just not really a major life draw. Sure, I crave new experiences, social interaction, and from time to time I do get cabin fever (traveling at least once a year really is part of my life goal). But, for the most part, home is just where it’s at for me. That’s probably because I’m an introvert. Where I can (and do) deal successfully with people (pretty much every day), social interaction drains my energy, so I retreat back to the place that fills me up. That’s also probably why creating the perfect “nest” is so important to me. Home is like my charging station. The walls of that building hold everything that is dear to me inside. And I like to keep it all in its place.
I’m also a fetish-level planner. I love knowing how I will spend pretty much every waking minute of my life. Seriously…I have a family wall calendar, a personal planner, a work planner, a calendar app on my phone for time-blocking and appointment reminders, and a list app that allows me to physically check things off (god I love that!). I’m naturally a disorganized thinker and am prone to ADD and manic creativity, so organization and planning are more than activities that provide me a deep sense of personal peace, they keep me from spinning out of control. I need the planning and organization for my sanity. I’m one of those people who, if she can’t find her agenda, feels a tingling panic in the base of her stomach. I manage to shoot from the hip, be flexible, and work off plan all the time (life is just like that, after all) – then return to my plan book and re-route things for the next day. It means, I spend a lot of my life in “planning mode,” and maybe it’s a sickness…but it brings me great pleasure.
At work, this neurotic need to plan and put everything in its place is a prized quality. At home, it keeps things running, but it drives my Husband crazy sometimes.
My craving for “the expected” runs into our relationship, too. And D/s has just the place for it. Routines and Rituals.
Our rituals have been off, though, with the move. And I’d like to see them return and flourish. With all the craziness of moving, this summer has seen us lose the thread of our D/s in some ways and find it in others. Punishment has become a thing for us, which is new. Spankings have happened more often. And Mr. D has had to struggle through the difficulty of “Domming” a sometimes difficult sub who hates being spanked for transgressions and pouts in the aftermath but doesn’t mind the behavior modification that comes as a result (I’ll never be that girl who thanks her Dom for punishment – though He did make me kiss the spoon that reddened my ass once…and I sooooo wanted to tell Him to fuck off…but I didn’t, because, after all, I’m not that kind of girl). We discussed it, because He seemed so disappointed that I was pouty about the spanking He gave me on our anniversary (because I wore panties on a Friday – because it’s summer vacation for me and I forget what day it is on a regular basis – and because it’s no excuse). In the morning, I had to point out that yes, I get pouty, but do I ever tell Him to stop? Do I say no? Because I could. I could shut this whole operation down if I wanted to. But I don’t…because, like planning and organization, the structure and boundaries that D/s provide are soul needs for me.
Having routines gives me a sense of calm. It basically allows me to automatize in certain areas of my life…to not have to think…to just do and be. It also assures that certain areas of my life are not neglected. For example, I get up at 5 am on work days so that I can fit in some reading and writing before my day begins. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays I go to yoga after work. And on Fridays, our son goes to grandparents’ houses so Mr. D and I can have some adult time.
Of course…routines can get boring and sometimes they stop working or can even become counterproductive as they no longer work or help create momentum. That’s when they need to be changed.
Similarly, rituals provide me a sense of calm, as well. Every work morning, I get up before the pack, let the dogs out, make the coffee, check my phone, and read and/or write in the quiet lamplight…usually with a cat on my lap. I go over my schedule for the day, modify as necessary, and then let my routine take over – getting ready, packing lunches, making breakfast. Then back to the ritual of kissing goodbye and saying I love you.
When Mr. D gets home, I take off His boots, I get His drink, we debrief our day…this is ritual. It doesn’t guide us or move us forward as a routine would. It fills us up and centers us, bringing us back together after being away during the day.
I do believe one can go too far with ritual and routine. If there are too many things to remember, it becomes overwhelming, rather than calming. So adding activities, expectations, and habits (or taking them away) must happen gradually.
We made that mistake years ago with our first D/s “contract.” There were so many rules and expectations on it that I simply couldn’t make it happen. So it ended up creating anxiety and leaving me with a sense of failure. It’s not easy on His side, either, if there are too many rules or rituals to remember. After all, He’s the one who’s got to hold me to them. That’s not to say that I won’t do them if He’s not looking (I’m a better sub than that – by a hair). It’s just that when He stops caring about them (or appears to have stopped caring), I quickly follow suit, and the whole thing crumbles.
I’m rambling a bit this morning, so I’ll pull it together with this: I crave ritual and routine in my life. It’s what I use to guide my days and achieve my goals. Ritual provides me a sense of calm, and routine provides me a sense of direction. I set up my routines to match up with my priorities, which means, as my priorities change, so do my routines. Rituals are a little more personal…habits that are more attached to feelings than productivity. Rituals give me a sense of peace and home and connection. They ground me and focus me on certain areas of importance in my life. Rituals are spiritual in a sense, whereas routines are simply the ways I spend my time.
I crave both. I need both.
And I’m so looking forward to getting my nest in order and getting back to a place where my (and our) rituals and routines can take over again.
This post is in response to prompt 6 of The Erotic Journal Challenge 13-Day Retreat…
…and Food For Though Friday’s prompt for this week: Ritual.