It’s been a few days, but I clearly needed a break after the A-Z Challenge.
Plus it’s finals week for me…and Mother’s Day weekend. So, I’ve been reconsidering my routines and daily rituals to keep myself from losing it. I seem to need to revisit this task every season, it seems, as life changes. Now that Mr. D is back to shift work, small adjustments are in order.
In his book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz writes in his chapter on the Fourth Agreement (“Always do your best”):
“ I make everything a ritual, and I always do my best. Taking a shower is a ritual for me, and with that action I tell my body how much I love it. I feel and enjoy the water on my body. I do my best to fulfill the needs of my body. I do my best to give to my body and to receive what my body gives to me.”
The ritual of taking a shower, then, becomes an act of appreciating the body you have, taking care of it, and fully loving it. It’s an act of devotion.
I’m not great at being present, and I don’t believe every act needs to be it’s own separate meditation. That would be weird, and let’s face it, I’d never get anything accomplished. But, I have a bad habit of riding on autopilot.
I’m realizing, as I revise some of my morning habits, that these could easily become centering “rituals” to focus me on what matters most for my day. For example, I start with letting the dogs out and getting my coffee. Then, I have an app that I use for habit tracking (Fabulous), health and wellness (Noom), journaling/gratitude (Daybook), and I plan out my day (Google Calendar). I don’t want to overschedule my mornings, so that is pretty much what I’m comfortable with, but I know I need to add in exercise (groan). So, I’ve been trying out the app FitOn. While I hate exercise, I do love this app. It’s free and has a wealth of workouts at all different time lengths, and you can set up a program that works for you.
The idea is to not lose hold of this centering…to pull myself back to it through the day, until that centering is a more natural and consistent way of being.
I’ve struggled with afternoon or evening rituals/routines. After work, it seems to all unravel. So, I’ve been considering what I want that space and time to look like. Obviously there is nothing I can do about certain aspects: homework, housework, taxiing my child to/from practice. But, I sometimes allow the overwhelm to permeate everything. This is why I lose sight of my health goals and have no room in my brain or body for sex. Stress takes over and I’m exhausted…no time for what matters. This is when disconnect occurs.
Guiding my time into simple routines/rituals/practices that ensure what matters comes first, and what must happen still gets done is essential for mental health, physical health, sexual health, and my relationships.
So I’ve been reshaping my afternoon habits.
I know I need a ritual for when I get home, to refocus my brain and let go of the day. A walk? Journaling? Blogging? Decluttering and throwing some clothes in the wash?
Then, when I head off to take the teenager to practice, I can read. (What beverage goes with this? An iced latte? I can’t afford one of those every day, so I’ll have to come up with something else that feels decadent.)
Unfortunately, after that, it’s homework. It interrupts the flow and I haven’t figured out a way to make that pleasant, but I only have 7 weeks left, so…
It doesn’t leave much time for blogging, so I’m having to consider just how much time I want (or need) to give each activity, since all af the things I do, aside from homework, parenting obligations, and household tasks are necessary for my well-being.
Anyhow…this is a sex blog…so what does any of this have to do with sex? Well, the idea is to focus on what matters and push (most) everything else out. By doing that, I should have more energy for things like sex, and I should be in a better mood. Basically, do less…better.
One of our shared goals is to improve our sex life, which we’re doing well. Making more room in my brain for this and ensuring my mental and physical health will only help me do this better. It’s a win win.
I realize not everyone needs ritual and routine like I do. But I crave it. It provides me a sense of calm and security, and it forces me to prioritize and simplify my schedule. Maybe my “need for control” isn’t actually that…maybe it’s really just a craving for order where I have the ability to impose it. And rituals and routines fill that need. They ground me and reconnect me to my Why.
I can create certainty and security for myself by making plans and following patterns of behavior (habits). I can feel certain by creating repetition, seeing the same or similar results many times over: a tidy house and yard, an organized calendar, a morning routine.
The illusion might be that I think I want control, but what I really want is a sense of certainty, and I gain this over the things that are within my control. Creating a sense of certainty creates a feeling of comfort through repetition or ritualistic behaviour.
When I lose that sense of control, I feel stress. And that stress manifests mainly by impacting my mood, energy levels, and libido.
Obviously, learning that I don’t need to control everything is important, but while I’m working in that, simplifying my schedule to get it down to the musts, so I have room for the wants is key. I’ve been getting better and better at that.
And I feel like I’ve finally gotten there with my morning “ritual.” Now I’ve just got to apply that same strategy to the rest of my day.
What kinds of routines and rituals get you through your day?