Where does the time go?

September is breathing down our necks.  The long light is waning and there is a chill in the evening air that has me excited about sweatshirts and scarves.  There is an energetic shift happening, the lackadaisical rhythm of summer is becoming more structured turning into the assumed productivity of school in session and less and less time taken for lounging in the ripeness of summer heat.  

My September is an exciting nightmare.  My partner and I are closing on a new house in a few weeks, and we will be juggling moving half way across the country which involves lots of moving (pun unintended) parts.  I am fucking thrilled to be getting back to the east coast, to be closer to dear friends and to have a yard!  In a way I am begging time to pass quickly so that the papers can be signed and we will have the keys in hand.  

On the other hand I have been advocating for ( parenthetical space ) in our schedule.  We both have the tendency to pile up our calendars with meetings and dates and trips and ball games. After all we live in a culture where time is money.  When we add in the myriad appointments needed to close on a house and book a moving truck all of the sudden the calendar doesn't have a blank day.  We all know how that feels.   Exhaustion sets in.  Patience wanes and we find ourselves hitting snooze and drinking too much caffeine.  So I have made a point of building in time with nothing scheduled.  Some people call this "white space".  I have never been a fan of that term and now after light being shone on the insipid white privilege and supremacy in our culture I am even less of a fan. I have been marking the days I am leaving open with parenthesis.  ( Parenthetical space ) seems to allow space without any expectation attached.   

This ( parenthetical space ) is a way to reclaim time for my relationship, for sitting with a good book and a cup of tea.  It is time to go for a walk, or listen to a good album.  It is time to repot an house plant or lay in bed a bit longer with the one I love.  It is a way to hold onto the lackadaisical rhythm of summer.  

I encourage you to look at where your time goes.  How do you fill up your calendar?  Where can you create ( parenthetical space ) in your life?  

 

 

Routine.

We all know the feeling; "If I could only get _________ done then I would feel better about myself."  For the longest time I was very hard on myself because I thought my life would be everything I dreamed it could be if only I could summon the discipline to put into practice all the things I knew would make my life better.  Going to the gym on a regular basis, eating green things at every meal, having a consistent creative practice, meditating daily, going gluten free, cutting out sugar, becoming vegetarian, and on and on.  A long list of shoulds.  These were always on my to do list but never got checked off.  I am sure you can relate to a similar struggle.  

I have procrastinated my way through many a day, organizing my schedule, filling in new calendars, logging food, and counting calories.  To no avail.  I was still frustrated, still had a no "discipline", and still felt like a complete stranger in my own body.

I am convinced that this phenomenon is more about what our culture and society tell us we need to do than what our bodies are telling us to do.  You are a smart person.  You know what your body wants and needs to be healthy.  The hard part is putting it all into play.  The hard part is making it work with life.  This is where routine helps.  

Believe it or not there are places in our lives that we have supreme control.  Sometimes it may not feel like it, but most often we can create routine and space within our lives to listen to our bodies and minds, and give them what we need to survive with grace.  

It takes some serious listening.  It takes trial and error.  You have to be willing to mess up and make mistakes.  But the reward is a built in routine that feeds you and yours with nourishing self care practice, healthy simple food that tastes fantastic, and energy to have fun and love yourself.

It is not magic.  It's routine.   

For example, I know that my job is a lot easier if I write every morning.  This writing has nothing to do with work.  It is just a brain dump.  But it truly makes my work day easier and more productive.  So I wake up early enough every day so that I can give myself half an hour of uninterrupted quiet time to write.  This is a non-negotiable for me.  I can't check email during this time, I can't scroll through instagram, or play words with friends.  I can only light a candle, sip some tea and write.  In order for me to do this I should go to bed around 9:30pm or 10pm.  

Do you see how this one thing that makes my life so much easier, starts to give structure and routine to the rest of my life?

So try it out.  What are some of your non-negotiables?  What has to get done so that you feel like a sane person, in charge of their own life rather than playing catch up all the time?

Build it into your schedule.  Write it on the calendar.  Then start to rearrange your days and your weeks so that this priority gets done.  Maybe you will have to ask for some help, we don't have to do everything ourselves, we can delegate to family and friends or hired help.  

Creating routine, begets more routine.  I write every morning, so that when my partner wakes up and is ready to go to the gym so am I.  Then we come home and have breakfast together.  This routine has together time built into it.  Has exercise built in.  It clears my head so that I am on automatic pilot.  I know when I wake up that I am going to make tea and write, and when I am done writing I am going to get dressed and go to the gym.  My mind doesn't have to think about what is next.  Which in turn creates space for creative brainstorms while I am lifting weights, or if I want to shut my brain off completely I will plug into a podcast and be entertained while I walk it out on the treadmill.  

Setting up parameters, boundaries & routines, is not about discipline, it is about freedom.