Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Adjusting to Changes in Routine

I think for most people, living a whole-hearted life would be first about food and eating healthy. I don’t fit into the category of “most people,” and as I continue the journey of defining what living whole-heartedly means to me, meals are not at the top of the list. I’ve been struggling awhile with making time for meals during the day and recently the inconsistent and poor eating has been affecting my health. 

Notice I said, “making time for meals.” Preparing, cooking, and eating meals is a chore I don’t like (along with vacuuming) because it takes me away from the work I want to be doing. How odd that work is more important and interesting than eating. (Don’t get me wrong, I love good meals and one of my favorite things to do is to go out with friends for great food and inspiring conversations.) However, this issue of meals when I’m home alone came to the forefront this week as I contemplated changes I’ve been making to my morning routine.

Last week was the realization that after 30 or so years, my routine of journal-writing as soon as morning chores were done had fallen by the wayside. I struggled with that. Half the morning was getting by before I finished the writing (which meant I wasn’t doing anything else). The morning writing is my way of syphoning off yesterday so I’ll be clear-headed and ready for today. Suddenly, I wasn’t getting that clean mental state. It was leaving me feeling … scrambled in my head.

Neighbor-kitty, Leo, waiting for me to come out.
But there were choices I was consciously making. I was choosing to go outside around 6-6:30 a.m. to do a little gardening (and visit with neighbor-kitty, Leo) before sitting down at my desk. Still, it was an upset to my long-standing routine. I know. Circumstances change. We have to change. It’s life.

Then came this revelation with the food. I shared my thoughts with my friend, Annette -- how my breaks from work is taking a break from one project to work on another. I do a little gardening, then come inside and do a little work for the newspaper or other computer-work project, then I’ll go back outside for a little more gardening or go into the studio for painting. When I am in work-mode (usually mornings when I’m full of energy and ideas), I hate to stop to eat. Taking that kind of a break interrupts the work-flow and I sometimes lose the motivation. I know, I have to change how I think about that, which I said to Annette. (“Change how you think” is an affirmation we use when we are stuck.)

She suggested something a little different. She said most people see food as a reward. As I don’t, why don’t I use my work as the reward – I can’t move on to the next project until I eat something. 

What a concept! I’m attempting to use this idea. It’s not easy. Even taking time to make a couple of slices of toast in the morning is taking me away from when my brain is most active. However, I need to eat. I have to feed my body and my brain. I can’t wait until I’m light-headed and feel forced to eat something or I might pass out.

So, I’m trying to put this new theory into the day’s routine. Yesterday, however, brought up another issue. There are times when my mind is spinning around a topic to cover in one of my writings, and during those moments when I am emotionally invested in the topic, I feel the presence of The Muse. I am consumed by the subject and it’s so exciting! I have to pay immediate attention when The Muse is present. It’s a driving force. If I don’t, she leaves … and yesterday I made myself eat breakfast first and she disappeared. It was like the bubble of excitement burst. The words and inspirational drive were gone and I was left feeling … disappointed, like I lost an opportunity, like I gave up on a special moment.

OK, there are exceptions to rules. Maybe I need to make one here. Writing is the most important aspect of what I do. Many times, the flashes of inspiration happen while I’m doing my morning writing or come from the meditation the night before which is enhanced while I’m journaling. That’s when The Muse drops in. I have to pay attention because often the subject contains interesting life-lessons. 

What does this mean? The Muse must be given attention when she is here. Breakfast can wait in these cases … and now that I’ve written, I should eat now.