After my usual morning trip to Curves this morning, I went for my usual morning walk. Most often I walk in the neighborhood, but this morning I walked in the conservancy and encountered Black-eyed Susans towering over my head and crowds of chicory and Queen Anne's Lace lining the trail. Happy companions. As I walked, I thought about the rest of my day--errands I need to do, the chapter summaries I need to write for the book proposal I am working on, the emails I need to answer, the laundry I need to continue, and the packing I need to begin for a visit to a friend's tomorrow.
My preference is to do everything in the morning, for that is when my energy is at its highest, and my motivation is intact. I am a morning person. That's why I decided, when I returned from my month in Door County, to work on my book --you guessed it--in the morning, and that is what I have been doing.
Yesterday, however, I needed to have some lab work done, which meant fasting. Now I certainly wasn't going to fast till afternoon, so off I went to the lab in the morning during my writing time. Then as long as I was in the neighborhood and out and about, I decided to do the day's errands and then when I got home late morning, a worker man came to do a routine maintenance check on our airconditioner and all of a sudden it was afternoon. Past my writing time.
I thought about spending the afternoon reading or doing some more errands or even taking a nap, giving into the mugginess, the bugginess of the hot summer afternoon. Instead, however, I imagined my Writing Guides, my Spirit Guides, who sit at my side and whisper inspiration into my ears and my heart, nudging me to my office. "Who says you can only write in the morning? It's morning somewhere. Wake up and go to your office." I did and I worked for three hours. In the afternoon.
A friend told me about a book she is reading about being retired in which the author says it is important when one is retired to have a schedule, a routine. I certainly agree with that, but today as I walked in the company of yellow, blue, purple, white and yellow wildflowers, soon to fade, and as I spied on prancing goldfinches, dipping and dancing on the path in front of me, I remembered how I had adjusted my routine yesterday and how that had worked, too.
I allowed myself to think beyond the routine itself to the fruits of routine. When does it work for me (the light), and when does it lock me into same-old, same old (shadow)? What are the stories I tell about myself that prevent me from stretching and growing and looking beyond routine and into possibility? How have I defined myself and are those definitions still working for me? For example, I say, I am a morning person. I am a winter person. I am a water person. An introvert. An enneagram 4. I am 62.
All of those descriptions are true, but none of them or even the package of descriptions is the full truth. What seems to happen is that I say to myself, "Because I am a morning person, I am only productive in the morning"or "Because I am a water person I must be near water to be energized or to clear the space in my head" or ..... When I believe the stories I tell about myself or when I fall routinely into routine, instead of being intentional and open, I limit myself. The potential for limitation seems to hover over me like the hummingbird I saw this morning, poised above a welcoming Black-eyed Susan.
I guess, like most everything, the answer appears when there is balance, mindful balance.