Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Breaking Routine

I am very much a creature of habit.  I have my routines, be they daily, weekly or monthly, and they give me structure and support.  It is easy to fall back on routine, to do things the same way over and over.  Once I have done things enough times to form a routine, I can more or less do them in my sleep, without paying a lot of attention to them.

This is both good and bad.  The plus side is that tedious things become easier, as I don't have to pay attention, or even really decide to do them.  It's Wednesday, therefor the house will get cleaned.  It's no longer an option, it just is.  The down side is that everything sort of starts to blur together.  Things that I may want to enjoy or actually focus on are harder to tune into as they have become rote.  Even though the basic structure of my nightly routine has been the same for decades, I often swap up the details to keep it fresh and to really help me not just 'go through the motions'.

With my own mostly free schedule, I find it very easy for days to blend into each other.  Even though my days do vary (because hubby and son have their own schedules that I work around), the vast majority of my days are similar enough that I can loose track of the larger picture if I don't pay attention.

For me, this can be very demoralizing.  When every day is the same, even things that should be enjoyable start to be less captivating.  This is one place where I find the cycles of the moon and the year to be very helpful.  While I definitely plan most of my daily life around a weekly cycle (I have set days for different things), those cycles are almost too short to really stand out.  However, the monthly moon cycle and the month and a half for Sabbats is a nice time frame to break up the routine.

Each of these cycles of time can be used to shift your focus just a little.  Moon cycles give me a nice framework to use, an easy way to break up a larger project into smaller steps and to work those steps into the energies of the moon phases.  I think the moon cycle is much easier to use for this type of focused goal work.

The Sabbats on the other hand have a more celebratory feel to them.  It sort of reminds me of when I was a little kid (oh who am I kidding I still do this), and would eagerly count the days until Christmas.  It wasn't always about presents, we always had holiday food as well as other regular rituals like the nativity story and decorating the tree, that I would eagerly look forward to.  Sabbats have that same holiday energy, that sense of specialness that breaks them out of the everyday.

I think it is also easier to prioritize time for things we are really excited about and looking forward to.  By cultivating this sense of special sacredness for the days we mark as holy, we are building up that childhood wonder that made everything fantastic.  This is something that can be hard for us to grasp in the middle of all the tedious things that we may have to do day in and day out.

But when you tap into that sense of pure joy and happiness, it's like it fills you up.  It pushes out all the junk that may have built up inside of you, all the things that make life a little less shiny.  It's like putting on rose colored glasses, and seeing the world through a rainbow.

And I think that is something really powerful, something that is worth working on tapping into on a regular basis.  The analytical part of my brain has always loved the regularity of the Sabbats (I do like my symmetry), but they are one of the parts of my practice that I strive very hard to not make work.  I don't think I should feel like celebrating the Sabbats is something I 'must' do (or else risk not being a good Pagan!).  In fact, I think that kind of rote observation is sort of counterproductive.

How you celebrate is entirely up to you!  You may be one who loves a big ceremony, with lots of people.  Or you might really just want to sit with a meaningful book and a glass of your favorite tea and spend some quiet time alone.  You may want to have a regular ritual structure or you may want to wing it.  You may follow the same cycle year after year or you might do something different each time.

The point is that the how is not important...the why is.  I think it is important to break free from our routines from time to time.  It's like hitting the reset button.  I have a lot of devices that start to have problems if they aren't reset from time to time, and I think that I run into the same issues.  The more times I have done something the same way, without change or a break, the more likely I am to start making mistakes, because I just don't care any more. 

I can always tell when I need to make some changes, because things don't seem as interesting as they used to.  When everything starts to feel dull and representative, I know I need to shake things up.  I may love my routines, but they don't always serve me.  I don't ever completely scrap them, but I will  change them, or break them for a little while, just long enough to feel refreshed, so that I can go back to my regular patterns with a fresh perspective.

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