Finding Order in Chaos
I have gone through countless introductory phrases to kick off this first blog post. Most of them drawn from the cheesy and somewhat formal 1950s teenager personality I take on when I don't know someone well enough. Not entirely sure where that came from, but if I had let it lead I probably would have started with a "Well, hey there!" or a "Here goes nothing!". I'll do my best to spare you from that level of peppy. Ideally, you (the reader) and I (the mysterious and mystical being behind the screen) will develop somewhat of a relationship as I continue to post and you continue to comment (hint hint) and that mid-century cornball in me will relax. Maybe not though, so you might just have to get use to it.
On to the purpose of this post. I'm not going to attempt to sum up this year in a few words but suffice it to say, it's been a doozy. I, along with many other humans, have suddenly found myself with oodles of time and nowhere to go. That kind of lack of structure does not bode well for my scattered ADD/Aries mind.
Admittedly, the first month or so was great. I am lucky enough to be healthy, to have an apartment and a partner to quarantine with, and to have received unemployment in a timely enough manner. I found the extra time and freedom to pursue my creative endeavors to be exhilarating. When that faded, however, I was left with no motivation, intense feelings of isolation, and no energy. Everyone around me seemed to be going through something similar. It's wild to realize that the entire world is having the same bizarre experience. This year is ripping open old wounds and leaving many of us feeling exposed and overwhelmed. Cue coping mechanisms and self care! For me that means structure. Too much structure and I feel restricted, too little and I freeze from all the possibilities.
Fortunately, I found a routine that allows for flexibility and made it my own. It comprises timed categories that I can fill in different ways depending on the day. Behold:
9:30 Wake up
(make bed, skin care, stretch, matcha, breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth)
11:30 Something for the soul
(meditate, read, journal)
12:00 Something productive
(chores, website, plan classes, grooming)
1:30 Lunch & Spend time outside
(eat outside, walk, sun bathe, read)
2:30 Something for the body
(walk, yoga, hula hoop, dance)
3:30 Something for the brain
(read, language practice, online lectures)
5:00 Something for the heart
(bake, paint, read, rehearse, creative project)
6:00 Something fun
(be lazy, watch something, social media, puzzle/board games)
11:00 Wind down
(shower, face mask, journal, read, gratitude, tea)
On the days when I actually follow this, I feel motivated and grounded and have the security to be creative. A favorite quote that comes to mind when I want to sum up the freedom I find in routine is from French novelist Gustave Flaubert,
"Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work."
The world is constantly moving toward chaos and we can flow with that entropy without attempting to control it. This kind of flexible routine is an anchor in my daily life that invites wild expression and mayhem in my creative life without my feeling like I'm floating off into space or buried under too harsh a system. Of course, I would be remiss to pretend as though I follow this routine every day, or even most days. Doing anything is hard right now, so I thank myself when I manage to stick to it and care for myself on the days I don't. We're all learning a new way of life right now, I hope this post can help you find comfort in routine, or at the very least to know that you're not going through this weird shit alone.