Saturday, July 02, 2011

Weekword: Routine; Julyathon Day 2 (Not really)

Weekword: Routine (and Julyathon Day 2 [not really]):

This week´s word is routine selected by Katy at  Creating Misericordia.

As many people have noted, routine(s) can be good or bad. Routine(s)
can dull the senses. Routines can support addictions but can also
support healthy behaviors. The goal in creating healthy routines is
to maintain or recreate awareness (to be alive within the routines)
and to attend to the avoidance and correction of wrong or deadening

I am jogging now, as I write, one of my routines, which was fading
due to health concerns. It is a routine I am trying to reestablish.
Yesterday, I jogged 15 minutes, then walked 30. Now I have jogged 23

I am walking now, It looks like rain, so if I can get my walking
done, so much the better. (I guess. Hard to know, since I read
afternoon walks and runs are more beneficial than morning ones. I
like to do them early when possible, to be sure they get done—first
things first!)

I once had a job working at the Post Office at Rincoln Annex in San
Francisco. It was when mail-sorting machines were just starting to be
used. Most of the mail sorting was done by hand. That was my job,
and I sat in a long row, as far as the eye could see in either
direction in the huge warehouse facility. We were all doing the same
thing, and as I worked, I could see, from the corners of my eyes,
hundred of other people doing the exact same thing. It was mind
deadening, soul-deadening work. It went on and on without change hour
after hour, day after day. The pay was pretty good; it was best job
financially that I'd been able to get. But I hated it, and I began to
think I had died and gone to hell.

A number of years later, I had a job as a planetarium operator at The
Discovery Center in Syracuse, New York. I ran the planetarium shows
at the same hours every day. My office was in the basement. The days
all seemed the same. I felt like a mole who never saw the sun.
I was glad when I became planetarium writer, and the planetarium
director, and then was given responsibility for huge school program
with lots of different activities and outdoor trips. Such delight to
have changes in the deadening routines.

In retrospect, I wonder if I could have turned some aspects of the
deadening routines into meditations. I was meditating outside of
work, but it didn't occur to me to make chop wood carry water somehow
fit the terrible routine. I wonder now if I could have.

As my jobs became more varied and included outdoor activity and
meaningful creative work and contact with children and teachers in a
more fulfilling way than running a planetarium show (the automated
kind did not allow for much interaction, but I did add interactive
components later), I became a much happier person. I worked at the
museum until I left to come to Detroit and marry Keith.

Now, I have routines and habits. Some are good, others less so. Some
require bolstering, other diminution. For example, I am now walking
as I write this. I am walking in the neighborhood where I often walk.
I look around as I walk, even when I am writing. I pause my writing
(and occasionally my walking) to look at the trees, flowers, and
birds. I see the new-mown lawns, black and grey squirrels digging and
eating their treasures, and robins pulling long worms from the water
soaked lawns. I notice the people who water the sidewalk (2 in a row)
so that I have to run through first one and then the other or go way
around. I notice the rumble of cars passing and the songs of the
birds and the intermittent breeze and the today, the mottled grey sky.

This is an important routine. I walk, run, or ride my bike every
day, almost without fail. I've done it for years and years. This is
good routine, and I vary it by walking at different times of the day
and in different locations whenever possible, and by writing or
walking with Keith, or walking to the store with a backpack to carry
home food or other items that need to be purchased.

My husband gets annoyed because I insist on walking every day. It's
raining, he'll say, or it's snowing, or, it's your birthday, surely
you don't have to walk on your birthday. But I know from hard
experience how hard it is to maintain positive routine. I don't want
to break the routine except for emergencies because I think it's

I am a writer, and I want to reestablish a routine of writing daily.
I had a good streak going before we the floods and some other
emergencies. Now I need to clean up after the floods and then
reestablish that positive routine.

The same goes for my art. I had a routine of doing daily art. I've
done very little art since the floods. The unfinished picture of my
husband above was a small break in the routine of cleaning and
sorting. I did it at dinner. I need to reestablish that routine as
well, as soon as I dig out from under this chaos.

The vishanas or habit energies include bad habits or routines. For
example, I never liked potato chips, but my husband eats them almost
every night. He would pass me one or two, then three or four, like a
pusher trying to create an addict--only it wasn't intentional on his
part (I hope!) Unfortunately, he succeeded anyway, and I now have the
bad habit of eating potato chips, which I didn't even used to like,
and which are salty and greasy and have a high glycemic index. That
routine needs to be broken somehow. It's hard, because the habit
energies strengthen with time, my husband loves them, and now I crave
them. I need to establish a new routine that takes me "away from the
scene of the crime" (which means leaving my husband while he's still
working on dinner) to do something more productive such art or

I used to have a routine of posting to Week Word on a somewhat
regular basis, but I lost the thread and never knew where to find it
again. I really can't commit to it until I've dug out from under the
chaos from the floods. But I may post occasionally, like today, and
later, I hope to join in again.

My 23-minute jog and my 25-minutes walk are over, and the next
routine is exercises and yoga. I'm writing "not really" about my
Julyathons, because although I do walk, run, bike etc EVERYDAY, almost
without fail, I am NOT going to post about it every day—and anyway, it
was supposed to be Juneathon, not Julyathon.

PS:  If you click on the WeekWord label below (or here), you can see all my previous WeekWord posts.


John said...

Very impressive. I know whaqt you mean about breaking a positive routine, it is so hard to get back into it.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

It sure is, and you spoke eloquently of it in your post. :-D

henniemavis said...

Hi. Just left a long comment, then lost it when trying to log into Blogger. Now am too annoyed & busy to recreate it, so suffice to say, I'm reading your blog... and love the Julyathon, HA! Tho I've done other exercise activities like biking, yoga class & strength training with weights, I have NOT run since June 30. Feels good to break with that daily routine, just for a week :-) Aaaah! I am picking up on daily art instead. And more piano practice! Have fun with your jogging (yay) & chip eating (boo)!

merrytait said...

Hi Hennie--well, I've been too busy to blog, BUT I've walked every single, or jogged, or bikes or both or all three. I haven't missed a day--and I've done my exercises and yoga etc. But too busty to blog--sorry you lost your comment--I HATE that.