Apparently it is Monday. And Monday has come and gone without a card pull and without a reading for the week. This is a first for my otherwise very-Type-A-about-routine-and-scheduled self. I’m a bit baffled at how this happened, but also secretly very, very chuffed. Because it signals a letting go and softening up against the many linear, rigid routines I box myself into. A constant tussle I have with myself.
Even as the process of loosening it all up, slowing down and going with the flow is in the works all the time, I am always acutely aware of the place of routine in my life and being. Routine is still what grounds me, brings me back to the now and helps me navigate my days. So it is a constant and fine dance between knowing when I am in charge of the routine, which is to say I can ease up and get lax when I choose/need; and when the routine has taken charge of me, when it begins to be routine for routine’s sake. Or worse — that bigger demon that keeps raising its head — routine for the sake of perfection, neat completion and a very fixed outcome.
And that’s probably why the way in which I have obliviously completely forgotten that today is Monday feels good. I’ve been fairly disoriented since being back. At first I thought it was just the sheer contrast in the realities between where I was and returning to Bangalore. And then there was the news which really hit me in a way that made my body clam shut tight. I made time to just ease back and not pressure myself to snap back as I might have (and then lauded myself for it too!) about a year ago. I am much better with going with the flow now — whatever it presents — whether it is that I organically snap back or it is that I need time and drag my feet. Expectations are lower and the definition of “normal” is loose and indefinite.
So, it’s been a slow return to some semblance of routine. This weekend was extremely relaxed and I felt myself slipping from feeling greatly at peace and at ease with myself, to feeling turmoil with the shit-fest that’s erupted yet again in UP. I’ve felt that sense of elation that comes from great personal contentment, alongside, simultaneously with, the confusion and brain-fog that came from (not reading, but still feeling)the news.
In all of that, I don’t know when Saturday turned to Sunday and Monday rolled along. My day, and week, began as every week usually does. Wake up, take my vitamins, soak my nuts and dry fruit, get in a workout, get on with the day. But I skipped the Monday addition of sitting down to pick a card and write out a message that usually happens somewhere between 7 and 10 am.
And I didn’t blink today, I had absolutely no realisation of this. It was only at about 3pm, when I finally checked Instagram, that I saw messages from two folks who checked in to ask where the message was, and one enquiring if everything was okay with me, that I realised what I’ve done.
It felt good, and special today, to have accidentally flaked off a personal commitment. I am getting better at choosing my goals on any given day without letting unnecessary guilt take over, and today felt like a milestone. An important physical manifestation of the process I have been traversing these past few weeks at therapy — finding solidity in softness rather than rigidity, firmness that comes from ease rather than self-made difficulty, comfort with vulnerability and imperfection.
Missing my Monday reading was a real-life imperfection in what is otherwise a project set out with a plan for perfection. We tend to think of perfection as an outcome, but I am beginning to see how perfection has its threads wrapped around the processes that work towards an outcome as well. And I would like to let go my need for a tight grip on that as well.
When I have managed to do that, I have found flow. The kind where I get engrossed at such a deep level in what I am engaged in — even if it is just resting, like I did this weekend — I lose track of time. And I really live for those moments of flow and absorption. Because something very energising and life-giving happens in those moments. This past weekend was like resting, but on steroids.
It is interesting that at just today, at therapy, I said to N that this slowing down to the point of almost letting everything (externally dictated schedules, rigid self-made routines, the noise of guilt, etc) in my world fade away, except that which I choose to focus on — which btw is not more than 2-3 things on any given day — is feeling more and more aligned with who I really am. But not just that, I noticed that I probably get this from my father. Because I recently witnessed him at work, at his desk and in his fields, in flow. In the way that I have only touched briefly moments lately. The kind of engrossed and consumed in handiwork that makes it effortless, easy and enjoyable and hours pass by in a blink of an eye.
I realise it takes a softness of being to be able to give in to that. To surrender to the animal within that some times just wants to go easy and listen to nobody else by the self. Not much in our environments otherwise encourage that, and I am working very slowly at unlearning the ways of my training, and learning to listen in, instead.
In the first instant after I realised I had missed today’s reading, my immediate reaction was a jolt of OMG like I had missed a deadline or a commitment. Some questions I asked myself then:
- So what? to break down the actual consequence of something being missed
- Who made this rule? to remind myself, I did and I DO, all the rules
- What’s wrong with easy? because I know there is an element of glory and achievement in making through a hard time/space/situation that makes taking it easy difficult
- Can you stay with this moment of imperfection just for a bit? turns out I can, a little more than before
One year ago: All heart
Two years ago: It’s just another ordinary miracle
Three years ago: Just do the next right thing, one thing at a time. That’ll take you all the way home
Four years ago: Sticky trash