I found this post in the Drafts folder of my “Everyday Thinking” blog, dated June 5, 2007.
It's been three months since I posted on my so-called Daily Blog. So much for trying to start a new good habit. :-)
I should note here that I started this blog, originally titled “Me, 365” in response to a writing challenge from RevGalBlogPals. The first line in the first entry reads, “A spiritual discipline must have a starting point, so I begin here in my Daily Blog.” Obviously, it didn’t stay “Daily” for very long. Coincidentally, I was thinking about daily spiritual practices just this morning.
One of my seminary professors gave us an assignment to develop a Daily Rule for ourselves - a routine of prayer, meditation, and writing that we would follow every day for the entire semester. Naturally, my Rule was color coded and totally organized. It included chanting a Psalm every morning, so many minutes of meditation, so many minutes of intercessory prayer, even, if I remember correctly, praying a rosary daily. Plus, of course, daily journalling on my spiritual life. I followed it religiously every day for the entire semester. And realized that this is not what works for me.
Yes, I love routines. I fall into ruts with some regularity. I do the same things in the same order most days. Left to my own devices, I would eat the same meals every day. People who know me well can probably say, “If it is 7 am on Monday, Maria is doing such and so.” Given half a chance I will wear the same outfit every day - a different (clean) top and bottom, but exactly the same style, day after day. I tend to get growly if people mess with my routine. But for some reason I find being required to follow a specific routine, especially a spiritual routine, extremely difficult.
I pray every day. I meditate, also. But unlike those people who can sit and spend 30 minutes praying intentionally for a list of persons and situations, I tend to be a popcorn pray-er. If I think of you, I pray for you, at any random time throughout the day. I have been known to stand in the middle of a parking lot with my hand on someone’s shoulder praying for him. My meditation, likewise, is less a formal period of sitting somewhere quiet with candle and music and more simply a few minutes spent focusing on not much of anything, allowing God to whisper in my ear.
I read Scripture every day, and ponder what I’ve read. I read a couple of devotionals every day - one in the morning and one at bedtime - although I often forget whatever they were about within minutes of reading them.
I write a gratitude list every day, usually while I am enjoying my first cup of coffee (and after I have fed the Cats). Sometimes I miss a day because my routine is broken for one reason or another. If I had to get up extra early, or if there is some crisis going on that has my attention focused elsewhere, I might forget to do the gratitude list first thing in the morning.
I remember to reach out to other humans every day, because I am perfectly happy living in solitude with the Cats. So I text and email and write postcards and participate in on-line writing forums. I go out for meals and attend discussion groups so that I will have contact with people I wouldn’t see otherwise. I even went out and dropped in on someone yesterday without panicking over it! (For those who do not know me, this is a pretty big deal.)
Now, if I could just remember to do the physically healthy things every day - walking on the treadmill and doing stretches for my back and listing all the foods I eat in MyFitnessPal. I could write myself a Rule, but I am pretty sure I know what would happen. I used to do those things . . . and something changed my routine. Guess I’m going to have to change it back.
Routines are good.