Hear ye hear ye, let me preach onto you ye olde gospel, my favourite topic: habits.
Because yes, habits are a terrific tool for your state of mind, for reaching flow, and for being productive.
But there’s a downside too, and it shows up the moment you get thrown off your habits.
Life calls, people need you, travel or jury duty requires you to break your habits, and… crash.
All your good states and good habits, down the drain.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
See, for the last few years I’ve been living a fairly reclusive life, filled with habits and routines.
A marvelous time, I’ll tell you.
But for the last 6 to 8 months or so, I’ve been going out more and more.
Meeting people, attending events, you name it.
Which means I often don’t get to do my full 3-hour morning routine.
And it often means I get home by 11 PM or later, when my habit is to be in bed by 10.
Bad for habits. Bad for flow?
At the start, yes.
But now, I’m noticing that going along with it, without being bothered by the fact that my good habits are being disrupted, allows me to enter a different state of flow.
And I think the trick is in creating vs reacting.
At first, I felt I had to react to things like invitations and events. And then laboriously adjust and re-boot my habits.
But while I wasn’t looking (hint: flow happens also – especially – when you’re not aware of it), I grew into a relaxed state of taking things as they come.
Instead of reacting to stuff, I find myself creating my days based on the plans and events that are in my calendar. A very different experience.
Which means that whether or not I manage to stick to my habits becomes irrelevant. The flow my habits bring me, well that gets replaced by the flow of leaning into life.
I guess this is what my abbot meant when he used to talk about Asha: the natural course of things – and how it’s never a good idea to go against it.
So that’s where I’m at: rolling with it, not getting bothered, and not trying to maintain a status quo (no matter how good) when life is inviting me to try out another one.
Not a bad place to be in. You might want to give it a try. (Or give habits a try, if you’ve never made a point of building them.