culture the sacred everyday

week forty six // the week i said “screw you” to my routines

16 Nov 2015

everything still feels so strange in light of how my first world life reflects on the happenings of this weekend around the world.

i ache for those who have experienced death and violence, not only in paris, but also in syria, iraq, beruit, etc. sadly, terrorism exists all over. all the time. we just don’t give it much attention until it affects us. perhaps that’s just human nature. but, i find myself grappling with my thoughts about all of this. i see things from so many different angles now. and it is so fucking complicated.

one thing i know for sure, is that it is no easy fix. there is no easy solution. and returning violence with violence is most definitely not the answer. long term or short term.

honestly, i felt a little weird about posting all that i had prepared for today’s usual monday post, so here i sit, quickly amending what i had prepared last night. something just felt a little strange about discussing my week last week and not focusing on how i feel right now. i even considered replacing my regular “looking back” post with something more about peace and justice.

but, now that i am amending + writing, i realize that it is necessary for me to post my weekly looking back post as usual. because terrorism wants us to be terrorized. we have a choice, though, we can choose to be frozen in fear, or we can choose to move on. always searching for a way to keep living the life that we have, not taking for granted for one second that we are alive + breathing, and never giving up.

i choose the latter.

and so, as usual, i share with you my reflections on this past week. on how i have decided to throw my routine out the window and live from a whole different perspective right now. and, it just so happens, that focusing on creating and embracing each day as it comes, is not only an answer to my routine woes, but perhaps it is also an answer to how we move forward in a world that is so scary.


this year, i have written a couple of blog posts about my routines and how they help me to get shit done. lord knows i need all of the motivation i can muster. and you can read how i created routines to help me focus  >>> here and here.

i have loved my routines. i loved that i’ve written them down and had them to fall back on as inspiration to try to keep me motivated.  but, somehow, something is not working for me as of late. i’m not jiving with them. and all they seem to be doing is stressing me out and making me feel crappy when i don’t accomplish what i want to.

of course, i could rework them again, tweaking and reorganizing them; but inside i didn’t feel like that was the problem. i realized that it was a deeper issue. and this past week i suddenly realized that i needed a change of perspective. or rather, i have already grown into a different perspective. as time has passed, i have unintentionally created a new way of thinking about routines + how they can help me reach my goals and continue to get shit done.

so, instead of focusing on following some scheduled routine, which had gotten a little cray cray for me with all of the different responsibilities and changes popping up in my life, i am now going to focus on intentions.

my friends, i think that you are going to hear that word from me a lot over the next few months. so, get used to it. sorry. not sorry.

it’s this simple. instead of having my neatly written out, yet kind of flexible, schedule like this…

  • 6:15-6:30 wake up: stretch for a few minutes. breathe. wash my face. drink water. slowly get in touch with myself.
  • 6:30-7:00 sat nam rasayan meditation: 30 minutes of meditation + opening my sensitive space. my homework for my training.
  • 7:00-7:30 breakfast: make coffee, + wash dishes/straighten kitchen. prepare breakfast. a little time with my wife before the day gets started.
  • 7:30-8:00: check in with the world: social media, news, my wife
  • 8:00-9:00 shower/freshen up + dress:. i only shower every other day, so some days it takes me 15 minutes to get ready. then, i can get started with writing/blogging/photography earlier. woo hoo.
  • 9:00-10:30 blogging/writing/photography: on these days, i have a chance to do some updating + planning for my blog, book, or other photography things, such as editing + organizing. it’s  great time to check in and get some posts completed + scheduled.
  • 10:30 – 8:30 work
  • 8:30-11:00 friends + family time + dinner. first things first, food! then, relax + unwind. the idea is to keep it reserved for family most of the time, with perhaps a tiny bit of checking out my computer. these are late nights. and i’m not a late night person. so, it’ll be reserved for rest + being mostly.

… i choose to let go of all of the times and just create intentions, like goals. it’s kind of same same, but different, ya know?

i still have the same responsibilities, the same things to get done, but now it feels right do everything from the idea of living intentionally. that is, living as a person who has a vision for her day. not a set schedule squeeze into. now, let me be clear. my responsibilities and work do have me living by a clock. i’m not throwing times out the window, because i do have a schedule to follow in some cases.

but, it becomes more about creating the life that i wish to live instead of checking off a list of  “things to do.” it’s more about slow living than fast living. but, it’s still keeping myself accountable and focused. focused on the vision, however, as opposed to focused on the details – even though those details are still the shit that has to get done. does this make any sense?

the change in perspective perhaps comes from transforming my view of the details as bulletpoints in my day, to creative ways that i am being present in the moment, mindfully making things happen that help me to be the person that i want to be.

when i just wrote that, i realized how “woo woo” it all sounded. like rose-colored hippie shit. (sorry for my overuse of that word in this post. but it just works). the thing is, i really, truly, deep inside me mean it. it sounds fluffy and crappy, but with all of my soul i mean it.

out with feeling like there are things that i have to do, and in with feeling present in everything i do. out with the schedule, and in with the intentions.

home living room

me meditate

midweek, i made the switch. and amazingly i was way more effective.

monday and tuesday, i followed my routine like usual, and i didn’t feel accomplished. i felt sucked dry. bored. anxious. i tried my best to think of how i could adjust my schedule. but by wednesday morning, i knew that it was something different that i needed. i needed an overhaul. so i keep my schedule and changed my environment. i did my meditation, breakfast eating, showering, emailing/commenting, and left at 8 am with my love and walked to the library.

on the way, after i separated from my love, i wandered pretty slowly in the cold morning air, taking in the beautiful autumn sights of the city. before i knew it, i found myself in the cathedral listening to the organ and just being in the moment.

without consciously thinking anything, i knew that this routine thing, even with a change in environment,  was not the way to go. i needed to relax, live my days from my soul, and still get my stuff done.

i needed to wake up, know what i intended to do, and realize that each day has all of the possibilities that we could ever ask for, and simply be present in that.

this is the heart of it, folks:

i needed to understand that i am the master + creator of each day of my life. that every single morning, have the power and opportunity to shape my day exactly as i want it – even if i have things that i don’t want to do. even if unexpected things happen. i am empowered. i am in control. not of every little thing that happens, but in how i choose to create and be and exist in each and every moment.

it is up to me how i intend to live out my life on a daily basis. and how my day looks from day to day may the similar, or it may be different. the point is, to live from my intentions for each specific day.

so, what do i intend?

i envision big things, like staying calm and centered and grounded throughout the day. come what may. i also envision understanding the responsibilities, including free moments and work activities, that need to be done during the day. so, i have a list of sorts, of things that i want to/am expected to accomplish. and i intend to accomplish them.

i suppose that all of my intentions to accomplish my “to-do list”  responsibilities come second though, after my intentions for how i want to live my life. it’s much more about the how, than the details. the details will get done, when i clearly define how i want my day to be. and then, regardless of what happens, even when it’s things i don’t like, i rely on my intentions for how i want to live my day to get me through.

are you following? it’s a much more centered way of looking at life. from the inside out, instead of from the outside in. from how i want to create my day, instead of what are all of the things/situations/people that are are around me + happen to me that will determine my day. it’s about owning my own control. about choosing, instead of being dictated to by my routine. it still includes all of the same responsibilities that life gives us. but it gives me the control to choose how i accomplish them, instead of how life throws them at me.

uppsala cafe

uppsala river

uppsala cathedral

uppsala river

so, on thursday + friday, without much care for making sure that i was doing what i was supposed to do every single damn minute, i woke. meditated. ate breakfast. wrote. blogged. shopped. cooked. wrote some more. watched tv. spent time with my love. wrote even more. took photos. drank wine. and wrote a bunch more.

and i didn’t do any of those things in that order, or even the same order both days. but with each day, i consciously decided to make the most of it. to align my actions with my dreams – because that’s what intentions really are.

and, amazingly i was way more effective than i had been before. i knew what i wanted to accomplish, how i wanted my day to be, and i made it happen.

so, there you go. no more routines for me for now. even though, if you looked at my life, you’d see a clear pattern. but, i’m not thinking about it that way. there has been a shift, and i choose to live much, much more in the present, in the opportunity of the day.

and with intention.

uppsala morning stars

uppsala commute

library

dinner

wine

focused me

beer me

cozy afternoon

you know, i realize that i never could be where i am now without the routines that i have used this year. they created a sense of knowing how i want/need my days to look. they gave me the discipline that now lies behind my intentions. they have been the foundation to finding a new, creative, centered, empowered way to live.

and, you know, in the spirit of peace and brotherhood, i truly believe that how we each individually live our lives makes a difference. our intentions, to love or to hate, have ripple effects on the world. so, no matter that you or i cannot snap our fingers and make all of the hurt and violence go away. no matter that we deeply mourn and feel the pain and admit the fear that is holding us captive right now. how we live our lives does matter. what our intentions are do make a difference. even in our small little lives, in our small little corners of the world. we are brothers + sisters. and each of us have something beautiful and special and unique to give to this world. each of us have a purpose and do make a difference. it’s up to us to decide how we intend to use our lives.

wishing you a great, inspired week, my friends. listen to your soul and do whatever it whispers to you. set your intentions and screw the schedule. you will not regret it. i promise.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

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10 Comments

  • Reply Meghan 16 Nov 2015 at 19:45

    I love this post and I love that you are now living from a vision rather than a schedule — you are living your dreams! Routines no longer serve us as you said when they create expectations/demand specific results at a specific time; at some point they prevent us from accepting and *using* the flow of life as it happens (which is not the same as having it control us). Learning how to choose what we want AND be able to accept what is WHILE staying present is a serious achievement. By the way, I say this not condescendingly(!) as someone who embodies this way of living, but as someone who has only had a taste – moments/days/weeks. It’s an amazing feeling and way of being but nearly impossible to maintain and from reading your blog I can sense that you have been living this state a long time. Which is f-ing amazing. But your message about letting routines go before they become a defining end in themselves is so true; in some ways it’s like that last security blanket. Just like the way you were writing about how meditation has become a way of life for you rather than something that is done, it seems that your dreams are now your reality because you not only make them so, but you LIVE them, as they are. I’m going to go ahead and use the word inspirational again here, because you are!
    Love and strength to you both. xoxo

    • Reply Liz 16 Nov 2015 at 20:04

      Megan, I just love you. And your comments. You always make me smile. You definitely make me blush. And I simply feel such joy and peace when I read your words, both here and on your blog. I truly cherish you. And, in gonna once again say that you humble me. ? xoxoxo

  • Reply Just Breathe... 17 Nov 2015 at 01:06

    Yes,yes,yes! you are so right. I really think routines sometimes strangle our creative side and we can become caught up with all the things we think we need to get done. Letting if flow makes much more sense. I think sometimes a moment when you are really inspired can be crushed when it is over taken with the the planned routine. Enjoy your days and do what makes your soul happy. xxx

    • Reply Liz 19 Nov 2015 at 08:28

      You are so right. Flowing with it all is most definitely more inspiring and freeing. Personally, I needed the routine first in order to discipline myself somewhat. I am so bad at getting started on things. So it was a very necessary phase. But, I feel like I can fly on my own now – and that feels amazing. I am sure I will flow back to a period of routine sometime again, but for now, I am just letting it go as it will. And it feels fabulous! Thanks for sharing your creative thoughts – it means so much to me. xoxo

  • Reply carissalick 17 Nov 2015 at 01:39

    I was thinking as I read, and then saw you say it later, that having set up and followed your routines as long as you did has made it possible for you to live out of intention with more spontaneity now. 🙂 The routines served their purpose for a time, preparing you for a more flexible way of living once you got your expectations more solidified. I’ve felt similarly about certain practices in my life, since I can easily find myself getting way to stressed about checking things off of a to-do list instead of allowing them to be life-giving the way they’re supposed to be. By getting into a routine, in a more scheduled disciplined way, for a while, you can later move beyond it to a more adaptable system that is often better long-term.

    I also just wanted to say thank you for your words on the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, etc. This part hit me really hard and was such an amazing way to respond to such horrific acts: “i realize that it is necessary for me to post my weekly looking back post as usual. because terrorism wants us to be terrorized. we have a choice, though, we can choose to be frozen in fear, or we can choose to move on. always searching for a way to keep living the life that we have, not taking for granted for one second that we are alive + breathing, and never giving up.”

    • Reply Liz 19 Nov 2015 at 08:30

      Exactly!! You absolutely understand how it was worked for me.

      I am so glad that my words on the terrorism in Paris was something that spoke to you.Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Hope you and the little one (and David!) are feeling well! xoxo

  • Reply Nicibici 17 Nov 2015 at 09:49

    Ha it’s so funny cause I’m gone exactly the opposite way. For the past three months I pretty much just went with the flow of new motherhood and the impossibility of any kinda routine. But now that Ciaran is three months old (I KNOW – where did that time go??) he needs routine to be a happy camper. So we’re very much trying to settle into regular naptimes, same bedtime every night with the same ritual. And I’m actually really enjoying it!!

    • Reply Liz 19 Nov 2015 at 08:22

      Haha! Isn’t that just crazy?! It’s so interesting how we have different phases in our lives. And they both speak to us in exactly where we find ourselves. Oh, the beauty of living in the present moment. xoxo

  • Reply kate1975 29 Nov 2015 at 12:30

    Dear Liz,

    I’m so happy for you. Good and healing thoughts to yous.

    Kate

    • Reply Liz 29 Nov 2015 at 19:54

      Thank you so much, sweet Kate. Your comments and healing thoughts are so very much appreciated. xoxo

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