A picky eater? Me? Never.
A woman who needs her sleep? Oh, me? No way.
A creature of habit? Who, me? No, no, not at all!
I never realized how dedicated to my routine I have become until the last few weeks when I have been off visiting friends and family.
Ensconced in my beloved house, it has been relatively simple to establish healthy new patterns. Problematic foods avoided. Vitamins taken on time. Blog updated daily. Meditation practice observed. House maintained. (Ok, the last two are things I intend to throw into the routine, but I am honest to a fault).
I am beyond blessed to have people who love who take the changes that I have undergone in stride. They enable my gluten free imperative: we eat more Mexican (they have corn tortillas, right?); we make eggs rather than pancakes (no, please don’t worry about buying the extra expensive GF mix). Heck, we even sip herbal tea rather than opening a bottle of wine since I have sworn off drinking for a while as I get my body back in balance after years of troublesome yeast infections.
I used to eat anything any time and wore my barroom credentials with pride after a couple years keeping up with the lads in more than a few Irish pubs. I slept only when absolutely necessary and shunned the predictability of a daily routine.
And then I guess I grew up. Or maybe I wised up. I am not always certain whether those two experiences are mutually exclusive.
Sometimes I wonder if my transformation is stranger for my friends or for me as I offer to be designated driver and stifle a yawn past 10:30. I guess it is stranger for me since I am writing about it tonight.
The reasons I write about it at all are twofold: because I am grateful to have people who support the decisions I have made about my health (and so rarely make me feel like self-obsessed health nut who’s allergic to everything) and because I am learning a lot about the art of being adaptable.
There is a time for discipline. There is a time for tending to the self. There is a time for inwardness. There is a time to craft a life according to perfectly chosen criteria.
And then you realize that those perfectly chosen criteria are a lovely illusion that can be sweet and gentle for a while but invariably must fall away when we accept that we are not in control.
I had a perfect weekend with friends that took me out of my element enough to show me how I was getting perhaps a little too accustomed to my routines. I stayed up late and ate some weird food and guess what? I had a wonderful time.
I needed to remember that as much as much as I have changed and as hard as this journey to health has been, I am now far from fragile. There were days when this new incarnation of me was far from established when I might have had trouble deviating from the “safe” routines I was trying to create, but I live in steadier times and must realize I am strong and, yes, adaptable.
All this work I am doing is almost meaningless if I cannot carry it into the world and enjoy life all the more. Spiritual work and listening to the body are about training myself to live with a sense of completeness both within my own soul and throughout my outer experiences.
I am not training to be a monastic; these skills are not shaped and honed so I can be the perfect hermit.
Are you living within safe patterns that nurture you right now? Are you instead stuck in some sort of rut?
Can you step outside of your routines and still feel supported and healthy?
What would it take to both create positive patterns and yet still maintain the flexibility to adapt and to be a good houseguest even if you have to say “no thanks” to the main course?