Zen Thing #7: Designate Time for Certain Things (Day 127)

(photo credit: Fun In The Sun by Shutter wide shut on flickr.com. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode.)

Sounds like something that would be easy to do.

Most people eat three times a day, work some version of nine to five, and shower/bathe either when they wake or just before bed. Usually they clean house at the end of the day and do a deeper clean on the weekends. At least that is the traditional American way.

Which is why I’m not sure where I come from. I eat, bathe, work, and clean daily but not on a schedule. Rarely at the same time two days in a row.

Not like most people. Not like those who get things done in a regular way, every day.

Or maybe it’s a pretense. Maybe those people to whom I refer aren’t really that much more orderly than I am.

Okay those of you who know me well: time to stop laughing. It IS possible that not ALL people are more orderly than I am.

The last thing I ever wanted was to live a boring life. Rules, order, schedules have always seemed like things people put in place to protect themselves from things they don’t know how to control, and in the process protect themselves from the joy of discovery of what exists outside their comfort zone.

Of course, the notion that all order is bad, anarchy is good is the stuff of youth and as I’ve grown, I’ve given in gladly to many traditional approaches to life situations: I went to college, I got a job, I got married, had kids . . .

But . . . my hold out has been following “the rules.” I fight rules even when I know they can help me, even when I’ve created rules for myself. Sometimes, I give in for awhile, usually if somebody I love is in danger or ill, but as soon as life returns to normal, I let go of the order as best as I can.

I’ve come to realize, as I look more closely at my life, that my rebellion against rules has worked against me more than it works for me. I’ve also come to understand that at least some of my distaste for order is out of habit, now, more than it is based on my beliefs about what works in my life.

This year, I’ve begun to designate specific times for certain important things in my life as a way to ensure that those things get done. And surprise, surprise . . . I not only get more done but I have more free time. I’m spending less time beating myself up about not getting something done that I thought I’d do that day. I’m spending less time wondering what to do in regard to the have-to-do things in my life.

All that free time is time I can spend being in the world, opening myself up to the serendipity that I crave.

That’s not to say I like rules any better than before. I still believe that many societal rules, written and unwritten, prevent us from really getting to know other people, ultimately holding back a great deal of great stuff that lies hidden inside of ourselves and others.

Now, though, I do recognize and acknowledge that there are times when order is not a limiting force in my life but instead can help me to live my life more fully.


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