Shake it up!

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   As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.   Henry van Dyke

As long as habit and routine dictate the pattern of living, new dimensions of the soul will not emerge.

Henry van Dyke

Most of us have quite a lot of routine in our lives. Some of it we might love: that first cup of tea in the morning, our weekly yoga class. Other aspects, we may not relish as much: the alarm clock going off way too early, a jammed commute to work.
Each moment we experience in life is of course completely unique. Even if we step into the same Tube carriage at the same time each morning, we’ll probably be standing (or sitting, if we’re lucky!) in a different place to the previous day, there will be a new configuration of people around us, and so on. That said, when repeated patterns form the mainstay of our lives, the flavour of our days, our weeks can, I find, end up feeling quite similar. And time seems to pass by even more quickly!
Structure is great for grounding us, for providing a rhythm to our lives. If we didn’t have any, we might feel lost and unanchored. But as with anything, it’s a balance. Too much structure leaves me feeling a bit weighed down and that there’s not enough space left to surprise me. I’m pretty good at creating structure, and much of what I’ve built, I love. Like my morning meditation practice, which I’ve done almost every day for the past fifteen years. But sometimes I need to shake things up a bit!
Holidays offer a release from the routine and commitments of day to day life, and give us the chance to dive into the freshness of the unfamiliar. While we can’t always just head off on holiday, what we can do is create mini-holidays for ourselves. Even if it’s just a couple of hours of slippage from our usual routines.
Last month, I decided that once a week I was going to do something different. Something that delighted me, but wasn’t yoga-related. My outings so far have included the Giacometti exhibition at Tate Modern, Matisse in his Studio at the Royal Academy, and my first trip to the Olympic Park to see its architecture and landscaping (and then sit in the sun and drink coffee at a fabulous café called Hand). Each time, I’ve felt re-inspired and re-energised. Surrounding myself with new, beautiful and interesting things has been so nourishing for my soul. And this injection of an-other element into my weeks has made them feel longer, too.
I think it’s vital we leave some space for exploration. Our soul craves the call of the unfamiliar as well as the comfort of the familiar.
Is there something that’s calling you right now? Can you carve out some time for discovery?