I’ve been following the same morning routine since January. Having a plan when I get up helps me focus and move into the day smoothly, before the coffee kicks in and really wakes my brain up. I know the majority of people have been working their entire adult life, but as usual, I am not most people. I’m still acclimating to not having the entire stretch of the morning, waking until lunch, to shape however I want.
But this morning I am shaking it up. I’ve used darkness and cold to put-off my reentry into running, but no more. I have such a love/hate relationship with running. For me, it’s hard work. I’m not long and lean. I embody a lot of body to put into and keep in motion. Hips are fine for walking and dancing, but they sure don’t lie when I run. Then there’s the 1/4 dead lung thing which I’ve had so long I don’t know how much it really affects my breathing, I just know I like to blame it when I’m struggling to both breathe and be conscious at the same time.
I’ve been looking forward to this morning almost as much as I’ve been dreading it. Routine is easy, but change alters your entire perspective and shakes you out of complacency. It turns your framework. Even when it’s difficult to breathe.
Last month I read a book which made me start thinking about Buddhism again. I’ve long been fascinated by the philosophy which seems more about flow and less about struggle. So I decided why not? Why not study an ancient philosophy which seems to bring peace by embracing suffering? I’m discovering the thought and lifestyle patterns I’ve been traveling for the last five years or more are already moving me down this path without being intentional about it. Why not continue the journey and see where it leads?
The me who leans into routine and familiarity says this is a ridiculous idea, but the me who knows what it feels like when running transforms into flying, when the breath flows and the legs are powerful and gravity eases its grip, that me knows that tilting my framework is worth both the effort and the upheaval. Routine may bring me pleasure but pushing myself into bursts of challenge and discomfort deepens my capacity for joy and adventure.
It’s important to me to have a plan and a focus every day, but it’s even more important to have those things written down in order to return to them after my life wanders down an alternate path or to cross them off the list and discard them altogether. I didn’t plan to be a runner, or to return to work full-time or to consider agnosticism or Buddhism philosophies to embody in the world. But here we are in the soft dark of a February morning, standing on the edge of my tilted framework, waiting for the coffee to kick in.