Life Without Routines

Life Is Beautiful

Our life develops into a series of routines that we become the slave to – masters of our own creations.

The older we become, the less we like changes. We live through a series of routines that we’ve chosen to follow. From the moment we awake each day, we play out the routines we’re familiar with. We dress in the same order, drink the same drink to start the day, watch the same early morning TV or listen to the same radio station.

The day is then made up of a selection of our routines. Shopping, going to work, housework, gardening or some job we’ve chosen to do today. We chose our meals from a selection of safe recipes. Our homes are decorated to our favourite safe colours. Our gardens are maintained to our choosing. 

Our social life is based on those we allow into our inner circle, such as family and close friends. We visit the same social gatherings, church, bingo, social clubs. We often even choose to holiday in a place we are familiar with.

These fixed routines become more important as we move past the middle years of life. Often, the things that were once important, become less so. We find ourselves having less energy and our mojo reduces. We drop things from our routines that we no longer enjoy, or want to do any longer. In short . . .

Our get up and go has got up and gone!

There is nothing wrong with this way of life – it’s the same for many other people. We crave security and peace. We want stability. Our health becomes more of a dominating factor and our long term plans become less visible and major changes, such as redecorating, or holidays, or moving home often get put on hold as we avoid the temporary chaos that comes with each of them.

This is quite a normal state of being. It’s a pattern of life that younger folks rarely understand. They’ve got so many things they want to do, so many dreams and aspirations to fulfil. They have their lives ahead of them. Whilst they can fulfil their exciting adventures, they wonder why the older ones are not getting involved so much.

My next big one is seventy, though it is a few years away. I’ve become like many others around my age and beyond. I’m aware that life is a precious gift. The priorities have shifted. Enjoying life is important and doing what makes us happy is important. The word happy could be swapped for the word ‘content’. We become content with our lot.

I know of a few elderly people that spend their days moaning. The government, the health system, the taxes, the repeats on telly, the neighbour’s messes and noise, the cost of fuel, and on and on and on!

They are what I call ‘happy discontent’. They’re not prepared to change anything, their ways, their habits, their views, their circumstances. They’re just content with being discontent.

Something we can all do is to pay attention to the details of life. Here’s three simple exercises that you can do now that will make the following moments memorable.

◾ TAKE A DEEP BREATH WITH FULL AWARENESS

Force yourself to take a slow long deep breath of fresh air and expand your lungs beyond their normal state. Don’t stop where you’d normally stop – keep taking the breathe in until your body is fully expanded. Feel that cold air as it passes through the nostrils and fills you with life fuel. Visualise that air sending oxygen to every area of our body, including your fingers and toes. Visualise how your organs react as they feed from this overload of air. Become aware of how much your body expands as you force every bit of air you can through the action of one deep breathe. Hold it for as long as you can to allow your body to take every bit of oxygen from it. Then very slowly release the near exhausted air out, making a noise to accompany it as you let it go. But keep releasing air until your body folds, like a limp balloon, until there is none left in your body.

Now return your breathing to normal and observe how you and your body feels. Did you cough? Good. The action moved you beyond your comfort zone. You’ve done a micro workout for your lungs.

Now promise yourself you’ll do that again later, and set an approximate time when.

◾ FIND A COLOUR AROUND YOU THAT CATCHES YOUR ATTENTION

Without moving from where you are right now, look around you and observe the colours of objects. Note which colour dominates, catches your attention then go and pick that item up if you can. If you can’t, then stand near it. Gaze at the beauty of that colour and imagine the vibration it radiates. How does it make you feel? Happy, sad, emotional, peaceful, healthy, loving? Gaze at it and only focus on the colour, not the object itself. Why are you drawn to that colour? What does it mean to you? What is your mind telling you as you absorb that colour through your eyes.

Again, promise yourself you’ll do that exercise again tomorrow.

◾ SEEK THE WORDS OF THE MOMENT

Look around you, and if you have to, move around the room to do this exercise. Use your eyes with a slight blurred gaze to notice all the printed writing around you. It might be labels, instructions, book titles, newspaper print or any writing that you’re drawn to at that moment. Choose which words from those that you’re drawn to have a meaning at that moment. Ponder them for a short while. What is the message to you? Why are those words important at this moment? Even if it is only one word that resonates with you, consider why at that moment.

If you’re keen to get the most from the exercise, why not make a note of the word in a diary or calendar. Perhaps start a new notebook on your smartphone, or tablet and start saving these words as a journal.

As I wrote this exercise while sat at my desk in this small office, I did the exercise to see what the message was for me. I turned my head left and hanging on the wall beside me is a calendar that never gets used. The picture at the top of the month has a saying printed below it. It reads,

The mind is everything. What we think, we become.
– Buddha

There is still so much to enjoy in life, no matter how old we are. Find these simple ingredients that make the difference to our spirit.

I think I’ll go and have a fruit tea now!

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