Patterns and Habits
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives” - Annie Dillard
As my life continues “on pause” and everyday feels like Groundhog Day, there are simple routines that give me immense pleasure and keep me out of the not grand canyon of deep depression.
I’m lucky in that I’ve never suffered with clinical depression. I have bouts of feeling low or down but rarely have they lasted longer than a day. The last six months have been a real challenge though. There have been days when the dream world was my only happy escape and I honestly didn’t wish to wake up (or would try my hardest to go back to sleep when I did).
I was existing while the days passed by. Occupying myself with caring for my husband. who had complications after major surgery to remove cancer from his body. Distracting myself by listening to the hum or the beeps of the pump feeding machine, the only way he was fed for five or six weeks, remembering to change or clean the feeding bags.
Then I started back my morning yoga practice (right after fixing breakfast for my husband). I did 15-20 minutes at first and now am up to 30-45 minutes, followed by 15-20 mins of pranayama. Breathing techniques, specifically Kapalbhati to energise and exercise my diaphragm and lungs, Nauli to tone and help with my sluggish digestion, alternate nostril breathing with retention and suspension to balance my nadis and my mind. I always ended with 20 mins of meditation.
Of course there are some days – when there are doctor’ appointments, eg – when I either can’t do it, do less, do it later, or skip it entirely.
But meditation is a must for the evening as well before bed.
After my practice I make chai tea followed by a delicious and fattening smoothie (made for my husband who has about 45lbs to put back on). The rest of the day, if I’m home with no appointments, I sit on the bed and read books on yoga and/or novels in the evening.
My patterns and habits are now presence over productivity. I’m revelling in everyday living. As Annie Dillard says “There are no shortage of good days. It’s good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet”
I’ve wondered sometimes if I’m just fooling myself: could I be happier now than ever before? In this time of such great uncertainty? Such limited activity?
It’s the patterns and the habits of our daily life that can either fill our days.
Or fill our souls.