Routines, routines, we all have them don’t we and I can be attached to the very point of distraction with mine at times. Over the last few years, I have come to realise that I am not always best served by adhering so rigidly to the routines I have constructed. Constructed is the key that I have come to realise, that these routines I have created are just mine, my own creations, and not set in stone. There is a soaring sense of freedom at times when I decide to break away from a routine, either because I have other things I want to do, or that I notice that one or more aspects of the routine aren’t really useful, or simply just because. Just because a realignment can bring a whole new outlook, a freshness, to an aspect of my daily life.
I had recently changed my “day starter” routine to get back to including doing my journal, my “morning pages” as Julia Cameron calls it, a heads-down non-stop non-edit writing practice for twenty minutes; done as soon as you awake to develop the writing muscles as surely as a calisthenics routine might do for the body muscles. According to Julia Cameron, it needs to be done first thing in the morning, as soon as possible after you awaken; possibly before the brain has time to realise what is going on. So I get up, shower, dress and get straight on to the computer to write for twenty minutes before I do anything else. However, the lure of unread emails and social media is irresistible as soon as I sit at the computer and my journal resolve dissipates as I decide to deal with these first. This leads to conversations with my wife about some of the matters raised by emails which in turn leads to Rosie, who is impatiently waiting for us downstairs, becoming aware that I am up and starts to bark for me to come downstairs. Her repeated entreaty becomes difficult to resist so I go downstairs, leaving my morning pages undone.
Rosie is one our two cavoodle sisters Rosie and Daisy, and Rosie is never reluctant to express herself or to command attention when she requires. Although sometimes we are sure Rosie is barking at the behest of her sister Daisy who is less prepared to be so presumptuous as to bark for attention. I think this might be one of those occasions because Daisy is the one who gets more concerned about separation from me and my wife. When we first moved into this house our dogs slept upstairs in their bed on the floor beside ours. However, we have since had to banish them exclusively to the tiled downstairs part of the house, partly to protect the carpeted upstairs part of the house but also to leave our cat Millie’s litter box in the upstairs bathroom “untouched” as it were. Female dogs have a genetic disposition to protecting their offspring by cleaning up any droppings they make, and that extends to cats as well we have found. So after spending a whole night downstairs while we sleep upstairs, Daisy, in particular, is getting desperate to be reunited, re-connected, with us. As soon as I come downstairs for the first time each morning, I sit down on the bottom step and pat and cuddle the dogs. This has become our little routine which they expect, and accept, excitedly.
Once the re-connection is made I then usually pull out my meditation cushions and sit meditating for twenty minutes, usually with Daisy, and sometimes Rosie, sitting close by me. In winter Daisy will even get on to my lap for warmth while I meditate. The wuppies, as I call them, have shared meditation time with me all of their lives and you can read about our other shared meditation experiences elsewhere in this blog. As I start the timer for meditation I usually call out “Meditating” so that my wife is aware that I am in meditation. If I don’t Molly is likely to call out something to me during my meditation, and if she doesn’t receive a reply or acknowledgment will repeat the request with increasing intensity and concern. Mind you, alerting her to my meditation doesn’t always work and I will hear her call out something followed shortly by “Sorry, forgot”.
I decide that to resolve the computer distraction issue it might be easier to sit meditation before I attempt to do morning pages. It should allow me to approach the writing with focus and better able to resist the lure of other computer tasks presented to me. I have another set of meditation cushions upstairs so this morning I set these on the floor of my office and sit to meditate there before attempting morning pages. Hopefully, I can get both the meditation and morning pages done before the Rosie alert goes off. As I sit down to meditate I start my timer and call out the usual alert to my wife “Meditating”.
Almost immediately Daisy appears in the office doorway and starts to come into the office. We have trained the wuppies not to come upstairs anymore and this is a rule breaker. I growl at her with “Get downstairs” and she starts to go out but then makes as if to go into the spare room a couple of times. So I get up to make sure she goes downstairs which she then proceeds to do. Molly has also called out angrily “What is going on Daisy?” and I suddenly realise with a sinking aching heart that Daisy has simply responded to my call “Meditating” which she would have heard clearly from her place at the bottom of the stairs waiting for me to come down. Her attempts to go into the spare room confirms this as we used to always meditate in the spare room during their “upstairs period”. So Daisy was one little confused dog. Once I realised what had happened I followed Daisy downstairs, gave them big cuddles, got out my old meditation mat downstairs and sat to meditate there. Daisy was happy then and lay on her bed two feet away and after a while was joined by Rosie and they both lay there, quietly content, while I meditated.
My heart ached all through meditation with how beautiful it was that Daisy had just responded like that to the meditating call and how badly I felt about our unconscious admonishment of her loving, simple reaction. I cried a little during meditation.