On Routines, Change, and Growing Gracefully
When I started my blog, I worked an 8-5 with an hour for lunch. I needed an outlet for writing at the time, and an outlet for my thoughts on art and life after art school (yes! Five years later…still processing it. Still figuring it out every. Single. Day.)
I loved my job because it was in a dye lab and I got to do super cool things –like, think if a mixologist and a painter had a baby who became a scientist- but I struggled with the idea that this would be the end-all final thing I do. And like always, when I know something isn’t the end game, I get antsy and have to keep climbing. I have to keep digging. I have to figure out where I’m supposed to be next. (It’s my rising Capricorn.) The wonderful thing about my job was that it gave me a sense of routine and a sense of internal time management. This structure was so ingrained in me for the past two years that everything else seemed to fall very gracefully in between the lines and in their proper places. With a routine set in stone, I had head space for all of the other little routines to fill in the blanks. I had space for cooking, for working out, for daily drawing, and free time at my desk at work would be when blog posts were born or little still lives that I’d collect and draw.
But then I made it happen. I made the decision to quit my job, leave stability and the comfort of a paycheck and the faces I saw daily that made me laugh so hard I’d fart. (Seriously, are coworkers not the new school-friends for your inner 12 year old?) And EVEN THOUGH I was doing something that I couldn’t WAIT to do once I set my mind to it, and I knew it was what I ultimately had to do, I had no idea that the change in routine could and would throw me off as much as it did. It’s the damndest thing – you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.
I thought that freedom to make my own schedule would ensure that my now self-directed 8-5 days would be spent in utmost productivity: organizing my art, writing for NewMoonCreative, developing a massive drawing portfolio with all of the 8 hours in a day devoted to JUST my creative pursuits. And I’d obviously get something real good goin’ on and land an epic job doing exactly what I love because when you follow your joy, amazing doors continue to open...RIGHT? I mean, I’ve always been the optimist. But it didn’t exactly happen that way. Actually not at all.
Want to know the first thing I did for about two weeks? I slept, laid around feeling totally lazy and unproductive, and scrambling to clean my life up and organize two years of photos on my hardrive. I was trying to maintain a steady grounding practice by working out in the mornings, but even with all of the new free time, my life felt hectic and totally un-simplified like I thought it would be. I was painting and writing, but feeling behind and trapped by the lethal combination of my crazy expectations + total lack of drive. It’s like after two years of one routine, my body went to sleep for a much needed reset. Except I didn’t know this, and at the time the subsequent month was much more frustrating than I would have expected.
It took me a while to confront my newfound anxiety (and sudden lack of time for all of the things I used to find very easy to integrate- such as my writing and drawing). Despite the romanticized dream of making my own schedule, I totally took for granted that the daily grind inadvertently provides a routine can be one of the most vital things to establishing a flow of all of the other things in your life- like creativity. You allocate the free time you have to do all of the things you love because you find what works with the hours you have. When what you love becomes what you do every day during the hours of a work day and a work day can be anywhere from four to fifteen hours, the lines of separation can get a little hairy.
When big changes happen that shift your known structures, it can feel like a huge crack in the surface of your landscape. Suddenly ALL of your routines feel disheveled and misplaced and you have no idea where ground is, yet you still have those same expectations as you did when everything was neat and orderly in your life. And dare I say- even more! I mean, you have more time…WHY ARE YOU NOT CREATING MORE?! (No. Stop. I kid.)
Before you get all hopeless and angsty, let me remind you - as we all tend to forget from time to time: MOVEMENT AND PROGRESS are the water of life, and growth is impossible without change. The very thing that shakes up our Earth is the very thing that reconstructs and builds a bridge to something even better. Something more divine, something more aligned. You just have to trust the process and not get stuck by holding on so hard to your old structures that you don’t let the new magic in. With new routines and structures come new phases and flows, and looking only to what USED to work and the way things used to be will only hinder you from embracing the beauty that is being gifted to you Now. Things may not be the way they used to, and you have to be gentle with yourself. Everything around you is changing, and you are changing too. It would be absurd to try to keep forcing yourself to fit the same mold you consciously stepped out of.
It seems like the biggest hold up with Transitions is the slowly dawning realization that when you change one major thing, EVERYTHING ELSE will change as well. And it’s all of those changes that are the ones we don’t always easily except. They’re the ones that trip us up.
This has been a huge theme in my life lately as I try to create a new routine in a time of my life that seems to want anything but. So I’m learning to accept that which I cannot control, and embrace the divine order in the hazy chaos of transition. I am learning to trust the Father, Gaia, and the whole dang union of energies to carry me through to the next landing point of where my life makes traditional sense. (I know this is ironic, but my 6th house of order and routines –ruled by Virgo- is in Cancer; I deeply need order. It’s emotional.) In the meantime, this little fish is going to try to take a swim and learn to CHILL. (Ha.)
Love as always,
Below: Finding self in new spaces// photos taken by Jose Zurita