I would say I am a creature of habits, not just habit. Since I started this journey toward a kinder, gentler, more present me I have struggled with this side of myself. Is it a hold over, an improvement resistant aspect of my Type A personality? Is it something different? I know what my husband would say, as one who naturally shuns routine. I have to answer this for me. I have done some soul-searching and also, as has been my quest for presence, started actually paying attention.
I have arrived at a theory or rather a test I administer to my own routine. I do think there is difference between discipline and regimen I think that is where I find my answers. Discipline is the calm in the storm. I don’t mean a nun with a ruler kind of discipline. I mean that sweet concept of self-discipline. I would say Buddhist Monks, lets all agree, among the kindest and most gentle of all people are pretty self-disciplined. If you don’t believe that when is the last time you meditated for 14 hours a day and went months without speaking? Self-discipline is the tool that holds you to your goals and makes you answerable only to yourself.There is a quiet calm and sweet freedom in self-discipline.
Regimen on the other hand, is more like being held captive. There is a reason it is also used to describe a unit in the Army. This is the OCD level commitment to a routine or process. There is no freedom in that and there is no destination to be reached. It is the modern obsession with checklists and to do lists. I personally have enough people telling me what to do. I don’t also need a bossy post it note getting into the act.
Where I have landed on all of this. I ask myself is this discipline or regimen? Am I in control or is the routine in control? Am I benefiting from this or suffering though it? I have found through observing, just me and how I feel and how my world feels, discipline is necessary. The discipline of my day also provides the flexibility and freedom. In the discipline I find the breathing room. Because I go to bed at 9 PM I can get up at 4 AM. Because I get up at 4 AM I can run and I can meditate. I have quiet time to start my day and nourish my physical and mental health. Because I come home and prep for the next day and have a system for taking care of the cats it frees up time to cook healthy meals for me and my husband. Because I have completed the chores I can relax and truly be with my husband at dinner sharing our day. In the discipline I find the exhale. It works for me. Sad to say to my husband my self-disciplined routine will most likely continue, but I will also continue to allow for flexibility.