The Universe works on consistency. Gregge Tiffen (The Language of a Mystic: Change – May, 2009)
Consistent awareness brings living to life.
I’ve been thinking about consistency (and what I’d judged as my lack thereof) in terms of daily focus and action toward developing my next work in the world. I’ve noticed resistance to getting into my office at a certain time each day, distractions and being pulled toward other activities (mostly ones that keep me outdoors in the beautiful mountain air – longer walks with Cool Hand Luke, working with and caring for plants that wintered indoors and new ones with their promise of tomatoes and pesto later in the season). And, I have a long list of other projects around the house. After all, my home is my castle.
Unlike my ‘work’ (which when it forms won’t be work at all), these tasks are clearly defined step by step activities. My ‘work’ on the other hand is forming, so there’s no clear path or plan of action yet. I’m exploring, experimenting, curious. Wait! Or am I?
Exploring and curious are easy ‘yeses’. I’m reading more than ever, journaling, and seeking out an odd, diverse array of information. But, am I really experimenting?
In the sense that everything is an experiment, yes, I’m experimenting. But, in a more focused, intentional sense – ‘let me try this and see if/how it fits into my work’ – I’m not consistent in my action. Rather, I’m seeking, searching, (hoping?) that my next work will simply magically appear.
I’d like to write ‘but, it won’t. You need to do xyz every day for 30 days … (blah, blah, blah). That’s the formula for success.’ But the truth is (for better or not) I operate differently. I know that my ‘next work’ will appear, perhaps it already has appeared, but in a form that I’m not yet prepared to embrace. Hmmm … that’s an interesting possibility. But, I digress from ‘consistency’, the topic at hand.
Beyond being pulled in other directions, I’ve held a concern that consistency breeds habit, habit breeds routine, and routine turns a blind eye to awareness. As I write that idea, my experience says it’s not true (unless I allow it). For the most part, I’m consistent without losing my awareness in many domains: weekly writing and posting this muse on Thursday mornings, daily walks with Luke, my morning journaling and reading practice, daily tasks that shift with the seasons, and daily habits of self-care.
Consistency isn’t just ‘doing’ those things. Consistency rests in the ‘how’ I’m doing them. Am I engaging with awareness or not? Am I aware of how my fingers feel on the keyboard when I write? Do I see the subtle changes of light playing on the mountains during our sunrise walks? What am I hearing, and how is that affecting my attention?
When I’m not aware, I’m inviting routine, repetition, boredom. I’m alive, but I’m not experiencing life as only life can be experienced.
In 250 weeks of writing and sharing my muse, I’ve never experienced repetition even in the routine log-ins and clicks that get these words from here on my laptop out into the world. Frustration at times, yes; but boredom, never. Although I consistently hold Thursday mornings as ‘sacred’ to write the post, the writing unfolds in different locations here at the house and in different sequence to other morning activities. Some weeks it unfolds before our morning walk in my journaling time/place. Today, I write on the back deck in the cool morning air amidst buzzing hummers under a bright blue sky.
Each morning walk is filled with new experiences, even though most summer mornings we walk the same path. Today Luke’s alert nose picks up some interesting scent. I keep a watchful eye while he explores rather than demanding he come back. Sunbeams create a visual feast on the Sangres that changes day to day. Coyotes howl at just enough distance that I allow Luke to continue to roam. I adjust my pace so that my breathing is light and easy, just how it’s meant to be.
As I come full circle, I’m aware of my consistency in an entirely new and satisfying way. Yes, I have room to improve in terms of consistent action to bring forth my work. And, I’m pretty darn consistent in ways that I never considered. Consistent awareness brings living to life.
Color me grateful as I respond to the call of the plants reminding me that they need water and a bit of TLC.