As someone with very little routine at the moment, I found Maria Popova’s article on Letters to a Young Artist by Anna Deavere Smith compelling. Intended to discuss creativity and lifestyle of an artist, I believe that the points made within the book (via the article) could be easily adapted to most lives.
Much of what I read on the internet emphasizes mindfulness, the need to pause and actively think about the progression of the day. But these posts and articles often present ‘mindfulness’ in a somewhat new age-y manner, like we need to pause and reflect for our own health and well-being. As a rather ambitious and driven person, I usually try to pick-up and leave behind my mindfulness on the yoga mat.
Smith and Popova highlight discipline–not solely the need to show up and work hard, but the manner in which we do so. They describe discipline as ‘the unflinching commitment to ourselves, to our own sense of merit and morality, to our own ideals and integrity.’ The article argues that our daily routine directly impacts what we bring forth to the world–that our smaller actions impact our presence in the larger scheme of things.
While this seems like a rather daunting concept on the surface, in reality it allows you to break ‘mindfulness’ into smaller, more practical units of time. And that’s something I can get behind.