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Daily Habits.

“The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us.”

– Mary Oliver

This morning my second born made me this yummy smoothie bowl for breakfast as I was furiously typing away, prepping for lessons:

She even served it in my bowl. She’s a pro. My eldest bought me this to-go bowl (it comes with a lid) for my 40th birthday. It’s been a treat to have both home – the first and second born.

As most of you know, the first lives away from home. The second, however, has been absent this past year in many ways. She was working six days a week from 7:00am-3:00pm at a little cafe at the bottom of our road. She eventually worked part-time at another job as well. She was saving for a trip abroad this summer which of course has been postponed..indefinitely.

Fortunately she was able come to class for a couple of hours a few days a week but this was her new routine. She never failed to get up at 6:00am. We missed her but when she tried to integrate at home after work, there was always a little conflict. Her chores were neglected. She was too tired and too impatient for her siblings. She stressed over homework. We all had to sit down and redefine her responsibilities as we gave her more leeway in some areas and less in others.

Today on my class zoom call with my second and third born, I asked the question, ”What is one thing that you appreciate right now?”

#2 answered, “Being home. In the mornings, I have time to cook and meditate. I can do homework at a good pace.”

She still gets up at 6:00am. Now instead of rushing to get ready and leave the house for work, she makes her way to the kitchen with a relaxed saunter. The night before, she spends some time before bed preparing her chia yogurt to be refrigerated overnight and makes the homemade granola, instead of stressing over an essay due that she can’t focus on because she’s so tired.

She adjusted her habits to make room for other passions without losing the discipline and the will.

During this time, when each day feels like yesterday, it’s easy to slip into a “groundhog day” type of stupor. Routine can feel like a living hell, a prison sentence.

One of the habits that I am trying to cultivate with my older teen group is our journalling practice. We are on Day 10 of our daily journalling theme – “How to Live.”

Chris’ good friend, Brad Pilon, lent him (or maybe I should say lent us) the book “How To Live: A Life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer” by Sarah Bakewell. (It even comes with great margin notes. Thanks Brad!)

I am using this as our guide for our journal practice.

Tomorrow, Day 10:

Q. How to live? A. Wake from the sleep of habit

I don’t necessarily use the content of Montaigne’s life story which is how most of the book relates to the attempt an answer of the question.

I reflect and then I offer some quotes to the kids like the Mary Oliver quote at the beginning of the post. They journal for 15 minutes about what they think and how this relates to their own experience.

21 days of writing in a journal developing their own philosophy of how to live that will change over the course of their life. And they also get the opportunity to develop this habit.

My colleagues, my fellow teachers/guides, are on this journey too – keeping track of their own thoughts on these prompts.

Although routine and habits can seem ordinary – the act of repeating. There is something when you make deliberate choice in it that also injects a little magic in the mundane.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” 

– Aristotle

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