I've been seeing downloadable morning routine guides, nightly journals, and habit-forming planners all over the internet. It's made me anxious to form my own routine -- until I realized I've always had one. Routines are billed as something we have to go after and create. But they're not out there in the world - they're innate to who we are.
I lived in an old volcano crater in Panama for two weeks. It was a weird time. I did yoga each morning and journaled about abundance each night. When I left Panama, I thought I'd found the perfect ritual to center me. Nope. The next time I had a routine was three weeks later - I walked to the beach in Costa Rica each night and swam during sunset. A bus-ride later, I was running in Costa Rica's capital every afternoon.
I thought routine shapes me. It turns out I shape the routine. I do not have to force a habit into being - no one does. We are creatures of habit! Routine is our birth right!
Instead of willing myself to continue a yoga habit that made sense while living in the woods, my routine adapted itself to another environment. And another. And another.
Yorckh and I noticed that we have different traditions in each country. We played card games at every bar in Laos. We went running on the beach each evening in Malaysia. We took extravagant lunch breaks everyday in Indonesia. We took long walks in Japan. We tried to bring our old routines with us into new countries - they never stuck.
Anyone who has gone on a week-long vacation knows how quickly a new routine is built and fostered; you find your favorite taco spot or beach or nightly bar and stick to it. Embedded in each of us is the desire for something both familiar and inspiring. This is what routine gives us. I don't have to create it or force it -- I can just acknowledge what I am already doing and value it.