My newspaper didn’t come today. Or rather, it hasn’t come yet. The delivery guy is late. I’m concerned because yesterday I called to complain that not only was a section missing, but for the past month, I’ve been getting two papers some days. I don’t think they’re charging me for the extra paper, but it’s a nuisance and a waste of paper. So I called to complain. And this morning, no paper.
It’s kind of a big deal because I have to make a fairly long trek up my steep driveway to retrieve it, and I can’t see the road from my house, so I have no idea whether it’s come or not until I make the climb. But more importantly, reading the paper first thing is part of my morning routine.
When I wake up, I lie in bed for a few minutes, stretching and saying my prayers and affirmations for the day. Then I get up and make a pot of tea. While the tea is steeping, I walk outside, stretch some more, do some deep breathing and say some more affirmations as I walk up the hill to get the paper. Then I sit in my big chair by the window, read my paper and drink my tea. When I’m done, I do some yoga, meditate and go for my walk/run by the lake. After that I’m ready to face the day. But it starts with the paper. If it’s not there or is late, it throws everything else off. I’m completely out of whack and it’s very distressing.
So when there was no paper this morning, I began mentally to compose the complaint call I intended to place to the newspaper when the office opened. Meanwhile, needing something to do while drinking my tea, I picked up a little New Age-y book of thoughts that I have but rarely read. I opened it at random to a section that had to do with maintaining tranquility despite disruptions, and allowing things to unfold in their own time. Hmmmm.
That got me thinking about my morning routine and routines in general. Routines can be wonderful. I just read something the other day about how great writers and artists often have rigid routines which allow them to turn raw creative inspiration into actual art. Routines are what help us get things done, stay on track, avoid chaos and keep our commitments. But routine, or rather, attachment to routine can seriously interrupt the experience of life and can actually be debilitating when things don’t go as planned. It also interferes with the tranquility I was reading about this morning. And, really, if you look at my morning routine, isn’t tranquility what I’m trying to achieve?
So, instead of calling the newspaper to complain, I decided to view my late paper not as a disruption in my routine, but as an opportunity to flow down a different path this morning. And I gotta tell you, as I sit here writing, sipping my tea, seeing the sky brighten, listening to the birds chirping outside my window, I feel pretty darn tranquil.