3 ways to structure (for us emotional-folk)
Structure. Another one of those dirty words for the wild-ones among us. I think structure and I immediately imagine myself this giant, chained, creature-of-flight (seriously. I need to chill out, I know.) The concept feels limiting. But the older I get and the more honest I am with myself the more I find myself leaning into it.
I'm just going to come right out and say it: I'm emotional. Shocking, I know. I see the vast plane of self, with it's humming atmosphere, it's rolling thunderclouds, most of it unexplored, and I can't help but get lost in those places. Especially when external life get's crazy. It feels safe there. And while that place is wonderful, and beautiful, for self-realization and rest, it can be crippling if we stay too long-- which is where structure comes in.
Structure keeps us balanced, sane and focused. It is the familiar-marked path we can walk when life seems foreign, overwhelming or hostile. Structure is there for us on those days when we just don't have the energy to think. It's something to balance on when we feel off-kilter. It gives us something to put our minds to when we don't know where to start. It's a mile marker to aim for when we feel a bit lost. Structure is the emotional-folk's unexpected-friend.
There is a quote by story people that I've always loved, "I like change, she said, as long as I remember I like change." That's the truth of the matter. As long as we remember that structure in essence is something to use - to build off of, jump off of, take flight from - it doesn't seem all that intimidating! In fact, It's quite the opposite. The more we build and trust our structure, and the stronger it is, the higher we can go!
So if today is just "one of those days", here are a few ways to start, grow or solidify your structure.
The jury seems to still be out on the amount of time it takes to build a habit, but I think more important that trying to put a time-frame on your habit-building is to remember that this process requires intention to solidify. There will be a honeymoon phase, a "holy hell, this is hard" phase and a "I did it" phase (where you often end up back in the "holy hell, this is hard" phase). And then one day you wake up and realize half way through whatever it is that is your new habit that it's second nature. And bonus, you find you enjoy it (unless it's your daily dose of spirulina.. no one actually likes that shit).
CHALLENGE YOURSELF (make it attainable)
So you have these amazing, shiny, new habits! Now what? Challenge yourself! Inside those habits you have goals: Stretch deeper in your yoga, meet a word count for your writing, get another chapter read before you move to the next thing, love someone a little deeper and a little more true. Small and large, create goals to strive for. Exercise your perseverance and ability to grow yourself. READ: It is SO important to make these attainable. As you meet your goals your confidence grows and from there you are able to go higher and further. Be gentle with yourself, and let yourself win!
FIND YOUR SPACE
For the ever-shifting canvas of the emotional mind this one is of the utmost importance. Find your space, wherever it may be, where your whole self is able to breathe. This is the place where you feel safe. It's the place where the energy flows freely, where you don't have to be anything or anyone. This is the place where your emotions can calm (even if still active) and your work/art can come forward. This is the place to exercise your habits, and reach for your goals. Some people find this in the quiet of nature, some in the familiar cafe down the road, and some in the morning light of their patio. If you're on the road let this space be where you rest and revitalize.
All of these things are good and helpful, but remember, too, that it's okay, every so often, to climb down and give yourself some time. Time is the one resource that you can not gain back. And because of that I would say that it is also the most important to be aware of, and to give to yourself and to others. It's the most valuable. So treat yourself.