Sunday, June 10, 2012

On routine...

I've been out of the city for over a week now and have made the transition pretty smoothly. One thing that has made the move from my tiny East Village apartment to a shared house in the middle of nowhere (aside from how beautiful and peaceful it is here, and how totally necessary it was for me to leave the city) was that I brought with me an established daily routine. I've had to ability to really examine my morning ritual and omit anything that seems extraneous (goodbye make-up, complicated clothes, packing up a bag with lunch and any other materials I may need throughout the day...) I've been able to extract the essentials.

Having a routine is vital to me because it allows me to feel like I have a sense of control over my life (even if the rest of my day is full of the unexpected) and it also provides me with a sense of accomplishment. This seems to have a trickle-down affect on the rest of my day; once I start checking things off my list, I just want to keep on going. Being my crazy self, I even attempted to make a "non-schedule-schedule" that eventually ended up having exact time allotments for each activity and a specific order. I quickly realized that this is stupid and contradicts the whole purpose of this ritual. The goal is to feel both centered and accomplished, not stressed out and disappointed if I neglected to drink the warm water with lemon before stretching or something equally unimportant. 

In essence, a morning routine is a fiesta of stuff that makes me feel balanced in my otherwise crazy life. I mean, I love being insanely busy, but I can't concentrate on any single task (let alone ten) if I haven't taken the time to check in and care for myself first. My morning ritual is an ongoing lifestyle experiment, but bellow is roughly what has been working for me lately::

-Rise and Shine (around the same time everyday allows my body to follow its natural rhythm)
-Self-care Ritual
a. cold water eye-rinse (This is an ayurvedic practice that removes excess heat from the eyes and just plain wakes me up.)
b. Tongue scraping (x7-10time to remove any toxins that accumulated over night and gather information about what to eat.)
c. Oil pulling (Swish around 1-3tsp coconut oil in my mouth for as long as possible to pull out toxins)
-Drink a mug of warm water with lemon (This balances out your pH levels. Lately I've been adding some turmeric, cayenne, black pepper and pink Himalayan sea salt to the mix!)
-Yoga (I aim for an hour of some sort of gentle physical activity/ stretching per day. Sometimes that whole hour doesn't happen in the morning. That's cool.)
-Meditation/ Breathing exercises/ Setting intentions for the day (This is probably the hardest one for me right now, but very important for checking in and seeing if there is anything in particular that your body needs for the day.)
-Dry brush/ Oil massage and Shower (This sometimes happens at the end of the day, unless I get really sweaty from yoga. Dry brushing is great for exfoliating the skin and also a wonderful detoxifier. Massaging yourself with coconut or another type of oil not only moisturizes your skin, but I find its a great way to physically check-in and give attention to your whole body. 
-Make a delicious and super healthy breakfast (My day doesn't start until I fuel myself up. Trying to work without eating would be like trying to drive a car without putting gas in the tank first; it just won't go. I aim to get a mix of carbs, fat and protein and as much green stuff as possible.)

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I'm becoming more and more interested in the idea of the art of the everyday life; making art for daily use and using life as an artistic medium. I've decided to integrate the idea of routine into my art project here. I'm starting off by recording interviews with people about their daily routines and seeing where that takes me...

Interview Questions:
1. What are your daily routines/ rituals? (anything that starts or completes your day)
2. Do they have to occur at a specific time?
3. What happens if you don't get to tick off all the things on your "list"? How does it affect the rest of your day?
4. How do the people around you affect your daily routine? Positively? Negatively? Do you benefit most from internal or external stimuli?
5. How can your physical environment change the way you experience the same daily activity? Can the same act be burdensome in one environment and enjoyable in another?
6. Do you create any "rules" for yourself?
7. What are challenges that arise? What would you ideally like to have to aid in a seamless routine? (can be mythical concoctions or realistic goals)
8. What, if anything, brings you to the present moment and centers you? In other words, brings you to a state of "relaxed curiosity" rather than "sleepwalking" through your day. 
9. Have you ever tried to create a set of personalized activities to check off each day? What did it include? 

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