My client of 5 years, John, drives to Tulsa to train with me from Norman once a week.
He attended my indoor cycling classes at least twice a week in 2011 but was shocked to learn his nagging back pain was caused by blockage in his heart. He underwent a quadruple bypass shortly after. John faced life differently after that. He stood taller, but more humble; grateful for each breath. He does not back down from a challenge. He changed his nutrition drastically, stopped drinking, and he’s active more hours of the day than not. John has lost about 80 pounds, maybe more…I lost track and he doesn’t let me weigh him anymore.
It wasn’t uncommon for him to ride his bike from downtown Norman to yoga on the west-side about 10 miles away, then up to Moore another 10 miles to train with me at Next Level, then back home. I told him I wouldn’t train him anymore until he bought a helmet. John watched me struggle through my pregnancy with Finn from the back row of my spin class, where I was oftentimes wiping tears along with my sweat. He’s one of Finn’s biggest fans and created a website for brave, imperfect people to share their stories: Courage Endures.
He and I had a conversation this morning about creating space in our lives for creative thought, spiritual inspiration, revelation, and meditation. We decided it was repetition that provides enough rote, automatic, flowing movement to allow the mind to wander and dream.
Activities like yoga, cycling, swimming, painting, crocheting, running, playing an instrument and fishing are repetitive in the most therapeutic ways.
When we busy our minds with television, radio news or surf social media, there’s too much “noise” to give our minds rest. We’re thinking, sure. But maybe we’re overthinking. [What’s she doing these days…Who is that with her?…What makeup does she use?…I didn’t know she…We’ve got mutual friends…She has more friends than me by like 500…He’s got a new job…I wonder what happened… ] My mind becomes mush with too much unimportant information.
I love the books, The Power of Habit and The Compound Effect. They are life-changing for me because they’ve changed my mindset. Simple habits, repeated over time create massive waves in the sea of our lives. Our days are made up of a collection of habits and the seemingly small, mundane routines are its foundation. Collect the right habits…create the right life.
Kissing Joey goodbye as we head off to work.
Praying over my kids, singing songs before bed.
Reading Bible plans, devotionals, the Word.
Putting lotion on after I shower.
Brushing my teeth.
Making coffee e v e r y m o r n i n g.
Thanking God for the day as Finn and I turn left out of our neighborhood.
Roasting vegetables in a hot oven.
Buckling seat belts.
These are the stuff of our lives. Although I appreciate spontaneity and I’m a sucker for change, repetition and routine have great value.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16
“…Daniel got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.” Daniel 6:10
I think monks would argue (okay, monks probably don’t argue) that ritual may be one of the best opportunities for spiritual enlightenment.
Go do something boring, repetitive, and let your mind free.