Always Keep to the Routine

A small sidenote that turned into the whole post: ALWAYS keep to the routine.

And the morning routine is as follows:

#1 coffee and reading
#2 yoga practice
#3 meditation
#4 read more
#5 write
#6 breakfast
#7 post to blog and social media
#8 check email and respond to others

You sound a bit…aggravated this morning, Michelle. Why?

Because this morning I thought to myself, “I’ll just clean up my inbox really quick before I get started.” And that’s when the small shit storm began. My center was shifted…

And then another thought occurred to me. Look at this quote from my reading in the Tao Te Ching this morning:

“When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.”

And then from Don’t Believe Everything You Think:

Verse 3 of The Thirty-seven Practices of Bodhisattvas

“By avoiding bad objects, disturbing emotions gradually decrease.
Without distraction, virtuous activities naturally increase.
With clarity of mind, conviction in the teaching arises.
Cultivate seclusion –
This is the practice of bodhisattvas.”

I stopped when I typed that out to share with you, took a deep breath, and read it again.

I AM off center this morning. Why? Because I took a step forward without thinking, I left my practice. The Tao Te Ching isn’t saying “don’t move forward or up.” It’s saying be aware that when you do, you’re opening yourself up to being sidelined. Take care. Be aware. If we’re not, that’s when we get knocked down and react in unhelpful ways.

Keeping to my morning routine keeps me aware and ready for what comes next. If I wait until the right time to open my email, I’m ready to respond instead of react.

And the Thirty-seven Practices isn’t saying “go live in a cave.” It’s saying cultivate simplicity in your life. When I do one thing, I do it much better than if I do more, and that is how “virtuous activities naturally increase.”

Simplicity. Clarity. Peace. These are what make for a life well lived, for myself and the people I interact with.

In the short term, though, it makes some people very upset when it looks like I’m not picking up the slack they are laying down. I’ve always had a hard time with saying, “No, this isn’t for me.” I hate to disappoint people, but there really is only so much I can do well, and it may not be nearly as much as you can do well at once.

This isn’t what I sat down to write this morning, but it’s what came up. My plan was to get into telling you all the things I learned yesterday about radiometric dating. I know you’re going to be excited about that, but it’s going to have to wait.


  1. It sounds like you had an experience this morning that reminded you of the importance of being mindful and aware in your actions, and of the benefits of maintaining a simple and clear routine. It’s understandable that you might feel upset when you feel like you’re letting people down, but it’s also important to recognize and respect your own limitations and to focus on what you can do well. I look forward to hearing more about what you learned about radiometric dating, and I hope that you’ll continue to find ways to cultivate simplicity and clarity in your life.

  2. Thanks for sharing your process Michelle. It sounds a lot like my own. What the heck is radiometric dating? Guess I’ll have to wait for your next blog to find out . . .

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