Sundays are Spirituality Day here at Taking it to Streets
Oh where, oh where have I been? Not here, obviously. This seems to have been a year of taking “go with the flow” to a whole new level.
Yesterday was Autumn Equinox – the sun entered Libra. A time to focus on BALANCE. This balance between structure and spontaneity is one I’ve long struggled with. Usually it’s an uneven pair on the teeter-totter, with structure being the heftier of the two, but spontaneity giving it a good go. This year I guess spontaneity put on a lot of weight.
I wrote a book on using structured techniques to achieve your goals – Be Your Own Life Coach: Dream It! Plan It! Do It! I was a life coach at the time and (at my accountant/friend’s suggestion) I pulled together techniques I used with clients to help them achieve their goals into this book. While I have never personally liked the look/feel that the publisher chose (kitschy 1950’s ladies magazine type artwork) I still am pleased with the content of the book. The structured techniques I present in the book, and used with my clients, are ones I have used myself for decades. Just not this year.
One of my favorite chapters in the book is The Dance: Structure and Spontaneity – on this very topic.
I think I need to reread it. Because lately I feel like I’m caught between Steven Covey – you know, the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” guy, and Leo Babuta, whose fabulous blog Zen Habits I adore. And, as I say in my own book, both approaches have merit – “plan your work and work your plan” on the Covey side and “let it be” on the Babuta side.
What does this have to do with spirituality? A lot, actually. Maybe you think of religion as the structure and spirituality as the flow – I know that was once my take on it.
But I think now of spirituality as a way of life. Perhaps more like a garden than a train. A train runs on schedule (like church on Sunday), is predictable, repetitive and gets you (seemingly) to a given specific destination.
A garden on the other hand, seems to me to be tamed chaos. A patch of possibilities steered, for the moment, towards a given destination (zucchini this year, perhaps kale next…).
For the train I just show up with my ticket and someone else does all the work, yet I get to feel virtuous (“I got myself to Chicago on time!”).
In a garden if it’s going to be, it’s up to me. (Trust me I know this and this is why I am NOT a gardener – the heartbreak of underwatered, underweeded plants…).
There’s not a set time in which to weed, or to water. There is a set timeframe in which to plant or harvest, but it’s not Sundays at 10 AM, for instance – it’s a range.
There IS spontaneity – one can plant zucchini or kale or even kohlrabi (which, as an aside, is a truly WEIRD looking vegetable). One can weed in the morning, afternoon or evening. One can water on Tuesdays or Sundays. But there are known tasks which have to be done with some regularity if you want felicitous results.
My garden has been a bit overgrown (the metaphorical one – I would not subject living plants to my care). I need a bit more of a train schedule to get me into the groove. I’ve found that once I have a habit firmly in place, keeping it going is not that hard. But to get it to that point requires some structure and order.
I know what to do to make my spiritual garden grow. Now I have to do it.
And it will be interesting – will this focus on self-discipline/self-structure show up here? Will you hear more from me? Well, let’s find out!
So now, as always, I want to know what’s true for you. Pick 1-3 questions and answer in the comments. Come on – you can do it and no bad things will happen!
- Steven Covey or Leo Babuta? Where do you fall on structure versus spontaneity?
- Is your spiritual life more like a train or a garden? Tell how that does (or doesn’t) serve you.
- Equinox bonus question: where do you need balance in YOUR life? what will you do to get it?
I really want to know!