Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rhythm and Repetition

I so enjoy the beginning of the school year. It is, as I write every year, a time of renewal, of fresh starts, of new pencils and notebooks ready to have a brand new chapter filled in. We've started to get into our routine and I'm grateful for the structure and discipline it brings to our days. Summer is so decadent and relaxing, and it is a good and useful cycle of intellectual fallowness. There is, however, an energy to getting back to calendaring every single day instead of once a week and of maintaining household records and systems regularly because one's mind is back into a system of "now is the time, tomorrow will be here before I know it" after the golden, endless-summer opportunities to be completely in the moment.

I always think about the tendency of most women to multi-task, and, inspired by a post on one of my favorite blogs, I've decided to be choosier about multi-tasking and take more things one at a time. I think that way I can better combine the output-orientation that is necessary to be a productive family with a little more process-orientation. By that I mean I can enjoy the process and see it as productive, even if I don't always get to the exact outcome I think I should. I was actually better at this when I had little children. I am pretty childlike myself, so it was easy for me to drop everything and just play. I caught a lot of those moments we worry about missing. Now I hope that instead of the pendulum swinging too far the other way, I can remember to include moments of play in the getting-to-the-finish line.

In spite of the fact that I still struggle to keep consistent, good habits, I truly believe in the conclusion that so many writers have come to, that simplifying and peace in the midst of family chaos come in the form of routine. I am learning to embrace those routines that I think are most likely to free me and help me be more productive, like my morning and nighttime routines. Rather than making me feel fettered, they actually leave me feeling that no matter what the rest of the day brings, my mind is under control because the real, true, most important things are done.

I find most of my inspiration in nature, which is perfect, but not static. My hope is that my daily life, like a forest path or a sunrise or the waves on the shore, will have rhythm and repetition, but that each new attempt will still be a unique expression of me and who I'm becoming.


  1. I love your words Kellie. You're so reflective - I like this time of year too. I was just telling my mom that I do way better when I have a routine and schedule like I do during the school year.

  2. Did I ever tell you that you are a beautiful writer. I always enjoy your posts. As a creature of routine I enjoyed your words here. I followed your link... I love to multi task, but I do see the down side too.

  3. I love the seasons and routines, too. I LIVED for fall back in my school days. Now it's the Boden autumn catalog that's keeping me going. (Although I'm totally horrified at the idea of living in Hawaii now. I want to wear tweed!)

  4. Thank you for such a thoughtful and inspiring post.

  5. Lovely post. I am a fan of routine. And your post made me think of something I saw in a movie recently. It was about a mother who sometimes felt like her life was swallowed up in the daily tasks she did for her husband and children, and that she had lost herself. But then there were times, when she picked up her daughter from school and listened to her chatter about her day, when she thought to herself, "this is exactly what I should be doing right now." Those are the moments that keep the routine from dragging us down.

  6. I need to play more and "do" less. :)I really liked the simplemom link and added it to me RSS feeds. I love the fall. it feels more of a renewal to me than spring. take a deep breath from the heat of the summer, buckle down and prepare for winter. I always liked that the Jewish New Year was in the fall, seemed more fitting than the middle of winter Gregorian calendar!


Thank you for sharing your insights!