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Day 231 - The Inner Dictatorship of Habit

I like routine. The only thing that I like more than routine, is breaking routine. The older I get though, the harder it is to break free of habit. I feel myself compelled to do the things I do, in order, every day. They provide my life stability, order and a sense of purpose. The thought of deviating from the routine, even slightly, gives me a feeling of being out of control...spinning.

When I was working I wanted to make some changes to my morning routine that would have allowed for my life to become, well, more my life and less me being a cog in some larger other life. I wanted to take 30 minutes each day to go for a walk but I couldn’t alter my morning habit to accommodate that. I would try daily and fail. I would become so anxious that I finally just stopped trying. I could not adjust my head to accommodate a change in my routine.

For me, it is as though I serve some sort of inner dictator that is somewhat benevolent but can be tyrannical when ignored or defied. Perhaps we all have these. These inner dictators of habit - causing us to blindly follow a path that is quite different from the one that might lead us to a better life.

My inner dictator isn’t just about routine in my daily life, she reigns supreme over my habits in relation to others as well. I have a habitual response to intimacy, to love, to friendship, to pretty much any emotion that plays out in the emotional realm.

My inner ruler has been quite reactive over my lifetime. Not really a good responder, but fantastic at reacting before all the information is gathered. And really quite good at shutting the whole emotional thing down...hard and fast. She and I have been fighting the war on intimacy’s battleground for years. Me, really wanting to be free to love and care and say that I feel this way and her holding a gun to my head with an army of troops telling me no. The habit of shutting down and closing down so great that it seemed like I would never, ever win this war.

Recently however, I have gotten her to some peace talks. My interior autocrat has mellowed with age and has been willing to listen to the jester who has been dancing before her for years. I really wish I knew what I said to make her change her mind. But I guess what is more important is that she is at the peace talks table and is listening.

Me (The Jester)

I really don’t want to do relationships the same way anymore.

Empress of Routine

I know. I have been listening. I am concerned about your ability to really change.

Me (The Jester)

I know, me too, if I am honest. But I really, really don’t want what I have always got.

Empress of Routine

I see your new quest laid out before me but I am not really sure that I can bless your plan. It is ill defined and a little shoddy on the details.

Me (The Jester)

Again, I know. But I have been working really hard on this whole relationship thing. Well, I have not been having relationships so that I can shore up some places within myself that have fallen into dis-repair. I have been really looking for the gaps in my foundation and working hard to resurface them and make them stronger. It has been a lot of work and I am tired.

Empress of Routine

Yes, but you have done lots of work in the past but still remain vexed and often fall into the same response to dating. It isn’t pretty.

Me (The Jester)

I am painfully aware of this fact. And I will not promise you that I can and will do it differently.

Empress of Routine

See. That is my point. This whole expedition is a waste of time and money...

Me (The Jester)

Perhaps...but what if on my journey, I discover new lands. What if I embark on this new quest and find something that neither of us can really fathom. What if all the footwork I have done, has readied me for making even the slightest and smallest change?

Empress of Routine

I can see the work. I remain unconvinced that you are capable of doing it differently despite the earnestness with which you speak.

Me (The Jester)

I have the same doubts as you. I am afraid. I am weary. But here is what I know. I know that I am changed. I know that I fortified in ways that I was not before. I am no longer seeking the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Instead I am content just following the rainbow where it leads. Not much of a quest and goal I know. But I am willing to dedicate whatever time I have left, seeking. Seeking for love in all its varied forms and becoming a warrior for it. I see now that loving has always been the idea, the point. The reason. Everything I have done before while authentically me, was misguided and lost. I see now that the whole point to all of this thing we call life is to love without strings or conditions and without a veil or cover. To lay myself bare on the alter of experience and allow the lessons and teachers to come and teach me what I often do not want to know. This expedition will be expensive...and not likely to produce any results that are tangible and profitable in the typical sense but the work is vital. I humbly request your grace and blessing to continue...

Empress of routine

I have long held you subjugated to the past. To the habit of before. It is our tradition, our history. I have built my empire on being able to predict the future based on my command of the past, its routine and habit always indicating where the future lies...but I have become bored of this path. It leads me to typical paths with predictable results and I just don’t seem to care anymore. I do not wish to continue to fund expeditions that lead me to lands that I have revisited so often that they have become mundane. I too am ready for a little excitement and risk. You may have your funding and begin your quest. Perhaps you will perish along the way and my investment will be for not. I hope you will report back to me, all that you see and experience.

Me (The Jester)

I will write daily. I will report what I see and learn. I will go out into the world and do my best to live each moment as it comes and try to see with new eyes the world as it is today by seeing that by learning to see myself as I truly am, I have all the skills I need to see others as they truly are.

Empress of Routine

Fare Thee Well.


Thank you my Queen

And so I alight the newly forged road into the great wide open. Freed from historic response and the demand of habit. Out here there is just one thing to know: loving is all that is required. Love of self, leads to love of others. Loving shows us our humanity and with that view of ourselves we can see others are the same. Love the only skill required to move is the key that opens all doors regardless of how many locks there are. Willingness to continue to try the lock, the best antidote to apathetic habitual response. My only real task is to continue to pick up the key and keep trying, perhaps that is the most proper use of keep trying, not matter what your inner dictator has to say about the folly of your journey. The most important quest, is always the one you find inside your own tattered heart.

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