Bookends

The starts and ends to my days have always been a bit unhygienic.  Much as I wish I were the kind of person who started every day with a warm embrace of the dawn and a mindful commune with the sunrise and early cup of coffee — and I think I even have some alternative identity timeline in which this is true — I stay in bed too long, read random bits of news on the internet before I even make coffee, discover I don’t actually *have* coffee, can’t find the things I put out the night before to read, run around putting in bits of laundry and starting and never finishing tasks until I leave the house in a slightly late flurry.

My bedtimes are even worse, sucked into Reading the Internet or watching mindless downloads of TV even as I imagine myself to be the kind of person who drinks a peaceful cup of mint tea and reads a good book.  (Often I *make* the tea and it gets cold on my bedside table.  Pouring it out is one of the fragmented morning tasks). Sleep and I glare balefully at each other instead of spooning comfortably.

I’ve been trying to create more mindful practices in my life for a little while now, for lots of reasons — there’s a lot going on in my head right now, and to make the right sense of it, to find creative movement forward, to find space, I need to de-flurry my time, defuzz my head and body.  But man, the openings and closings of the day are hard practices to change.  Even while I *know* all of the reasons it’s a bad idea to bring electronics into the bed, or to fall asleep watching bad TV on a computer perched on my chest (seriously, civilization, what a crazy thing to evolve a possibility for!), I just… do it.  Those old shoes you won’t throw away because they’re in the doorway and pose no challenge to your feet.

Mornings, I’ve been working on a short meditation practice or 20 minutes of writing creatively.  So hard to carve out the time when my brain is supplying the 1000 reasons why I need to empty the dishwasher, send an email, fold the towels, put away my running stuff, take out the garbage, match socks.  I have to put it in my calendar. I get little alerts that say SIT.  WRITE.  Sometimes I listen.

Bedtime, it’s even harder.  I developed some terrible bedtime habits when my marriage ended, and because I haven’t lived with anyone full time for 9 years, my bed is littered with all the wrong things.  (The other day I found my iphone, my landline phone, my ipad and my computer, along with a book, a headlamp and a fair scattering of popcorn crumbs).

So I have a project for April.  Instead of just adding a bunch of “don’ts” to my routine, I need to feed the writing part of me.  I’ve been writing fiction for the past few months, for the first time in years, and have rediscovered short stories.  So for April, along with trying to permanently remove the electronics from the bedroom, I am going to read one short story every night.  And post about at least one sentence about it.  Trying to change some long-overdue habits while regrounding myself in the kind of voice that carries me to the best kind of new places.

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