R emarkable routines allow you to get more done with your time. You can judge their efficiency by the sheer fact that Coby_Whitmore_Theres_Always_oneyou don’t have to overthink them; you just move through them with a sense of ease.

Routines support your lifestyle and your dreams. They also nourish your spirit.

If you find yourself struggling with getting the basics in life accomplished in an efficient manner, then darling, you need to get serious about establishing powerful routines.

I am a huge fan of routines because they allow you to use your energy in a more economical fashion. But sometimes our lives can actually become a little too routine.

Yes, darling, as dedicated as I am to routines – and as devoted I am to creating a daily life that you loveI know that there is a shadow side.

Have you ever gotten in your car to drive to work or the grocery store and found that the route is so routine that you arrive without ever being entirely aware of how you got there? Or you hop in the shower and go through the familiar acts of washing and rinsing, only to discover after you get out that you can’t recall shaving your legs or whether you used conditioner?

These are the times when the unremarkable moments of our days go beyond auto-pilot for efficiency and slip into sleep-walking through life.

While we all have instances when our brains are focusing on “Important Things” and our bodies go through the motions of washing dishes and folding clothes, sometimes those moments morph into days and weeks of living unconsciously.

For many people, those days of living unwittingly expand into weeks, months, or even years of simply going through the motions.

From the outside, it may seem as if their lives and full of happiness and run like the proverbial well-oiled machine: organized and efficient. But inside, they’re not really tuned into any part of their life. They’re just numb.

A couple of days into my sabbatical, I realized that while not all areas of my life were on auto-pilot, over the last few months, I’ve allowed myself to get out of one of my most important practices: awareness.

I’d love to tell you that when you wake-up and realize that you crave a different way of living – and then go through the process of making conscious changes to your life – that it will stick with your forever. I’d love to tell you that the sheer power of a past decision to not accept the status quo for your life will mean that you’ll always live fully engaged.

But the truth of the matter is, kitten: awareness isn’t a one-time shot of inspiration that lasts forever. Yes, awareness is a practice. Just like yoga or writing or playing an instrument.

Though long ago I finally made peace with the little fact that “practice makes perfectwasn’t a core truth, I have come to redefine practice as the opportunity to show up for ourselves and do the best we can in that infinitesimal space and time.

When we are going through the motions we are not showing up for ourselves. It is not doing the best we can in that space and time. It is not living life consciously, and it is not creating excellent routines to optimize our energy usage. It’s sleep-walking.

And when we catch ourselves in the act – be it days or months later – we tend to beat the crap out of ourselves for being so careless.

When I came to the ah-ha moment that, just like my writing – and really all areas of life – awareness and conscious living is a PRACTICE, I loosened the grip on the whip I was using to flagellate myself, and reminded myself of the truth. Because the truth is, awareness is a practice, which means that it will never be perfect.

Because awareness is a practice, it means that when I mess up or lose track, I get to start over.

Because awareness is a practice, each day we have to consciously engage in our own lives. Each day we must choose to create and cultivate all the pieces of our daily life. We must create routines that bolster the efficiency of our energy and rituals which facilitate the connection to God our and our soul. We must fuel our bodies with food that satisfies our deepest source of hungers. We must also actively fuel our desires and goals.

Darling, you deserve to live a life that’s full and conscious. You don’t have to choose numbness or sleep-walking. You don’t have to ditch routines in order for life to not go on auto-pilot. No, darling, living a conscious life isn’t an either / or scenario.

When you wake-up (or re-awaken) and realize awareness isn’t a part of your lifestyle, you get to choose in that instant to stop being unaware. You get to engage and be fully present and renew your practice of awareness.

You can choose to practice awareness while having the supportive structure of routines to fuel a daily life that feels nourishing.

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Debra is a life coach, writer, and tarnished southern belle. She resides in Dayton, OH.
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