Habits

I haven’t written here in a month or so. For those of you who are used to regular posts, I apologize.

The past month has been rough. And I do not know that I have handled it well.

I lost my mother suddenly. My father’s mental health declined and we had to put him into a nursing home. There were some major trauma issues within other people in my family. And a relationship of six years came to an end.

Frankly, that was a little too much for my brain to handle. I have lived in a fog for a few weeks. I am not the greatest in handling strong emotions anyway, and this was just too many from too many directions in too short a time. I did what was needed. I did little else.

But it seems my habits got me through. I am a habitual hard worker. And each day I got up. I called my clients. I tracked down answers and information for them. I traveled and visited. My bills got paid on time. My house, while not spic and span, got cleaned to the point where the board of health won’t condemn it.

And I wrote. As is my habit, I write poetry most days. I wrote in my journal. I returned friends letters and e-mails. Most of it was probably not very good. But writing, for me, is as much about sanity as it is about the end product. I am a lay preacher at Rupert United Methodist Church and I preached each Sunday. I didn’t write everything I normally do (obviously this blog was neglected). But I wrote.

Most of my poetry was likely not so good. Ditto for the sermons. But the habit kept my mind in a place that was familiar, while in the background, the rest of my brain could deal with the things that were unfamiliar and overwhelming – loss, challenge, change, struggle.

I a not quite out of the fog yet, but I am slowly climbing out.

Part of me is surprised everything did not fall apart. Yes, the fog has been that thick in my head. But as I go back and double check myself, it seems that I did things OK. Not perfect, but OK. I helped people out. I got things done.

And that is the habits we develop are so important. Good ones carry us through when things get rough or live becomes overwhelming or things go weird on us. And it will, sooner or later.

Strong habits, deeply instilled, hold us together. Poor habits, poorly developed, will fall apart, get lost in the fog.

As I am pulling out the fog of overwhelmed emotion, I am looking at my habits. Where did they serve me well? Where, perhaps, did they fail me? I want to start thinking about what I can change and what I can do better to prepare myself for the next time. Because there is a next time.

Had I been a little wiser, I likely would have made a habit of reviewing my habits every so often. That is one of the things I’ll do better going forward. To be better prepared.

What are your life habits? What do you do each day to sustain your relationships? Your work? Your success? Your spiritual and creative life? These are good questions to ask ourselves now.

Before we need them.

Be well. Travel wisely,

Tom

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