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Routine.  The word tends to bring to mind negative connotations.  It resembles the boring grind.  It exemplifies complacency and monotony.  I agree that being stuck in a routine can be a bad thing.  There are some aspects of having a routine that can serve us well though.  I think ‘routine’ may be the wrong word for what I’m getting at.  What I’m thinking of is more of a ‘ritual’ than a ‘routine’.

Through time rituals have been developed and passed down from generation to generation to keep a certain idea or way of doing something going.  Mindfully used, rituals can be a good thing.  When rituals become dogma, that’s when it turns into a mindless ritual and loses its purpose.  Having mindful rituals can be great and setting the right ones up can really help us.  In Aikido, we have many routines.  They all have purpose though.  In our dojo, we bow and clap twice at the beginning and end of every class to shoe away the bad mojo and bring in the good mojo and awareness.  We mindfully bow to each other before and after training to make the short time we have to train with that particular person that much more meaningful.  Rituals can be a good thing.  Set some up.  Try it out.  Stay away from ritual sacrifices, though.  Leave the farm animals alone.   Other than that, go nuts on the rituals and use them to improve your life.

One comment

  1. …”routines” are also the enemy of good training. How often have we all be involved in mechanical, forced repetition of some technique? Maybe one we don’t like much, or we find not as challenging, or something like that. Whenever I feel that stagnation, I try and see what I’m missing, because I guarantee it’s me that’s not with it, not the fault of the technique. I know this is off-topic slightly, but the “routine” thing struck me in this manner–the same would apply to the rituals we apply toward training…bowing, class start/end, awareness in training, that kind of thing. Give it purpose! Sorry for the digression. Carry on. *laughs* 🙂

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