The Power of Ritual

Twyla Tharp says in her book “The Creative Habit” that the power of a daily ritual is that you don't think about it, you just do it. She is of course the genius choreographer who was also a woman in a man's profession but that's not what I want to talk about.. I want to talk about the power of a ritual, how a daily routine supports a creative life. Here's mine:  

1.    Before bed, assemble clothes coats, shoes, leash, bags, dog treats.

2.    Wake up. (Have an orgasm. That was a special edition today, but maybe not every day. I had sexy dreams all night.)

3.    Dress. Put leash on Sunshine

4.    Walk down to the creek. 

5.    Greet Acer. Lean in. Listen. Walk to my special boulder in the creek. Do the starfish power pose in the four directions and center. I swear this is making me taller.

6.    Home, the long way, through the woods.

7.    Shower. Start the French Press. Dress, (black eyeliner, red lipstick, just for me) Pour coffee.

8.    Enter my writing room and stay there for two hours.

This is the second day of this. I love it. It is balanced and strong.

I always love something new at the beginning. 

But I am working with this, with giving myself the discipline and structure that I must have to be a working artist or a independent business person. I’ve done this before, but badly. Now, I'm like a woman learning to walk. I'm learning to work on my own terms, instead of the hurling-my-body-on-the-train-tracks method I've always favored.

I know the novelty of this routine and the motivation that novelty brings will wear off. I just read an email that a friend sent me several months ago. I sometimes miss emails. He says that science calls it "decision fatigue." He tells me that he is working with the balance of gumption and commitment and devotion…

Yes. So am I. And as for commitment… that, says Tharp, is what a ritual is for.