In December I wrote about routine vs ritual and it’s still on my mind. It’s so easy to get into a routine. I have always insisted that I am not a routine person, and have been guilty of outwardly regarding routine with disdain. Routine is boring, right??
Recently I was driving across southern BC, heading out on a 10-day working holiday in Rossland. I left Vancouver with the intention of driving about halfway there so that I could take my time and stop for a hike in the snow with Bodhi. I’ve done this particular trip many times, too many for me to remember. What I do know is where I stop for gas, what geographic features I use to mark my progress, where I get coffee, and where I stop to walk Bodhi.
Routine can be good, even useful. It saves time to go the same gas station or coffee shop every trip. But it also closes the door to new experiences. And So this time I followed an urge. As I ascended Allison Pass in my trusty Subaru (Cecilia!) the landscape slowly shifted from green to white. Snow was everywhere and along with it that soft, quiet energy - it feels like a giant down duvet to me, covering up the plants and protecting them until spring.
As I approached Manning Park Resort (which is where I usually stop for a walk) I noticed for the first time a sign and parking lot on the left side of the road. Maybe it was the snow, I don’t know, but my curiosity overwhelmed me and I decided almost too late to turn left and see what was there. A little way down a plowed laneway there was a parking lot filled with cars and trucks. And a trailhead.
I found a spot to park, and as soon as I opened the door Bodhi leapt out and starting running in circles, rolling gleefully and playing like a puppy. People were taking off/putting on skis and snowshoes. This looked perfect. We ended up doing a 5 km snowshoe hike that day, through pristine forest, crossing creeks we’d never seen before. It was magical. It was a much quieter and less traveled path trail than the one I usually stopped at, and there were no dog restrictions. How did I not know about this previously?? Because I was stuck in my routine.
When we break one routine, others often follow. Because I was in a new place, I thought about different things. I got ideas about things to write about, I got curious about what else was out there along the highway, just waiting for me to explore it. It’s really easy to sit back and enjoy what we have and know, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But when we want to expand our lives and our perspectives we have to push back against routine and explore.
Rituals fill us up. I never thought it this way before, but for me exploring is a ritual. It feeds my soul. That day in the mountains a routine was broken, but a ritual was maintained. And I am richer for it. And so is Bodhi :-)
What rituals expand your life?