So when I referenced my handy dandy chart for March and took a lot at what I had written down as the theme, it boldly and unwaveringly stated “Discipline”.
I look at that a bit plussed mostly because discipline is something I don’t feel like writing about at all.
And even more so teaching a lesson about it seems even worse.
So I thought, “Ryan, what has really been doing it for you lately?”
And then I thought to myself in response, “What a great question self!”.
The truth is my walk to school just this morning just about blew my mind.
Do you wanna know why? Do you want here a relatively awesome story about a morning walk?
Hopping off the bus on a street called Punchbowl in Honolulu, about a mile from my campus I begin my walk to school.
At the crosswalk I notice the little walking guy for the opposite side of the street is flashing so I decide to take the road less traveled.
Keep in mind this is a street that I have driven down hundreds of times, maybe over a thousand times.
It was like I had never been to this spot of the world ever.
There was a building with this huge lawn and massive monkey pod trees in the front.
If you have never seen a monkey pod tree they are so cool.
I saw 3 birds pitched on the top of this building.
Picture a 3 story, 1950s hospital made of yellow stone with these 3 green tropical birds perched on top of the main arch prob 50 feet up in the air. These birds looking at me like, “Hey man. Sup? Thanks for kicking it with us this morning.”.
And then passing the building, there was this tiny alleyway behind the building with cool sidewalks and old houses with manicured yards and more of these beautiful tropical trees. And more green birds.
All of this in the middle of downtown where the focus is normally traffic or cell phones or who knows what else.
I was reeling. All from a decision to walk 50 feet from where I would normally walk.
Completely mundane though a completely brand new experience.
Anyways that is the story.
So what about the lesson?
What am I gonna do this month?
Well, his is a revival of something I haven’t gotten into in a while.
And I am putting myself on the spot, to come up with a name for it.
We are going to call it…
“Reclamation of the Mundane”.
You should read that in dramatic 1980s fantasy movie voice.
You’ll get another chance coming up, worry not.
That chance came quicker that you may have thought.
‘Reclamation of the Mundane”.
That was fun.
And you didn’t even notice a good example of what we are doing this month.
This is the challenge.
Every time you NOTICE that you are participating in a mundane task, especially if it is something you normally do often, change it up.
For example brushing your teeth you could use the opposite hand.
Or one of my favorites is to wash my body in the shower differently that I “normally” would.
Drive to work using different roads, even if it is just one street.
Eat with a different hand, put your phone in a different pocket, or walk on the other side of the street.
A really cool one is to pick music randomly on iTunes or Spotify and just be with it no matter what it is.
See what you notice. I invented this exercise years ago after a Commanding Officer of mine said, “All of your daily tasks (navy stuff) should be like driving home on autopilot. You know that drive so well that you could do these tasks in your sleep”. I’m making a gross face just turned off by the robotic life he was hoping his crew would buy into. Robots are cool and all, but I ain't one so screw that.
Anyways, back to the exercise. When you change these tasks up, when you reclaim the mundane, you awaken a normally asleep part of your brain.
Brushing your teeth with a different hand is hard because you don’t know how.
It is literally that.
You do not have enough data collected to automatically brush your teeth without thinking about it.
So the bonus of activities like this is that you will find yourself directly in that moment.
Brushing your teeth becomes two minutes of focused meditation and as a bonus your brain is collecting new data and learning new things.
And that stimulation keeps those earning parts of your brain awake and alert.
Does that all make sense?
So again, the challenge is to change up any mundane task you notice yourself participating in.
Anything at all.
The more you do it the more you will notice and the more you change it up the more you will give yourself to learn.
Take it back.
This is our crusade for the month.
I would love to hear your stories so please comment here or email me back about this.
Your mundane tasks are the baseline of your everything else.
Put your intention into each one watch them turn into purposeful rituals that truly enhance your entire life.