Consistent is a word that many artists seem to have a love/hate relationship with. I think we’d love more consistency with our budgets, creativity, maybe even our schedules. I think it’s scary because consistent can seem like a euphemism for boring, stagnant, or done by rote. I’m writing this post to tell you that it doesn’t have to be.
I’ve been working on a yoga challenge at my studio- they challenged students to go to 30 classes in 30 days. Well… that was not going to work with me and my family life balance, but they had a mini challenge of 15 classes in 30 days which seemed a lot more doable… that breaks down to every other day right? Easy… but what is easy is for life to get in the way and unexpected things to come up, so I realized at the beginning of this week that I would need to go to seven classes in seven days to make my goal… it seemed daunting. I doubled up twice knowing that with class timing and family commitments I wasn’t going to make it to weekend classes and when I go to the class I have scheduled tonight, i will have done seven classes in five days. I don’t recommend this necessarily. I’m pretty sore and it took a lot of commitment and sacrifice from my husband to hold down the household while I went each night. But I have learned some things not just from this week of consistently going to class, but the fairly consistent strides I started making in January towards fitness consistency:
1. Doing something consistently doesn’t mean it gets boring. If you are really present and doing something good for you instead of tuning out and going on autopilot, things stay really really interesting and small variations happen every time. This is something I’ve noticed about how people react to church as well. From the outside, it can look like we do the same thing every week- especially Catholicism where the group prayers are so scripted. But every actor knows that even if you use the same exact script day in and day out, the experience with it is different every night. Speaking of Catholicism…
2. When I started being intentionally consistent with one thing, it became easier to be consistent in other areas of my life (and vice versa). It’s amazing how the more consistently I took care of myself and either went to yoga or did some other kind of physical activity, the more I took the extra fifteen minutes each morning to spend time praying or absorbing the daily readings and reflecting on them. I don’t bring beads with me to class or anything, but I get through difficult poses by saying Our Fathers and Hail Marys in my yin yoga class where you hold the poses for a long time, and I find that when I’m done, I want to go home and say a rosary for what ended up on my heart while I was lying in Shavasana. The more I become spiritually consistent the more I stay focused on other positive consistent practices like vitamins, hydrating, being a little more thankful and patient.
3. Consistency helps those around you. I mentioned before the love aspect artists have with consistency. I have time this month to set consistent practices that I can only hope and pray will stick as much as possible once I head into rehearsal and start running on 5-6 hours of sleep again for those five weeks. Consistency doesn’t have to mean perfection or absolute rigidity. Consistent is not always. Consistent does not have to be forever. Consistent is keeping me going right now. And that keeps the rest of my family going- my husband feels the pressure when I am stressed or miserable and my toddler always picks up on it as well. The more consistent we are with each other, the more we help each other out.
4. Consistency is a challenge. I know it will with rehearsals, but it already is daily with my always changing child. I sometimes worry my changing schedule will impact him negatively so I try to give him consistency in the beginning and end of his day whenever possible. How consistent can you be when exhaustion sets in? When you get sick? (this is a notorious downfall of mine… when my son or myself is sick I tend to throw everything out the window instead of calmly adjusting…) When it gets hard and you forget why you started taking on this habit or commitment in the first place?
5. Consistency is worth it. My last post was about all the posts I’ve deleted before publishing… I wanted to clarify something: I don’t think writing them was a waste of time. The act of getting my thoughts out, working through something, having to wrestle with what was keeping me from posting- all those are positive things for me. The consistent act of committing time to write amidst the chaos is helpful. The payoff is that sometimes I get a great post I can share that may be helpful to even one person who reads it or maybe even more than that. I have been going back and forth about the time, money, space, all these resources that I am starting to put into chronicling our family. I had just started to doubt when my giant package of the pages I’d printed from the Project Life App showed up at my door and I got to finish up last year’s album I started when my son turned one. Seeing that finished project made me so happy. It was worth it to consistently set aside those minutes and document life.
I know I can’t plan and organize every minute, but having a few things that are consistent help me deal with the frustrating or delightful curveballs life starts throwing. It helps my anxiety and it anchors me in my exhaustion. So the top four consistent things in my life right now are yoga, rosaries, telling my husband and son I love them every single day, and taking gummy vitamins… and the top three things I want to make more consistent over the next month are hydrating, creating, and cleaning. What things are consistently anchoring you right now?