Repetition creates habit. The more you do something, the more ingrained it becomes. It starts to become automatic and unconscious.
This has its negative side (we can slip into self-destructive behaviours if we’re not careful). But it also has a positive side (we can actually choose the repetitive actions/thoughts/words that we want to turn into automatic reflexes).
At the start of 2019 I began basing the theme of the podcast around a simple word each week.
This week it’s ‘Repetition’. Last time it was ‘Competition‘. And a few weeks back it was ‘Solitude‘. I have found this a really creative and intuitive way to develop ideas. And it has thrown all kinds of surprises my way, with topics taking unexpected turns and pulling me in directions I hadn’t anticipated.
What Have I Written?
I pick a topic from my list, free-write around it, and then take a look at what I’ve written. That is pretty weird, but also incredibly liberating and insightful.
“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” – Flannery O’Connor
That quote has always resonated deeply with me.
I used the idea of theme words and took it over to The Haven earlier this year, where we’ve been exploring things like Compassion, Narcissism, and Gentleness. But as I was planning the next few months I had a bit of an ‘aha!’ moment. The word ‘Liturgical’ occupied my mind, and a bunch of words sprung forth as I processed the responses to a recent survey I conducted asking members about their struggles and challenges.
‘Liturgical’ is often synonymous with religious practice. It’s the words spoken during rituals. As well as the calendar of tradition and festivity throughout the year. It’s why we might know the words of the Eucharist, Funeral or Wedding ceremony, or what is often spoken at Christmas time. Liturgy is repetition. And repetition takes something from a place of conscious unknowing, into a place of unconscious knowledge.
When it comes to self-development, we can learn a lot from the idea of liturgical structure. And this is what landed in my planning for the next season in The Haven. In fact, I didn’t just plan the next month or two. I planned the next year. And from there I realised that the liturgical, repetitive calendar, never needs to stop. There is always more to learn, grow, and develop within these key themes.
We all have it in our power to design a life of meaning and purpose, actively and intentionally growing the areas that matter most to us.
“Every passing moment is a chance to turn it all around.” – Sofia (Vanilla Sky)
Whatever has happened in the past, however things have gone, whatever you’ve done, the future is yet to be written.
You have the opportunity to stop the drift by taking even the smallest action to turn it all around and start moving in the direction you want your life to go.
Belonging starts within you. It begins with integrity. Integrating your values, hopes, and sense of passion, with the things you do, the way you engage with others, and the words that come from your mouth.
Loneliness is the cause of so many destructive patterns of behaviours. When we feel alienated and like we don’t fit in.
But when we find belonging. Both within ourselves, and within a healthy community of people, we can truly transform the world in positive ways, from the inside out.
We find serenity in self-understanding and self-acceptance.
When you accept yourself, even with all your imperfections, blemishes, and flaws, you become an unstoppable powerhouse of serenity that can no longer be blown off course when the storms come…which they will.
Serenity is not an absence of pain. It’s not eliminating discomfort. It is a life’s work. The deep acceptance of who we are at an existential level.
Your true strength is found within. It’s not the size of your muscle, the sound of your voice, or the cleverness of your words. It’s your ability to see through the noise and bring generosity, gentleness, and calmness to a world of fear, hostility, and pain.
Your true courage is shown when tempted to join the crowd with hatred and a mindset of scarcity, and you choose instead the way of compassion, health, and abundance.
We often equate confidence with those who know what they’re doing and are egotistical and self-assured. Looks can be deceiving.
Confidence grows with you as you begin to accept who you are, learn what matters to you, and connect with a community of other people who resonate at your soul’s level. It is the faith to act even though you don’t know how it will pan out. It’s the conviction of your values. Assured by the process, not the result. It’s the strength to act despite your fear, not in the absence of fear.
Our definition of adventure might not even feel like adventure at all. But it is. That’s for us to decide. And we get to expand our freedom to be adventurous as much as we dare.
It is through adventure and an invitation to the unknown that we expand our character and discover more of who we are in the process of becoming.
The world is an innately and naturally creative place.
We all have opportunities to build significance into the ordinary in between moments of life. Creativity is a choice. To do the expected, normal, status quo (stuff you don’t value in the slightest). Or… to go with your gut and do something a little different. A little bit more life-giving, daring, and challenging to the ‘powers that be’ in the world around us.
The world is full of mystery, the beauty of which most people only ever lightly touch the surface, if at all.
We have access to an infinitely deep sea of tranquility that sits below the surface of our hurry and busyness. We can become immersed in this enriching, time-stopping pool when we take the time to stop and to engage all our senses more deeply.
Tranquility is about the relationship we have to the stuff that goes on in our lives, and around us in the world.
You can’t get motivated if you’re not first inspired by a spirit of passion. By stories of people overcoming the obstacles and challenges you are facing, by those who are not so different from you.
Inspiration is everywhere. But sometimes we don’t take time to notice or observe the things that can teach us.
When it comes like a breath of fresh air into the depth of your spirit, it will feel like it’s been there forever. And you’ll be ready to act.
These are universal truths that apply to everyone. Areas of growth that never cease being relevant. They are never finished. We can always be working on them. Both as individuals and as part of wider communities.
We often look for closed solutions to specific problems. But what we’re really looking for is something liturgical. Ongoing deepening growth to unsolvable life mysteries. If we’re honest, that is what most of us are seeking to address. And in many cases we just need permission to acknowledge that there are things we will never have a satisfactory concrete answer to as long as we live. Rather than believing those who tell us that happiness, fulfilment, and eternal salvation is found in this or that, we actually find freedom in being released from the tyranny of that very desire and pursuit.
The answer we are wanting is one that requires patience, perseverance, and commitment to something that we know will never be fully realised. It’s about growth for growth’s sake. Not for the sake of what that growth will yield. But none of these things are valued in today’s disposable, instant, attention deficient world. The world wants to know what we are yielding. And it wants us to believe that we can achieve those unachievable desires.
Over to You
This is the liturgical calendar in The Haven from September onwards:
- Autumn: Change, Belonging, Serenity.
- Spring: Strength, Confidence, Adventure.
- Summer: Creativity, Tranquility, Inspiration.
Repetition is key to growth and transformation. These are areas that we can never stop addressing and nurturing. They mean different things to each of us, and we can all learn more about ourselves, our relationships, and the world at large, when we take them seriously.
If this resonate and you fancy joining us, doors are open in August, December, and April.
Find out more here: the-haven.co/join – if it’s not a joining month you can sign up to be notified as soon as you can join. And in the meantime I have loads of valuable stuff to send you to get you going on your gentle rebel journey.
Watch this week’s episode on YouTube…
Listen to The Gentle Rebel (Extended Play) Private Podcast:
On Repetition (and the seasons)
If you like this topic and want to hear more of my (more personal) thoughts and reflections, you can subscribe to the bonus podcast right now, through Patreon