The power of spontaneity

You know how sometimes we plan and ponder something important for a long time and then other times we have spontaneous bursts of action? Like, when there is a book you want to buy you think about it for ages, consider buying it a few times, maybe carry it to the counter but talk yourself out of it. And then one day, you’ll walk into the bookstore, see a book you’d never even heard of and buy it without a second thought. This also seems very applicable to clothes shopping.

That system of shopping, I have discovered, mirrors how I do most of my blog posting. An event will happen, I’ll take some photos, I’ll think about what I might say about it, and then I don’t get around to posting because I should be doing something else. But occasionally, like in today’s earlier post about patterns, I get excited by something and immediately open my blog to post.

My spontaneous post was about how those apparently mundane routines we have everyday are actually the content of our lives. As Gretchen Rubin at the Happiness Project says, “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

At first I was delighted to think that I was posting about the power of patterns through a spontaneous burst of action, and thus contradicting myself in one flurry of excitement. It seemed to me that the spontaneous action becomes the content of my life.

But then, in some confusing way, I realised that my spontaneous actions don’t counter the idea of the power of patterns at all, they seem to reinforce it.

It is my daily patterns that don’t allow time for blog posting that result in all the considered stuff being lost and the bursts of enthusiasm taking up the most space on this blog.  It is my regular miserly attitude to shopping means that means I only spend money when I’m feeling carefree or rebellious against my own uptight self.

I think this is a lesson in tailoring my patterns better so that I am not forced to rebel against myself. I am especially interested to think about what other patterns are resulting in spontaneous action that might be less innocuous than rebellious blog posting.

But also, I’m not sure that any of this is such a bad thing. I wouldn’t like to take away spontaneous action all together. Mindfulness is great, considered action is great, but if every action every day was planned and considered and perfected I would probably resemble a robot.

It seems to be a recurring theme of life on earth that moments of deviation and diversity result in creativity. Variety is indeed the spice of life. So I won’t try to routinize my life down to the last minute just yet.

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3 thoughts on “The power of spontaneity

  1. Benjamin

    Interesting how you didn’t use the ‘R’ word until the last paragraph of the second post (is ‘routinize’ a word? American spelling aside 😉 )

    To me ‘routine’ has negative connotations, whereas ‘pattern’ has a kind of positive reinforcement, however they seem to mean the same thing in this context..

    Other than that, I find it kind of paradoxical to try to analyse spontaneity, and is perhaps to say patterns form the basis of living, but be prepared to break the rules every now and then.

    ps. I don’t think mindfulness and spontaneity are mutually exclusive, as you can spontaneously drive to nowhere in particular but still be mindful of the road rules. 🙂

  2. Sarah Fortuna Post author

    I love routine! Routine has no overly negative connotation in my home, but I know it does for others and patterns just seem less scary.

    I don’t think mindfulness and spontaneity are always mutually exclusive either, but if I were able to describe it better I would articulate that the kind of spontaneity I experience is often not mindful at all. This other kind of spontaneity (need to find a more accurate name) seems to be more of an active push against the discipline you impose on yourself. But I agree, a bit of rule breaking every now and then ain’t so bad.

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