The Twelve-Step slogan “One Day at a Time” has taken on new meaning for me during the pandemic. Briefly, I have begun to do a number of the same things every day. I don’t mean the regular daily things like meals, showers, biology breaks, etc. I still do those, of course. Life requires most of them. No. I mean things like daily walks of 30 minutes to an hour with Cedar, my wife. Today’s, for example, lasted 50 minutes. We take turns devising our itineraries and compete with each other not to repeat prior routes.
Once a week, moreover, we go beyond walks, don our hiking boots purchased for the Camino of St. James in 2017, and select a hiking trail to walk somewhere in the nearby foothills of the Rockies, the so-called Front Range, against which our town, Boulder, Colorado, nestles. So, we go on six walks plus one hike every week.
Another daily routine for me is doing my spiritual practice, Subud. Normally, Subud members do this form of active meditation in groups for 30 minutes twice or three times a week. As in all the 100 countries where there are groups of Subud practitioners, corporate spiritual exercises have been put on hold. In some cases, as here in Boulder, we use Zoom to have virtual groups. Fortunately, the practice can also be done solo, so I do my Indonesia-originated spiritual exercise (in Indonesian it’s called latihan kejiwaan, “spiritual training”) every day, twice a week Zoomed in with my Subud brothers. (Men and women exercise separately.) Sometimes I spend five to ten minutes, sometimes the full half hour, depending on how I feel I’m guided. In fact, as a 59-year practitioner of Subud, which is said to strengthen our intuitive faculties, I felt guided to do these latihans every day in the first place.
A third daily thing I do is watch the PBS Newshour every evening at 6 and follow that up with an hour watching a Netflix series. After having seen all the available seasons of The Crown, Cedar and I are now midway through Season Four of Outlander as we keep careful track of what Jamie, Clare, and company are up to in 18th-century North Carolina. I supplement the Newshour, moreover, with a morning read of the David Leonhardt’s daily reflection followed by the New York Times online. One thing I don’t do is watch President Trump’s daily televised virus briefings. I consider doing that bad for my mental and even my physical health.
I do a few more things every day, but three’s a good, round number so I’ll end here. Monks and nuns have their daily set routines, the repetition of which makes deposits, as it were, into their spiritual bank accounts and leads to their inner growth and development. When I discerned at a Benedictine monastery in Washington, DC, I experienced that life for myself. I imagine you too, gentle reader, have developed some new daily routines to get you safely through the Covid-19 pandemic. May we all continue to do so successfully. Amen.