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Why Follow a Practice, A Rule of Life?
I think my rule sets me free. It gives me time for my spontaneous self. It gets the chores out of the way. It assures me that I will do the things I have decided I want to do, so that later I don't feel like a jerk because I didn't do any of them. And it does more than that: It provides me a place in which to allow the delight of these tasks to assert itself once again. Even when I don't feel like exercising, I always feel wonderful once I'm doing it and absolutely fabulous afterward. Even if I don't want to say Morning Prayer, I feel its blessing before I'm halfway through the first psalm. The rule teaches me, over time: teaches me to expect delight from the good things I have included in the rule. And you usually find delight when you expect it.

And yes, your feelings are messengers of yourself. But they are not the only part of you that is "true." That idea is an unfortunate legacy of the sixties, when we thought the only true self was the emotional self, that the mind and the will were unwelcome hall monitors in our heads, which needed to be gotten rid of as soon as possible. Disastrous, it was.

A balance. Between delight and duty. Between immediate gratification and long-term goal. Between rule and surprise. Between prayer and action, love and work. A grown-up balance in living.

--from "A Rule of Life" by Barbara Crafton

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