It’s 5:00 in the morning. It’s dark, and Trigger, my dog, needs to go out for a walk.
Oh, just five more minutes, I think.
He licks my face again.
I get up and get dressed; put my shoes and coat on; put Trigger’s leash on; get in the elevator and go out for our early morning walk.
As a part of my spiritual practice, I do a gratitude walk every morning. I count my blessings. I appreciate the temperature of the air. I mentally list the people and things I am grateful for. I am excited to greet the day.
I start listing my usual things. It feels empty. My mental list seems boring, rote, and devoid of meaning. I think, Maybe I am too tired this morning. I need some more sleep. I keep walking and thinking.
A woman passes me, smiles, and says, “Good morning.”
I take in her sweet smile.
I’m grateful for that. I let the exchange have an effect on me, rather than just rushing to get back to bed for a bit.
A few days later I’m teaching, when an actor asks, “How do I keep things fresh and spontaneous when I hate this monologue and I have been doing it forever?”
“Look for what’s different this time,” I say.
When the material seems boring or rote, you can find new things to stimulate you. Let your mind wander to new places.
The woman walking past and saying “Good Morning” was something outside of my routine, and focusing on her gave me pleasure. Be on the lookout for something outside of your routine – a new thought; an unexpected face an auditor makes; an unexpected smell. These new experiences can shake up your boring routines, bring you pleasure, and freshen up your performances.