The good people who oversee Merriam-Webster cite a definition for entropy: “A process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder.”
I don’t know about you, but the entropic process to disorder happens quickly in any aspect of my life. At first the symptoms are subtle, but like anything rolling down hill, there’s a pick up in speed until full-on chaos ensues.
This patterns happens to me repeatedly. For example, not too long ago my home was neat and tidy. Now it’s not. Countless decisions to put off one task and another that would have maintained the orderliness meant that one day’s mail stacked on the counter became a week’s worth, then a month’s. Now my home is in frustrating disarray that drains my energy and leaves me with a discouraged mood. I’m overwhelmed with all that needs to be done to return my home to a condition that pleases me.
Recently I returned to the task of daily exercise. Nothing extravagant, mind you. But the energy required to overcome inertia made it almost impossible to do what I really wanted to for a long time — in this case, get outside first thing in the morning and walk for about an hour.
Add these two examples and multiply by 12 and you’ll get a sense of just how far entropy has created disorder in my life.
I’m trying to overcome this pattern and create positive momentum in each troublesome area. I’m not sure how it all works, but talking one step leads to another. The first step was tending to this blog after several years absence. Then, I started being more consistent with daily prayer and meditation. These, then, propelled me forward so that when I started walking, it was an easy matter of simply waking up one morning, throwing on shorts and a t-shirt, and heading out the door. What I had wanted to do for such a long time just happened and I’ve been at it nearly everyday.
As I resume former, lapsed habits and put into place new behaviors, positive momentum is building in my life. As momentum gradually builds — it takes longer to regain ground lost to entropy — there’s a renewed sense of flow.
If you’re sensing a degree of stagnation in your own life and want to move up out of disorder into being at ease in your life, start taking small, meaningful steps in the most challenging areas of your life. Strengthen your discipline, but not to the point of obsessive perfection. Above all: Keep going!
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11