One of the first things you can learn (and clearly observe) about growing grapes is that you need a trellis to bear any fruit. Without this formative tool, grape vines will not catch enough sun light, they will shoot off in the wrong directions, and they will not spread evenly across the area they inhabit.

A trellis gives space to the vine to hang off the wood a bit, but always be kept safe by lines and framework built into the grapevine’s life.

A Rule (or Way) of Life was an early monastic practice of creating a trellis of habits and disciplines by which to live life. Similar to keystone habits, this Rule, to steal the sculptor Elizabeth Kings line, “guards us from the poverty of our intentions.” When committed a Rule of Life protects your daily whatever by reinforcing its integrity to your being.

Practically, this looks like daily, weekly, quarterly, and annual practices that give life, grow goals, and gain purpose.

Now, this is usually the biggest contention point- routine sets free.
There are those who disagree vehemently and those who agree but believe written goals and detailed outlines are taking it all a bit too far.

Re-enter Elizabeth king.

Process saves us from the poverty of our intentions.

Like the grapevine that climbs past the trellis to the sun, we desire to rebel from that which is good for us (at least till we re-habituate our desires), but we will find, like Icarus, we cannot leave our “groundedness” without getting burned.

A trellis to put our lives on gives consistent, daily groundedness and fluidity to pursue our deepest desires without the pressure of perfection.

Author: Ben Fridge

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