Habits With Awareness

The thing I love about having a habit is that once it’s in place, I no longer have to think about doing it. 

There’s no effort required to choose it.

I just do it.

The problem with this, for me, is that sometimes I find habits so engrained that I no longer notice the subtleties of what I’m doing.

For example, I go for the same walk around the same block with the dog each day and barely look up to see the stained glass window on a century old house. I miss out on the sound of the rain dripping on my hood. 

When Nelson was new to us, back in January, every dog walk was like a stroll through a magic garden, full of unique sights and sounds. We noticed it all. Our experience was full of senses and wonder.

Now that we’ve been here for two months, the dog walks have become more routine. There’s been a settling in, falling into repeated grooves. I don’t seem to vary the route much, so I move past the same things each day. 

This morning, I didn’t even think about where to go, I just went, on the same walk, again.

My head was down because it was raining.

I was walking, staring at the slush on the sidewalk as my dog, Wanaka, searched for the best places to pee.

Halfway through the walk, I noticed that I wasn’t paying any attention to this experience. I was simply going through the motions. I was in full habit-mode.

But if my brain doesn’t have to choose the route, then there should be more space in my mind. Space for what?

Thoughts. Mind chatter. 

Hmmm…. I’m wondering what Spirit has to say about this. 

“When you put the leash on Wanaka, try setting the intention that you notice your experience. It’s like an invitation. Then see what shows up on the walk to surprise you and bring a smile to your face. Because that kind of joy is everywhere, no matter what’s happening for you, or for the world.”

Sounds like sage advice.

Now for my daily habitual coffee.

 

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