Exploring Habits

I’ve noticed that when people think about habits they are usually focusing on what they perceive as bad habits and looking to break them.

Good habits / Bad habits, either way they structure our lives.

Habits are activities that have connected to our autonomic nervous system and have quietly transformed what we do into routine. Habits are structural in the way that they impact our lives. And the beauty of that is that we don’t have to expend energy deciding over and over again. I don’t have to decide whether to have my first cup of coffee in the morning, or whether to give my daughter a hug and a quick kiss before she gets on the school bus, or whether to review and update my list of tasks for tomorrow at the end of my work day.

Recently I had the pleasure of hearing Gretchen Rubin speak about her new book on making and breaking habits.  One thing she said really stuck with me, “What we do everyday matters more than what we do once in a while.” I got a subtle and significant perspective shift when I went from thinking about habits to thinking about what we do everyday, and my practice design “elf” awakened.

So, if daily habits are the architecture that structure our lives then the practice of tracking and appreciating what we do on a daily basis for a week could be very illuminating. Tracking something puts your attention on it and attention is a form of currency. (This is what I call a Noticing Practice.)

Start a list of your daily habits. Add to it every day for a week. Then at the end of a week give yourself 15 or 20 minutes to reflect on your list.  A few key questions might then be:

What abilities am I maintaining and even building with my habits of doing?

What neural pathways am I maintaining and building with my habits of thinking?

What are the things that I’m doing every day that presence* what matters most to me?

Then pick a few new habits to invite into the daily-ness of life.

And if, during your noticing practice you trip upon a few habits that you want to break, Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies Framework is a great resource.

If you’d like support with venturing further into inviting new habits into your daily life, or breaking a few, you can contact me by clicking here.

*Note: I’m using presence as a verb here, meaning to be able to sense and bring into the present. See Otto Scharmer’s Presencing Institute

Those dilemmas that keep us up at night

I'm wondering if something other than thermal fluctuations is keeping you up at night? Perhaps you, like many others I've encountered recently, have a burning question or a dilemma that is churning? While I’m a big believer in giving things time to coalesce, sometimes we just get stuck in an indecisive loop that commandeers our attention during the day, and robs us of sleep at night. If you, or someone you know is up nights with a dilemma, perhaps I can be of help.

Dilemmas are actually very cool things. When you dive into one, with proper guidance, you discover that they have an anatomy.  They tell you what you hold dear and what you fear.  Within their structure they hold a lot of truth, along with some false or outmoded assumptions.  Without fail they hold the key to how to get unstuck along with wisdom about how to pace yourself as they lose their hold on you.

  • Often we can solve dilemmas very simply with perspective and new action steps
  • Sometimes we find we can to learn to hold them differently
  • At times we can change our relationship to them
  • On occasion, once we have fully explored them, they just loosen their grip and resolve themselves

Please don’t let the summer, and your precious life currency, get consumed unnecessarily by staying stuck in a dilemma. There are times when action is required — transformational action, that doesn’t just try to push the river, but dives deeply into it and converts the energy that is trapped below the surface. I offer Afternoon Clarity Sessions that support while you dive youin to the churn and unlock the gifts of a dilemma.

Results: What are some sure signs that you have succeeded at unsticking a dilemma?

  • More sleep at night
  • A path forward is apparent and you have more courage to get on it and go
  • Your attention is freer to dream, create, enjoy people, and get things done
  • Buoyant energy is available once again
  • A sense of ease returns to your body, mind, and spirit
  • Your sense of humor returns

If you are churning on a dilemma and you'd like some help, Click here or give me a call (802-881-3124) to schedule your session.