In every age 'the good old days' were a myth. No one ever thought they were good at the time. For every age has consisted of crises that seemed intolerable to the people who lived through them.

~ Brooks Atkinson ~

Spotting Patterns

October 28th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 40 secs

Habits are really shorthand actions.

Habits are really shorthand actions.

Yes, patterns are everywhere. While they are obvious in fabrics, fashion, furnishings, and layout, there are a myriad of others woven into daily life. And, quite a few of them are created by you.

Today, for example, you lived out a whole host of patterns in your behavior. You repeated clusters of actions that were much like ones that you have used before, and you’re quite good at it.

Your patterns were manifested in your speech, the way you moved, walked, and sat. Plus, they also shaped your attention, helping you to focus in on selected things. Yet despite relying on multiple habit patterns, you probably were barely aware of any of it.

Of course patterns save a lot of time. Kind of like not having to reinvent the wheel every single day, habits of behavior save us having to think through all of our actions. Yet, repetitive activity can hold us back simply because we are too prone to go through the motions and predict outcomes that don’t accurately reflect what’s happening.

I believe it is well worth your effort to think about the patterns you use and rely on in your life. For as convenient as they may be, they can obstruct fresh thinking. That’s where the illusion that every day can feel much like any other. It’s the patterns and our associated expectations that close us off to being mindfully aware.

Try this. Consciously choose to do 3 things differently. Become aware of patterns you regularly use. Then choose to do things differently. For instance, if you go to bed on one side, switch around to the other. Alternatively, sleep in the other direction on your bed, or perhaps go and sleep somewhere else (as a way to revitalize your sense of awareness).

Some people read into patterns and try to imply that they provide some kind of supreme meaning. But, to me, they are merely shorthand ways that we use to quickly get by. Once we get into the groove of repeating particular activities we reduce our sense of awareness (like when you drive somewhere but actually don’t remember driving).

For the sake of rejuvenating your awareness, pick some fresh patterns that appeal to you and have fun doing it. Because life is infinitely flexible, if we allow ourselves to be receptive to do things differently.

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