Habit Mind

June 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Yesterday was my birthday – and I’ve established a ritual I love on my birthday. Every year for MANY years, I’ve spent the day in a spirit of curiosity. I don’t plan it ahead, but spend the day noticing things that I’ve never done and trying at least one. It’s a way of spending the day being open to possibility. And I usually wonder, at the end of the day, why I don’t live every day that way. It has uncovered for me the magic of yoga, of bleacher seats at Fenway Park, of a manicure and pedicure, of many kinds of food and many other things.

So today, I started thinking about my little birthday ritual in a new way. I started wondering about all the things I do (and we do) because I know them. And started wondering what would happen if I spent more time in this curious unknown place. What if I didn’t spend as much time keeping ground under my feet? What if design and facilitation didn’t fall on the old tried and true quite so much? What if the stories I tell myself about why people (or groups) do the things they do weren’t true – or were only one version of what’s true? What if I spent the day noticing situations and what I normally do – and playing around with something else? What might emerge then?

I’m not advocating throwing the baby out with the bathwater. But merely wondering what would happen if every day was a little more fresh – and grew out of a spirit of curiosity? I think, as well, about the post Marianne made recently, in which she talked about our need to approach the current situation with new thinking, with a paradigm shift. In that spirit, I’m wondering what habitual ways of thinking and acting I have as an individual – and also what habitual ways of thinking and acting that we have as organizations and as a community working toward social justice and social change. What would happen if we paid attention, noticed what we usually do – and strategically tried something different?

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  • Curtis says:

    What a wonderful invitation to practice, Linda. I’m actively engaged in a similar process given our current situation here at home. Everything is different with the presence of these two new little beings. Each time I pretend that things have not changed, I am abruptly brought back to reality and asked to notice what is going on. If I don’t do that, I experience considerable discomfort, or more than I do if I just give into the new surroundings. I’m trying to remember that quote by Camus, that goes something like waking up to a new world every day is the epitome of a wonderful life. It’s like being a child again, which in it’s extreme would be like throwing the parent out with the bathwater, and not exactly of service in my current situation. How to bring aspects of new eyes to our daily life? That’s a great question for meditation.

  • Gibran says:

    WOW Linda!!!! I love it!!!! Here in Brazil it is impossible for me to pretend like I know what’s going to happen next, both with my work and within the geographic space. There are great plans and designs, but this place will not submit to our will, and that’s precisely why we are here, because here all of these Executive Directors are simply going to have to live with knowing less, and this makes us all more free.

    At the same time, there is a deep knowing, a primordial familiarity that comes with being right here, right now, which is the only place to be.

  • Linda says:

    Curtis and Gibran, great to hear about these creative, innovative places you’re both in!!

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