All animals are habitual. Our diet, our walk, our daily routine are all for the most part the same every day.
As a daily runner, my routes are pretty habitual as well. I run so many different trails throughout the week, and as I have written before, I strive to run new paths and trails frequently. This past weekend I ran 4 different places and trails and felt blessed every step by new scenery and eye opening vistas.
However, this morning as I set off for my dawn run in the neighborhood, I realized for the umpteenth time what a creature of habit I am. I always turn and do loops in the same direction. I always turn right first on a loop. So this morning I decided to change directions. I went left first. How was my day? Fine. More expansive? Not necessarily. Did going left rather than right do something for me? Perhaps. But is it a metaphor for my life? Can I in the moment decide to turn left rather than right just because I realize I always turn right? Can someone have their morning coffee without reading the newspaper? Can you drive to work a different way- different streets, neighborhoods, traffic lights?
Anything we can do to move out of our box, stretch ourselves out of our daily routine of coffee, brushing teeth, driving, helps us grow. When we allow all aspects of our life and day to become routine and rote, we close ourselves off on some level to others and the world around us.
Dr. John Gotmann writes about aspects of healthy relationships . One key trait is the ability to be influenced by others. I would like to expand that to the ability to be influenced by the world around us. When we can let ourselves let go of our routine, ego, structure and be influenced by what’s around us by changing direction or changing opinions than we can show up more deeply and more open-hearted in the world.
We should all be blessed this month to change a little something every day in our routine from what you eat and how, to where you walk and when. Open your heart and mind a little beyond the comforts of your routine and self in order to let those around you in a little deeper and thus be influenced and more intimate with them, yourself and the world around you.