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Intention and the Power of Habit

So I’m going to meander a moment. Wanted to warn you ahead of time!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of habit over the past months.  I’ve discovered life runs more smoothly for us if we follow certain “rules” or habits or rituals… call it whatever you want, but doing the same thing in the same way or putting your keys in the same place every time you walk in the door makes life easier in the long run.  I’ve learned putting my keys on the rack first thing when I walk in the door means they are there when I’m leaving the house in a hurry.  Or putting my shoes in the closet ON the shoe shelf makes getting dressed a little easier and makes my day less frantic since I’m not hunting for shoes to wear!

This idea of habit was reinforced to me this morning.  I have a very special necklace that I wear all the time. I rarely take it off even when it clashes with other jewelry I might put on that goes with a particular outfit. The necklace is ver special to me: Steve gave me the chain, the cross is one handmade by an Irish artist who makes the crosses from grave rubbings of ancient crosses in Irelan, and Steve gave me a beautiful diamond a few years ago for my birthday. I wear the diamond and the cross together on the chain – the cross represents Jesus’ love for me and the diamond represents Steve’s love for me; when I reach up and touch it, it is a tangible reminder that I am well and truly loved.

Like I said, I rarely take it off. Usually only if I am having a massage or if I swim.  I realized on Christmas morning (when Steve gave me a new chain) that I wasn’t wearing my necklace. I didn’t think much about it knowing my habit is to hang it on my necklace window.  (I need to take a picture for you! Ted made it from an old window and lots of different door knobs!) At any rate, this morning I decided I would put it back on. I went to my necklace window and my necklace was not where I usually put it.  I started hunting through my necklaces and couldn’t find it. I started to get really worried and in almost panic mode started hunting:  I took down all my necklaces one at a time to see if it had gotten tangled in with another; then I sorted through my make-up container; then I searched my car; the I searched my purse. The necklace was nowhere to be found and I was really worried that I had lost my cherished necklace.  We got home from church and when I went to the bedroom to change clothes, the light struck my necklace window just right and I saw a knob with necklaces still on it – BEHOLD! my beloved necklace was hanging there with another on a knob I don’t normally use. I tend to have a system to hanging my necklaces – this one necklace always gets hung on one knob – until the day it didn’t.  I am wearing my necklace and am so thankful that it is not lost. But the lesson of habit once again reared its head.

How does this story apply to my larger life. Does the power of habit have a larger lesson for me? I think so.  My habit is often to berate myself about physical shortcomings: I’m not pretty enough or strong enough, I’m not as in-shape as I should be, I don’t eat as I should… you know the drill.  Then in the sermon this morning, Phillipians 4: 8-9 was read. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”   We are told to think about what is right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy things.  We are to put into into practice what we have learned.   Hmmm… My thoughts about myself do not fill the bill.   I believe my thoughts are the result of HABIT. I was taught early – around the age of 10 – that I was not living up to the high standards put forth for me. I was often told of my shortcomings. What I was told become my own mantra and became my habit.

I know I rambling.  bear with me.

Looking forward to 2014 and thinking about my word “Intention” and thinking about the focus of my blog “creativity”, I’m thinking about how to make changes in my life and how to break the habit of self incrimination and create a habit of self love.  Like lost keys, misplaced shoes, and my beloved necklace, can I create a “hunt” for myself if I break the negative habits?

 

About delanequilts

Full time wife, mother, grandmother; part-time artist. Avid lover of reading, gardening, 'making something from nothing'.

2 responses »

  1. Interesting, as just today, as I rejected another diet plan that had me obsessing over every bite I ate, I was once again thinking of how my constant dieting is to obtain an image of myself that is not obtainable. And realizing how that constant striving relates back to a very bad relationship in my early years that left me totally demoralized and lacking in self-esteem. Yes, it has become a habit to try to obtain the unreasonable for my genetics. Now to find a good habit to replace this constant cycle.

    Reply
  2. Hi Delane,
    This is Michelle from ATS. I just finished my first quilt and would like some of your advise.

    Reply

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