“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~Henry Beecher

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Creatures of Habit

If you’re like me, once you try something new, you explore it a bit, work out the bugs, and then if you really like it, it becomes routine, i.e., habit. I’ve said before that the brain craves novelty, and I still strongly believe this, but I still have my favorite foods, my favorite clothing, favorite genres of music, and even favorite places to visit. And yes, I’m absolutely guilty as charged when it comes to my exercise routine. I practice Bikram yoga faithfully and haven’t done much else lately–except over the weekend I did get on my bike for a short ride with my grandsons. They wouldn’t take no for an answer. So glad I did because it was fun. I also like to hike outdoors and will occasionally do some weight training, which I know is so important. But back to yoga. I always take the same route to the studio. There’s a post office I like along the way, a Starbucks if I decide to stop for a coffee or tea, and a gas station where I like to fill up my car. However, there’s also been road construction on this main road and traffic has frequently come to a standstill. So one day last week, I decided to take a new way, down a back road that I hadn’t tried yet. I was told that it would come out a short distance past the studio. It turned out to be a very gorgeous, country road with pretty homes and a cute little vineyard with a farm stand. They even sell their wine on Sunday, which is unusual here. I was excited to find this place, not because I could buy wine on Sunday, but because it looked like a very warm and inviting and I’m looking forward to stopping there for veggies–and wine. Just not at 5:30 in the morning : ) And yes, I did make it to my yoga class and I’ve taken this road a few times since then.

This morning, I took it one step further and tried another turn off of this country road and stumbled upon the pretty bridge in the picture above. I was so delighted to see this that after class, I went back to take pictures and to check it out. It’s a footbridge in a very quite area and there are a couple of benches nearby for people to sit and enjoy the view.

If I had stuck to my habit of taking the same road as always, I would have never found the vineyard or the bridge. Instead, I would probably have spent several drives to class waiting in traffic or waiting to be ushered through construction. The fact that my brain wants to experience new things and that it’s good to leave our comfort zones are not the only points I want to make here. There is so much life to discover around us if we only take the opportunity to explore unchartered territory (in a personal sense). In fact, lately I’ve found some of the most amazing things at home in the yard by simply exploring a little bit: Baby rabbits and birds, a raspberry bush, some cool-looking mushrooms–who knows what else I’ll find. Life doesn’t only happen in nature either. It’s happening in libraries and museums, at the new restaurant down the street, in the CD of a recently discovered musician/artist, at a meeting with a new group of people or a new friend, and even down an unknown road.

Do I plan to quit yoga anytime soon? Absolutely not. I’m happy to say that it is a habit I’ll be holding onto for quite a while. Happily, exploring seems to be a habit that I’ve further developed lately as well. And who knows, visiting the bridge may become a habit too. I’m already thinking it’s the perfect place to read or meditate. And if I’m going to be forming habits anyway, they may as well be good ones : )

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