Recently I made a trip to New York City. The weather was so perfect that I just couldn’t stand being inside so I walked down Fifth Avenue until I came to Central Park where I veered off into the park. After an hour of walking I bought a cup of chocolate custard, found a rock, sat and watched people while eating my custard. A guy came along and I watched as he slowly circled an empty bench going around it five times. This seemed so strange to me that I could no longer look away, wondering what he was up to. Finally he stopped, took out a rag from his pocket and wiped down the whole bench. He then took a large plastic bag out of his pocket, spread it out on the bench and finally sat down. After a minute a look of consternation spread across his face! He got up, put the bag back into his pocket and walked off! And to think that I had simply plunked myself down onto the nearest rock!
Most of us create patterns as a form of comfort, as a legitimate need for a sense of safety. It is natural for most of us to form patterned ways of going about our daily life since such an approach takes a lot of guesswork out of the day. But is that a good thing? When the issue of patterned security becomes paramount then our striving to keep out what frightens us can result in our actually being locked in! We become ignorant inmates of an emotional prison of our own making! Eliminating all of the routines of our days would create complete chaos! However, we can stretch the boundaries of our comfort zone. We can change the routes we normally use to get around in town, making note of places we might want to go back to investigate. Once a month try a food or a dish that you’ve never had! Try writing with the opposite hand once a week! Visit another country and awaken an awareness of our own country and its culture!
Every six months re-arrange the furniture which can wake you up to your environment! “Waking up” is what learning is about! Learning creates new brain cells and enables brain plasticity… the ability to learn new things! Learning creates new opportunities! Fully engage in a new hobby… take classes on it, read about it, visit galleries and artist’s studios. When we were kids we couldn’t wait to be done with school. The fact is that learning is what life is about and in that sense we are never done with school. Elect to take a semester in detecting your own outdated patterns!