Creatures of Habit

Ron and I have a precious little six year old Miniature Schnauzer whose name is Maddie.  She is a super-intelligent pup, and regardless of what some think, this dog anticipates our needs, knows when we need comforting, actually brings us her dish when she needs water, and has got quite a gift of gab! She’s as close to human as a pup can get, we think!

Just this week, new steps and a small porch were constructed to get into the hose at the front door. Now Maddie got used to coming in that door by walking up the steps and straight into the living room, however, this week things changed.  The steps now force one to approach the door coming up the steps from the side, onto the porch and then into the house.  But Maddie doesn’t get it!  It’s like she’s telling us in her own doggie talk (and it’s very audible) “Look, I always came in directly up the front steps – no porch, no sideways steps.  Why did you have to confuse me?”

So time after time, instead of running up the new steps, she approached from the front and went under the porch.  The she’d come out from under the porch, tilt her head to one side and ‘say’, “I don’t get it!”   She hasn’t got it yet.  Oh I suppose we could teach her, but it was amusing to observe her teaching us.

We are creatures of habit. Have you ever thought about just how habitual and routine we can be?  Think about it for a minute.  When you shower, how do you apply the soap?  Which part of your body do you wash first?  Do you shampoo first or wash your body first? When you dry after a shower, what gets dried first?  It’s the same with brushing teeth, combing or brushing hair, and most routine things we do. Sometimes routine or habits are helpful, as they can assist us to get a number of things done without a whole lot of “thinking about it” energy expended.

I have a routine in the mornings.  After my sleepy-eyed visit to the bathroom, I go to the kitchen to put the kettle on for a hot drink.  While the water is heating I return to the bedroom and make the bed. Then usually I decide what I’ll wear that day (based on the days upcoming activities).  By that time, the water is heated and I return to the kitchen, make our hot drinks, and join Ron on the porch.  (What a fabulous place for early morning worship and meditation – listening to the birds welcome the day.)  That routine insures that at least I have a good start, and can return to the bedroom to shower and dress, and I don’t have to look at an unmade bed (a pet peeve of mine)

But there are habits that we formed much earlier in life perhaps that are difficult to break.  I remember how arduous it was to stop sucking my thumb.  Comfort and security were attached to that habit!  Then there was the habit of judging myself too harshly, and the tendency to be judgmental and critical of others also.  That habit still occasionally wants to raise its ugly head!

If you have one or two of those pesky habits that sabotage your success (like Maddie’s front door dilemma) just remember, you are a human with lots of assistance available for breaking a destructive habit.  You CAN be successful.  Go for it!  And we’ll let you know when Maddie has conquered the front steps!

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