The homework in stepping away these past eight days (since 10 21 17) has been to notice. I didn't die the first night I didn't send the TinyLetter. The world did not fall apart, either outside of me or inside of me. But there has been a lot to notice.
Even in opening up this tab and jotting this note to you, there is much to notice. How I bring a certain hurry and pace if I don't stop to slow down and approach this as something new. The habitual steps of preparing this note. The following of the existing template, without stopping to think. This past week has provided new and continual and constant opportunities just like this one. By stopping the patterns I notice how I feel without them, which teaches me volumes about what it means to live with them.
My homework has not been about noticing everything. That would be overwhelming. It has been about noticing my doing: the attitude I bring to it, and what part of the doing is habit. And what part is not.
Somehow this has all focused my attention on habit in general. What are habits? Can I categorize them? Are they uniformly good or bad, beneficial or harmful? Are there different kinds?
My brain has started to think of them in two categories. And, with much help from Brenna Layne (here) I've come to some realizations. Mostly, that a healthy habit, especially one that we are very attached to because we think it has value or serves us, may not actually be that helpful. And that it takes one big, brave step to press pause and do without it. There is something I can't quite put my finger on here, something about how the NOT DOING is the most powerful thing. The bravest thing. The scariest thing. That stopping, detatching, severing, withholding, not-practicing ... it may feel like you are doing nothing ... but somehow that restraint or that stopping or the nothing is the strongest and most actionable thing to do.
How does in-action become a powerful action? How is NOT DOING the bravest action?
See it all HERE, including an nice (IMHO) image about habit.