Habitual Strength

I read in Julia Butterfly Hill‘s blog:

As a dear friend, co-worker, ally, and FRamily (our term for friends who become family) says, “Sometimes, we just have to throw our hat over the fence first and then figure out how to go get it.” What she means by this is that sometimes we have to get committed to something even before we know exactly how we are going to accomplish it.

Excitedly, i emailed the quote to a friend with the comment that it might be time for me to throw my hat over the fence. As i was typing this, i remembered that i had emailed her just a week ago that it was time for me to get my show on the road. Or something like that. How ever i put it, nothing has changed. In fact, yesterday, i thought maybe i could just get a job and stay where i am at, forgetting about my dream to find community or to figure out what needs to be done – both in the grand scheme as we’re facing the various crises and in my own life.

I realized that there is a very strong habit energy running in my life. The energy that keeps pulling me back to the status quo of my life, no matter how strongly another part of me is yearning for change, for an adventure, for way more purpose and meaning in my life. And it seems that same energy is keeping us all stuck collectively on this path to self-destruction via global climate disruption, chemical poisoning, lack of clean water, or social unrest. How do we break our habits that aren’t really life-supportive?

The other day, i walked my usual route backwards – instead of going right, i went left. A small change and maybe not something i’ll repeat since i noticed i was walking more downhill – and yet, i saw so many things i hadn’t noticed before. Maybe i was on to something. And then i go back to my routine, my habits. Sure, they give me comfort. They also keep me imprisoned.

I am guessing underneath all of this is fear: Fear of change, fear of the unknown. Habits and routines give us the illusion that we’re in control. That gives us a sense of safety. Somewhere i intellectually know that to be a false sense of security – and yet, i go back to my habits and routines. (Yes, sure, there’s also some ease in all of that… It simplifies life if i don’t have to think about where i put the milk today…).

I see throwing the hat over the fence as doing something that gets us going in the direction of change – without exactly knowing what that change is or where it might lead us. We trust that we’ll find our hat again – or that we realize that we didn’t need it in the first place. May i let go and step into freedom.

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Habitual Strength — 1 Comment

  1. Have you ever seen the movie ‘Fight Club’? That is my all-time favorite movie. Watching that movie has inspired me to make big daring changes in my life, countless times.

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