“The hard must become habit. The habit must become easy. The easy must become beautiful.“ -Doug Henning
Early in the quest, the question of habits was explored and discussed. I learned that it takes 21 days to break old habits, longer if they are ingrained in your brain for years. I have been using the wristband method of paying attention to my words and thoughts since day 8. I have been reworking my thinking habits for 68 days which is a blink in the eye when you consider the years of bad thinking habits I was dismantling. If you have been following the quest, you know that the path was one that had to be cleared moment by moment.
Confucius wrote, “Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.” This is perhaps the truest thing you can claim about life: you are what you repeatedly do. Productivity, excellence, motivation are not singular acts, they are a life direction made up of hundreds of small choices every day. This is the slippery slope that makes changing life directions at once so challenging and so easy. Intention must be accompanied by continuous vigilance and discipline.
Daily meditation and paying attention to my body are now the staples of my nervous system. Good habits are no different than bad in that we become accustomed to their results. The positive feedback loop of listening to my body, calming my nervous system and replacing the negative self talk with kindness has changed my relationship to every aspect of my life. The snowball effect of goodness is loving life. Focusing on solutions creates them, often before I can articulate the problem. It is a form of witnessing miracles everyday.
The last time I had daily experiences of life as a miracle I was 21 and living in France. With little money or resources, I took to memorizing the fifty principles of the Course in Miracles with my best friend. Each day we would recite them over and over in order to keep them in our mind and add a new one. Some of the principles were easy, they were just one line, but others were 4 or 5 lines. It was an arduous mental task that took our full attention. Keeping fifty principles of miracles in tact and at the ready became the mental filter of our year together. Everything that happened that year reflected one of those principles and truly life was qualitatively different.
I have many times since then tried to get back to that magical place but never had the discipline to repeat that mental performance. When I was talking to that dear friend the other day at the airport on the way home, I realized that the positivity quest has been the path back to a life where miracles are all in how we see.
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”