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The power of memory with habits

February 9, 2016

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Habits – we have them in so many aspects of our life.  As the sun sets we think “Tomorrow is a new day”.  That is true but today’s journey follows us through to the next day.  My husband and I were traveling to the theater which we have done several times.  We are fine getting there but because of one way streets getting home we have gotten lost every time!  We think something looks familiar and it is where we got lost before! Long ago I had a similar experience going to a hospital.  I got lost the first time I went.  Every time for the next 3 years I would get to a corner and thing “I need to go this way” and get lost but at least I traveled it so many times I knew how to find my way.

We had to get rid of our upright piano when we retired.  Last Christmas I got a keyboard but kept it downstairs and didn’t find that I played it much.  I moved it upstairs and got some head phones so I can play and not disturb anyone.  I started with my scales and exercises.  My teacher had said that if your fingers get used to playing in a key they will find their way to the right keys.  It was amazing how much my fingers remembered where to go.  Then I was playing some old pieces again for the first time and heard I made a mistake.  I looked and I had erased a pencil mark my teacher had circled where I had made a mistake.  This was the same mistake I had made long ago!  The next time through I did fine and have ever since.  My fingers remembered.

My piano teacher was right – fingers remember the pattern be they right or wrong.  It is really important to rehearse slowly so that all the right things are in the right place and you don’t have to unlearn them.  I was thinking about my life – like trying to lose weight – and think about all the bad patterns that I choose to change.  Some patterns are easy to change.  Sometimes we do things so automatically that we don’t even see the pattern which makes it even hard to change.  If you can’t see something there isn’t awareness that change is needed.  There are other times when change is needed and is easy to accomplish.

When I was in grade school and my siblings were younger, we would sit at a table 70 inches round.  My mother sat across from my littlest sister and would butter her bread and have to give it a little flip so she could get it.  One day we had a guest and mom buttered the bread and gave it a flip across the table.  That day my sister didn’t want it so she gave it a little flip back to mom.  We all realized we had a guest.  That habit was changed quickly and forever.  There was no more flipping buttered bread around the table!

As the sun sets or the day begins we can from time to time take stock of what we will repeat and what we will choose to try and change.  It is said that if you share with others your desired to make changes they can help you be accountable to work on those goals.  Somethings need to change and some are optional.  As I have gotten older I also see that some changes I made were not for myself but for others.  Some of these I wish I hadn’t changed because I really liked what I was doing.  Now I see change for different reasons needs to have purpose and fit the overall goals of my life.  Good luck at seeing things that need change for good reasons and good fellowship on the journey that will help and encourage you to grow in ways that bring health and healing.

Tomorrow starts Lent and a time to take stock of what needs to change and what needs to be kept.  I am embarking on the Photo a day for 40 days.  Take time in the next 40 days to reflect.  See what to keep and what to discard.

 

 

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