Thursday, July 23, 2009

Route Reversal

I really enjoy hiking. Some people really don't like "up and back" type hikes, where you have to back track along the same route to get back to your starting point. I've never minded this sort of hike at all. I find that the scenery looks entirely different when you are traveling in the opposite direction. I see very different things on my way 'up' a hike than I do on my way 'down.' It's really pretty amazing.

It's the same for routes that I drive. We are greeted with entirely new vistas when we reverse direction.

I have a pretty healthy awareness about this, and yet I discovered something shocking a few weeks ago on my nightly 'walk' around my house.

I work in my garden almost every day during the spring and summer. I enjoy taking a walk several times around my house every evening to review what projects I've completed and think about what is next to be done. I also just enjoy the beauty, the creatures, the birds and all my gorgeous plants. It's my little reward for the work of the day.

A couple weeks ago, I set out on my walk, and it suddenly dawned on me that I ALWAYS walk the same way. I always exit through the same door and walk counter clockwise around the house. I had NEVER walked in the opposite direction. I've lived here for 9 years!

I couldn't believe it when I made this realization! Of course, I reversed my direction and walked the opposite direction - that very moment!

Of course, I saw my garden from a completely different perspective! I couldn't believe it was the first time I'd ever walked this way. With all my awareness about this phenomenon when I hike and drive, I was completely 'missing it' when I took my daily walks!

I'm always amazed at our ability to get into a groove or a rut and not even think twice about it!

Once we gain awareness, it's easy to challenge this pattern in ourselves. It's as simple as reversing the route that we usually take! I even had one teacher I heard speak once encourage us to change which leg we put into our underwear or pants first, just to break the 'normal' pattern!

It's powerful to break through 'crystallized thinking.' Give it a try. Reverse a route that you walk or run. Drive a different route to work. Change around your morning routine once in a while. Shake things up and see how different the world appears!