Friday, 9 March 2012

Creatures of Habit

Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice.

            Where do you sit on the bus or train every morning, do you have a table at your local coffee shop, that if occupied leaves you tense and confused?
            I will admit that in the past I experienced all of these scenarios at least once. When in school it was a library table, a spot that I associated with comfort and focused study. If by chance I came to that spot intending to study and someone happened to be occupying that space my whole day was off and I some how thought that my studying would be less productive as a result. As got older this became a train seat for the morning commute and, most recently, it is the communal table at my local coffee shop. I associate this table with productive work and comfort, just like the library seat.  I think about this spot before even walking into the store, hoping that at least one chair will be free. I don’t think this is problematic, in that I have not come here and been forced to work at another table for a very long time, but I do want to make a change, shift my own thinking about habits and try something new.

            So next time I come here, not today as I am already sitting comfortably in my regular spot, I will try the bar seats by the window and I’ll let you know what it’s like and whether or not change is really all it’s cracked up to be.

Are you a “creature of habit?” If so share your story here and give change a try.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

I Don't Need this Much Space

This might sound strange and even selfish, but in the past two days I’ve started to really learn and appreciate two amazing things: “Kindness really does make a difference”, if only in a small way and even if you are the only one who can appreciate the choice that you’ve made; and “only take what you need.” Living in a world where we want “to have it all” and  “take what we can get,” the ideas of moderation, simplicity and modest living really can be really hard to appreciate, understand and apply. So continuing with this theme of Kindness and finding the “it” in life, I am going to try my best to live by these two very real concepts as much as possible. Saying yes to favours I would normally not want to do and giving up my space at a big table especially when there are others who need it a lot more than me. Just to touch on the last topic in a real way and explain what inspired this entry, I am going to tell a short story about only taking what you need and the difference that can make.

Today I sat down at the larger table in my local coffee shop (knowing that I often need a lot of space to complete the work I bring with me). I did notice the smaller table by the window (with a lot more light) but I immediately thought, I need the bigger space because it’s there, so why not take it. Within five minutes of sitting down, a family of three came in looking for a big enough table to sit at. Now there were a number of smaller tables available, so at first I figured they will be fine, I’ll stay here. Within seconds of that first though at light went off and I realized, today I don’t need this much space, but they do. I picked up my bags, books and tea and asked would like this table? The dad looked shocked and thanked me three or four times, offering to help me move my stuff. He seemed so surprised by this offer, genuinely not expecting anything from me, or anyone in the shop. Five minutes later the rest of the family came to sit down, there were seven of them (three of which were very young children). If I had not moved, there wouldn’t have been enough space for that family to sit together. This was a small gesture that had a fairly large impact. I know that my moving was no act of social heroism, but rather an act of common decency. So I want to keep giving a little, not to change the world, but to change the way I (maybe we) see It!