Breaking Through the Covid Cloud

It really doesn't take all that long to fall into a new habit. Trying something new the first time seems unique and odd. The second time it gets a little easier. By the fourth or fifth time you start to get into the routine. I've read that it only takes seven repetitions for a new action to become a habit. So if you want to get into the habit of a daily walk, it only takes a week. 

In about six weeks from this writing, we will have the second anniversary of Covid shutdown. I remember it was on March 12, 2020 that our local theaters and churches closed. That means we've had ninety-eight weeks to develop lots of new habits. We got into the habit of meeting on Zoom. Some got into the cooking habit, particularly bread. Sourdough seemed to be a huge hit during the shutdown. I dabbled in bread but my cooking habit led me to make a batch of cookies every week for the first year. 

For a time there we got into the habit of Happy Hour. Each day around 4:00 I would try a new cocktail recipe and my husband I would sit, chat, and enjoy a new beverage. That habit got old and we switched to 4:00 tea time. Prior to shutdown, I got into the habit of going to the Y three or four times a week. My twice weekly Zumba class was a fun habit with friends. During the shutdown I tried to start a habit of home exercise. It never took. I could never commit to seven days in a row. 

There is one habit that surprised me, however.  I'm and ENFP on the Meyers-Briggs Personality scale. I'm very heavy on the extrovert side, which is why it is hard for me to work-out at home by myself. The longer I stayed home, however, the more I became comfortable with just staying home. This is a good thing. Normally my schedule is jammed packed and I have had the tendency to sometimes run myself ragged. I slowed down, I centered myself. I become more comfortable with the quiet. Not bad for my health or my spirituality. But now as things have begun to open up a bit more I've discovered the down side. I've gotten into the habit of not doing much or going out. I tell myself, its easier to just stay home.

For example, auditions for a new play are coming up next week. My first thought was, of course I'll audition. But then my habitual self said, "Why bother? Stay home, avoid the stress, the possible rejection. Aren't you comfortable?" "Yes, why invite stress in," I thought. "Go back to your book." It was then that I realized that staying home was not the healthy thing, it was just my habit. Habits have a way of becoming ruts and ruts can become trenches. That is how we become entrenched and closed off. Is this what an improviser would do? NO! Improvising is about making choices, seeing things in a new way, exploring new avenues, having fun, saying Yes, And! By saying no, I shut myself off from gifts and offers that could bring new life and new opportunities. As Auntie Mame sings, "open a new window, open a new door, travel a new highway that's never been tried before. It's the art of saying "Yes, And" that led Shonda Rhimes to be one of the greatest creators and producers in television. She committed a whole year to saying yes to everything. (Year of Yes, Simon & Schuster) 

Being comfortable isn't bad, but nothing new or creative ever came out of staying comfortable. Some habits need to be broken so new ones can come to life. Make a habit of finding the adventure in life. Make habits of caring, connecting, and creating. Make a habit of saying YES, AND to what ever offers life gives you. Break through the Covid cloud and find new, creative ways to live a more present, engaged, and
meaningful life. 

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