Keystone Habits and Garden Fever

Jamie Lee in love

I tried to go back to my Why War series but it just seemed too heady for my mood tonight.  Part of me feels like the sun is bright above my head, but clouds hover on many horizons.  It is so difficult to watch the people you love go through difficult times.  I so want a magic wand that could just wave it all away for them, but it simply doesn’t work that way.  For some reason, even someone like me who is highly trained and loves to solve problems with people just can’t seem to make it all better for them.  Money, career, love, direction, relationships, parenting, being a kid—my horizon is full right now.  Life is a demanding teacher.

Most of the problems we all suffer from are the result of our own bad habits of thought and behavior—usually sprouted from the garden of our own needs.

We’re all just trying to feel good

Maybe the key is to not make this all too complicated.   Milt just finished a good book called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg.  He says that we all have “keystone” habits that spread out (like crabgrass) throughout our lives.  If we can discover what one of these keystone habits and make a tiny change in it, the change will also spread throughout our lives.  Just do one thing different.

For instance, I’ve been replacing my habit of drinking coffee at 9:00 at night with drinking herbal tea.  It doesn’t sound like much, but I’m discovering that I sleep better, wake up a little less sleepy, and have more energy.  How can those three things begin to shift and change other things in my life?  I guess I’ll find out.  Milt has been working on creating a new habit for keeping things tidy and letting the pleasure of that be its own reward.  I’m loving that one and it is really starting to take root.

You can tell I have a bad case of garden fever—too many metaphors.

Last week we drove up to Grand Marais to do some training with a great group or radio station volunteers and staff.  We spent the weekend creating, exploring voice and story, trying to find the gem of our own ideas.  I was on a high—working with people in a creative way.  When we got back we went the next day and began building our wood shed—four big poles, a shed roof, bales all around.  Between the work out my mind got, followed by the work out my body got—I felt pretty good.

I just finished a fairly work-intensive project of writing viewer’s guides for several native films that are coming out.  It was a fun project.  In one film an elder Houma woman said, “When you don’t know what to do—do what you know. “

Here are the key ideas in all that jibble jabble I just wrote.

  1. Find a keystone habit and make one small change.
  2. Work out both your body and your mind with creative projects.
  3. When you don’t know what to do—do what you know.

I love the last one.  When my mind gets overwhelmed, I get moving and do what I know how to do.

I hope that you are all enjoying this beautiful spring.  I just realized today that we are actually connecting to our land and house two months earlier than we have ever been able to—another benefit to having our small apartment in Bemidji.  It is getting harder and harder to leave Two Poles each day though.  I’m in love!  Be sure to sign up to get my weekly post.  Just put your email in the box below.



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