When we first moved here the garbage can was in the perfect location. In a cranny between two sections of the counter. I keep my cutting board on one side and a bowl of fruit on the other. It lived there for months.
Last month I moved it across the kitchen.
The new location is less convenient. It’s near the passage from the kitchen to the dining room and is away from all of of counters.
But it is a change that has helped me become more calm.
Often we feel as if we are stuck in unchangeable patterns. We move through reacting instead of mindfully responding the way we want to. The way we practice inside our heads over and over. The way our parenting idols seem to respond. A thing happens. Before we know it we are defaulting to the things that we want so much to change.
The full day after I moved my garbage can I kept walking over to its old spot. Spinning around and going to where it had moved. Habit. Pattern.
It told me I was on autopilot.
It gave me a chance to slow down and remind myself of the things that I wanted to change. To do dozens of mini resets across the situations in which I was becoming grumpy.
While making dinner.
While cleaning up.
While getting ready to wind down at the end of the day.
I gave myself a thing to recite.
“Even changing a simple thing is hard and takes time.
I have moved my garbage can. It will take time to remember.
I want to also move my mind and heart back to a better place.
That will take time to remember.
I am frustrated.
I will respond, I will not react.”
Today I was whirling through my kitchen in the middle of washing dishes. Making lunch. I’ve adapted to the new location of my garbage can.
And when my six and seven year olds came running into the kitchen to resolve a fight, I found that I’ve also reoriented myself to where I want my heart and mind to be.
I am responding again.