Habits are Boring, but just maybe Indispensable
A young child, just tucked into bed, recalling and praying “thank you” for all the people who
have exemplified goodness. It’s a heart-warming scene either on film and in life.
We know in our bones that there is something intrinsically good and right about the practice,
yet we are quick to abandon it.
What’s left of anything more than a quick “thanks”? Some of us still write thank you cards.
More common might be a “folded hands” emoji via text. And then we have Thanksgiving day.
But the daily habit? Not so much.
We moderns feel we’ve outgrown traditions and rituals. We want to experience breakthroughs
and leap into our best selves. Yet, excellence (even excellence at being our best selves) is
built upon the daily grind. Writers, musicians, athletes, tradespeople – anyone who achieves
some measure of excellence – spends countless hours practicing. They don’t think or will their
way into excellence, they practice.
A gracious heart is perhaps the ultimate measure of a “best self,” and the way to get there is practice. Even modern psychology recognizes that practiced patterns of gratitude create thinking patterns that are resistant to anxiety & depression – a modern rediscovery of a practice dismissed as antique or quaint.
St. Ignatius’s indispensable daily prayer, the Examen, starts with gratitude – a grown-up version of a child’s litany. Yes, it can feel compulsory and rote. Yet it may just recalibrate our attitude so that we are more aligned with the source of all life and goodness whom we name God.
So let’s break out those dusty journals and thank you cards. Let’s close each day with assessing whether we thanked enough people.
At Casa Romero we are grateful for your support. Together we are nurturing habits of the heart so that emerging leaders in society and the Church are strong, loving and wise. Happy Thanksgiving.