The Habituation Loop

Author: G. Jefferies

 

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How time flies, or appears to; relativity in action as it were. A case of find something you hate doing and watch it go backwards. Balance and theoretical consistency is neatly maintained by fast forwards when doing something uber cool. Low level default mind can have the same effect; stealing time and throwing it back out several days later with no real recollection of the bits inbetween. Autopilot as it were, or zombie mind if you prefer a modern take (more on that later) I digress (becoming a theme that) and must begin my reflections on week three of Niki Lopez’s kindness challenge.

Radiating kindness, that was the goal this week. Have I achieved this? Good question. Last week I pondered the merits of day to day things that become sullied because they are, well, perceived as mundane day to day chores that create, what I’ve termed , a habituation loop. Does this mean kindness is no longer part of these actions and thus no longer valid? Can one simply reset this thinking by stepping back and saying ‘No’ to emphasise ‘Hey, I’m actually doing you a favour here?’

A conundrum indeed, and requiring the equivalent of strike action to raise awareness. I suspect that for the mindfull mind such a course of action would be preposterous and entirely alien. But, since the thought is now to challenge everyday chores and, if you happen to have children then no doubt the despair squid (another reference for the avid telly watcher…name drop, Dwayne Dibley…say no more) has visited more than once making life rather challenging every so often, we may as well chuck this into the mix as part of the habituation loop and drag the unnoticed kindness radiation…or at the very least formulate a massive sentence like this one to see who skim reads, going ‘eh?’

Everyday chores…parent…enough said really, if you are one then you will know what I mean already; if you aren’t then more than likely at some point this will make sense in the future…good luck, there are few manuals; enjoy the ride…it’s not that bad, and mostly brilliant, not to be missed stuff…where was I? Oh yes the habituation loop and chores.

 

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Back in circa 650 B.C. Aesop dropped into Greece and somewhere between then and 564 B.C. wrote a few words including the above quotation. Dates people…dates…not new this kindness lark by a long stretch of the imagination. Recurring theme throughout history really and has the lesson sunk in yet?

Blogosphere 1 politicos 0, to use a football reference.

Several blogging friends have reinforced, or radiated, to vaguely stay on topic, this very point. I’ve yet to meet a new blog where the owner moderates a comment with ‘Clear  off’…have you? I shall wager the answer is no…digression mode active…reset…

The habituation loop

Parents and chores, laundry as a random example. How many folk just do their own? Not many I suspect but, that is a case of unmentioned kindness. Family members waking up donning clean clothes and assuming that whoever did it was having a delightful experience. Personally I don’t find it fun, but one does it because it needs doing. Of course that means somebody around you hasn’t got to…ergo it’s actually a kindness dressed in the habituation loop. No need to thank but what happens if you don’t do it?

‘Dad, I’ve got no socks’

‘Really? Has Gandalf not waved his staff this week and applied mystical incantations upon your washing and transferred the contents of thy laundry bin unto your drawers after passing through washing, drying and folding inbetween?’

Not that I imagine Gandalf would cheat, but one wonders who did his…or Aragorns for that matter. Mind you he ended up a King so probably paid minions to do it. Not the same though that, not really. Paying is employing; kindness is free…although service with a smile is radiating kindness in its own way. A happy employee is a productive one. Why? They are happy and happy oozes uncontrollable kindness. It rubs off too…just take the time to people watch then write a paragraph seeing how many times you can use the word kindness like this one. So much for being a writer; although it could be a subliminal kind control experiment. If you smile at all whilst reading that then in true God Strain thinking; upload complete.

Laundry is but one example of the forgotten kindness, opening a door for someone else is another. The thank you is automatically dealt out but if it comes back with a smile then the kindness is registered. Not that one expects a smile for clean underwear but that’s not really the point. The point is instead of thinking chore, think kindness in action; how many people around you benefit from what you are doing? Then apply that to all the other chores.

 

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Balance

This is a word I’ve encountered several times this week, both inside and outside the blogosphere. Inside, on a great number of blogs I follow and outside as advice. At first I thought little of it, then I read the above quote and it made me think. The habituation loop covers the mundane. Maybe even raising awareness that even the simplest tasks radiate kindness in their own particular idiom. Louise L. Hay makes a poignant point though. How we choose to think dictates the harmonic state of mind that recognises balance; the old adage springs to mind;

‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’

I have no idea who Jack is or was (hence the wiki link which throws up a whole heap of irrelevant trivia) but the sentiment is pretty clear.

Balance, it’s all about balance. This radiating kindness in the habituation loop is hard work, more so if you are just beginning the mindful process. One must find time to radiate self kindness too; not being too self critical, setting personal targets that are realistic and not unreachable, breaking the overwhelming into doable chunks, getting out and doing something, well, selfish…for you…let’s call that the selfish kindness. The one that balances radiating kindness and, in some ways even fuels it. The time out for ones own indulgences. Don’t be a Jack.

One last thing. You are probably not the only one radiating kindness. Look around and ask yourself the question.

‘Am I also in a habituation loop, have I stopped seeing kindness and taken things for granted too?’

If the answer is ‘Yes’ then step back and breathe. Enter the moment and consider what I said right at the start. Default mind or zombie mode. The beast that creeps in and thrives on negatives and catastrophising; it misses kindness all the time. The one that seems entirely absent in young children filled with awe and amazement at the smallest of things. I remember that feeling but don’t recall when it silently drifted away leaving behind a default program that runs on uninterrupted recycling things and changing perception of time…now there’s a discussion point all of it’s own.

 

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Thus ends my week three diatribe. One hopes it makes sense and, whilst the subject is a serious one, I feel it is not beyond small infiltrations of humour; in fact next week I may try and include some.

Have a great week wherever you might be and remember, the politicians are wrong, we all get on. Go radiate that one!

Returning to idioms….here is my weekly parting question. Who said this and from which book or film? No googling.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

 


 

© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.

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79 Comments

  1. Pingback: Gratitude in Kindness | Fiction is Food

  2. Pingback: A Random Act of Kindness | Fiction is Food

  3. How thoughtful and wonderfully-expressed, Gary 🙂 You’ve beautifully made the point that we can take things for granted or–as wishes-granted…and who isn’t enchanted by magic? And, as you’ve wonderfully illustrated, kindness has a magic all its own…it has transformative powers and is something we can all embrace and share on so many levels and in the (seemingly) smallest ways…thank you for using your eloquence and brilliant mind to add to the kindness in the world 🙂
    Your friend for life…Truly

    Liked by 1 person

      • You are welcome…isn’t it funny how praise can be a double-edged sword? It makes us feel great…and then, we worry that we have used up our allotment of talent 🙂 Fear not, my friend…there is an inexhaustible supply of awesomeness in your arsenal of giftedness…in fact, I think I will use this thought in an upcoming post….see how amazing you are? Even the act of encouraging you inspires words that wouldn’t otherwise occur to me…thank you for being you…you can’t help but be…and therein lies the saving grace…I know you will never stop writing, because, despite any insecurities, you are a giver…thank you for being such a blessing 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I could see myself while I was reading this! I never really cared and took many dutiful chores and acts of kindness for granted when done by my parents. May be I was in zombie mode back then. Once I moved to another country and started living by my own, then did I realize the need for acknowledgement of the slightest acts of kindness and chores. As you said, nobody does these because it’s fun, but because it needs to be done! And every such act should never be taken for granted. You must have noticed bits and pieces of this in my posts, during the AtoZ Challenge :D. Very meaningful post yet again my friend. 🙂 🙂

    Loved the quote by Louise L.Hay that you quoted! I very much needed it to be reminded. I do not know who said this- “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” But it makes so much sense!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think as younglings our cares were, perhaps, more focussed on living. I’ve heard it said children are more mindfull than adults because they still have the zest for new things and an awe of life and exuberance. Adults tend to forget these things and enter a mind that sees patterns and, if not careful, the default zombie mind moves in. Much harder to reset if that state of mind has settled for a period of time. 🤕

      Nothing should be taken for granted though as there may come a time when such things stop, in which case there is going to be a point where realisation sets in that something one takes as given is removed or ceases. Probably not the best time to start appreciating what was being done for you. I did think of your A to Z challenge whilst creating this yes 🙃

      And the quote you mentioned is from Alice in Wonderland… In fact it’s actually Alice herself 😊

      Thank you so much for taking the time to make such a detailed comment 😇

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m only tinkering at present…arty and me don’t get on very well 😊

      I use CANVA…it allows graphics for all sorts of social media and has loads of layouts templates and design features. Some of the stock images are free but the rest aren’t expensive and you can upload your own graphics then overlay text or other graphics at your leisure then just download the final image. If I can do this then you’ll have no problem 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. HI Gary,
    No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. Methinks (I’m sounding like you now. You are rubbing off on me.) that’s how you and I became friendly– you showed me an act of kindness. I love inspirational quotes with graphics.
    I have a compliment for you. When I read your writing, I feel like I’m reading Charles Dickens whom I’ve studied.
    Janice

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh Gary, one thing is for sure, I know whenever I come over here I’m going to leave with a smile. Even though we’re new old friends I can imagine I read this in the tone and inflections of the voice you’d read it in even though I’m not sure what that would be but I don’t read it in my normal tone of voice in my own head if that makes any sense… any who I love this post the points you bring up and the way you go about making those points. Ahhh yes, laundry, we are old rivals. One that often pits my husband’s patience against me… but alas I’m trying to tame that beast. Thank you so much for participating, I very much enjoy reading your reflection posts and love the way this is fitting into your mindful intentions. I hope this week has lots of kindness infused in it!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Wow! The habituation loop is a new concept for me. But I think I understand it now. Yep, I’m really concentrating hard on gratefulness now. It has made such a huge improvement on my life and entire attitude!
    No, I didn’t skim read, but you make my head spin sometimes! I try to keep up with you!
    I did smile, so I guess upload was completed!
    Going right now back to God Strain I. Thanks so much for the edit!! I really appreciate it! And I’m smiling at you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love everything about this post, Gary 🙂 I love the sense of humor that made me laugh as I read. I love the very on point quotes and points that you make. I’m not participating in the challenge due to time constraints, but I try to practice kindness on a daily basis. I came to the realization a number of years ago that happiness is a chosen state of mind. I seek balance in all that I do. On a different note, I’m doing laundry now while my husband works and my daughter sleeps. Like you said, it’s one of those things that has to be done. I know my daughter takes it for granted, but that’s partly my fault. I know that my husband does appreciate it just as I appreciate all that he does to contribute to our home. Anyway, I think I’ll stop for now before I start to ramble 🙂 I’m not sure who the final quote belongs to but it is so true. We are in a constant state of flux, changing with each new experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for the ramble…I fear I share a similar foible…time is a big taker when it comes to challenges which is why I’m not doing more than one at a time… I try very hard to make the quotes fit with the thought train…I’m also an advocate of trying to make people smile as they read…it’s quite a serious topic at times and a very difficult one for those starting on the journey from a bad place. That said smiling is a good form of combating negativity…so if you have then consider yourself a kindness radiation victim 😇 Laundry was deliberate too…I often do ours pondering the merits of such a menial but essential part of life…and have steeled away from separating it all and just doing mine…I was rather interested to see how many people would respond with thoughts of ‘laundry…you are kidding me on this one…surely!’ 😊

      Final quote is from one of my favourite books…but if I tell you now…it might act as a spoiler 👻

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m actually serious on the laundry 🙂 I don’t know how much I’ll get done though. I’m not too worried however. What gets done, gets done 🙂 I love the quote “Smile, it’s contagious” 🙂 I smile and laugh as often as possible. It’s good for the heart and soul. And yes, I probably am a kindness radiation victim. I’d like to call myself a kindness radiation warrior as well 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Err…with comments of this ilk a warrior you are…although that was very Yodaesque 🤔 Tell me though…can you now entertain your laundry without chuckling about how kind you are being…later you may reflect it might also be a madness…to chuckle at a pile of clothes…but maybe the chore is eased…for this day at least 🙃 You are absolutely right about smiling and laughing though…it’s something that should not be underestimated at all 👻

          Liked by 1 person

            • There we go…now you’re feeling the kindness radiating…consider the madness theirs and enlightenment all yours…or await payback at a later date and withdraw the kindness to make a point that self kindness involves on my washing ones own clothes…I’m sure they will soon see the folly by which the granted is being taken 😊

              Liked by 1 person

              • My youngest daughter loves Alice in Wonderland. She has a t-shirt that says “We’re all mad here”. She also has the phone case. I think she may be trying to tell me something 🙂 Madness is a matter of perception 🙂 I think if I asked her to do her own laundry, she’d think I’d finally gone mad 🙂 Joking aside, she’s a wonderful girl 🙂 Self kindness is an important concept. I’m kind to myself every time I take time for myself which is daily. The balance allows me to tackle everything else 🙂 I think we all need time to ourselves to recharge our batteries. Life goes on so we need to to refuel on a regular basis to walk or run with it. We all need to find our own pace 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                • Then your youngest has uber taste in literature…although the recent films might be a bit dark depending on how old she is 😊 Oooh new ones just come out too….timely reminder indeed 😊 Self kindness is very important as part of the balance process…unless the weird laundry kindness radiation becomes overwhelming in its delivery…not that I see that happening of course but I did think the way we see chores is mostly as chores as opposed to actually doing things for others and sight of that has been lost in grumpy not appreciated! With you entirely on all of that although..madness….my perception of me is normal…is everyone else that’s insane 🙃

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  9. Deep and thought provoking read Gary. And about laundry, don’t get me started! My 18yo daughter has just got back from a camping weekend away and just dumped all her washing in a basket … The kindness in me tonight feels a bit scarce! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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