Our Responsibility To Examine Our Habits

By Stew Bittman, D.C.

Dr. Stew Bittman - ChiropractorI’ve been cutting down on my coffee consumption lately, and the other day I was at home in the afternoon thinking about cheating and having some. Innate reminded me of my intention to have only 1 cup in the morning, which I’d already had. I thot, “well, there’s my coffee cup from this morning, maybe by some miracle I only drank half of it”. I peered down hopefully into the dark recesses of the cup and discovered I had unthinkingly left one sip in there, and I began to laugh. I realized I had developed the habit of leaving one sip in the cup from having used a French press for years (which leaves some oily grit at the bottom of the cup), and even tho I hadn’t used the press for months, apparently the habit had persisted. Then, after enjoying the last wonderful sip, albeit cold, I began to wonder. How many other habits do I have that I’m not even aware of? How many of them serve me? What else am I leaving at the bottom of the cup?

I know there are a lot of good habits I’ve developed. In my life, I find that out whenever the schmootz hits the fan and my spiritual rituals and practices help keep me in the eye of the storm. In my chiropractic practice, I find that out whenever I sit down to plan seminars that I’m about to teach. Especially adjusting seminars. My mind invariably goes blank and starts to panic knowing that stretching out “become one with the bone and let Innate move it” for 8 hours would be a challenge. The same thing happens with practice management stuff. So I have to consciously break things down into small details and steps again because somewhere along the way the reverse phenomenon has apparently gone on inside my head. In the process, I discover a lot of wonderful things we do in the practice that have evolved way beyond second nature.

On the other hand, thru that same process I also discover some details and steps and habits that perhaps I don’t want to teach others and therefore don’t want to have myself. Another example of the truth behind that old adage, “if you want to learn something, teach it”. How much service and principle and simplicity and focus and productivity and am I leaving at the bottom of the cup of my practice?

And still quite often in my life I don’t stay in the eye of the storm. Sometimes it’s more like the I of the storm. I still lose my center and I suspect my habitual reactions are at least mostly to blame. How much love and connection and harmony and joy and awareness of Spirit am I leaving at the bottom of the cup of my life?

I believe that as warriors of principle it is our responsibility to examine our habits, incessantly, and root out those that no longer serve others or us. Maybe the best way to do that would be to look at each area of our life as if we were going to teach it to others. Yikes. It’s a scary thot, but I imagine if we did it diligently and honestly and gently we would be end up closer to our potential and purpose, and closer to living God’s movie for us. Plato (or was it Socrates? I often get my Greeks mixed up) said that the unexamined life was not worth living. I think it still might be worth living, but there’s undoubtedly a whole bunch of wonderful things sitting down there in the cup that would make it better, happier, more fulfilling, more abundant and more loving.

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Dr. Stew Bittman maintains a “box on the wall” practice in South Lake Tahoe, CA along his wife Hillary and daughter Ari.

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