Sunday, January 23, 2011


I don't know about you but I love my habits. I cherish my habits because they make me feel safe in some way that is probably instinctual. First my morning shower, then meditation, for instance.

One problem with my love of habits is that at some point, they become rules, i.e. first my morning shower, then meditation, not meditation, then shower. A habit that evolves into a rule can become canon law, never ever to be broken. These "laws" enter into the grid of my values at which point they becomes absolutely invisible to my conscious mind. I become judgmental about The Law, i.e. I can't believe there are people who meditate first, then shower. What is up with that??

You know I am oversimplifying, right? But you get the idea.

Because I am a rather die-hard Aquarian, I sometimes become rebellious. I want to bust out of the jail of my own making, break my laws, oh yeah I WILL meditate first! I'll show 'em. Them. Who is them but my own jail-creating mind, eh?

I'm thinking about this today because on Studio 360 yesterday a bunch of 20-30 somethings were talking about Jack Kerouac's book "On the Road." The young women were actually appalled that anyone would take the book seriously.

These folks, so smart and clever on Studio 360, they just don't get it, that at that time, it was Against the Rules to drive around and sleep with as many women as possible. It was too early in the evolution of the revolutions that changed our society for a woman to write such a book. It was the launch of the Beats, a primordial volley that helped launch the cultural movements that were about to punch through the old paradigm.

Now I guess any loser can do drugs, drive around, and sleep with women. Jack (and so many others) broke the old habits in order to make that possible.

Some days it's so funny to be middle aged, to stand at the hinge between what was and what is coming. Jack K. was before my time (slightly), and these lovely young people are way ahead of me. I just kept laughing as I listened. It was really funny.


steven said...

reya - for me in the early seventies, "on the road" was like a sort of edgy, sort of quaint magnifying glass on what i intuited had already passed but because of my circumstances couldn't draw into this world. i knew it as a possibility - some features i later embraced as part of my living experience. it coloured my undergrad years in such a good way!!! patterns and habits - well reya i have many myself. i think it's good to be aware of them. if they mess you up and you know it, then mess them up. take charge, chuck 'em out or change 'em. if they hum for you and deliver the cake every time then stick with 'em and celebrate 'em!!! that's what i say! steven

Tom said...

i totally missed the 70's. And the 80's. And the 90's. Haha. It's kind of cool to talk to people who actually experienced the past.

ellen abbott said...

You know, I never read that although it influenced me I'm sure being a part of the culture of the time. I marvel too at the young men and women who have no concept of what our society was like before the 60s and 70s. The young women especially. they can't even grasp what changes we wrought.

Rebecca Clayton said...

Thanks for the link to Studio360--those kids are so cute! I don't mean to be condescending, I'm really happy they care why they like or dislike the book. I've been thinking a lot about books and their intended audiences, and I think you're right--those kids are an audience Kerouac couldn't even imagine!

"On the Road" was flat unobtainable when I was a teenager (until I went to college)--too risque. When I finally read it, I'd already read books it paved the way for, and by comparison, it wasn't as interesting. And clearly, I wasn't the reader Kerouac was writing for.

janis said...

oh so true!
So many have no clue...

The Bug said...

Yes, my habits have become rules - because I'm pretty sure I will forget to put my deodorant on if I don't do everything in the EXACT SAME ORDER every day. And, in fact, I HAVE forgotten before. Which nobody wants :)

Jo said...

I tend to look at habits as negative behaviors that I tend to repeat but wish to change.

If I develop a behavior that works well for me and is beneficial somehow, it passes from being a habit to being a "ritual."

I, too, like the ritual of meditation AFTER cleansing...of COURSE, right?

Anyway, I like to develop nice rituals, but habits? Not so much.

The photos are absolutely gorgeous today!

Reya Mellicker said...

Habits, rituals ... I think this is a semantic thing, Jo.

Steven I love the idea of habits delivering the cake! Yes please!

Tom you didn't miss a thing. You're so cool.

Elizabeth said...

My husband is a big fan of On the Road-- he would be!
I obviously need to read it. He used to hang round Gunther's in Northport a nice sleazy bar. Both he's...JK and R!
Habits habits
banana on cereal, walk walk walk...
I'm avoiding venturing out 6'f

Reya Mellicker said...

It's 12 degrees outside my window this morning. Bloody hell!

Merle Sneed said...

If not for my habits, I would sit all day staring blankly.

glnroz said...

habits, rules, guidlines,,,they sometimes contradict themselves into a blur,,,