Shoulds and Pushback

We rebels, outsiders, and outcasts have benefited from our ability to make our alternative way in the world. We’ve managed to create lives outside the normative systems by challenging the rules.

But what about the rules we’ve written ourselves? What of the things we *want* to do? When we are wired to push back against the shoulds, we often push back against our own wishes.

photo by Estevam Romera via Flickr

We write these rules for a reason. They are meant to help shape our lives further into our own private ideals, but these things require work.  Successful work requires commitment.

Our habit is breaking rules, and any requirement ruffles our feathers. It is easy while the thing is new and shiny … at that point we still know it is our idea.  But in that space between it being a new idea and it becoming habit is the time when it is just work, and we push back because pushing back is habit.

We’ve been pushing back longer than we’ve been doing whatever the new skill set is, and so our commitment to practicing guitar, or eating healthy food, or getting more exercise is challenged by our innate rebel. The fact that the rule to “practice guitar 5x per week” was one I wrote because I want the joy of playing guitar easily gets lost in the face of habitual pushing against what others thought was the *right* thing to do.

Pushing back is a valuable skill. If we want to have a life outside the narrow expectations of our surrounding world we have to push the window open. Questioning authority is wise, but when we question our own wisdom we have no guidance system and we spin out of control like a lopsided paper airplane.

We set up those rules for ourselves from within our own wisdom. The trick is how to retain our recognition of self-imposed structures; and allow them integrity so that they do not appear to us as outside influences, but as our own intelligence.

So I’m playing with how I use the word “Should”. I know I have some a lot of push back with that word, so I’m watching where I use the word Should, and rephrasing it to see how I can affect behavioral changes in myself using semantics. You see, I *want to* play guitar, and I *want to* live a long and healthy life. However, when I let those items shift into shoulds; my instinctive response is “You can’t make me”.

Can this simple shift alter behavior? I can only tell you that I feel less internal resistance when I change the phrasing, and that I am once again building up the calluses necessary in learning to play guitar.

Rockland Bakery Day Trip

A free afternoon, and a free and fun tour of some amazing breads. What, you don’t think you can tour breads? You can if you’re in Rockland County, NY.

The Rockland Bakery is a local icon. Friends who grew up in the neighborhood tell stories of stopping by in winter to put hot rolls in their pockets for the bike ride home. All I know is that they let us into the inner workings of the bakery itself, and we can grab hot rolls as they get dumped out of the ovens if we stop to put on gloves first.

You can enter through either the pastry counter area, or a newer deli. Afterwards, in a big hallway, you choose your bag size and put on plastic gloves before walking through the swinging doors into the actual bakery. Most bakeries of this size keep the retail public far from the mechanics of the ovens and cooling areas, but Rockland has held to on to its local personality as it’s grown to the current volume of 700,000 pounds of flour per week. That translates to  fourteen 50,000 pound truckloads every week. For a real-world reality check, that’s 538.46 acres of wheat every week, less than the 640 acres that comprise a square mile, but equivalent to  28,000 acres per year. That’s over 43 square miles of wheat. Yowza.
It’s one thing to talk about the huge volume … but New Yorkers are serious about bread. I mean “Serious”. The only way a bakery could continue to grow in this market would be to consistently put out delicious products.

Rockland does a great job. The Hubby and I wandered around the cooling area trying to make a purchasing decision. We went back out to the pastry area, ogled the sweets, then went back for gloves and a big paper bag in which we could place our bread.
The Universe smiled upon me, and dark brown pumpernickel bagels were coming out of the first oven as we reentered the bakery. “Yes, Thank You!”  I grabbed some before they rolled up into the spiraling cooling carrousel.

We then threw random items in, such as an 8-grain baguette, a Semolina loaf, a loaf of Vegetable Bread, and a couple of big pretzels to compare for possible festival sales.

Half a block away, we found an Old-school cheese shop, (which will require its own review), and so our dinner plans have been agreed upon. In an ever-so-decadent end to a hot and sticky day, The Hubby and I have spread a vintage tablecloth over our bedding, and enjoyed a picnic of bread, cheese and wine under excessive air conditioning. Life is good.