A few months ago I moved into a new situation where the kitchen has a door that is easily slammed. Our upstairs neighbor complains every time it slams. I couldn’t seem to keep from  slamming the door. We tried putting on a door closer to keep it from slamming and it made the door hard to open, especially with an arm full of groceries.

It was gently suggested to me that I pay more attention and not be in such a hurry. I realized that it was true, I only slammed the door when I was in a hurry, not being present and not paying attention to gently closing the door. How was I going to change patterns, actions that I didn’t even realize I was doing?

So I’ve taken this on as a practice in being mindful and present. Pattern change has been slow going. I noticed that sometimes the door knob would be difficult to turn and realized that this happened when it was slammed. At first, I wouldn’t realize that I had slammed the door until I came back and found the knob hard to turn. Sometimes others would support me by making me aware that I had slammed it.

Then as I slowed down and paid more attention, I would hear the door slam and then realize I had done it again. Those times were the most difficult to keep from getting mad at myself, the place where I was being more aware, starting to change my behavior, and still doing it again.

I am now at the place where I remember, most of the time, to close the door gently. There are definitely times I still forget and am focused on where I’m going instead of where I am. I think they are getting less and I think this practice has helped me be more present at other times and ways in my life.

What are some places in your life that would benefit from your moving more slowly and consciously? How have you already been paying attention to these patterns? Have you been sending gentle and kind attention to yourself?

So you want to make some changes. What can you use for motivation? How do you think of approaching this pattern change? What kinds of support would you like? What’s the first step (after being gentle with yourself)?