I just read an article about being mindful of one’s personal preferences. It was eye-opening to say the least. Since I’m currently on vacation with my husband and I’m not in my own controlled environment, I’m having the opportunity to notice a lot things about my ideas regarding preferences for things like comfort, temperature, food, etc.
For example, I really like things a certain way (basically, how I do them at home). And I can get testy if they are not that way. If I’m tired or compromised in some way, I should get my preferences. Vacation is special so I should get my preferences. My husband should automatically know my preferences. I have preferences about the smallest things that I didn’t even realize (my pillow, type of coffee, how a room should be set up to cook. The list really goes on and on.
This mindfulness practice is to choose the opposite of your preference and/or let someone else choose theirs. Then be mindful of what arises. For at first was fear that I wouldn’t be comfortable. Of course, as is the instruction, I met that with kindness. Then amazing things happened. First I noticed a lightening of the burden of choice. Wow! I don’t have to choose, I can just go along for the ride. Second, the choices that were made for me weren’t terrible. As a matter of fact, I was presented with the unfamiliar which, can be uncomfortable, yet provided new experiences that added to the interest of the situation. This would have never happened had I ordered the same old thing that “I love”. And in general, the day became freer and more colorful. I even started to be excited about what was to come rather than safely satisfied with the status quo.
So I recommend the practice of regularly choosing non-preference, being open to something else. The writer of the article said that she would stick her hand in her clothes drawer and wear the first thing she pulled out. Or, no matter what, at a restaurant she just choose the third thing on the menu. At first I was fearful of letting go of such tried and true comfort. Not realizing that tried and true comfort can turn into boring and safe. This practice has turned out to have added color and flavor to my day and my vacation.