Pattern Interrupt: In Real Life And Real Time

How conversations with my feet keep me on track

B. Lorraine Smith
6 min readMar 15


This article is from a recording in which I capture a “pattern interrupt” in real time — a technique I use to get out of a habit loop that’s not serving me. Based on a nudge from a friend, I offer an example that isn’t about running. Video + audio versions below, too. (Photo by me)

[This is a direct transcript of a live pattern interrupt]

The other day after I published my piece on pattern interrupts my friend Cameron, my companion in composting, reached out and said, “Yeah, that’s great and stuff. But what does that have to do with real life?”

To me it was kind of obvious what it had to do with real life — even though I was using an example in running, and sometimes I’m a bit vague or esoteric. So I thought I’d ground it in how I’ve been using this concept of pattern interrupting in real life, in real time, to offer an example.

I am, for context, walking to the subway on my way to a chiropractor appointment and thinking about a whole bunch of stuff. My mind is racing a little bit on a lot of things I’m tackling.

And I’m realizing that I’m using the pattern interrupt that I’ve developed to deal with this challenge.

Let me back up a step. I’m using pattern interrupts in places where I find I have a habit loop that’s not helping me…

… a behavior that is taking energy from where I’d like to put it and putting it into a bottomless pit of worry or obsessive thinking — things that don’t serve the cause.

And backing up even further: what’s the cause again?

I’m a firm believer in, as much as I can, holding a purpose or a vision and using that as my North Star. And so I talk a lot about an economy that works in service of life, industrial healing, elements such as that. And I think…



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B. Lorraine Smith

Recovering ESG "expert"; yarn spinner; distance runner; magical realist. Sensing a path to an economy serving life. also at