Slow the f*ck down

Life sure is fast. 

I started writing this in January. I think it had something to do with cars speeding to places. Why? Because we’re always going. I’ve wrote a lot about time management, staying busy, etc. But what is the answer?

We work too much, to make just enough money to buy what we don’t need, and pay off the debts that we built up spending more than we had yesterday. We plan for more tomorrow, but don’t expect it to be enough because we’re not satisfied with what we have today, hoping that we’ll be satisfied with what we have tomorrow if only we can work hard enough today to make more than we did yesterday.

It’s f*#!ing exhausting. And we are exhausted. Collectively, we are done. You can tell when you look at us. We escape, rather than inhabit. We tune in, turn off – rather than unplug and be. But it’s coming. The change is coming, when we understand it’s not enough just to keep going – but rather that we must find ways of existing that aren’t so damn fast.

Pure Imagination

“Imagination is more important than knowledge”

-Einstein

Intelligence is the ability to see things as they are. Imagination allows you to see things as they could be. Is it necessary to see things as they could be?

When the bird sees the twig, does it consider the look of its nest? Or, does it just know? Perhaps that is for the ornithologist.

A better question for me would be, is there a purpose inherent in imagining? And, are some more predisposed to it than others?

Recently I was speaking with someone about their daughter dating an engineer. He wasn’t much for the sense of humor, which the daughter valued highly. The engineer is a practical, oftentimes formulaic person. His no-nonsense approach to life and love could be considered a hindrance in the dating realm.

However, his imagination could rival even the greatest artists. Engineers exceed their limits by knowing precisely what those limits are. Consider the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, the skyscrapers of Balcom or Squire, or even the aqueducts of Rome. To see the lay of something so unique as to have never been invented before is the realm of imagination.

As Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka sang:
“If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it.
Anything you want to, do it.
Want to change the world?
There’s nothing to it.”

Find your true North

Most of my life now is lived in the phrase,”Recently I’ve…” As in, “Recently I’ve been reading…”; or, “Recently I’ve started a practice of…” Very little in my life as it is can date back to before a year and a half ago. I’d say it would be a positive thing (living in the moment, and all that) but recently I’ve noticed that much of what made me who I was has been lost in the shuffle as well.

Like most things, I sat down thinking I’d be writing about the book that recently I’ve started reading, Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans. I had heard an interview with them on NPR last year and made a mental note to read the book at some point. 

Thinking of the design problems of life (my life in particular) led me to think of another book that recently I’ve started reading: Wanderlust, by Jeff Krasno. This was a companion piece to the fact that recently I’ve started a practice of yoga. Which, in the full circle way my mind works, brought me back to the fact that the past eighteen months has been a whirlwind and I still have no clue what I’m doing. 

Then I thought, that may not be a bad thing. We got lost sometimes. Lose our way. Think we’re following a path only to look down and see that we’re the only set of footprints to be found. But every path had to be discovered that first time. Not every mistake leads to innovation, but every innovation began with a mistake. 

The cover of Wanderlust invites the reader to “find your true north”. I set the picture of my first tattoo as header because I’ve been searching for true North for longer than eighteen months. Maybe that’s the one constant throughout my whole weird and wonderful existence. Who knows if we ever reach it? But I believe that we can keep moving the needle in that direction.

Namaste.  

Turn on, tune in, drop out

Per Timothy Leary: “Like every great religion of the past we seek to find the divinity within and to express this revelation in a life of glorification and the worship of God. These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present — turn on, tune in, drop out.”

Now we face an era of turning on the tv, the device, the screen; tuning in to what’s happening there; dropping out of the reality that is around us – family, friends, life as it was. 

I want to take this space and talk of escapism, the exit we experience when we retreat into our screens (phones, televisions, etc). We’re avoiding something, whatever our deficit is in our life, when all we do is escape. Sure, you can hear the talking heads deriding a generation spent staring into their phones, but they’ve been conditioned that way. There needs to be a conscientious return to old practices (such as spontaneous conversation or disconnected, i.e. no phone, meals) otherwise it will not happen. No one is going to fix the problems for us, other than ourselves.

For Leary, “Turn on meant go within to activate your neural and genetic equipment. Become sensitive to the many and various levels of consciousness and the specific triggers that engage them. Drugs were one way to accomplish this end. 

“Tune in” meant interact harmoniously with the world around you – externalize, materialize, express your new internal perspectives. 

“Drop out” suggested an active, selective, graceful process of detachment from involuntary or unconscious commitments. “Drop Out” meant self-reliance, a discovery of one’s singularity, a commitment to mobility, choice, and change. Unhappily my explanations of this sequence of personal development were often misinterpreted to mean “Get stoned and abandon all constructive activity”.