Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Ever since I was a kid I’ve occasionally had a kind of recurring fantasy: leaving everything and everyone I know behind and either surviving in the wilderness or moving somewhere far away and completely different.

Often that fantasy is preceded by recognizing some kind of lack in myself or something I want to improve. I like the idea of being able to go work on myself alone for a while. In fact anyone who’s ever gone on a retreat to figure out a problem or find a spiritual solution probably knows exactly what I’m talking about.

In “Imagine: How Creativity Works” there are a few examples of how changing your scenery or situation can spark a moment of ingenuity that enables you to overcome an obstacle or even just get your creative juices flowing. The idea is that if you remove yourself from your day-to-day situation you (at least temporarily) break free from the preconceptions and assumptions you have made about yourself, or that others have made and you’ve chosen to believe.

The problem is that eventually you have to come back to “the real world” and get back to whatever life you live. Hopefully you can start integrating some of the things you’ve realized or learned, though that’s certainly not always the case. There are a few great teachers out there trying to help people bridge the gap between these amazing realizations and how you apply them in day to day life, but it’s still a difficult journey.

continue reading…

Filling Time

One of the conversations I love having with people is around how much or how little time we have do do the things we care about.

I have two stories that come to mind around the relativity of time as we perceive it – one from Catch 22 and one from… I’m not sure where. Here’s what they boil down to: We choose how to fill the time we have.

The Catch 22 story is about a soldier in the military with the main character, Yossarian. This soldier has a singular belief that informs his existence – time moves more slowly when you’re bored.

And so he believes he’s stumbled on the key to nearly everlasting life: staying bored. He reasons that if time passes slowly when you’re bored and quickly when you’re excited, the best way to live as long a life as possible is to stay as bored as possible.

He’s not arguing that he will have MORE time if he stays bored. He’s simply recognizing that we control our perception of time and how we fill it – stay bored forever and it will feel like you live forever; stay excited and your life will pass by in a flash.

The second story is one that probably needs a background check but I believe in the premise. continue reading…