The Quest challenges this week are a question of how we live each day: deliberately, purposefully, and in a way that is open to chance.
Each day, we’re asked to explore this theme, and answer the following question:
What can you do differently each day to bring more purpose, openness, and curiosity to your daily life?
The instigation challenges us to experiment with our daily routines. To create space. To slow down. (In a way, this makes me laugh. If I slow down any more, I’m going to be stalled dead in my tracks.)
I had a great dream about all of this last night, and I’d like to share it with you, if you’ll indulge me.
I was on a road trip. There were four of us seated comfortably in an ordinary sedan.
In the driver’s seat was the DOING part of my personality. In the passenger’s seat sat the BEING part. Beside me in the backseat, a giant fluffy black dog sat behind the driver, he was my ANIMAL BODY. And Me, the protagonist-I SELF was sitting behind the passenger.
DOING was navigating, stressing about the GPS and directions, and later in the dream was worrying about the budget for the trip. Sometimes, I would help DOING with the doing. I would say “slow down here, it’s the next right”, or “I can help out with the hotel tonight.” I wasn’t driving. I wasn’t worried, but every now and then I’d chime in with assistance, or ask her to slow down so I could see something better.
BEING was daydreaming. A teenager wearing headphones. He was along for the ride. Relaxed, going with the flow. Quiet. A little absent-minded. (One time he walked off with the dog, had tied him somewhere and came back without him. Whoops! He had to go find the dog.)
ANIMAL BODY big shaggy dog was really chill. (This animal body pleased me – usually my animal body appears as a cat in my dreams. This one was larger and more content than they usually are.) He was very well-behaved, and when we walked around with him on-leash, he was happy as long as he was with the rest of us. He had animal needs – like hunger, thirst, potty breaks, rest stops.
Then there was me, my SELF, sitting in the back seat, petting the dog, and looking out the windows. I was spotting abandoned churches and crumbling barns where I wanted to go back to in order to take photos on days with better light, and making notes of where they were. I was interpreting the meanings of the strange signs we passed, or explaining the context or detail of the displays as we drove through a small town. This is the SELF that looks up through the moon roof to take photos of the changing leaves overhead.
While the DOING portion knew where we were going, she had no understanding of why we were there, or the purpose behind it. While BEING was enjoying the experience and the scenery, he didn’t know how to interpret it, or better understand it. The deeper meaning came from my SELF. The desire to see beauty and make art came from my SELF.
Wonder and Creativity came from my SELF, and that SELF was the mediator between and among the other three.
Wonder and Creativity, beauty and purpose did not come from DOING or BEING. It didn’t come from my physical body. It came from my SELF. From the acts of observation and patience and understanding.
Isn’t that the coolest dream?
I’ve spent the last 2 years learning how to get my animal body, my doing and my being all in a car together. If I’d had this same dream last December, it would have been a terrified cat attacking the driver, the driver full of road rage, and the being portion laying across the backseat asking for a moment to breathe.
Hey, Stop The Car!
The Quest I’m working on now, shaping and building 2019, is going to be about driving slowly enough that SELF portion gets to say “Hey, stop the car!” when she sees amazing abandoned churches on the hilltops, instead of having to scramble to make notes of where she spotted them, and may never get to go back to photograph.
I have done morning pages (a la Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way) off and on since 2002. Over the last 16 years, I’ve amassed 64 volumes of journals at a rough rate of three pages every morning. Daily journaling is a huge part of my life, and I can tell when I’ve missed my pages as easily as when I’ve missed my morning cup of coffee. I try do it before I do anything else. Sometimes, I make the mistake of checking social media before I journal, and I find my work there is not as fruitful as a result.
I’m slowly deleting social media apps off my cell phone. I deleted Facebook a month ago, and have been happier for it. Twitter went right after I typed the previous sentence. I still access the platforms via my computer, but I find it’s less mindless, more deliberate, when I do it that way.
For me, social media acts as a place where I can siphon off excess emotional energy. I can drain my own overfull brain by staring at a feed. What happens if I let this energy build up? I am usually more creative and expressive. Yes, and more emotional. But I tend to make something as a result, instead of just draining off the excess into my cell phone.
Also, without Facebook on my phone, I tend to text real people more. I directly contact and reach out to people instead of passively posting and hoping they see my news. It forces me to think about who I really want to interact with about a particular topic, and to think about requesting and making connections with the people who matter to me in my life.
I’m still experimenting with the rest of this prompt. I’ll check back in on Friday when we wrap up this week and see how it’s going.
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