I’m a go-go-go kind of person and that’s not always a good thing. When I work on something, I’m always thinking about the next step. But by doing this, I lose the magic of the moment. As a child, I remember reading a children’s story about a woman who was carrying a few dozen eggs on her back. She imagined the eggs hatching into chicks and growing into hens. She imagined the hens producing eggs and chicks for her to eat. Lost in her thoughts, she tripped and her eggs cracked all over the street.I recently read a few non-fiction books that explored the human condition. I wanted to understand how we became so obsessed with things that stressed us out.
Btw- by read I mean listened. I’m an Audible addict, and am so grateful I get to work with them. Click here to try Audible for 30 days for free.
These books made me feel uneasy and kind of distressed. After reading them, I told everyone I knew about how society was so messed up because we had addiction to stressful situations. Sapiens talks about how the agricultural revolution introduced a reliance on crops, which altered our hunter and gatherer lifestyle. Instead of searching for seasonal food, we became slaves to agriculture. If the wheat crop was infested, we were totaled eff-ed.
Homo Deus argues that through advances in science (plastic surgery, genetic mapping, anti-aging products etc.) we are transforming into something that isn’t quite homo sapien. If you could select a gene for your child that would improve his/her memory, would you? What if everyone else is doing it? Scary thought.
The book proposed 2 vacation options:
1. Kayak down a river on a 7 day trek and eat local fruit and game along the way. You set up camp under a beautiful canopy of trees.
2. Live in a small apartment in a metropolitan area and work long days in a small office overlooking a congested city.
The point is: the way humans live has changed DRASTICALLY over a short period of time. Have we been able to adjust to it psychologically?
If you read one of these books, read Sapiens. Seriously. Everyone should read Sapiens. It still gives me the chills. Ok– I’m all riled up. I’m going to move on to the next book.
This is the type of book you can listen to multiple times. It teaches meditation techniques and reminds you to live in the present. The title sounds cheesy and the premise sounds cheesy, but it’s not. So much of the time, our minds are wandering. We focus on past and future so much that we don’t acknowledge the beauty in the “now”. At any given point, we only have the present- so why not live in it?
The book has challenged me to rethink how I worry about things. If it’s not a problem in the immediate moment, table it for a later time. The other day, I was having trouble sleeping because my mind was running a million miles a minute. I had a kajillion things to do and was struggling to prioritize them. When I finally slowed down and brought my focus back to the present, I fell asleep before I knew it.
I read this article from The New Yorker about #VanLife. It was about a couple that traveled the country in a van and took glamorous photos along the way. It looked like peaches & cream on the surface, but the article demonstrated the couple faces the same rat race we all face.
The couple had to post provocative photos for social media engagement, they had to remain relevant and profitable, and struggled to not compromise their brand. It was hard work and they didn’t always enjoy it. This just shows that many people struggle from the uneasiness of the “rat race”.
To deal with this uneasiness and to live in the present, I’ve started meditating. Whether you use an app like Headspace (which I did for a while) or you just sit there, close your eyes, and clear your mind. Meditating helps ground you and gives you perspective. The Power of Now emphasizes this. I also go on hikes to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban environments.
Ok, I’m getting off my hippy dippy soap box. Tell me how you guys stay connected to the present because I would LOVE to know.