I’ve been told I’m a deep, serious kind of guy. I’ve heard this all my life and, to be perfectly honest, I take it as a compliment.
- “Why are you always so serious?”
- “You’re so intense.”
- “You have a very serious energy about you.”
So, I’m serious. I get it. I am who I am and at nearly 58, not a hell of a lot is going to change. And even though I’ve heard about my seriousness for, well….forever, it is actually something I guard and protect. The way I figure it, being quiet, introverted, and serious has helped me develop a quality inner life.
Inner life? WTH is that? Yeah, I get that a lot, too. All introverts have rich inner lives because we tend to live inside our heads most of the time, sharing only glimpses of our rich cerebral play-land with those we trust most. For us quiet types, we thrive in isolation and small groups whereas large group settings drain us of our mental energy. It’s one reason we’re often thought of as aloof, snobbish, or just stuck-up. But in reality, we’re simply doing what needs to be done to keep ourselves happy. 😎
Case in Point
To illustrate this, sharing an experience I had about a year ago seems appropriate:
A dear friend and I visited a couple and spent the better part of a day touring some wineries north of San Francisco. After a day and a half of constantly having to be ‘on,’ I was mentally exhausted. When our kind hosts suggested another activity, I thought I would come unglued – every fiber of my body silently screamed out for time alone. I sorely needed isolation and quiet in order to recharge and after some time alone in our guest room -as well taking a short nap while the others carried on with activities- I was as right as rain.
Designing a year-long life experiment
In 2016, I’m embarking on A Year of Deeper Living to further stoke my internal fire. I’m going to spend it -not in total isolation…I mean… I’m not a hermit– but in experimentation mode. I’m designing a year-long life experiment that will force me to examine everything about myself: my identity, my choices, my preferences, my vocation, even my addictions (we have one or two).
In recent years I’ve observed how others in my sphere of influence have evolved as they conducted similar life experiments. They lived with less possessions, acquired more freedom and autonomy, changed their nutritional habits, moved around the world, become more aligned with their truest sense of self, etc. I’ve also watched how some have lived purposely with intention and become what I can only assume is what Abraham Maslow referred to as self-actualized.
What I’ve learned via this observation is two-fold:
- Unless we are actively engaging our life, we cease to evolve
- Actively engaging our lives means letting go of default life modes
The Year of Deeper Living is an experiment designed to let go of my default life modes of autopilot living, existing habits, and location dependence.
Beginning January 2016, I’ll begin a year-long process of experimenting and documenting the results. I using the example of R. Buckminster Fuller, a twentieth century author, designer, and inventor as my template. In 1927, following the death of his 4 year-old daughter, had what we would call today, a near death experience in which he related hearing a voice speaking to him saying:
You do not belong to you. You belong to Universe. Your significance will remain forever obscure to you, but you may assume that you are fulfilling your role if you apply yourself to converting your experiences to the highest advantage of others.”
I’ve had no such mystical experience. But like Fuller, I’m a seemingly insignificant being, convinced that there are ways to benefit others through converting my life experiences to narrative. This is the goal of The Year of Deeper Living: to positively impact the lives of others through experimenting with my own life. When I think about it, this has been the goal of my writing from the beginning.
Would you like to come along?
You can come along if you like as I’ll be sharing what’s happening with me on a bi-weekly basis in a special publication. The Year of Deeper Living is going to chronicle my year of letting go of what’s less important while more definitely affirming what is most important.
In 2016 I will further developing my meditation practice, adding yoga, aerobic, and strength training to my daily routine, refining my vegetarian nutritional plan, traveling throughout the US both on motorcycle and via other modes of transport, and publishing my personal journey in the form of a letter for those who wish to come a long (more on that is a future post).
Why I’m doing this
It’s a project whose time has come. This isn’t a whim or a stunt. Neither is it a ploy to make money. Here’s an important lesson I’ve learned over the years: There are few imperatives in my life, but when they present themselves, I can’t ignore them. The Year of Deeper Living is one of these imperatives; the idea has been slowly coalescing from the swirling ether of my reading, dreaming, and writing.
At nearly 58, I can largely do what I please. I’m not rich, but I don’t have a mortgage to continually worry about. I don’t have a car/vehicle payment. I don’t own many possessions and, after next year, I won’t own nearly as much as I do today.
I spent many of my younger years dreaming of freedom and autonomy. I have both now and I don’t want to squander either. I want to live the remainder of the my years, beginning with 2016, in ways that will bring maximum benefit to those I care about instead of simply living in default mode.
What are your thoughts on such an experiment?
- Have you done something similar?
- Do you see yourself ever doing something like this?
If you feel inspired, please leave a comment below. And please share this post via your social media networks by using the button below to share. For that, and your readership, you have my thanks.