While flying back from Christmas Vacation we were um.. I guess you could say… BORED on the plane. It was one of those moments in life when we wanted nothing more than being back home, in our respective houses, ready to return to our normal schedule. I was writing something and Nick asked if he could write a guest blog spot. I thought it might be a fun idea! So enjoy!

Nick and I – Right before our Unitarian Church Experience Christmas 2010

From Nick to you I present you with:

READY, SET, GO: Discussing How to Cope in a World Gone Mad!

(I realize there are many more words in this post then in mine.. but it is well worth your time! Enjoy!)

Every day the world gets smaller and smaller.  In the era of Facebook, twitter, linkedin, myspace, newspapers and magazines online and a ticker tape at the bottom of most news programs (just in case we miss something in the 2 minutes that the scroll repeats itself) the process of globalization is in full swing.  Humans are weaving a web of technology.  Countries are becoming more dependent on one another that at any other time in history.  If one wants to contact their aunt in Thailand from Salt Lake City, Utah, it could happen in a matter of seconds – a proposition that was extremely far fetched only a few decades ago.  Another troubling facet of our world today is the concept of “real time.”  Everything must happen NOW!  Not in a few seconds, NOW!  With the NYSE, Facebook and Cnn.com being updated by the second, a news story seems to become “old news” if it is greater than 3 minutes old.  My point is this: our world has become more hectic and crazy than ever before and the onslaught of rushed and hurried lives does not seem like it will be stopping anytime soon.  Processes are only getting faster and faster.  A recent study showed that people will wait an average of 4 seconds for a certain website to load.  4 seconds!  Glad to know that not only is our information being updated by the second, but we can’t WAIT 5 seconds for it.  My point is therefore proven, in today’s world 5 seconds is “too long” to wait.  We have created a global community and market that operates at a breakneck speed.  This concept has its ups and downs.  Today I want to talk about the inevitability of our world and what we can do to help ourselves.

Firstly, the fact of the matter is that the processes of real time and hurriedness are here to stay.  With things getting faster and more efficient, people will want their products faster – whether it’s a latte from Starbucks, a book from Amazon.com, or a news story breaking.  So, the first step is to accept that the world around is going to operate quickly whether we’re on board or not.  If you’ve already accepted that fact, then congratulations!  Therapists always use the cliché, “admitting your problem is the first step.”  But, here comes the second part.  The second part is usually more daunting, and to follow the formula, this one is too.  How do you cope with the fact that the world is moving at this speed?  We all have our ways, some healthy, some not.  Some people might smoke, drink, do drugs etc.  These are the extremes.  Now, I know what some of you are thinking.  “I don’t smoke to deal with the world, I smoke either because I can’t stop or it relieves my stress.”  Well, if you can’t stop, that’s another story.  But if, for example, you smoke because it relieves your stress, where does that stress come from?  Your job?  Your family?  Your friends’ drama?  It all goes back to the fact that we are in a world where the clock doesn’t stop, nothing can be paused, it is always go, go, go!  What I am trying to say in this post is reevaluate your coping mechanisms with how you deal with the world.  Are they healthy for me?  Are they hurting me?  If not, great!  Keep going!  But if so, perhaps try to “get on” something else like music, reading or eating apples.  Something that is not mentally, physically and spiritually destructive but can enhance your life while at the same time keeping you calm, cool and collective.  My coping mechanism is definitely music.  Whenever I am stressed or can’t deal with something, I put on some Beyonce, Classical or whatever is on the radio.  Music has such an effect on me that it can calm me during almost any situation.  So, I hope you can find your “music.”  Try to find something that you can always turn to that is preferably cheap, easily accessible, socially acceptable and above all, good for you!  It seems that we turn to destructive measures first because of the pleasures that it rewards.  Find something you love and do it to its fullest.

To conclude, I would like to take you on a little philosophical journey that I myself went on in the spring of this past year.  I took a class at my college called American Philosophy and Culture – sounds thrilling, I know.  But, there was one book in particular that really changed my outlook on things, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.  This book is half novel, half philosophy and to be honest, quite boring.  It’s its message that really hit home.  For this example, I’m going to use alcohol.  When someone is sober, they are able to differentiate between subject and object.  In laments term, if you pick up a pencil you can say ok, I am the subject and I am picking up this pencil that is the object.  Simple, right?  Well, when someone gets drunk the dividing line between subject and object disintegrates.  This is the feeling that we crave.  When someone gets drunk to a certain point, they can pick up a pencil and not even know what its function is.  Humans always crave an “ekstais” (Greek for ecstasy) which implies a feeling to be outside of one’s self.  Getting drunk gives us this feeling.  However, my philosophy professor came up with his own theory to answer this question: How can we achieve ekstasis in a healthy and long lasting manner (once you sober up, it’s over, back to just you and the pencil…bummer).  Well the answer presented is this: find something you love and do this thing to the best of your ability.  This will give you the feeling of being outside of yourself for a long-lasting time and not be harmful to yourself. (I know what some of you are thinking, “Well, what if I love to murder people and I’m good at it.”  Murder is an inherently violent act; therefore it cannot be something you love.  If you do love murder, then you have MUCH BIGGER issues haha) Think about it.  Think of what you like to do the most?  Perhaps it’s reading?  Read to your hearts content!  Read until you can’t read anymore!  Perhaps it’s kayaking?  Go kayaking every chance you get!   Mine is listening to music and singing.  Whenever I get the chance to do one of these things, my heart and soul soar and de-stress me from the world while still being able to operate in this world that is whirling around me at the speed of light.

So, 1) Realize the world is moving faster than you can keep up.  2) Evaluate what coping mechanisms you use and how they are affecting you and others 3) Find a coping mechanism that can bring you your personal ekstasis and de-stress you.  4) Enjoy life!

So what did you think? Nick and I both LOVE all your comments.. the good.. the bad.. and the silly 🙂

Enjoy your Thursday 🙂