Tag Archives: Creating adventures

The Get A Life Tree

Years ago I read a lovely book by Ernie Zelinski titled The Joy of Not Working. It challenges readers to have a proper perspective on the importance of paid employment and to suck the marrow out of life and living it.

One of the activities in the book is creating a Get a Life Tree. Readers draw out a ‘tree’ with branching ideas of leisure activities they have done in the past and ones they would like to try. Additional categories can be added like activities you can do by yourself, ones to do with others, free activities, ones for a short timeframe vs. ones to do at a future point in time, etc.

It’s a great exercise in creativity to brainstorm a host of fun, worthwhile things to do that challenge you and open you to new experiences.

The really fun part, though, is putting words into action- getting out there and doing what you’ve listed on your Tree.  

I love digging out my Tree, crossing off things I’ve done, selecting new ones to tackle, feeling the excitement of new adventures, and adding new ideas to the Tree.

There are always new adventures waiting on the horizon. Why not ‘get a life’ and go after them?

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

Inanimate Object- a stream of consciousness

Lifeless, limply hanging, wishing for a breath of life

Dust- living creatures turned into inanimate objects
Dust to dust, ashes to ashes

Faded photos, worn out shoes
Pieces of saints sealed in gold bottles- venerated inanimate objects

Towering cathedrals, lingering incense, echoes of silence 

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adventure vs. Adventure

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Creating Adventures
 

The themes over the last couple of weeks have been about moving concepts discussed in previous weeks into ‘real life’. Last week centred on looking at things from a new perspective, and this week on exploring (or imagining) an adventure each day.

This week’s theme has been the most challenging since the start of the blog. I got hung up on the word ‘Adventure’. It got me thinking of the disctinction between lower-case ‘a’ adventure, and capital ‘A’ Adventure.

In my day-to-day, I can work on creating adventures by doing small things like talking to new people, going to a different part of the city, changing an aspect of my behaviour. These all require little time and effort. The results can include a heightened awareness of my surroundings, and a greater openness to new things.

But I wonder if there is a moment when the law of diminishing returns kicks in- going on lower-case ‘a’ adventures generates smaller and smaller results. The novelty wears off. Is that the moment to explore a capital ‘A’ Adventure? Have I arrived at that moment?

It begs the question- what is the content of that capital ‘A’ Adventure? In my books, it must be something completely different from my day-to-day, significant (another word requiring further definition), for my good and the good of others, and a whole heck of a lot of fun.

So to close the week, my adventure of the day is to close my eyes and let my mind wander in a thousand directions to dream up possible Adventures. Perhaps I will land on one to pursue.

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

Clinging So Tightly

“I always clung so tightly, but to what I could not say.”

She is particular- things have to be just so- the distance between place settings, the fold in the napkins, arrangement of the centrepiece. Guests are coming. If things aren’t perfect, what will they think?

Her social circle is small. Not many meet the standard. Those who do need to be kept within their own tidy box- one never coming in contact with the other. Life is easier that way. Manageable.

Enter children. Three of them. They, also, must be controlled, taught exactly how to behave, where exactly to place things. No room for error.

What will happen when they grow into the ability to enact their own choices and cast off the borders that have been drawn for them? Will she cling so tightly as to break the bonds, or will she learn to let them go?

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E.T. and the Cows

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Creating Adventures
 

The adventure I didn’t have today:

It was like the scene in E.T. where Elliot releases the frogs about to be dissected in science class. “Run for your life! Back to the river! Back to the forest! Run!” he screams at them.

There they were, 4,000 cows released from the meat packing plant, free to roam the surrounding countryside.

The media circus was, of course, in full swing- reporters waving microphones in workers’ faces, cameramen alternating between close-ups of individual cows and long-shots of the herd spreading out across the fields.

“We’re tired of killing,” said the staff spokesperson. “We know it will mean we are all out of work, but we just couldn’t take it anymore.”

“What will you do now?” the reporter asked.

“Well, a group of us is raising funds to go on similar campaigns worldwide. We already have contacts, and donors are standing behind us.”

Off-camera he walked toward me, put his hand on my shoulder, and smiled, “We did it. Years of planning and we finally pulled it off.” He then took out a hip-flask, raised it in the the air, and cried out, “Long live the cows!”

What adventure do you wish you’d had today?

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

Individuality

The line up is long and I am getting impatient. Conversation has run dry so I look around to distract myself- cars, ice cream stand, a group of- oh, potential point of interest- a group of ladies in front of us. I hadn’t noticed them before.

They are Hutterites. There are three girls who appear to be teenagers, and one older lady. Each has a bonnet, plain coloured top, patterned skirt, and sensible shoes- sneakers. One of the girls is standing to the side and I notice a peculiarity- one of her shoelaces is white, while the other is black. Could this be a subtle form of rebellion? Of trying to stand out? Of asserting individuality?

I imagine her as the girl who pushes the boundaries right to the edge, yet not overstepping them so as not to be called out. She questions and challenges, wonders why and searches out answers. She carries her own opinions.

The line is moving and I snap out of my thoughts. I smile at the girl and see reflected back to me an image of myself.  

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Hidden Talents

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Creating Adventures

I couldn’t live in a small town- I’d get tired of the same old faces and no new perspectives to explore.

I have a theory that in each new person I meet, there is the potential to glean a nugget of wisdom. So today, I went in search of a new nugget.

The opportunity came over lunch when I went to a deli I hadn’t been to before and ordered a fava bean salad- another first for me.

I noticed a couple of origami pieces casually displayed on the counter. They were no ordinary pieces- one was a cockroach with its various body parts precisely textured- corrugated legs, a shiny shell, and flat belly. Another was a unicorn with intricately sculpted muscles and a wind-blown mane. The artistry was incredible- and all made of simple paper.

The deli guy told me he had met a lady from South America who created origami designs. She personally taught him this art and he had taken it on obsessively.  He told me of the time it took to learn each piece, and how much work was required. There were projects he got involved in and people he met because of this passion he’d found. I was drawn into a world of richness amid the ordinary.

The line up grew and I took my hint from the glaring eyes behind me. I bid the deli guy goodbye and took with me my fava bean salad and a nugget of wisdom: you never know the hidden talents of those you encounter until you take the time to find out who they are. The deli guy who serves you may double as an artiste.

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

The Chair

It sits there, as if it has a life of its own. I keep thinking it’s going to move, start morfing into a creature with four legs and two arms, ready to take on the world.

But it doesn’t go beyond just sitting there.

If it could talk, what tales would that chair tell of the asses that had sat upon it? Wide ones that bounced jovially as their owners told stories of buffoonery; skinny ones of girls who just wanted to be noticed; cold ones of old men too worn out to go anywhere except from home, to the pub, and back.

Ah, the stories that chair would tell…

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What’s In A Name?

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Creating Adventures

One year at summer camp I told my fellow campers that my name was Lynn. And so, for those three weeks, that’s who I was. I felt like a different person just by people calling me somthing other than my same-old same-old.

I wondered today if that trick would still work. To test it out, I asked a co-worker to call me by a different first name of her choosing every time she talked with me throughout the day. Good thing I have fun co-workers- she decided to play along.

Added to the mix is my short memory. Almost as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I fogot what I had asked for. So, when I got an email addressed to Lexi about half an hour later, I scrolled down to see if there was a previous email below which would explain Lexi’s identity. Nothing. I looked in the ‘Recipients’ line to see if I had been copied on an email intended for someone else. The email was sent just to me. And then it dawned on me- I’m Lexi! I chuckled and tried it on for size. How would I feel as a Lexi? Lexi responded with formality, precision, and confidence.

Soon after, my co-worker asked “Rachel” when she was going for lunch. Rachel suited me. She was polite and friendly, smiling as she answered.

When “Mercedes’s” opinion was asked late in the afternoon, I could do nothing but stare with a deer-in-the-headlights look. “Mercedes” didn’t work for me.

It was a small thing, really, experimenting with the name change., but it peppered the day with fun. Sometimes all it takes is a creative twist on a same-old same-old to brighten up the day.

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

Natasha

She never did like her name. ‘Natasha’ had always made her think of a stuffy old lady giving orders to unwillingly obliging servants She would have prefered to have been a Jane or a Rose. Simple is good.

However, no one had solicited her opinion at birth. In fact, the name had been pre-selected for her before she had even met the light of day. It was grandma Ellinton’s name. Which was exactly Natasha’s point- the name belonged in the past, not to her.

And so, at 21, she stood in line at the Registry office, waiting to change her name legally. As she waited, the tattoo parlor sign across the parking lot caught her attention: Lydia the Tattooed Lady. “Alright,” she thought on a whim, “I’ll call myself Lydia. Maybe I’ll even feel like getting a tattoo when I become her…” 

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Creating Smiles

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Creating Adventures

Last week’s theme was about looking at one thing each day from a different perspective. This week is about taking one action each day to create a real life adventure. Thanks to beeblu for this suggestion. (Stop by her site to read some fantastic poetry.)

Let the games begin!

Day 1:

A small group of us (6 gals) got together today and the conversation turned to ways we can weave a bit of inspiration into each others’ lives. One thing led to another, and we created an adventure: 

Each one of us will come up with seven small actions that would bring a smile to someone else. Every day next week we’ll each receive an email from one of the other gals in the group with one of these actions to complete that day. At the end of each day, we’ll email each other to see how things went.

Actions will be things like; ‘Go Christmas caroling at your neighbour’s house’, or ‘Buya coffee for the person behind you in line’, or ‘Talk to the check out clerk and find out how their day is really going’.

So, the action for today was setting up the adventure for next week. Merely setting things up was an adventure in itself in the excitment it sparked within us.

Life is an adventure, let’s have some fun along the way!

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

The Hitchhiker

It’s cold. He never meant to be outside this late. He rubs his hands together trying to keep the circulation going.

Headlights in the distance. He gets ready.

As the car approaches he sets his sign on the ground against his backpack.

A rush of wind as the car speeds by him.

How long before the next car comes?

He begins to doubt himself, his decision to take this journey.

Squatting, he hugs his legs in, burying his head.

The low rumble of a trailer truck coming closer.

Maybe this time…

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