One of my favorite quotes ever comes from Elizabeth Gilbert’s biography “The Last American Man,” in which she tells the life story of Eustace Conway. I could wax some serious poetic on this book, or this man, but instead I’ll give you a wonderful block quote and a heavy encouragement to go read the book.
“I live in nature where everything is connected, circular. The seasons are circular. The planet is circular, and so is the planet around the sun. The course of water over the earth is circular coming down from the sky and circulating through the world to spread life and then evaporating up again. I live in a circular teepee and build my fire in a circle. The life cycles of plants and animals are circular. I live outside where I can see this. The ancient people understood that our world is a circle, but we modern people have lost site of that. I don’t live inside buildings because buildings are dead places where nothing grows, where water doesn’t flow, and where life stops. I don’t want to live in a dead place. People say that I don’t live in a real world, but it’s modern Americans who live in a fake world, because they have stepped outside the natural circle of life.
Do people live in circles today? No. They live in boxes. They wake up every morning in a box of their bedrooms because a box next to them started making beeping noises to tell them it was time to get up. They eat their breakfast out of a box and then they throw that box away into another box. Then they leave the box where they live and get into another box with wheels and drive to work, which is just another big box broken into little cubicle boxes where a bunch of people spend their days sitting and staring at the computer boxes in front of them. When the day is over, everyone gets into the box with wheels again and goes home to the house boxes and spends the evening staring at the television boxes for entertainment. They get their music from a box, they get their food from a box, they keep their clothing in a box, they live their lives in a box.
Break out of the box! This not the way humanity lived for thousands of years.”
Maybe don’t go move to a teepee, and yes, we do need some of our boxes… but now that the weather is warm and wonderful, think about some fun and creative ways to get out of your box! We love taking our sweat into the sunshine – hiking, biking, and running; taking our pilates and yoga mats to the grass – so what are some other ways you can take the rest of your life out of the boxes and into the great outdoors? Walk a trail with a friend instead of meeting for coffee. Drink your wine while planting a garden, instead of in your living room. Pack a basket and take a picnic, instead of going out for dinner. It may be slightly less convenient, or just a tiny bit less comfortable, but I promise, the little extra effort will always be worth it.