Some number of years ago a friend dubbed me, “Captain of Adventures.” At the time, I didn’t take the title very seriously. I was just doing what I do; that is to say living on the fringe of society doing things that “fringers” do. Most notably at that time I had sold my vehicle and was riding a 21-speed rebuilt classic Schwinn to and from work within the Chicago suburbs.
During those bike-riding days (I have since bought a small pickup truck), I learned that a cheap and fun way to give one’s personal information out is with a business card. To vistaprint.com I ventured and a card I designed. Thus, was Captain of Adventures born:
|(personal info deleted; it’s changed)
Since that time, I have moved to several places around the United States, traveled to over many different countries (five this year alone) and continued my pursuit to create adventure out of the everyday and seemingly mundane.
There are innumerable texts on creating this in your life. Most times we hear things like “presence of mind,” “mindfulness,” “being present,” and so on. One book that opened my mind to this idea is:
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
ZMBM is a modern text on Zazen meditation, though also (somewhat more abstractly)on cultivating, you guessed it, beginner’s mind. That is, how to view the world through the eyes of the child on a daily basis. It is entirely possible to see the mundane and ordinary from an exciting or very unusual perspective by simply being present and appreciating what is immediately in front of us.
To this end, I offer The Rampage of Appreciation Monologue, or RAM.
“But what is this, this RAM?”
“How can RAMming something be good?”
Imagine you are standing in the shortest of all the very long lines at the grocery. The woman ahead of you is pushing two carts full of pampers, fritos, fridge packs of soda, and all sorts of other “food” for her family of seven.
You have a bag of carrots and a container of *organic* hummus.
This is your opportunity to RAM. Yourself.
Step one: Take a series of deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth.
Step two: Think of something for which you are grateful. Within our current example, I would say to myself, “I am grateful that I currently have no children.”
Step three: Think of more things you are grateful for. Allow a stream of consciousness monologue in your head. “I am grateful for my dog. I am grateful for my girlfriend. I am grateful for the dreams that we are creating together. I am grateful for how soundly I slept last night. I am grateful for my clean, comfortable mattress. I am grateful for being able to wake up next to my beautiful, loving girlfriend. I am grateful for the job I have.”
Step Four: Continue this stream in your head until you feel you’re done. At that point, it’s likely the clerk will ask you to swipe your club card.
While the tone in my above example is derisive, I use it to illustrate a point (and clarify to make another).
First, it is easy to adopt an air of superiority when in a situation like the above. In order for the RAM to be effective, it is important to remember that every person on this planet is equal to one another. Strip away clothing, money, status, car, etc., and we will be fleshy, naked homo sapiens. Nothing more.
Second, practicing this helps us create compassion. We need compassion to be truly grateful for that which we have in our lives. This compassion and gratitude helps us create adventure in the mundane and everyday.