Why take A Day On?

Why would you want to take a day away from your job to… work? What? Are you kidding? Living your life as you would dictate! You’re creative and it’s about time your creativity was tapped. Taking A Day On brings you a step closer to your essence, so why wouldn’t you want to go there?You know you’re being pulled there anyway. Go on. Take A Day On.

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A Day On : finding the alternative to fragmented culture 

Essentials. What do I hope to get out of A Day On? The joy I felt yesterday without the despair I feel today. The joy of a day spent creating.

What is A Day On?

 

A Day On is man’s search for a way to unify meaning and life. At “work” I find that most of the work goals don’t directly match my own, and the one’s that I can find some shred of meaning in become so mired down in the various committees and unimaginative “authorities” that by time it comes for me to execute them I have lost my connection to them. I have found ways to get by without taking on too much and I still get results greater than my predecessor; however my passion is all but gone. I discovered that my most passionate and productive days tend to fall on days that I call in “sick” from work, thus I am naturally being pulled to go to work less so that I can get more done. Have a better quality of life.

Referring to these days as “days off” doesn’t do them justice. And so, the term “A Day On” applies. Taking A Day On is an exercise in creativity. If our days are not filled according to others’ priority and direction we must assume that responsibility for ourselves. A Day On the website, book, articles and magazine are resources toward doing that.

From the “A Day On” perspective I seek to discover and illustrate how people bring about a unity in life in which they can have the time to satisfy their own personal longings and at the same time pay the bills. For some it requires a realignment of values and beliefs– not an acceptence of new values or beliefs, but usually an uncovering of already-existing, neglected internal values that lie at the root of their being. It is a search into how to match actions to our values into a unity within life.

One of our most common complaints whether consciously or unconsciously recognized, is a feeling of fragmentation within our lives. The root cause of this begins at the denial of a value. It becomes a feeling that we are living our lives on a moving conveyor belt and soon we come to feel that every move must be carefully timed so as not to throw our whole system into chaos. This is a stressful and useless belief. The accompanying stress comes from habitually forcing ourselves to micromanage decisions with which we don’t personally identify with at the gut level.

The main ingredient required to step out of this alien existence into one that more closely matches our essence: creativity.

Creativity: The ability to discern between a genuine decision and an automatic response.

The person who can, to use a cliche, think outside the box will be the one who is most ready to live outside the provided “choices” and seek out their own genuine choices. A Day On is about living a genuine life.

There’s a reason we are likely to hear the words eccentric and millionaire together with the same frequency that we hear the words eccentric and artist together. Eccentricities or as the rest of us call them “quirks” are the out-of-the-box choices in lifestyle that can be afforded to someone who doesn’t have to conform for economic reasons. I find it ironic that the dollar bill exclaims: In God we Trust, when in fact it is the Almighty Dollar that we live for.

Those who are confident enough in their individuality to express it in the formation of art, especially those who are rewarded financially, are having a deeply rooted part of their “self” rewarded and thus are encouraged to make other lifestyle choices that are less externally prescribed and more inwardly dictated.

All factors should be considered when you consider following your Day On with another and another– eventually claiming your life. I would argue that every day we are given a broader range of choices than the shepherd living up in the mountains of northern Italy– the one who is living life in the Flow.

The one for whom life and work are inseparable. He has very little room to question an identity that he is living because he had very little role in actively assuming it. In America, however, we are given choices every waking hour of the day. It’s one of the markers of what we tout as being a strong economy.

But does it make strong individuals?

We know that Americans spend more time working per week than any other industrialized nation. This book addresses the issue that we hear persisting as a nagging sign of general discontent. The book began as a discontent of the author who sought to find out why he and so many others use words like “fragmented” and “stressed” to describe modern life.

Richard Florida asserts again and again that “every one of us is creative. The question is how to tap into that creative impulse.” I’m not sure why Florida insists that it is important to re-activate that impulse. Perhaps he is feeling that if every American began being more secure in tapping that impulse America would again serve as a model for civilizations world-wide. Perhaps we would then be better able to throw away terms like “civilized world” “first, second and third-world” because the measuring stick would be different. Perhaps America could lead the world in thinking outside the box.

A good example of where this is working is in the microbrewery industry. Calling it an industry in itself is almost a blasphemy. It is the artisan ethic versus the mass-production ethos. Giants such as Budweiser and Miller and even Coors were suddenly awakened to the critical mass of a lot of successful microbrewries who each offered their own special style to the American palate. The old business model of continued growth without much attention to quality was suddenly vulnerable when placed in the ring with a bunch of brews that existed simply because an individual was proud of his creation and wanted to offer it (almost without thought of profit) to the world to taste. How does big business fight that. They really can’t.

The microbrew movement is an example of where alternative choices have peeked through the soil amid the solid growth of corporate choices. The discerning beer drinker now knows where to seek out something a little special– like a beer ought to be– like everything ought to be. But what about an alternative fuel? What about clothing? What about a career? What about a home? An education for kids?

Suddenly the choices seem overwhelming and we’re back where we began.

In some ways the (often default) choices that make up our lives are like our debts. You take the one that’s taxing you the most and work on it and get it managable, then move on to the next one.

Richard Florida claims to be only interested in numbers and figures and graphs, but I suspect there is a hidden urge to empower, embolden and to release the creative urges of individuals in his personality. There is a Sting line that goes: Men go crazy in congregations/ they only get better one by one.

Being where you want to be and wanting to be where you are.

Why take A Day On?

Why would you want to take a day away from your job to… work? What? Are you kidding? Living your life as you would dictate! You’re creative and it’s about time your creativity was tapped. Taking A Day On brings you a step closer to your essence, so why wouldn’t you want to go there?

Richard Florida in his book The Rise of the Creative Class explains that there are people out there who live a certain way. They have certain demands of their lifestyle. Now Florida talks about how cities should cater to this growing class of people, but he doesn’t tell you how to enter that class of people. It’s not his concern– he’s an economist and an urban scientist.

But, it’s my concern. I’m a life planner… my own. Let’s look at how Florida describes this class of people:

They don’t want to wear someone else’s uniform. They are members of the no-collar workforce.

They don’t want to work on someone else’s clock. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t work intensely and for long and (by others’ standards) odd hours.

They don’t draw much of a distinction between work and life.

When employed by larger corporations they tend to stay for short tenures.

They tend to care deeply about their work and pride themselves in their craft.

If the above descriptions differ from your work environment and you wish they didn’t, it’s time to take A Day On.

How to take A Day On.

Begin by scheduling a day off work. It can be during the work week or on either edge of a weekend. Tell no one. If any friend or family member knows that you are taking a day off they will try to help you fill up your time. There is nothing as threatening than a close friend with nothing to do. They will want to schedule a lunch date or assign you an errand or worse “the perfect activity to fill your day.” The concept of A Day On will completely baffle them.

Plan your day in advance. Not down to every detail, but if you intend to get out of the house early and head into the city with your laptop to do some writing, make sure your laptop has been charging over night.

Although you will probably find yourself leaping out of bed early in the morning at the prospect of having a day of your life all to yourself, it never hurts to get some sleep and maybe set an alarm so that you can pack the most into your precious hours. Wow! Wouldn’t it be great if you could live every day of your life like this– springing out of bed, careful not to miss a second! A Day On thinks maybe you can!

Be the ball. That is to say, don’t spend your day planning your new life. Be it. If your yearning is to be a painter, paint. This is where a little preparation will serve you well. Don’t waste your morning waiting for the art supply store to open so that you can paint your masterpiece. Have it ready and begin in the first morning light. Don’t spend the day planning. You’ve been doing that for all these years– you know, the time between when you put your passion away so you could concentrate on your job.

A Day On gives you life the way you would live it with no external dictates.

Where to take A Day On.

That all depends upon you. But I find that it is best to remove yourself from reach of anyone from your work, friends and family. Like a tiny seedling, you want to clear any competing demands from around your immediate vicinity in order to give A Day On a chance to take root. That is what A Day On is– a clearing away of competing demands from our daily life long enough for our passions to once again take root in our lives.

The idea is for A Day On to spread throughout our lives crowding out and making it impractical to “put up” with that which we would rather not have to put up with.

So, take A Day On in a place where you feel energy feeding your desire. You probably already know the exact place. But, do not overlook the likely chance that the very best place to take A Day On is your very own living space.

Part of the early planning that went into my Days On involved setting up my home in such a way that I could be productive there when no one was home during the day. There are plenty inviting areas in which I can comfortably work at my laptop computer. However, much of what I enjoy about living artistically is my ability to take my computer anyplace I want. I like movement. I like to be mobile and so my Days On are often taken in places as diverse as my favorite vegetarian restaurant, libraries, pubs, parks, forests, commuter trains, as well as my own home.

In a cubicle a worker exercises his freedom by changing his computer’s desktop or wallpaper or by hanging a favorite photo of a faraway vacation place on his wall. When you take A Day On the world around you becomes your wallpaper.

Living Artistically?

Living Artistically or Living Creatively is really what we are talking about here. A Day On is simply a repeatable technique to reset your life’s default settings, but it brings about as dramatic a change as a resurrection.

It might be argued that everyone has a seed of Creativity within them; however, some choose to deny it and not utilize the innate ability to guide their lives. Some people are able to compartmentalize this creative impulse and store it away without ever needing to acknowledge it. This latter statement strikes me as false as I write it, but I can only say that when you observe some people they seem perfectly content at living a life dictated externally rather than internally. Of course, this thinking leads us into making judgements on the way others lead their lives and we can really only concern ourselves with how we live our own. Like the oath that a doctor takes, maybe our first goal should be to do no harm through dictating for another that they “should or shouldn’t” live a certain way. A Day On is about liberation; our key from the golden handcuffs is our creativity in creating an alternative.

Going within.

It has been said that an American would rather read a travelogue of India than go there. The path that A Day On leads you onto can be the same.

Talking, reading and thinking about it rather than simply doing it can be dangerous in that it gives you the illusion that you have made a committment when in fact you have not taken the first step. That step being A Day On. Hemingway warned the author against talking about the project on which he was working. Talking, he believed, released the immediate pressure that needed to be released in the actual writing of the book.

Taking A Day On can be the first step on a path that can go many places. It is impossible to know exactly how one decision will affect another and another and so on. The question that looms unpronounced and unformed within our minds, the question that stops us from taking that first step down a path we have passed often, an overgrown path, is who will I be if I choose a new path? Will I recognize myself a little ways in?

A valid but probably unnecessary question. We are each of us aging, will we recognize ourselves in forty years anyway? We are changing. That is definite. The question is do we want to gradually, one decision at a time, begin creating ourselves in our own image? A Day On leads to Another Day On.

To some, this can be daunting. An externally dictated life has a certain amount of slack built into it. That’s why an externally dictated life features “performance reviews.” An internally dictated life means that one must take responsibility for how things are going.

An internally dictated life means saying goodbye to concepts like “hump day” and “thank God it’s Friday,” on the other hand you might find yourself thanking God for every day.

A very interesting book that I read in my research, Roadtrip Nation takes the approach of engaging the searcher to go on a roadtrip in a small group and seek out the people whom you find interesting and successful to interview and hopefully gain some insight on how they got to where they are.

The book does engage the reader in the need to take a fresh perspective on the course she will set for

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify.

Thoreau was a pioneer on the path of the internally driven life. One of his tenets was “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” When you are a pioneer, as you will be once you begin taking A Day On and Another and Another, you will find that it is much easier to negotiate life according to your internal compass when you travel light. The less demands on your time, pocketbook, and mind mean that you will have more energy to devote to exploring this new terrain called your life.

Geographically centering.

Geographically Centering simply means finding a place that works for your according to your own priorities and drives. It also follows the principle that generally the smaller the footprint the better. But it is much more than this. By consolidating the distances that we are expected to have dominion over we allow ourselves to be more in control of the various facets of our lives. It takes a very real human toll on a person to work fifty miles away from where he lives, to have children at school where he is unable to reach them because he is expected to remain “at work,” to have a sick parent another forty miles out from the home, to have the kids enrolled in sports at yet another location, to have a gym membership at yet another location… You can see how through Geographic Centering perhaps through working at home so many of the schizms of daily life can be healed.

Economically centering. Means understanding that finances have a place in our lives only insofar as they serve us. For the most part the financial mythos is just that… a myth to which we give power. If you doubt this consider that one of the main economic indicators is “Consumer Confidence.”  When confidence is high people act in such a way that the financial mythos operates with strength. When confidence is low, suddenly the omnipotence of the Almighty Dollar becomes erratic, weak and unable to fulfill our needs.  For more on this, read: Your Money Or Your Life.

Emotionally centering. With so much of our world uncentered it is difficult or impossible. The reason that the aspects of existence are labled “Life Integrations” on the A Day On webpage is because the integration of the necessary aspects of life is as important as any of these particular focuses. And the way to exercise control over the way these parts of our lives are integrated is to take control over them. Gone are the days when we can afford to have the boss demand we work on his clock and at the locale of his choosing because it is more convenient for him. By again assuming these fundamental decisions we regain our full humanity.

“On” community.

A Day On is an “On” Community.  The only rule is that the rules are to be questioned and tested for relevance.

Living among others.
Interacting with the others who choose not to actively engage in these choices can sometimes feel awkward. The inner voice that guides us can sometimes seem threatening, both to others and to ourselves. One of the main jobs of Society is to keep the tribe together. Often times this is accomplished by espousing fear and doubt. The Transcendentalists of the 1800’s dealt with this very thing.

When you find yourself beginning to opt out of various societal expectations we sometimes find that we must deal with an accompanying guilt. A Day On is a place of understanding. Here, you’re among friends.

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