Prior to leaving the Big Smoke we spent some time ‘hanging out’ with our pal Brian Johnson.
Philosopher extraordinaire and the mastermind behind Optimize —an online portal that delivers more wisdom in less time— Brian is inspiration on steroids.
If you’re as lazy as I am, you’ll love Brian’s minimalist approach to getting better at life.
Even if you’re not inclined to spend more time arlsing on the couch than you do working, you’ll still enjoy it. Sporty’s nowhere near as lazy as me and she thinks it’s the shiz.
Hero Training 101
In his Hero Training 101 seminar —which is based on Joseph Campbell’s well-known book The Hero’s Journey and features the fascinating documentary Finding Joe— Brian emphasizes the importance of getting really comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Agreeing to ‘house sit’ a permaculture farm was the start of our ‘getting comfortable with being uncomfortable’ journey and the ride has just been getting progressively bumpier and more interesting as we go.
Ed: This is the first post in our Hero Training 101 series. These are the others:
- Settling into being unsettled
- Notes from a small town (with an epiphany)
- Follow your grunt
- The equanimity game
Get the Hell Outside Your Comfort Zone
Located on a busy bus route, a five minute walk to the gym and in close proximity to supermarkets, coffee shops and restaurants, our little apartment was the epitome of convenience.
We were super comfortable and yet, in spite of the many creature comforts at our disposal, an underlying sense of dissatisfaction prevailed. We were happy, but…
While not quite desperation, we were experiencing mild discontent. Where our lives were at, wasn’t really where we wanted to be. It was all too routine, too much of the same. Change was needed and fast.
When Urban Hippies Are Ready, Opportunities Appear
Actually, even if said urban hippies only think they’re ready, those opportunities still appear. Also, it turns out that the leap from merely toying with the idea of house-sitting (in the city, mind you) to actually spending a month on a permaculture farm, is not as big as one would imagine.
The closest town (a misnomer if ever) is a two hour walk from here, cell phone reception is sketchy at best, OrderIn is limited to Herrie’s Pub & Grill and the Uber network is currently unavailable.
All that being said, the array of fresh vegetables mere steps from our kitchen door is downright dizzying. The creatures that inhabit this part of the world are as diverse as they are entertaining, the air is fresh and the stars ridiculously bright. Best of all, we haven’t heard a single taxi hooter since we arrived last Friday.
The art of slow living takes on a whole new meaning when you’re living off the grid. Unless you’re looking to make a fresh salad or breathe in a lung-full of unpolluted air, there’s no such thing.
In the city, for example, an overcast day is an excuse to binge-watch a new series on Netflix. Out here it’s a signal to stop charging your devices and prepare yourself mentally for the very real possibility that come evening you won’t even have enough power to turn on the lights.
On hot days, however, we get to binge-charge all laptops and cellphones (even if they don’t need it), indulge in long, scalding showers (counter-intuitive, I know) and enjoy spectacular sunsets.
What we’re learning is that life is about balance. It might be hella uncomfortable getting to grips with the concept, but thanks to Brian’s Optimize wisdom, we’re pretty much on point in that regard.
Freshly picked asparagus anyone?