Sure, it is good to go out and get in to the outside world. But the opposite is also true, it is just as good (if not better) to escape from the outside world. For those who love peace and calm the outside world can be a very difficult space to navigate. While it may be healthy to go out now and then, here are ten tips (which, I have tested out myself for weeks at a time) for periodically or permanently escaping the outside world:
#1. Procrastinate. Don’t think about it, don’t worry about it, don’t care about it. Just leave it alone. Stay present and let the future work itself out. Just enjoy your time now and don’t worry about what may or may not be coming up ahead.
#2. Really try to stay offline. Turn your phone off as much as possible, don’t check email, don’t go online. Try to live your life as if none of that existed. Do anything else but use the internet.
#3. Be creative. Write a story or write in a journal. Paint something. Make a detailed drawing. Build something. Garden. Make a sculpture out of wood. Think up your own philosophy about something and write it down. Talk to yourself about something interesting. Play a musical instrument. Move the furniture around in your house or apartment. Do anything that feels like you are engaging the more creative parts of your brain.
#4. Listen to music. Find interesting music that engages your creativity, or imagination and listen to it. Currently I am listening to the earlier work of Klaus Schulze, who is a German electronic musician. If you have yet to listen to much Krautrock, I recommend starting there. Give Kraftwerk’s earlier albums a try. Or listen to classical music. Listen to records. Listen to cassetes. Listen to the radio. Spend quality time really immersing yourself in musical sounds.
#5. Don’t worry about stuff. This is so important since the outside world really gets its hooks in you through worry. This is how the outside world holds you hostage. So do whatever you can to stop worrying. Meditate, play music, listen to music, go for a walk, drink a glass of wine, do deep breathing, make art, write in a journal- anything to get control of your worry.
#6. Watch cats, birds or dogs. Notice what they do, how they spend their day and try to learn from them. Eat, play, go to the bathroom, rest, listen, observe, sleep.
#7. Just sit there. Pascal, the French writer, mathematician, inventor and philosopher (he made good use of his time while escaping the outside world) said that most of what ails human beings would be avoided if we could just learn how to be content sitting in a chair, alone in a room. So just stay where you are. Hang out. Control yourself. Stay put. Relax. Chill. You really do not need to be running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off.
#8. Don’t drive anywhere. For the most part, once you are driving a car you are immersed in the outside world. Driving a car involves you in the affairs of the world. You are subject to the legal system, stress and other driver’s personality disorders. There is no way to escape the outside world when in a car. Walk wherever you need to go. Stay on foot. You can walk all around in the outside world but still be free from it.
#9. Stay Home. I know this will be difficult for many, but and ideal way to escape the outside world is to not go into it. Stay home. Many of the above recommendations are things to keep you occupied while home. If you are really involved in your creative work you will have no need to leave your home (other than possibly for food). Find a space in your home where you like to be and just stay there. Don’t go online. Don’t talk on the phone. Don’t text. Read, write, meditate, listen to music, clean, sleep, watch films, cook- just be home.
#10. Read. This is the number one way to escape the outside world. Have you ever met a prolific reader who feels like they are all there? Probably not because the reader exists mostly in their head, not the outside world. If you are not a reader, chances are that you are completely swallowed up by the outside world. Reading prevents this from happening. Read novels, read non-fiction, read magazines. Read. I recommend reading really obscure, independent fiction. There is so much good stuff out there. Start with independent presses like Penny-Ante Press, Coffee House Press, Akashic Books or Two Dollar Radio. Engage your intellect and imagination. READ. If you become an engaged reader, this will guarantee your escape from the outside world.