Live as though you worst fear has come true. Live this way for thirty days. Then you will realize you are capable of trotting through your worst fears. This is a tenant of stoicism. I heard about it from the Tao of Seneca. I learned about it by practicing.
There was a time when I limited my diet, enforced strict budget rules to mimic as though I where living a few tax brackets below myself and cut expenses in every possible way I could find. I remember the feeling was nothing like I had imaged it. There where a couple of awkward moments when I had to turn down my friends. But overall the lack of purchases and instant comforts actually lifted my moods and spirits. If I declined a dinner outing I felt pretty good about it later in the even when I still had energy. I felt like I had more control over my diet. I was eating only beans, rice, and potatoes at the time and found I had lots of energy to burn.
There was a short period in the beginning of this experiment that I felt rather hungry. I had the usual symptoms; stomach growls, hanger, and weakness. But that went away after a few days. I kept my meals small and I think this created a more alert state in my body. My survival modes where activated. I learned a lot about patience. I saved a bunch of money.
Doing this practice I was living out my fear of having little money and scant food. I was living out a fear of saying no to friends when asked to go out and spend money. It taught me a lot and definitely came in handy when I was travelling. The experience taught me about my body and how in handles different situations. By doing this I also learned some of the outer limits of my body. It really is a quite a remarkable thing. I really like engaging the survival instincts of our animal bodies.
I could have went further with my experiment. I wanted to try and stay out on the streets a few days but I never worked up the nerve. Perhaps someday. It would be a hell of a thing to write about!
What are your thoughts on these practices? Should people identify their fees and actively try to confront them? Let me know I would love to hear from you.
This blog entry marks the eve that I have begun writing again. The journey on my bicycle notes will be transcribed and posted shortly!