Saturday, June 18, 2011

Out of the Rut

I have come to the conclusion that my life is far too predictable.

Except for the times when the supermarket has a serious shelf shift about, I can almost close my eyes to do the weekly shop. I know the shelves where I have to stand on my tip toes to reach a bottle of this, or a tin of that, or start hunting about for a tall person to reach it for me. I know which products I will pick up, carefully examine and put back on the shelf because the price tag is too high and I don’t really need it. I know the contents of the trolley, and can almost have the exact money in my hand before I reach the checkout.

I live in a rut!

This morning I climbed out of my rut most reluctantly. I was in town, visiting the usual shops in the usual order, buying the usual things when I noticed a new shop. It was a gallery of arts and crafts. I am usually inclined to go in and have a peek about, but this particular gallery was up a flight of steps and would require more effort than I was willing to expend.

I had walked past the door, having glanced at the array of crafts in the display window either side of the staircase. I have learned from experience that the absence of a price ticket somewhere usually means it is out of my price range.

I stopped just outside the boarded up window of the next shop. Shops going out of business seem to be common place just about everywhere. A shop opening, one that isn’t another discount store, is rare and should not be passed by and ignored – even with a flight of stairs.

There were a number of things that I really liked. There was a single rail of clothes each item very unique and not mass produced. There was a wonderful cream shawl that looked like it was constructed from spider’s webs. The price tag was a heavy one and beyond the contents of my purse…or my bank balance, come to that.

So, yes, I climbed out of the rut…and then climbed back in!

Earlier this week I bought a book. It doesn’t claim to be a book, with the title “This is Not a Book” although it looks like a book. The opening page tells me I am about to embark on a journey. It contains a series of tasks designed to make use of your imagination. I knew what it was when I bought it, and I bought it because I knew what is was.

There are two hundred and twenty pages of challenges to do. Some of them appear rather pointless like holding the book over your head for as long as possible and recording the time on a dotted line on the page. Other tasks are perfect starters for getting the creative juices moving.

I am vaguely happy to do a lot of things as long as I can do them privately – drawing little stars on a page every time I enter a room, or picking out random page from an encyclopaedia and a random topic and doing research and becoming an expert.

Some of the challenges encourage you to involve other people, strangers even, and I find myself not really up for that. And yet, those challenges are probably the ones that I really need to do to expand my world and my thinking.

Living out of the rut is living exposed to the unfamiliar. There are no comfort zones to wrap around yourself.

It's a challenge to live out of the rut.

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