Now as a vegetarian type of person, who thinks America would be a better place without any guns, I didn’t particularly warm to the fact half the book is about hunting for Cariboo in the wildest Alaska. But, putting aside that squeamishness, I did like the book. Perhaps more than anything I think the topic is very interesting. It also helps that I have been inspired by events such as the London 24-hour race and the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race in New York.
Walk to the shops
It did actually inspire me to make a change in my life. For the past five years, I have enjoyed the comfort of getting grocery shopping delivered from online orders. It’s amazing and you don’t have to leave your front door or carry anything heavy. But, I have decided that rather than relying on online delivery, I will start walking/running slowly to the supermarket, (which is actually only a paltry 0.25 miles away) but not only that – I will carry the shopping back home in a rucksack. I was particularly inspired by the idea that ‘Rucking’ – carrying heavy items in a rucksack is a great way to improve overall fitness. I was so inspired by my last shopping visit, I took a detour up a small hill and managed to make a 2 mile walk with backpack. Usually I don’t walk anywhere, nearly always cycling, but I want better all-round fitness and greater walking capacity.
Now, when I go shopping, I can’t help but think of my good friend Mahiruha who works as a checkout person in Chicago, US. Not only does Mahiruha pack bags, but he frequently recites poetry to his customers. He has so many good tales to tell, it is amazing to hear how people can be moved by such a simple act. Who would have thought you could go into a supermarket in Chicago and listen to a poem by Sri Chinmoy or others whilst buying your shopping? Who says America is in decline if there is this kind of inspiration still happening? (check out Mahiruha’s latest blog, as an example)
Alas, at my local supermarket, they have removed all checkouts, it is only robotic self-service. I know my elderly neighbour is deeply upset at this development. I feel slightly guilty as an economist as we always talk about productivity, but I think this is often at the expense of what matters to life.
The joy of human interaction I have felt recently, going around Oxford putting up posters for a forthcoming meditation course. So many nice simple interactions with shop owners. I always go to this fish and shop shop. It is run by two brothers from the Middle East, they are Sufis, and always have nice comments. One of them always says I look like the person (Sri Chinmoy) in the poster. Needless to say, it makes my day, I don’t care if it is flattery.
Going back to the comfort crisis, I increasingly enjoy rebelling against efforts to make humans lazy and weak. When I go to an airport, I’ve started taking rucksack rather than those roller suitcases. I walk and take steps rather than use a travellator/elevator. I even walked to terminal five, rather than short-train, A rebel without a cause.
Sri Chinmoy would often talk about changing our attitude to life.
Change your attitude!
Lo, look what stands before you:
– Sri Chinmoy
It’s amazing how I now view many experiences as an opportunity to strengthen physical fitness, rather than my previous attitude that it is hard work to be avoided by technology.
I can now do 30 push-ups in a day (not all at once obviously) but for a stick insect who once couldn’t do even one, this is a kind of progress. I do have a bit of a bad back this evening, let’s hope it is going to get stronger.