Crafting freedom from the hidden rules we allow to govern us

Last Wednesday the power went off. It was planned. Someone from the power company told us this was going to happen from 9am with power back estimated at 4.30pm. So, as a family all at home in lockdown we scheduled a special day of doing a lot of unplugged things. Including going for a walk after lunch.

When we got back at 2.30 the power was back on early ... so what did we do?

Illustration of someone in chains, an escapologist.

We immediately defaulted to the ‘important/urgent’ stuff. Sara (my wife) said she was a bit sad (although we’d all agreed to go back to normal). She’s task / work focussed as a freelancer, as am I. We naturally default to doing work in work hours. But wouldn’t an occasional memorable moments day be worth while? A day to remember? (Crafting one of these is a core part of the Day Crafting Apprentice Course.)

This, for me, highlights the hidden rules that we carry around. The rules that govern what we’re comfortable doing, e.g. it’s a work day I must be being productive. I could force myself away from my desk but the hidden rules in my head would prevent me from ‘enjoying’ myself – whereas, if the power is off, the argument is stopped, someone or something has set me free.

The same is true in the evening and weekends. Different rules. Tim Smit from the Eden Project would take his team out to a restaurant in the evening to make important/creative decisions because he knew they would have a different set of rules they would normally have during the day. Perhaps he knew they would be in their rebound stage of chronorhythm where creativity is better.

But, what a crafting project it would be for the Day Crafter, to be free of the rules that come from ... where? Society? Protestant work ethic? Childhood conditioning? ...

Maybe I should just pull all the fuses out of the wall more often.

The Practice

Work around your rules. If you can’t escape them at least begin to use the time of the day to your advantage. For example, reserve energy during the day so that you’re not too tired to do something creative in the evening. Try making decisions at different times; under ‘work’ rules or outside of them.

Begin to explore what is involved with challenging or changing your rules in small ways, one day at a time. Prepare and schedule in advance  time to do something you would normally feel uncomfortable doing. Negotiate with yourself. Permissive identity shift can happen quickly if you find the right way to craft the change.

Written by Bruce Stanley on Fri, January 22, 2021

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