Wednesday, February 2, 2011


"Sometimes getting lost is the learning.  To do any of that learning, though, you have to first leave the ship.
                                                                                                             ~Patti Digh
                                                                                                             from Life is a Verb: 37 Ways to Wake Up,
                                                                                                                                                Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally

As I pondered life on the eve of my 35th year I decided to pluck Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally from the bookshelf.  A gift from my mama last Christmas, it is a beautiful treasure trove of a book. 

The stories in Life is a Verb were written for the author, Patti Digh's, daughters.  She hopes the stories will teach them to live fully in their daily lives.  It is reads more like a workbook than a traditional novel.

I thought today would be a propitious day to do one of the exercises in the book. 

I just randomly flipped through the book and decided on the story titled "Get off the Ship."  

Here Digh describes a learning abroad cruise that she took while attending a university.  The boat was scheduled to make stops in ten ports ranging "from Kobe to Split to Istanbul and Cadiz--and beyond."

During her stay on the boat, she took notice of one student that had yet to get off at any of the ports.  Digh decides to get to the bottom of this woman's hesitance, and targets her while they are docked in  Penang, Malaysia.

After talking with the woman a bit she discovers that the woman was afraid to leave the boat in fear that she might get lost. 

Digh considers her answer and asks "How old are you?"


She then asks "And what do you think the life expectancy is for woman in the United States these days?

The woman guesses eighty.

Digh cleverly asks, "Do you think you'll stay lost for sixty years?"

They decide to "get lost together" at the next port: Madras, India.

Following each story, is a "37 Days: Do It Now Challenge." For "Get Off the Ship" she challenges you to take your camera or journal and find an object that you feel inspired to photograph or journal about.  She recommends taking at least twenty pictures or writing twenty descriptions observing this object from different angles and light.  

In doing this it encourages us to realizes "Where we 'stand' changes our perspective and angle of vision....How can we change our perspective to see more sides of the people and events in our lives?"

The last portion of each story is labeled "Movement."  It provides ways to stretch these insights into your daily life: 

"For thirty-seven days, be a conscious explorer. Every day, place yourself against new themes: Get lost, take a wrong turn, veer off the path you always take, walk a different path with your dog, read a magazine you would not normally pick up, connect with someone different from you, eat in a restaurant you've never tried...Get off the ship." 

Next stop...Venice, or Africa, Portland perhaps?

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