Monday, June 25, 2012

End of the World Thinking Exercise



According to the Maya calendar, the end of the 13th baktun (400 years long time cycle) falls on December 21, 2012. Some historians believe this day should mark the end of the Maya calendar and at the same time, the end of time.

Planet Shopping Centre
Photo by
billaday. Please visit  billaday's photostream. Thank you.


The world has already gone through the hype of cataclysmic predictions connected to this day, none of which was supported with a clear evidence that some huge geological or astronomical catastrophe is going to happen and wipe out everything on the Earth. After all, this is the end of the 13th cycle and nothing of the sort happened at the ends of the previous 12. On the other hand, we witness tremendous social and political disturbances everywhere in the world, so it seems to me that if there is going to be a change, it is more likely to take place in our minds. The shift in our thinking might mark the beginning of the next time cycle. However, December 21, when Earth, Venus and the black hole in the centre of the Milky Way will align is coming soon, so, we will see what will happen.

In the meantime, let us have a more personal approach to the December 21 phenomenon. Let us imagine for a moment that something cataclysmic is going to happen and that in an instant moment our lives ARE going to end! My life, your life, lives of your friends and family, they will all end! Bank accounts, careers, houses, boats... they will all be gone! We tend to think about the end of the world from the Hollywood and TV perspective - for us, natural disasters are just some dramatic pictures taking place somewhere far away - rarely do we think of it as something that could REALLY happen to us.

So imagine for a moment that your life is going to end on that December 21 and that you have some 180 days to live. What would you do in those 180 days? How would you spend them? How would you like to leave this world? As an unhappy and angry person or a calm and happy one? Is there anything that you would like to say to someone before everything ends? Would you like to do something that you have always wanted to do but you never had time? How many unfulfilled dreams will you leave behind?

I am inviting you to play a mind game - let’s call it the End of the World Exercise. Imagine that YOUR WORLD is about to end on December 21. I emphasize: your world because I am referring to the way you live right now and to everything that surrounds you right now. Imagine that you have 180 days to make certain things in your life right, or at least better, before everything ends. Are you happy with the life you live? Is there something that you think you can change right now? Are there some things that are already within your reach that you can work on to make those last days more meaningful?

Here is the hint of what you might do. Make Top 5 Lists. These lists will consist of:
5 activities that you enjoy most doing;
5 things that you would like to learn;
5 silly things that you would like to do but you never had courage to do them;
5 places that you enjoy visiting;
5 situations when you felt proud of yourself;
5 items in your closet that you feel particularly comfortable (and sexy) wearing;
5 things you enjoyed eating when you were a child;
5 ... the list can go on forever!
You will have 180 day to think about the things you mentioned in your Top 5 Lists and to actually do some of them. If you’ve always wanted to paint - paint your first painting. Learn 100 words in Japanese. Build a tree house for your children. Visit a favourite place from your childhood. Adopt a pet. Go bungee jumping, eat your favourite banana and ice cream salad (forget about calories for a moment)... Step out from your comfortable (but unhappy) reality and do something for yourself! The clock is ticking, the deadline for the termination of the project is approaching!

Planet Plum
Photo by b.e.n. Please visit  b.e.n.'s photostream. Thank you


Think about your relationship with the people and the things around you. Be present. Pay attention to details. That sofa in your living room may be ugly, but it is perfect for afternoon naps! The view on the tree canopy from your bedroom window is very romantic! Don’t you think that the drawing you child just completed is very cute? The coffee in the morning tastes particularly nice! The facades in your street look beautiful but you never knew that because you never had the time to look up! There are so many things around us that we can enjoy daily, we are just too busy to notice them! We only become aware of them once we are about to lose them!

In the next 180 days you should be particularly kind to the members of your family and your close friends. You will enjoy every moment of being together. When they talk you will look them in the eyes and concentrate on what they are saying to you. You will try to understand every single point they are making. You will find the way to tell them, or show them, that you love them! You will hug them and kiss them. If you are stressed out, you will think twice before speaking to them; you will not use harsh words. You will stop noticing their faults – nobody’s perfect! Even if they do something that you do not approve of, you will find the way to speak your mind without hurting or judging anyone. If these are the last days that you are going to spend together, spend them in harmony!

Here are some additional things that you can do:
Call a friend you have not heard from for ages just to say hello;
Write an email to thank someone for something they have done for you long time ago;
Send someone flowers;
Forgive someone;
Praise someone;
Smile;
Do someone a favour;
Donate a small sum of money;
Think of other things that could make you and people around you happy, and do them!

I personally don’t like to think negative and pessimistic thoughts, I even struggled to find the title for this game because the End of the World Exercise sounded too terrifying to me. But then I thought that sometimes we need to be confronted with negative experiences only to discover our true nature and make a step forward in our personal development. So I thought, what the hell, let’s call it the End of the World Exercise. Let it sound scary because it should make us wake up to our reality, think about our lives and find courage to start making changes for the better. Whenever you are hesitant about something, whenever you are procrastinating REMEMBER THAT YOU HAVE LIMITED TIME TO FINISH THE MOST IMPORTANT PROJECT CALLED – LIFE!

Use this mind game to prepare yourself for the next bactun, the world beyond December 21. Let the End of the World Exercise help you define what makes you unhappy in your present world. Start making small changes NOW - they will lead to bigger changes in future and to creating NEW, BETTER, HAPPIER, MORE CREATIVE, YOU!
 

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If you wish to further explore this topic, you can check out the selection of my favourite books about creative thinking.

Key words for this blog post:
creative thinking, thinking exercise, creative technique, Maya calendar...

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