Hello friends, I want to introduce you to a new guest blogger this week. Meet Bentley Richards, a father, businessman, adventurer and friend that distinctly came to mind when this week became about thinking and living outside of the box. Take it away Bentley….
I don’t like boxes very much unless they are being shipped to my house from my amazon prime account. When I was 7 years old I would imagine myself traveling through earth’s atmosphere past our solar system beyond our galaxy and universe until I reached the end. The end of what? Problem is I couldn’t imagine a place beyond so I would wrap my travels into a shoe box and call it a day. The outer limits of my imagination was a shoe box which contained everything. The only limits I could envision were self imposed. This seemed an appropriate analogy for this discussion on thinking outside the box.
I have a degree in art which has helped contribute to my creative energy and attitude in the work place. I rarely think “NO” when approaching a new opportunity or situation. My creative mind says “HOW” instead. Once I’m in this state of mind the answers start to flow in and opportunities present themselves. Its not magical new-age hocus pocus. Thinking differently then opens my eyes to all the alternative solutions that lie just outside the box.
Boxes serve purposes in business, government and life. They help to maintain order and allow people to function efficiently and effectively. Corporations build procedures and manuals to reproduce proven results. The good news is these forces make our lives much easier in ways that have become invisible. The fact that most of us obey they yellow lines separating us when travelling at high speeds is to me a suggestion that we appreciate and rely heavily upon these guidelines. A box is a way of thinking that is so highly specialized and efficient that we forget about it. It becomes invisible to us and before we know it we are trapped inside.
Opening the box must be done in front of a mirror. Look at your life. Is there an area where you find yourself settling for mediocrity? Have you accepted a situation, relationship or career path where you are uninspired, lack motivation or harbor resentment? If so you are probably stuck in some box/idea of how life is and you’ve stopped questioning if there is a better alternative out there. I opened my box up and threw the contents against the wall when I turned 40 years old. I had trapped myself in conventional ways of thinking that were so diametrically opposed to my Soul’s life purpose that only a drastic redecorating of my life could cure me of my limited self image through the process of a reimagined lifestyle.
I started listening to music again and engaging in the creative arts. I went to the burning man festival and spent a week in the desert living more unconventionally than I could ever have imagined. During that week I slept during the day, danced all night and camped with 50,000 other burners. I rode on a boat through the desert and wrote my fears, worries and prayers on a two story wooden temple that would be burnt at the end of my stay. I wore a skirt during the day and a fur vest at night. We exchanged no currency, bought nothing and shared in it all. It took about a week after my trip to transition back to all the standardized conventions we encounter on a daily basis. Just walking into a Starbucks was a shocking surreal experience. Since then I have spent a lot of time in places where the general rules and attitudes in life have been flipped on their head. Through this process I have re-connected with my inner passions and interests, found a new love for my children and opened myself to friendships with interesting people where I delight in our different viewpoints on the world. I’m not sure what the future holds for me but I guarantee it’s going to be interesting and different. My fear of death is diminishing and my zest for life is just beginning. My box now has windows! See you all at Outside Lands in August. 🙂
Bentley Richards is the proprietor of the Lab Brewing Company in Agoura Hills, California. You can often find Bentley live at the Brewery or on Instagram @thelabbrewingco or www.labbrewingco.com