Do rules lead to nourishing experiences or do they disassociate us?
This is a question I pondered while visiting Bali last week.
My first visit to the busy tourist island was an eye-opener in more ways than one could imagine.
Let’s begin with the roads.
Rules are thrown to the curb in favour of interactive driving.
What you soon realise is that cars and bikes swerving in front of you is not something to get flustered about; it’s a normal part of sharing the road in Bali.
Traffic lights are generally seen as a ‘suggestion’ rather than a strict rule.
And when it comes to changing lanes make sure you beep that horn, rather than use the indicator – that’s reserved for actually turning corners.
Most roads aren’t much wider than would fit a single vehicle despite these streets being two-way, so courteously sharing the road is an absolute must on the roads.
Congestion is expected.
It’s the way of the roads, explaining why drivers have an air of patient friendliness no matter what the traffic conditions.
Not once did I witness road rage nor an accident.
Lots of near hits but no actual collisions.
How is this even possible amid such an onslaught of unruly cars and bikes?
The answer is simple.
Due to a lack of rules, the drivers and riders are 100% present.
They are there in the moment, concentrating on the roads.
It’s not like here in Australia where we stay in the white lines, obey the street signs and stop at red lights.
With so much control who needs to think?
Who needs to pay any real attention?
How many people here spend their drive to work planning their day, re-running that argument with the kids or daydreaming about that hot guy?
We may be physically in the car.
But mentally, we’re anywhere but.
We’re certainly not being present.
And that lends itself to danger.
It increases our chances of slipping up, of missing that approaching vehicle that picked up his mobile and is now veering into your lane.
Perhaps you drive right on through that red light, so caught up in your head.
Not for a minute seeing that small child who just ran out onto the road after his footy.
These rules we abide by, while familiar and seemingly necessary, may not be as safe as we are led to believe.
These rules provide so much security we come to depend on them.
We become robots to the system.
Robots, that when distracted by the radio, our phones, the kids in the backseat or our own mind, make mistakes.
It is these very mistakes that cost lives.
So let me ask you: Is Australia really more advanced in our road systems?
Our ways of living?
Yes, there’s more organisation, more control.
But could this very control be what takes us away from ourselves?
Our connection to the present moment?
Our interactions and our deeper thoughts?
What if we were to let go of control for a day?
Not necessarily on the roads, but in everyday living?
What you’d probably find is that without the expectations control creates, you’d be free to experience something new.
Something much more fulfilling.
Take work for example.
What if employees were given the freedom to decide their own hours?
Peak our traffic would disappear, there’d be more flexibility for families, more time to live life, higher workplace morale, and we all know that leads to better productivity.
The 40-hour workweek was created back in 1948.
Surely it’s time to update the system.
There are so many controlling factors – rules – in life.
Fashion faux pas’, societal expectations, diets – and the list goes on. Do they really hold true value? Or would we be better surrendering to the moment.
I know when a person ‘surrenders’ in the bedroom they’re able to have a much deeper, rich and ecstatic experience.
So what about other life areas?
This week I ask you to break some rules.
Give it a go.
And when you do just notice how you feel.
I’d love to hear what you discover, so please share your experiences in the comments section below.
Enjoy letting go of control.
As Marilyn Munroe once said: ‘If I had observed all the rules, I’d never have gotten anywhere.’