Want a quality life? Tired of your usual routine? Looking for some excitement? If you are looking for a little break, hop on this escape! Here is a recipe for a better reality!
Wouldn’t it be nice to exist in a different world?
A different space, maybe another planet or plane of existence where everything simply unfolds in complete harmony. Nothing but the sound of trees softly swaying, warm breeze faintly brushing against your skin, sun peeking beneath the clouds knowing that today is another adventure to celebrate. There is an air of calm. Your eyes open with excitement but you take your time jumping out of the bed. For a few minutes, you collect your thoughts and try to remember your dreams. You enjoy a slow morning. Leisurely making freshly brewed coffee and savoring every bite of breakfast. Your days are spent with ease. A new day always marks hopeful beginnings and wild explorations and it thrills you.
It all feels great…but you wake up. The sound of the alarm is infuriating. You are almost late, and you feel tired but your feet are moving faster than your mind can even anticipate. It’s like a dance, a routine that feels almost robotic. From then on, more and more throughout the day, you become automatic. Dragging your body through time and burning away until there’s nothing but emotional anesthesia.
How to Live in Alternative Worlds is a free and easy experimental getaway that offers a 9-step instruction on how we can imagine a better life, transporting ourselves to a different dimension where a better reality is (easily) attainable and sustainable.
The syllabus attempts to use imagination as a tool for change and resistance, opening portals for possibilities that rekindle a sense of faith in humanity. It challenges the participant to nurture creativity and cultivate rest, to be in touch with themselves and their current realities no matter how messy it may feel or look like. An immersive experience that brews from within, slowly flowing outwards to be shared with, forming connections and making it possible for us to reimagine a different world, a reality that we all deserve.
Inspired by the idea of slow technology, the syllabus mimics the concept of an interactive fiction game which promotes a low-tech approach to digital adventures. Similarly, How to Live in Alternative Worlds is a text based adventure that follows a narrative broken into 9 different parts. Each part comes with simple instructional words and phrases, encouraging an immersive participation with the reader.
Imagine, create and have fun!
i. close your eyes or stare at a blank space
Find a space where you can sit or lay down comfortably. You may close your eyes if you wish or stare at the wall or the ceiling. You may also do this while playing a movie in the background or listening to music, whatever may help you ease off. Free your hands and every inch of your body with any stress, pressure or weight. Try to think of your happy place, could be a person or a memory and let it calm you down. Take your time. Relax. Let loose. Slow down your thoughts. Exist. Breathe. Just be. Let this sense of serenity and weightlessness take you someplace nice. A place that brings you joy. Go into every little detail. You can be anywhere with anyone. The sky’s the limit.
Where do you want to go?
Who do you want to be?
ii. open up your senses
Once you’ve reached your euphoric destination, it is time to start engaging with your surroundings. Feel everything around you and process each gradually. Stay open and be honest. Let the sensations reach you one at a time. Ease into it. Start slow and increasingly acknowledge your environment. Do not rush.
You may be inside your room, staring at the empty ceiling. Hearing the buzz of the lamp, the ticking of the clock, the intimidating silence that weighs in the air. Maybe there are cars passing by, neighbors chit chatting while a movie is playing in the background, or perhaps you are simply hearing yourself breathe.
Maybe it smells like nothing. But maybe it smells like fresh air or even the complete opposite and you despise it. Maybe it feels warm and it’s almost upsetting, or maybe it’s cold enough that you wish you had a blanket nearby or a friend to share it with.
All of a sudden, the once velvety walls and soft cloudy floors that you thought of might have turned into your bundled sheets and old pillows. Maybe you are starting to feel the little fluffs on your sofa or chair that developed over time. The old ornament that sits right by a table in your room suddenly appears and everything is starting to blend into each other.
How are you feeling?
What are you seeing?
iii. embrace new & unknown pleasures
Your utopian universe has changed. Everything clashed into each other, and the surreal is abruptly merging with the real, the present. There is a feeling of confusion. Every element in your new landscape may be organized or disorganized. It could be chaotic, a massive fiasco. But it could also have rearranged itself as a puzzling playground or a mysterious wonderland. It could be distorted and hazy. In a flash, it’s become an unknown place that feels familiar yet also foreign.
As reality seeps into the imagined earth, you gaze at its bizarre strangeness.
The world you built is now invaded by things and memories you didn’t want to exist yet at the moment, they are present, exhibiting themselves as if they were fixed structures. You try to get rid of them but you can’t, and this makes you mad. What’s worse is the realization that you cannot escape. Even if you stop the adventure at this point, it dawns on you that there is no such thing as an escape.
You start to question what escape even means.
If escape meant being free, is it just a form of temporary freedom? Perhaps, if we get lost too much in this journey, would escape transform itself to denial? Would it become all about rejecting what is real and denying all truth whether painful or not? If it meant being free, what does freedom even look like? What is it about?
You sit with your thoughts for a second.
iv. let images flow & emerge
There are so many emotions coming all at once and it echoes into the world you created, making little sounds and noises. You don’t even know how to feel. Somehow, you mellow down and you find calmness in the unknown. You’re not sure if it’s an instinct of relief or defeat but at the same time, all of a sudden, you feel safe.
You slow down. Your anger and frustration has vanished, and all that’s left is what’s in front of you, around you. You let it marinate, all of it. You indulge in the chaotic playground that is slowly building itself.
You look at the city that’s filled with traffic and smoke. You notice that there is so much trash in the street. The buildings are old with cracks and the pavements filled with scratches, spit and injustice. Just by the corner, next to your favorite store, are people screaming at each other aggressively. A man holding a cigarette, forehead running with sweat, hands on his hips, yelling furiously. You stare at him with curiosity and try to read his lips, but you can’t decipher a single word. You recognize a weeping woman and a kid behind her standing right before him, scorned and afraid. In a snap, you understand that they are a family.
It’s like mayhem but you are too tired to care. You walk and navigate the place up north, and as you look closer, in different corners, you start to see something else.
Colors flying and shapes shifting into forms and structures, lines wiggling and hopping, grass growing tall and perhaps flowers blooming at the end of the city street. People planting seeds on the road, plants starting to grow. The sun is up and its inviting warmth brings a group of strangers into a hug.
You look at what’s been done and what change you’d like to see, and they appear slowly like magic. Your persistence, strength and desire brings them to life. You feel solace, a sense of solidarity. You feel tired and restless, but it erases your exhaustion and replaces it with a keen hunger for enthusiasm. You are comforted by the idea that it’s somehow possible.
You recognize that c h a n g e can exist in reality.
v. enjoy stillness, rest & silence
You indulge in this moment. Let it marinate. Swim with the emotions and the pictures, but don’t drown in them. You realize that your physical state is quiet and composed. You start to feel ecstatic, ready to explore.
You take your time roaming the landscape you built. It isn’t perfect. You see its frailness, its weak spots, its unbalanced textures. “There’s roughness in the walls”, you said as you feel them against your fingertips. They are old and harsh. You knew, at one flick of a finger, they would collapse.
There is rage in the streets. You’ve already forgotten the feeling of fear, and curiosity leads you to the chaotic screams and cries of pain. The pavements are burning, you don’t see anyone but visible shadows seem to be running away. Some of them are too drained to run or even walk. They stand steady, anxious and nervous.
The second realization starts to sink in. The realization of what’s happening in the present, of the current reality, yet this time you are not frustrated nor discouraged.
You realize that you are not trying to escape.
You realize that you are not trying to escape. You realize that you felt the same exact feeling when you first stepped into the merging worlds of real and surreal. All this time, you were simply…confused. You never really understood what was happening or why it was happening but you could feel it. You knew it made you tremble first thing in the morning and it was what kept you up at night.
It is the submission to despair. The resignation to the meaningless voids of escape without knowing that you’re doing it.
You thought it was normal. No one was talking about it. In fact, everyone was avoiding the conversation. We drift away in life not knowing what even is true, what is real. Everything feels uncertain enough for us to not be bothered. Everyone thought it was just life, cruising its way, hoping it will build us back up as if distraught and cluttered Legos.
We all tried. We all hoped.
All of these thoughts dance in your mind. Suddenly, you remember where you are. You are not daunted anymore. For a brief moment, you’ve gotten comfortable with the unknown. It has debilitated you like you’ve never been before, but you feel as if you’re born once again.
You look around one last time, memorizing every crack and crevice, imprinting every sliver of faith that you once lost. You keep it in your pocket where it’s safe and sound. You make sure no one can steal them. Not now, not ever. “Never again.”, you hear yourself whisper.
vii. take it easy
You are slowly transitioning back to reality. Your movements are soft and mellow. You move
carefully because you knew the meaning of caution before you did tenderness. You’re caught up
in this odd shift. It’s a peculiar feeling. Take it easy.
Feel your body.
Hear your thoughts.
Grasp everything around you one moment at a time.
Take your time.
viii. export to reality
As you come back to reality, you remember what you took from your adventure. You feel silly. A bit goofy. Maybe you’d forget it or maybe it will stay like a permanent stain. Maybe it will stay in the back of your mind, or maybe, whatever you’ve kept during the journey is already written in your bones.
Subconsciously, you live with it.
You see the world in a different lens. You know nothing is lighter nor better. You know escape, in some ways, can be a myth or a hoax, a fake label, a deceitful band aid.
You put these memories in a box, along with a gift that’s been in your pocket. You tie it neatly in a bow and keep it in your bag just in case someone else might need it.
ix. share with friends & strangers
You go on with your life. Days have passed. Maybe you’re taking a walk outside or you are meeting your friends at the bar. Maybe it’s a dinner party. You haven’t seen them for quite some time and everyone is talking about how difficult it’s been. In between these conversations are mundane stories, hilarious day-to-day happenstance, even funny jokes.
The food arrives because it’s a Friday, and everyone is too tired to cook. Someone pops a bottle of wine, someone lays a dessert platter. You put your hand in your pocket, reaching to a teeny tiny box that’s sunk too far in your three day old jeans.
You proceed to place it on the table.
Everyone looks at you confused with restless, sparkly eyes filled with thrill. You remember this look, the same exact feeling.
You stand up from your chair with a confident smile.
You start giving them your pitch.