Following the Rules?
Rules, like money, are manmade constructs and beliefs. A rule is an accepted principle that states the way things are or should be done. Rules instruct us what we are allowed or not allowed to do.
Imagine you arrive in a new city and where you were staying had a swimming pool. Someone at the front desk told you the hours it was open and when it closed. You headed to the pool to get a late night dip and everywhere you looked there were physical signs instructing you on the rules. One very long sign said, Obey Pool Rules:
- No lifeguard. Swim at your own risk Owners and management not responsible for accidents or injuries
- Do not swim alone
- No diving
- Shower before entering pool
- Watch your children
- No running, boisterous or rough play
- Unnecessary noise not permitted at any time
- No pets
- No glass in pool area
- Use restrooms. No peeing in pool
- Do not swallow pool water
- No spitting or blowing nose in the pool
- Do not use pool if you are ill with diarrhea
- Persons with skin, eye, ear or respiratory infections should not enter the pool
- Children under 14 must have adult supervision
- Life saving equipment is located at _______
What About Fun?
And here, all you wanted was to simply have fun and splash in the water. Maybe dip in the hot tub too? And you not only have all these rules running through your head, but you wonder why they written. What prompted, for example, someone to make up a rule like “Do not use pool if you are ill with diarrhea.” Isn’t that just common sense?
And why is there no sign that says, have fun? What are you “permitted” to actually do beyond obeying?
Most of the signs around us tell us what we can’t do or how we must comply. There are very few that encourage curiosity or play.
Some crazy road signs from around the world all share one characteristic, they all warn us of dangers. When w’ere driving in Bolivia and South America, for example, we should be on the lookout for llamas crossing the road. They apparently spit so we must be very careful. Roadsigns along coastal roads in Taiwan warn drivers that the road ahead is about to be embanked over the ocean. Waves during storms have been known to wash cars off into the sea.
In Ohio, for example, if you are a local it’s not strange to see Amish Crossing signs. But if you are passing through, you will see warning not of wild animals but Amish people with their horse and buggies, slowly traversing down the road. New Mexico’s Roswell Event is the most famous UFO encounter in history. Along the Turquoise Trail Scenic Byway, between Albuquerque and Madrid, you come across a sign warning that abducted cows may be ahead.
Rules and Life
There are many more weird signs all over the world but the question you have is why are all the signs warning you of the worst things that can happen. You go to bed thinking about it.
And when you get up in the morning, you feel a shift, in this world, you must proceed with caution. Danger is everywhere. And fear is scary. Maybe you decide to get food delivered to your room as there are not as many rules indoors, apart from what to do in case of fire?
But what if there is no real danger, would you let anyone else write the rules of your life?
Martin Buber suggests that “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”
I usually don’t stay in my lane in the pool since I love dancing and creating with the water, while letting go of as many rules as I can. How about you?