Let me tell you about my office.
Q: “Levi, how do you have an office, aren’t you a full-time student?”
Well, yes. For those of you who aren’t in the know, yes, as far as the outside world is concerned, my current social label is ‘full-time student.’ But that doesn’t mean I can’t have an office. Right? And not only do I have an office, but my office is plush!
First off, it’s pretty private…okay, it’s very private, and by that I mean I can’t let you in. It’s mine.
Selfish? Yeah, maybe, but that’s just how I like it. I do all my best work in alone, sans distractions.
Even if you broke into my house, held me hostage, and made me take you there, <shakes head> it wouldn’t happen. Why? Because my office doesn’t fit here, where you are.
Let’s try this a different way. How about I tell you how I got to my office today. This may get a bit…strange.
In someone’s garage, somewhere, there’s a table shoved up against one of the walls. The lights are off and no one’s home.
Several boxes have been thrown on top; they’ve collected dust and have been all but forgotten. Resting on top of one of those boxes and leaning up against the wall is a faded yellow tennis ball. The only letters visible from the brand are ‘ENN’, and there are several darker spots dusted on its surface where it was bounced more heavily.
My office is in there.
Today, I sunk in through the top of the tennis ball, slid down a silver pole and landed in the middle of an abandoned intersection in the middle of a desert town. It was dusk, and there was music behind me. Jazz.
I turned and, on one corner, ablaze in lights of welcome was a beautifully white building dotted with colors – the lettering on the glass doors, the awning, and, of course, the red velvet carpet rolling out toward me. Two bellhop midgets in spotless yellow and red uniforms greet me formally and hold the doors open as I walk in.
“Your seat’s waiting for you, Levi.”
I walk in and it’s the party of the century. Friends, young, old, past, present and everything in between fill the inside and cheer in raucous jubilation as I enter. Contrasting with the outer façade of the venue, the inside is boundless. I’m led past the bar made of ice and crystal (78 stories high) and to a back room. I have to take several steps of a grand staircase to get there and again the doors are held open for me.
I walk in and take my tall burgundy leather seat at the head of a long board-room table. Depending on the day, around the table sit a miscellany of different people ranging from J.R.R. Tolkien, and Edgar Alan Poe to the Dalai Lama and Robert Frost).
Now it’s time for work.
I bring up with my team the projects we have currently in the works and present the issues that are concerning me. Today, for example, one particular concern was that a story outline is still missing an ending and it needed to be resolved. To my right, Ernest Hemmingway reminded me that I was still afraid to make mistakes and that nothing will ever get done that way. “Be fearless!” he says, laconically. “The first draft is always shit.”
The others present their advice and reminders, pointing out the areas I’ve obviously overlooked or where I need to concentrate more. I listen to their words and keep them stored on a nearby notepad (some people have scribes in their offices; I have thus far not required this service…but I can see the benefits).
It’s time for a change of scene. On the side of my high chair is a lever. With a pull, I am lowered into an obscure area, and then a waterslide shoots me downward. I’m flowing in twists and turns through the clouds, winding my way down to the refreshing waves below. And at the end of the slide, I’m scooped up lightly by a large yacht.
I walk up to the bridge and ask Sean Connery how things are going. He greets me and lets me know I’m expected in the Admiral’s Lounge. Once there, at the center of the ship, I’m again surrounded by those I love and admire; there are casual libations and light conversation. Poe and Mitchell remind me of what we discussed and what I need to take back to the page next time. Benjamin Franklin stops by to grab some ale and I make fun of his socks. He laughs, I laugh, we all laugh. He tells me he’s decided to move in.
“Great!” I say, and his portmanteaus softly fall from the ceiling.
The timer goes off, and I tell the crew that it’s time for me to head back. They raise their glasses and remind me they’ll always be there, and look forward our next meeting. I retract my steps and the party continues in the same jolly fashion it had when I arrived.
That was a short glimpse into my office. My courtroom, my yacht, my playhouse. This is the place I go to discuss all manner of planning, outlining, progress on current work, implementations for future work, and anything else I’d like to talk to my team about.
And you can do just the same. Your questions are surely abounding, are they not? Release them at once!
What in the name of the gods are you talking about!
Ha! Excellent enquiry! Here’s the deal, your office is your own place. You go there when you need to get away from people, when you need to organize your thoughts, plan and outline a project, get advice from those you admire (living or not), to work, to play, to get answers, and myriad other reasons and purposes. It’s your office and you can use it however you wish.
How do I get there?
Easy. You’ll need the following: A silent atmosphere (one where you will not be disturbed by others), and a free period of at least 20 minutes (although if you can and want to go for longer – get more work done – by all means). You also may want to set a timer, much like the one on your phone or what have you. Some want to be precise about the time, others just want a rough estimation.
- Find a comfortable position (*lying down may be a bit TOO comfortable. You don’t want to fall asleep – you want to get some stuff done).
- Close your eyes and take five to ten deep breaths, relaxing everything when you exhale.
- Mentally go through your whole body and loosen/relax everything – every muscle, every tendon, every bone. Everything.
- Let your mind go, and find your office – perhaps it’s under water just off one of your favorite beaches (whether you’ve been there or not), perhaps in the highest tower of you own castle on the Moon, or in a small cottage perched on one of the clouds currently passing over your house. It’s where you want it to be and it’s all your own making.
What do I do there?
What do you need to work on? Once you realize that all things are, in their quintessence, one single thing, and there is one single mind. You know that all the answers to all of your inquiries are within you. You can figure out how to budget for a vacation, or a home. You can figure out how to make that business project better (just ask J.P. Morgan. He’s sitting there at your bar waiting for you). Anything you need to get done there, any question you need to ask will have its answer.
I’m not saying that you will understand advanced genetics after having a conversation with Gregor Mendeleev; he’s probably not going to give you that information. But he may help you understand a better way of going about getting into the program or some others you may ask.
It’s your office, what do you want to do?
Who’s allowed in?
What are you asking me for? You’re the CEO. You say who’s allowed in or not. They can be male, female, old, young, dead, alive, human, orc, wizard, business magnate, janitor, or astronaut to name a few. Maybe your mom lost her voice several years back and she’s currently in an elderly care home somewhere in New Hampshire. So what? If you have a question to ask her, invite her into your office and talk to her. What’s she wearing? Does she have on her favorite perfume? Is she in the kitchen, cooking up a batch of those brownies that she liked to make you as a kid?
You can have as many or as few people there as you want. You can spend time talking to all of them, or take a few back into an Executive Ballroom while Bach is playing in the background to have a more peaceful conversation.
And when your alarm goes off and the time is up, you just let everyone know that you’ll be back. They will smile and certainly hold the fort for you until your next visit. Your mom will go back in the kitchen and get to work on something else. She might be knitting with your grandmother when you come back.
You never have to go through the same entrance to get to your office, either. It’s wherever and whenever you want to be there.
So, your turn. Talk to me about your office – not the lame one with the goofy wooden walls and the dumb business frames in this visually-stimulated world. Talk to me about the REAL office. Your office.