Start Here: Reprinted From Room 1
The 999 Room Challenge
Born Into A House With A Thousand Rooms
“All life is an experiment, and the more experiments the better.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is an old saying that goes, “We’re born into a house with a thousand rooms, but only live in one.” This website is about the other 999 rooms. Our mission is to step out of the same, everyday room we’ve been living in and begin exploring a world we’ve left mostly untouched. We’ll be starting in Room 1 and won’t stop until we reach 999 Rooms.
Some of the rooms we’re going to visit are places on a map, others are challenges in the mind. Some may feel profound and mystical, others like a college road trip or a fifth grade science experiment. Think spring break with Gandhi and Hunter S. Thompson, only without the loin cloth or drugs. Some of the rooms will happen on the road, but most will take place in our own backyards. Some will take an hour to visit, some an afternoon, a few might take the whole year. If we do it right, along the way, we’ll slowly expand our world. It’s called shifting and discovering possibilities.
It’s reinventing our lives through the simple act of awareness.
So, what do you say, ready to start experimenting? Consider this your personal invitation to join us on a journey to The Other 999 Rooms.
The Other 999 Rooms FAQ
Is this some sort of bucket list?
No, this isn’t a bucket list. Or maybe it’s the anti-bucket list, something for the non-millionaire who’s afraid of jumping out of airplanes or being chased by bulls. Truth is, we shouldn’t have to wait for once in a lifetime thrill rides to bring meaning and adventure to our lives. We should be able to access it every day. While I’d love to run with bulls or sip yak tea with a sherpa in the Himalayas, I also have a mortgage and a daughter with bad teeth. Life altering events can be as close as the produce section in the grocery store or a six hour fast in the closet. You just need to know where to look and how to access it. Besides, it’s not adventure we’re looking for as much as the awareness that comes with that adventure. That’s a lot more lasting than any two week vacation.
What do I need to get the most of this journey?
1. Keep an open mind
If we think we have all the answers, then we will certainly have all the answers we’re ever going to find. It is impossible to experience anything new if we believe our book is already written, or in the words of Helen Keller, “No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.”
2. Let your hair down
Like any good trip, it doesn’t have to be serious. The profound and the stupid can not only sit at the same table, but they can be blood brothers. Laughter and joy aren’t luxuries in life, they’re prerequisites to opening ourselves up to our surroundings. That’s when the good stuff drops in. So, let’s not take ourself too seriously. I guarantee you no one else does.
3. Be brave.
There is a reason we stay in the same room. We get scared, play it safe and follow the herd, and because of that, we never allow ourselves to stand up and strike out for new territories. I get it. Change isn’t easy. If it were, we’d all be doing it. Just the same, we must continue to battle through these fears, for as Emerson also said, “He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”
4. Remember to hold a caterpillar in your hand.
The most profound rooms are often small and almost imperceptible. It’s like the small child who holds a caterpillar in her hand. Look at her eyes. She’s holding infinity in her palms. She knows it. We know it. That’s where we want to be—holding the caterpillar in our hands.
Do I need to do all of the 999 Rooms?
You don’t need to do any of the rooms. It’s an all you can eat buffet. And if you do one, well that’s one more than you did before. Of course, we’d love to challenge you to walk through all 999 rooms. It’s a good goal. It will keep you focused and moving toward more awareness. That’s a good thing.
What if I don’t like one of your rooms?
Don’t come in. Not all of the rooms will work for everyone’s schedule or sensibilities. If that’s the case, skip it or feel free to adapt it. Make it work for you. Also, feel free to substitute your own room. You can begin by collecting your own experiences, experiments and rooms, and when the day comes you don’t like a room, use your own. On the other hand, just because a room is uncomfortable and “not you,” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t walk through it. Remember, be brave.
How many rooms will you post a week?
We are committed to posting one to two rooms a week: Tuesday and/or Thursday. You don’t have to do both of them, but you might. A lot of the rooms will overlap each other, allowing you to do them simultaneously. Some rooms are of a more complicated nature and may take months to complete. We call these rooms a Suite. For those keeping track of their rooms, these suites will count as multiple rooms on your list. After all, a trip to Spain to run with the bulls is certainly worth more than an hour locked in a closet, unless of course, you live in Spain.
I thought we weren’t going to run with the bulls?
I don’t want to close the door on anything.
Is there a way I can keep track of my rooms?
Keep a journal. A journal is not only the perfect place to keep track of your rooms, but it allows you to learn from the experiences twice—as you do it and upon reflection. It also keeps track of your progress and gives you a roadmap of where you’re going next.
Where will we end up when this is all done?
Probably sipping yak tea with a sherpa in the Himalayas. Truth is, I don’t know. As Gandhi once said, not to me, but to the world: “One never goes so far as when one doesn’t know where one is going.” That’s good advice, and well worth taking. Of course, I can only hope that, somewhere along the line, we will have realized that we no longer need to live in the one room we’ve always lived in…that our world is much bigger and more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.
That’s the spirit of The Other 999 Rooms.