“If you must be heard, let it be like the babbling brook, laughing over the rocks.”*
There’s something in these words speaks to me of exemplifying our true self, to be nothing more and nothing less than who we are. When we’re free in ourselves then we are a whirling, intimate, glorious and creative movement, leading to who know what’s next? Something Alan Lightman captures when he writes in his wonderfully explorative book of essays The Accidental Universe:
‘Real people are unpredictable, I said. A character who always acts rationally is a fraud. Any character you fully understand is as good as dead. Is that clear.’**
This is who we are – if we take the brakes off. We are moving towards an ever changing horizon and we are capable of changing as we move.
We need and are thoroughly capable of “beyondness.” If there is a here there must also be a there as Kosuke Koyama points out:
‘Some kind of “beyond” is inseparable from “here.”^
To only live here is to live in danger of stodginess. Here and there are about more than distance. People can travel the globe and still live a stodgy life – a brief escape and then back to the norm. But to live the sparky life is to touch everything with beyondness. I love Roald Dahl’s words on sparkiness:
‘When you grow up and have children of your own do please remember something important: a stodgy parent I no fun at all. What a child wants and desires is a parent who is SPARKY.’^^
(*Kerry Hillcoat, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From Alan Lightman’s The Accidental Universe.)
(^From Kosuke Koyama’s Three Mile an Hour God.)
(^^From Roald Dahl’s Danny, the Champion of the World.)
“As acceleration accelerates, individuals, societies, economies, and even the environment approach meltdown.”*
‘Listening is such an underrated activity. In fact it is deeply subversive. Because when we listen deeply, we take in the voice of the other.’**
Whilst change is happening faster, whilst we advance and move on and increase, the human species shows great capacity for adaptability and finding coping methods. What we’re not so good at is noticing what we are adapting into, where our coping methods are leading us. For this, we’ll need to create spaces in which we are able to notice more. There are many because we are very inventive: a walk, a room, a view, a bench, in music, in silence, in reading … but a place we are able to figure out three things:
What needs breaking – as in, what we need to get rid of;
What needs fixing – as in, what we keep and can make work better; and,
What needs making – as in, in terms of what do we need to begin.
Without a space to notice, it’s difficult to know which is which.
(*Mark Taylor, quoted and Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s The Slow Professor.)
(**From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
And you could be the person to try. The circumstances won’t be perfect. They never are.
Ideas and dreams often come before we have the skills to make them happen. Hard work always follows – just thought to mention this sooner rather than later.
You’re in the cinema watching the (usually white on black) credits at the end of the movie – all those names rushing past so quickly it’s hardly possible to read one, never mind more.
And then, you spot your name and you try and see what it is you are being recognised as doing. Then it’s gone.
This is the dramatic personae, a list of absolutely everyone who worked on the movie. It’s not there for the audience but for the crew.
In the infinite game of life, everyone is included in the dramatic personae – everyone’s presence and contribution is valued.
The thing you do, that you have honed and developed – we couldn’t do without it.
If it was possible to take away all the things that have to make up your life: making money, paying rent or mortgage, being there for the family, food-shopping, the expectations and attention of others, and, noticing the most natural hoping and dreaming of your life, if we could pursue anything, do anything, live for anything, what would it be?
Knowing this, why not begin? It was there all along, within all the other things you must do. Simply put back all those other things that are a part of your life and continue.
It’s always been possible. Who wants to get to the end of their life and regret knowing what they must do but not doing anything about it?
Please spread the word, make it possible for others to pursue their hopes and dreams right where they are.
‘Even if someone is born with a particular talent, that talent will usually remain latent if it is not fostered, hones and exercised. Not all people get the same chance to cultivate and refine their abilities.’*
(*From Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens.)
SLOW JOURNEYS IN THE SAME DIRECTION
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Once upon a time there was a person with an idea. The idea caught on and became wrapped in the designs and productivity of others, and a whole institution was built around it. Many people were employed by the institution. It changed the way society thought about itself, everything was measured by it. Education was designed to point everyone towards it, young people gained the qualifications that made it possible to be employed in the production that developed out of the idea. No one thought they could have an idea that competed with the original idea. They gave up any hope of being able to do something with the idea that once had circled around their thoughts. They didn’t realise that the important part of this story was the experience the one person had at the very beginning. How that person could be any person pursuing their idea. And that person and idea could be them.
‘Faith, like fire, does not dispel the darkness. It creates a space within it. Faith creates a womb for hope and love within a universe that seems indifferent to both.’*
(*From Alex McManus’ Makers of Fire.)
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