“Once there was, and once there was not …” This paradoxical phrase is meant to alert the should of the listener that this story takes place in the world between worlds where nothing is as it seems.* Clarissa Pinkola Estés
In a word: one ought to turn the most extreme possibility inside oneself into the measure for one’s life, for our life is vast and can accommodate as much future as we are able to carry.** Rainer Maria Rilke
We’re all invited to join in, To make our joyful noise, To bring our song, Our words, to combine our voice with others Meld our sound with sounds.
In the bringing lies the honing of our gift.
Always have the courage To change, welcoming those voices That call you beyond your self.^
If there were no problems, it wouldn’t be much fun.** Alan Lightman
It is, therefore, this fluidity that presents us with an unavoidable challenge: how to contain the serious within the truly playful; that is to keep all our finite games in infinite play.^ James Carse
Playfulness enables us to meet problems with flexibility rather than rigidity. “There is only one way to do this,” Is a very serious approach; Without distance and its accompanying perspective We are unable to see many more ways.
A good place to begin towards playfulness is to follow our awe:
Awe diminishes the press of self-interest and reorients the mind to interconnection and design.^^
What awes you? When you follow it, There will be found opportunities to play.
Old men [and women] ought to be explorers.* T. S. Eliot
Make interesting amazing, glorious mistakes. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.** Neil Gaiman
Here are some “explorer clothes,” Timeless classics^ as supplied by Anna Katharina Schaffner:^^ Self-knowledge for mastery and realism; Choose your thoughts, rather than the other way around; Let go of the False Self; Do good and put others first; Be humble to learn and grow; Simplify to be able to focus on what’s important; Free your imagination to wander freely; Keep going; Put yourself in other’s lives; Always practise being present.
Grit has two components: passion and perseverance. … Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.* Angela Duckworth
How will you go about finding that thing the nature o which is totally unknown to you.** Meno
Angela Duckworth is helping me to see how my passion is not about intensity as much as it is about consistency. Almost thirty years on from the emergence of a niggling personal question about competency, I am still navigating continents of possibility. It turns out that passion is my compass.
With everything perfect, … we do not ask how it came to be. … we rejoice in the present fact as though it came out of the ground by magic* Friedrich Nietzsche
If we overemphasise talent, we underemphasise everything else.* Angela Duckworth
Friedrich Nietzsche and Angela Duckworth ponder why it is that we so love the idea of natural talent, Nietzsche suggesting:
Our vanity, our self-love, promotes the cult of the genius. For if we think of genius as something magical, we are not obliged to compare ourselves and find ourselves lacking . … To call someone “divine” means: “here there is no need to compete.*
We’re off the hook, then. But, if we understand how talent is shaped and formed, How it’s not dropped into us before birth, Or not, That whilst it does have a lot to do with our accident of birth, With ensuing opportunities, It is also formed, Yes, yes, yes, With hard graft, And then we’re not off the hook, We’re very much on the hook of possibility.
It’s always been about putting in the effort. In some words I read at the beginning of today, The apostle Paul has been writing about the special abilities that he has seen in different people, but he then goes on with some graft-laden language – Holy grit, even:
Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.**
Lift is created by the onwards rush of life over the curved wing of the soul.* Robert Macfarlane
It is by becoming increasingly complex that the self might be said to grow.** Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
What if, Complexity isn’t heaviness. We follow our curiosities, Alchemising these into interests and pursuits and processes – The kinds that change us in the process:
We were living the process as we created it.^
What if, Complexity is more heightened definition – Me being more me, You being more you. And with it a lightness that shapes each life differently, Forming each more purposefully, That purpose being a graceful arc through the bright but also the dark days, And sometimes it feels like flying.
By the pressure of reality, I mean the pressure of an external event or events on the consciousness to the exclusion of any power of contemplation.* Wallace Stevens
My sacred space became the rolling fire of the imagination. But, you know, these days, I wonder about this too. Maybe these lofty claims about the imagination are yet more artistic hubris, a further place to hide, like the office – another invented way to separate ourselves from the world. Perhaps, the sacred space is simply the world itself – a hallowed place where we all exist at this time, where we engage with life in all its many tempers, within the present moment.** Nick Cave
Imagination needs reality, As much as reality needs imagination. The pressure of reality can turn predator if we fail to face it with healthy imagination. Clarissa Estes Pinkola’s Wild Woman comes to us as a helpful illustration of undomesticated imagination:
Wild Woman comes diving over whatever fences, walls, or obstructions the predator has erected. … She and the predator have know each other a long, long time … . Wherever he is, she is, for she is the one who balances his predations.^
Reality saves imagination from triviality, Being sated by Netflix, Endlessly scrolling social, Craving more bread and circus.
Reality reminds us that we are here to save the world, And may be found in that next wild thought that comes to us.
Self-expression is a natural by-product of your work, because you are doing it. If the purpose of the project is to express yourself, there is a danger there will be no surprises.* Corita Kent and Jan Steward
In my view, the biggest reason a preoccupation with talent can be harmful is simple: By shining our spotlight on talent, we risk leaving everything else in the shadows. We inadvertently send the message that these other factors – including grit – don’t matter as much as they really do.** Angela Duckworth
Talent, grit and awe – Each can be developed, grown.
Talent is truth, Is how it is, Is how I am, Is a beginning:
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I can change.^
So remarked Carl Rogers, In whose words I sense a humility, Carefully positioning us in life for gratitude and awe and surprise:
To listen takes time, … to learn to hear the world within and the world without, to attend to the quiet voice of life and heart alike.^^
And if we were to give expression to truth and awe in hundreds of different ways then we would be building grit, Growing perseverance.
Today is simply another day for exploring three quests, One path.
For me there is only the travelling on paths that have heart, on any paths that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worth-while challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly.* Don Juan
To walk is to gather treasure.** Miguel Angel Blanco
There’s understanding and there’s doing, both are important but better when wrapped around the heart.