Energy, my energy your energy

“We are all made of energy,” he said […].  “And energy is the only thing I see in this world.  Each of us has a different kind of energy.  Each person has a kind of energy that floods into you when you see them, or hear them, or desire them, or tell them you love them.  And their energy can help you to find your path through the world.  You can’t fake energy, it is what it is.  It can help you find your future, it can take you back to your childhood or adolescence.  I’m always looking for energy.”*

George sounds like a dreamwhisperer: noticing the things that really, really energise and the things that really, really de-energise.

These energies lie beyond competencies – the things we’re usually noticing – calling us to go further, to produce and give more.

I find it in these words from Seth Godin that I’ve read again today:

‘To be an artist is to be on the hook, to take your turn, to do the things that might not work, to see connection, to embrace generosity first, to change someone, to be human.’**

To see life as art, to do things that may not work is to move beyond competency in the service of our art, beyond what we can do right now because we have to to make some kind of difference somewhere, in someone’s life.

Our energies are all different but either we’re connecting with it or not.  When we do, things happen that we sometimes can’t explain; when we don’t things just don’t happen beyond the normal, the predictable, the expected and anticipated:

‘Energisers think about both task and relationship; de-energisers are all task driven.’^

What is your energy?

Not your competency, your energy.

(*The character George in Albert Espinosa’s If You Tell Me To Come, I’ll Drop Everything, Just Tell Me To Come.)
(**From Seth Godin’s What To Do When It’s Your Turn.)
(^From Jay Cross’ Informal Learning.)


Where life is most holy

We are hardwired with curiosity inside us, because life knew that this would keep us going even in bad sailing … Life feeds anyone who is open to taste its food, wonder, and glee – its immediacy.*
(Anne Lamott)

the practice of science is a human affair, complicated by all the bedraggled but marvellous psychology that makes us human**
(Alan Lightman)

Imagination can be grown.

We feed our imaginations with our curiosity.

With curiosity and imagination we come upon the holiness or otherness of life.

We stop being a “Later” person and become a “Now” person:

‘The Laters sit in cafés sipping coffee and discussing the possibilities of life.  The Nows note that with infinite lives, they can do all they can imagine.’^

(*Anne Lamott, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Against Self-Righteousness.)
(**From Alan Lightman’s A Sense of the Mysterious.)
(^From Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams.)

Prototyping dreams

So long as the gift is not withheld, the creative spirit remains a stranger to the economics of scarcity.*
(Lewis Hyde)

The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about thirty kilograms of flour until it worked all through the dough.**
(Jesus of Nazerath)

The thing about yeast is that it has to be worked through the dough methodically, with effort and dexterity, allowing itself to be totally consumed if the magic is to happen.

Seth Godin writes of the linchpin – a yeast-like person:

‘The goal of the Linchpin is to make things better by making better things. To dance on an edge, to see what’s possible, to create and contribute, to learn and to ship.’^

Here again we see, when we give ourselves completely to what we must do, then the magic happens.

Godin has been reprimanded for his earlier blog on linchpins by a teacher at the York Community College:

“Encouraging anyone to become a Linchpin is seriously bad advice for an individual to pursue and for a company to allow …. think these things through before you put them out there.”^

Here are the economics of scarcity at play that Lewis Hyde finds himself needing to remark upon.  The teacher is reinforcing the idea that not everyone can explore something to the nth degree and be remarkable, but, as Erwin McManus points out, we shouldn’t hold back:

‘Life is most enjoyed when we give ourselves away.’^^

My resolve only increases because helping people to notice how they can be remarkable is my dream, and one thing I have realised about a dream is that you have to become seriously-playful with it.  The best way to do this is to create playful spaces of inquiry in which we prototype with effort and dexterity until the magic occurs.  We are more human when we are more playful:

‘We ventured to cll the category “play” one the most fundamental in life.’*^

(*From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)
(*Matthew 13:33 NIVUK.)
(^From Seth Godin’s blog: False limits.)
(^^From Erwin McManus’ Uprising.)
(*^From Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens.)

Roll up, roll up

It’s the greatest show on earth and I am grateful to those who help me to see the magic and the material: Rebecca Solnit, Annie Dillard, Alex McManus, Alan Lightman, John O’Donohue, Terry Tempest Williams, Maria Popova, Walt Whitman, Henry David Thoreau, to name a few.

Lightman lives up to his name as he casts light on the wonder we find in the material world:

‘As did Thoreau in Concord, I’ve travelled far and wide on Lute Island.  I know each cedar and poplar, each clump of beach rose, Rosa rugosa, each patch of blueberry bushes and raspberry brambles and woody stems of hydrangeas, all the soft mounds of moss, some of which I touch on my ramblings today.  The tart scent of raspberries blends with the salty sea air.  Early this morning, a fog enveloped the island so completely that I felt as if I were in a spaceship afloat in outer space – white space.  But the surreal fog, made of minuscule water droplets too tiny to see, eventually evaporated and disappeared.  It’s all material, even the magical fog – like the bioluminescence I first saw as a child.  It’s all molecules and atoms. […] It’s a paradox.’*

In the paradox I sense an invitation to the greatest show on earth, in the universe even.

The most wonderful story.

Beyond showing up …

doing what is expected of us …

ignoring the unnecessary …

passing on the opportunities.

Instead, to enter the paradox.

(*From Alan Lightman’s Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine.)

The Thin|Silence store

Here are some of the Thin|Silence products available right now


The only colouring book with online content to amplify the 45 illustrations promising many hours of relaxed colouring.  Click on the image to order: £4.99 plus postage and packing.


A ribbon of colour joins heaven and earth with the names of an awaited special child.  Click on the image to order: £2.99 plus postage and packing for five cards an envelopes.


This is a riot of colour in a very limited edition tea towel that aims to get across what you feel for the person you’re giving it to.  Drop me a line at to reserve yours: £10 plus postage and packing.


A journey of conversations that has the potential to radically change your life, exploring your talents and dreams and experiences towards shaping your future.  There’s a basic dreamwhispering experience of five conversations but you can shape your experience in whatever way you want, including single sessions.  Drop me a line at to find out more.


The Story Wall is an illustrated way for an individual, group or organisation to capture what matters most of all to them and to have a visual reminder towards living each day in these ways.  A “wall” may comprise a number of images designed in a reflective process for actually covering a wall or simply be a framed artwork containing the multiple images.  Drop me a line at to find out more.


Visual Scribing allows your organisation to capture the significant and salient points of a conference, workshop, seminar or session in a visual way, making it possible to engage in these in a more accessible way.  Drop me a line at to find out more.


You can commission any artwork you want.  Recently, Thin|Silence has produced designs for signs, aprons, annual financial reports, university booklets and even boxes of mints for marketing.

The art of using what’s already there

First there was time.  Then space and energy.  Then matter.  And now the possibility of life, of other minds.  What would these new minds think?  What would they grasp? […] I could they feel the weight of the future, heavy, bristling with possibilities.  But I could not see the future.*
(“Mr g”)

You have to keep finding new and creative things to be grateful for […].  You have to keep looking – hard.  Or else your brain just switches to autopilot, and all your blessings starting turning to dust in your mind.**
(Hugh Macleod)

When it comes to the thing we want to do, we don’t have to begin from scratch.

There’s an art to seeing and using what’s already there.

To use the ideas swirling all around us, or the spaces that already exist to meet in, or the abilities we have been developing, or the paths that are already opening up.  Up-cycling all of these with the sparking idea we have to pursue.

The world becomes blue to us, blue as in hyperlinked, connecting us to new worlds of possibility.

It begins with our attention, not the first look but the second, slower look of curiosity.  Richard Sennett describes curiosity as:

‘an experience that suspends resolution and decision, in order to probe’.^

We each have a unique curiosity.  Just this last week, I was asking a group of students to begin identifying their curiosities towards being able to ask better, deeper questions of themselves and each other.

These questions will allow more to be seen, to be understood, to resource us.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said of curiosity:

‘The rebirth of curiosity doesn’t last long, unless we enjoy being curious.’^^

Our curiosities are already there.  They are there because we enjoy them.  We must set them free.

(*From Alan Lightman’s Mr g.)
(**From gaping void’s blog: Count your blessings.)
(^From Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman.)
(^^From Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Creativity.)

An invitation to be misunderstood and disregarded

What’s the smallest change we could make […]?*
(Jeff Rodman)

All you have is what you are and what you give.**

What we have and what we give are the most important things of all.

They are the core question to Otto Scharmer’s transformative process Theory U.

And here they are again in Seth Godin’s blog:

‘When the people we serve present themselves, when they offer us their attention and their trust, we need to work to see two things:

  1. Who they are. What do they fear, what do they believe, what do they need?
  2. Who they can become. Which doors can we open, how can we support them, what will they leave behind?’^

We may believe these don’t add up to much when we look around us at who others seem to be and are doing, but it’s not how big the change we can make but where we are able to place it, like yeast in a batch of dough:

‘The most important change in any transformation journey is the change of heart.’^^

Alex McManus identifies why the strategic positioning of something small in relation to the heart has great effect:

‘By “heart” I mean the place where the emotions meet reason, mobilise the will, and shape identity.’*^

And just to add one more thought, this from Nassim Taleb, emotions help us make decisions rather than using reason to weigh things up:

‘One cannot make a decision without emotion. […] emotions are there to prevent us from temporising. […] Psychologists call them lubricants of reason.’^*

(Polycom’s Jeff Rodman, quoted in gaping void’s Deliberate progression.)
(The character Shevek in Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Ursula Le Guin on Suffering and Getting to the Other Side of Pain.)
(^From Seth Godin’s blog: Seeing what’s right in front of you.)
(^^From Otto Scharmer’s Leading From the Emerging Future.)
(*^From Alex McManus’ Makers of Fire.)
(^*From Nassim Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness.)