Living from deep within

Their purpose is to help you, to care about your art, and to reattach you to wildest instincts, and to illicit your original best. They guide the restoration of the intuitive life.*
Clarissa Pinkola Estés

It is, in essence, the arc of acquiring greater psychological flexibility: facing difficult emotions and thoughts with greater openness; letting go of limiting self-stories; finding resources within that allow us to see ourselves and our situations in a new way; connecting with a deeper and more authentic sense of self; connecting with a chosen purpose and discovering the actions that help us to fulfil it; and finally committing to those actions with perseverance.**
Steven Hayes

Wholehearted living, or
living from deep within, is under
constant threat in a faster
ever-changing world –
“I don’t have the luxury to think about such things.”
Whilst writing about “wild mothers,”
Clarissa Pinkola Estés provides us with a description of all
who help us to rediscover our “deeps” and to rewrite our stories.
Identifying our talents provides us with the tools to write, revise and arrange new sentences, and
to kill old sentences.
Shaping enriching environments provide the spaces for our stories to unfold and flourish.
Naming our values lays down a direction to move in,
a path with a heart.

*Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ Women Who Run With the Wolves;
**Steven Hayes’ A Liberated Mind.

Two myths*

For somehow all our lives are ultimately unsuccessful, to the extent that we understand success as only being external success: no external success, no effect, that is to say, no biological or sociological influence out there in the world, is guaranteed to outlive us or even to last forever. However inner success, the inner fulfilment of life’s meaning, is something that, its at all, has been achieved, ‘once and for always.’**
Viktor Frankl

we humans can influence our evolution by the environments we construct and the choice we make; our evolution is not just a matter of choice^
Steven Hayes

The world is a smorgasbord of possibilities,
Not all within our reach,
But perhaps what we really want isn’t to be found there;
We must look within to find what we really want and
trust our instinct.
It is our inner smorgasbord of talents, values and energies that
matters most of all – the first myth;
Identifying and developing these will be our greatest satisfaction and
fulfilment, leading us into our life with others – the second myth,
Of which we’ll know that we’re on
the right track if, as the apostle Paul writes, we are able to
Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.^^

*Myth, not as untrue but as guiding story;
**Viktor Frankl’s Yes to Life;
^Steven Hayes’ A Liberated Mind;
^^Romans 12:17.

And these three will mark our way

The path forward is about curiosity, generosity and connection. These are the three foundations of [your] art.*
Seth Godin

Genuine self-knowledge has to be the starting point for any attempt to improve ourselves.**
Anna Katharina Schaffner

Forty seven years ago today, I started out on what
turned out to not only be a path of self discovery but also
the contribution I want to make for the sake of others.
At least this is the hope that keeps me
Seth Godin’s three path characteristics are useful intertwining elements for reflection and action:
Discover more,
Make and contribute more,
Find and collaborate with others along the way.
Robin Wall Kimmerer tells the story of “three sisters”:
Corn, bean and squash;
Planted together, the corn grows fastest, reaching upwards,
Providing the bean with support to grow vertically too,
The squash grows last putting our her leaves horizontally,
Retaining moisture in for all to grow.^
Just as organic are our three sisters of
curiosity, generosity and deeper connection.

*Seth Godin’s The Practice; my insertion;
**Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self Improvement;
^Robin Wall Kimerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass.

More powerful than we know

If we do not seek variation, we end up dead in life, shutting out those new experiences that keep our hearts and minds active. Our horizons shrink, our learning will stagnate, and we will become nothing but creatures of habit.*
Anna Katharina Schaffner

A clear sense of self-directed meaning provides us with an essential inexhaustible supply of motivation.**
Steven Hayes

We are more powerful than we know.
We can endlessly alter ourselves,
Regrowing from the bountiful resources we carry within,
Season after season, following
death with life.
Of course, there are some who
seem powerful, pushing or
ordering others around,
But they are powerless to change themselves.

*Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self Improvement;
**Steven Hayes’ A Liberated Mind.

Wild things

The way to maintain one’s connection to the wild is to ask yourself what is it you want. … One of the most important discriminations we can make in this matter is the difference between things that beckon us and things that call from our souls.*
Clarissa Pinkola Estés

I am emboldened by the fact that surprise is the only constant. We are never really running the show, never really in control, and nothing will go quite as we imagined.**
Krista Tippet

A wild life is not some
do-anything-you-want chaos –
We are discovering just why we are attracted by
beauty and goodness and compassion.
Where civilisations separates,
This wildness is oneness: to our
mother earth, one another, ourselves, and, if we have a god, to

*Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ Women Who Run With the Wolves;
**Krista Tippet’s Becoming Wise.

The gift lives on

My feelings of inadequacy were the environment form which my purpose in life would emerge.*
Erwin McManus

Play to keep playing.**
Seth Godin

Everyone can play and
all can keep on playing –
It’s an infinite game in which
everyone may flourish;
Don’t believe anyone who says otherwise.
I am grateful that Erwin McManus’ sense of inadequacy meant that
he created his own game,
A game he gifted and invited me into almost eighteen years ago now,
And which I now invite you into.
This is the wonder of the infinite game as gift,
Not only being the gift itself, but also
the spirit and the community of the gift:^
Play to keep playing.**

*Erwin McManus’ The Genius of Jesus;
**Seth Godin’s The Practice;
^Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.

Love is …

We most often consider genius as an expression of talent, of “what you do.” We rarely think of genius as an expression of essence, or “what you are.”*
Erwin McManus

It is a criterion of love. In moments of decision, we are to try to make what seems to be the most loving, the most creative decision. We are not to play safe, to draw back out of fear. Love may well lead us into danger.**
Madeliene L’Engle

Back in 1970, Kim Grove began drawing her
Love is … characters for her soon to be husband Robert Casali.
They featured nude male and female characters depicting multitudinous expressions of Love is:
… taking on day at a time,
… a song in your heart,
… enduring,
… our story … .
I’ve shared before how many of these cards winged their way
from Scarborough to Southport, and Southport to Scarborough
back in the late 70s when Christine and I began dating.
But, beyond the schmalz, love is many things …
… giving people time,
… listening,
… not judging,
… helping,
… being compassionate,
… sharing kind words,
… gratitude,
… and, not forgetting, loving yourself …
The thrilling part is that there is a genius to love which looks
different in each of us, woven through our
talents, energies and values, making us capable of
imagining and actioning love in many ways.

*Erwin McManus’ The Genius of Jesus;
**Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water.

Made in the future

We all begin with the question “What am I, really? What is my work here?”*
Clarissa Pinkola Estés

We feel most comfortable when things are certain; but we feel most alive when they’re not.**
Tania Luna

We are not, finally, who we are today,
Any more than we were, finally, who we were
a year ago on this day.
Each day provides us with a day of becoming, both
for our inner lives of development
as well as the alchemistic ways that we connect
with our outer worlds.
We get to guide and shape this journey;
It’s quite a marvellous thing:
Each new day is a path of wonder,
a different invitation. …
Each day is the field of brightness where
the invitation of our life unfolds.^

The past is past, only the future exists,
Available in today’s present.

*Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ Women Who Run With the Wolves;
**Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of Moments;
^John O’Donohue’s Benedictus.

What must you do?

What counts is not so much whether a person actually achieves what they set out to do; rather it matters whether efforts has been expended to reach the goal, instead of being diffused or wasted.*
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

There’s something I must do.
I may tell myself that I can’t do this, or
I don’t have a choice, and
for a little while I’ve let myself off the hook and
I feel more comfortable, but
there are some things that won’t go away, and now
here it is again.

*Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow.