thank you!

Or resource-full?

You already have what you need to move forward.

I’ve mentioned, I think gratitude leads to freedom, autonomy, you choose.

This appreciative awareness allows you to see all you have as resources for moving forward.  You are able to see what many others – who may have more but cannot see this.  Gratitude gives you the edge, makes you more resourceful, and able to act more quickly.

It’s like reverse seeing, like when I reversed the 10k route I ran earlier in the week.  I saw the town and the countryside in a very different way – same scenery but a totally different view.

The problems you and I face are firstly in our heads (in this case, an inability to appreciate what we have) rather than being out there (look at what others have and we don’t), affecting what we think may or may not be possible.  But gratitude connects us to our resources, fuel for movement.

why not shape the future

sadly, while he was waving to his adoring past ...

Have you noticed how the future is coming towards us ever faster?

My father was born in 1909, his father was born in 1872.  Back then, steam transport was just approaching the golden days of steam, altering people’s lives dramatically.  My father died the year before the world wide web became a reality.  It was also the year we got our first computer – an Amstrad with 256kb memory – no hard drive, black-and-white screen – £1,000 please.    1990: Smith Corona portable typewriter. 1991: welcome to the future.*

I didn’t foresee what this was going to change, but others were shaping the future.

Which gets me to thinking, we can all be shapers of the future.

It begins with noticing the thing our lives keep whispering to us about, and to allow our hearts to be shaped by this.  When we are changed by these whispers, then we have set our feet upon the path of shaping the future.  Carlos Castaneda was right to suggest we need to find a path with a heart.


(*Only twenty-three years later, 3D printers offer new foods (insects to order), jewellery-printing in gold (my daughter-in-law has access to this technology), and the first building to be printed.   Then check out Ramez Naam’s and other futurists imagining of what the future might be because of what is happening now with genetics, drugs, and technology.)

why future is spelt c o u r a g e

so many possibilities

Here’s a paradox.  If we’re to become more who we can be, and do more of what we can do, we must live with courage, and to live with courage is not living without fear and anxiousness, but living with an absence of self.

Part of what it means to be Human is our desire to conform – to look after our selves within the collective.  Another aspect of being Human is the desire to journey beyond our places of safety – for this we need courage.  Without courage we will conform more and more.  Not only do we lose sight of the technicolour life but so does the collective, becoming more and more inward looking.

Without courage there is no future, and without future there can be no better now.

Some see the future as being more days like today, some brighter, some not so bright.  Others believe the future is not set but is open to our shaping.

With all the experiences and skills and curiosity and energies in your life, there are many possible futures.  From these, you can identify which are more probable to follow with your heart.   Which of these do you prefer?  Which will you pour your energy into?

Step 1: see your many futures;
Step 2: focus in on those which excite and you need to look at more closely;
Step 3: choose a path with a heart and give your energy to it.

to the future with love

sent to the future with love

The things you do today do not have to be this way.  Instead, they can be that way.  Our choice.  And by our choices, we are changing the future, even as we are changing ourselves.

Imagine, five hundred years into the future.  An archaeological dig is taking place over the remnants of your last home.  The archaeologist unearths all kinds of objects, including those containing your thoughts and values.  What kind of world do they suggest you hoped and worked for in this “time capsule” left behind?  (Perhaps it’s more likely to be a collective picture of our lives, our hopes, our mistakes, our endeavours, which will be uncovered, but the reality is, in many ways, we shape the future.)

Humans have been stepping outside of genetic evolution for thousands of years.  We understand we are not our genes but also our choices.  And these choices change things for those who follow us.

When we talk about starting with a clean sheet of paper, what we’re actually doing is taking on board the many things we’ve inherited.  As we look into the future, the same is true of those who follow us – for good or ill.

Perhaps a late Valentine’s thought, but what is the best thing you can leave for the future with love.

resistance is (not) futile

the resistance is challenging you

When we produce our art – the unique work of our lives – we experience resistance: both from without and within.  Some people won’t like your art at all – others will love it.  Yes, listen to those who don’t like it … so you can make something better for those who love it – (few of us have the energy needed to turn a critic into a fan).

Then there’s the resistance within: the doubts and fears and  tiredness and pain and …………………  (empty space: where are the ideas and possibilities?).  Producing your art never gets easy.

It’s said that it takes ten years or 10,000 hours of deep practice to master something, and each hour comes with resistance.  You produce something and it creates resistance, and the resistance defines what you will go on to produce.  The ice-skater works hard to master a particular manoeuvre – maybe a BiDs (backward inside death spiral) – and when accomplished the resistance is there again, to go further – now a BoDs (backward outside death spiral).

If you feel the resistance right now, it’s not there to stop you, but to help you go further.

The Borg might tell all species they meet that resistance is futile, but they hadn’t reckoned on Captain Jean-Luc Picard.


it's not for them ...

The painter Jack Vettriano shares a saying he was brought up with as a child in Fife: “Everyone is equal and no one is special.”

Seth Godin comments, ‘The cynic says that if everyone is special, no one is.’

Neither the Scottish saying or the cynic want you to flourish.

What we’re beginning to see at the beginning of this 21st Century is how every person can flourish is some special and unique way, so one of the things we have to be about is making space available for this to happen, environments for people to flourish.

I’ve told the story before, when I was asked the question, “What does it mean to be Human?”  Someone in the group asked this, offered back, “I am not Human, we are Human.”

I told this story to another group just a few days ago.  I’d been sharing how our particular group forms around this same question, “What does it mean to be Human?”  I went on to say that only as we listen to each other, and see through the eyes of each other, can we answer this question, can we express how we are Human.  As the evening went on, I enjoyed listening to buzz of the conversations happening around the table.  Each person was providing at least one Other the opportunity to explore who they are.

We have grown up with sayings like the one above, or the opinions of those who want to flourish themselves but haven’t the imagination for you to flourish.  We are controlled by all of this more the we know and we need to free each other.

When we get together and create spaces and environments for people to identify and explore creativity, joy, and purpose, we are part of a conspiracy to overthrow the things seeking to prevent  everyone from flourishing.

the best way to navigate adventures?

the end was in sight ...

Some pursue individuality as the way to express themselves, to be different to everyone else.

What if there is a better way?

I’ve been pondering the difference between individuality and autonomy (the freedom to control and direct one’s own life).

Individuality does not necessarily lead to autonomy, but autonomy leads to individuality.

What individuality can lack is self-awareness – knowing what we’re good at and what energises us, also how we can best live this in an integrated way with others, with our world, and with our future Self.  Individuality can fly in the face of each of these.

Self-awareness connects us with the elements and dynamics in our lives which are self-energising and self-rewarding – the things you’d do without being paid.  When we don’t have this, we can substitute external or extrinsic endorsements – the people we connect with, the things we wear (labels on the outside, please), the possessions we must have to achieve.

Think of self-awareness as a compass providing us with our true north no matter the geography we find ourselves in or the map we are trying to make sense of.  We know who we are and happily can depend on, or interdepend with, others.

Robert Greene offers a powerful picture of autonomous people when he describes how ‘they decide to forge their own route, one that others will see as unconventional, but that suits their own spirit and rhythms and leads them closer to discovering the hidden truths of their objects of study’.

He goes on to offer a wonderful story of how Micronesian sailors could make their   incredible journeys through knowing their world so well, a picture of how knowing ourselves offers the best opportunities for great adventures.

Master navigators knew the sky chart so well that
with the sight of one star in the sky they could
immediately sense where all of the others were
located.  They had learned how to read the other
navigational signs so well that it has all become
second nature.  They had a complete feel for this
environment, including all the variables that
seemed to make it chaotic and dangerous.

These variables also include being able to sense the temperature of the water, the reflections off clouds, the phosphorescence of the water, the flights of birds moving to and from land at different times of the day, and more.  All amazing.

The life of every person is as amazing.

it’s the truth

where's the shame ... 1


Well, perhaps there are two big Truths we can agree on .  (At least I’ve been trying to get my head around these.)

The first is the Truth about everything that is.  When you add up absolutely everything which exists and all the possible ways these things act upon and react to one another in their predictabilities and unpredictabilities, the sum total of this has to be the truth about everything.  I think it’s fair to say that we’ll never ever know it all, though it is important that as a species, Humans continue to journey towards more discovering.  Humans are part of this, but even if we didn’t exist this truth would still exist – “truth” is only a label we stick on it.

The second Truth I find myself pondering is one we are creating together, the truth we increasingly believe Humans can become on a small planet in a vast universe – we are shapers of truth.  This truth isn’t about believing so much as it is about acting and actioning towards it.

This truth is an exploration of possibilities, a journey from how I see and understand things at the moment, to being open to more; then the need to be increasingly open to this more, beyond external observation, to seeing and feeling and understanding it from within and through others; and, we catch a glimpse of the emerging future which offers to come into being through our courage, generosity and wise actions.

Both Truths excite me, but the second one most of all.

Seth Godin writes: ‘Frightened, Clueless, or Uninformed,  In the face of significant change and opportunity, people are often one of these three. … Comfort the frightened, coach the clueless, and teach the uninformed.’  In his encouragement, I think Seth names a fourth response: courage.  At different times and in different circumstances we can be any of these – sometimes frightened, sometimes clueless, sometimes uninformed, and, yes, sometimes courageous.

Isn’t that the truth?

We disclose more of this Truth together on a journey, actioning the best of what it means to be Human, and the truth is, we need everyone.

the genius of in-between

the genius in-between

So many things in life are offered to us as this/that, either/or.  But there’s a third option in each of these: the /.  The in-between.

Here are three reasons for choosing the in-between:

Digital or analogue?  Some love technology whilst others hate it.  I love what my computer allows me to do, and I love my journal and fountain pen.  It doesn’t have to be either/or.  We can have both.  Austin Kleon encourages us to step into the in-between: ‘It wasn’t until I started bringing analogue tools back into my process that making things became fun again and my work started to improve.’

Making a decision now or take time out to work on the problem more?  To go for the in-between means using the time-out to look more widely than simply at the issue or problem at hand.  To look at a specific issue reduces creativity.  Why not let folk loose on the bigger issues and wider picture, encouraging them to use a wide range of means and tools, as above.

Should I find this kind of role or this position?  The in-between view would be to see that would happened if you were to mix the two, create something new.  Even if you choose one over the other, you take a load of ideas into it to try out.

The in-between is a real space for exploration, and it’s where we can prove Humans are way more creative than either/or.

nothing’s set in concrete

sam was inspired by

One day I’m hoping to make it to the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze.  Ever since I hear of Michelangelo’s  unfinished sculptures of slaves.  The four figures appear to be trying to free themselves from the stone which imprisons them.

When I saw them, they epitomised the Human struggle to be free, to become our true selves.  Some travel through their whole lives without becoming free.  I’m still struggling -some days are better than others.

Three words which help me, and which fascinate me by their depth or layers, are Humility, Gratitude, and Faithfulness.

Humility frees me because it overcomes both prideful and self-deprecating notions of self-worth.  There’s a dependency for those who think they’re better than others, as well as those who think they’re not good enough – both depend on what others think of them.  Humility is freeing because  we know who we are and who we can become, in relation to others and to the world in which we find ourselves.

Gratitude tackles the greed and dissatisfaction we experience when we believe we need more; instead we see how much we have and how we can make more available to others.  When people live with a sense of dissatisfaction, their worldview can be one of scarcity, they never feel they have enough to give to others or enough resources to begin a venture. Gratitude frees us to know we have enough to do something right now.

Faithfulness takes on the foolishness which rules when pride and greed reign unchecked.  How can we hope for a more Human world when we think we’re better than others and deserve more.  Foolishness repeats old behaviours, believing there’ll be a different outcome this time.  Faithfulness makes it possible to make the (often small and repeated) steps we need to take in direction of others and our planet.

Some interesting research focused on six life aspirations; three were extrinsic as the rewards (do this and you get this) – being wealthy, famous, and physically attractive – and three were intrinsic as they provided their own reward – satisfying personal relationships, contributing to the community, and growing towards one’s greater Self (they don’t need to lead anywhere else, they are satisfying enough).

It was a complicated piece of research intended to show up what happened with mental and psychological health if those involved showed high extrinsic or intrinsic aspirations.  They managed to uncover greater wellbeing amongst those who showed strong intrinsic aspirations.