What to leave behind?
What to hold on to?
With whom do we walk?
A week ago I was part of a small group exploring the possibilities of futures and these were three questions we posited.
The question isn’t, Do we stay where we are or move into the future?: ‘Everything alive is in movement.’
We live with this reality every day of our lives. In two days time I will be fifty-five years old. How did that happen? While I might wonder, I can’t deny it: life is change, is movement, and, gladly, becoming: ‘The secret heart of time is growth.’
Each one of us is capable of amazing things. We call it potential* and it’s not easy to get this out, as my friend Steve Earl suggests:
‘It is always hidden within us, ready to leap out but it is
deeply afraid, so we must give ourselves strength to bring
We cannot do everything. We have to leave some things behind. We must be indifferent to them.
We have to be clear about what it is we want to pursue and why. These must be our strong preferences.
We need to find the people to journey with. Who these are may surprise us:**
‘Part of the act of creating is in discovering your own
kind. They are everywhere. But don’t look for them
in the wrong places.’^
After eight years of exploration in the city I live in, I’m continuing to answer these three questions about the future, becoming clearer on what I must leave behind, what I must hold on to, and, who I must walk with. I am very surprised by where I find myself today, but it is good:
‘It is a simple equation: no liminality, no adventure;
no adventure, no mission; no mission, no communitas.’ ^^
(*Recently a group of artists I’m connected withexplored the basic idea of V=mc² (potential energy) in events which brought artists together to offer their art, and turning what we raised into micro-investment loans to help change the lives of people around the world. It is a growing story.)
(**The answer to all three questions may surprise us.)
(^Henry Miller quoted by Austin Kleon in Show Your Work.)
(^^From Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost’s The Faith of Leap. Liminality is the term given to threshold experiences: it can be disorientating, dangerous, marginal, and nquest – it can be any combination of these. As such, it is neither here nor there, a place of transition. We can understand places, experiences, people, and ideas as being liminal. Victor Turner’s The Ritual Process is the classic text on liminality and communitas; Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces identifies how our legends and myths understand such movement to be crucial to Human experience and development. Communitas is the term given to the community which forms around the mission or purpose: Steven Spielberg and Tom Hank’s Band of Brothers is a fascinating journal for this (I recommend watching it with others, rather than on your own).