31 esme didn't realise ...

Humans are made to find meaning, and where they cannot, they invent it.

We ask questions of the world and universe and those we meet.  These many explorations and searchings are looking for meaning from beyond.

Each one of us needs to find a subjective meaning for life, and, when we do, we get a chemical kick and keep on following the trail.

It’s staggering to see the great diversity of things the Human species finds meaning in.  Each of these giving daily expression to some greater meaning we connect with.

There are many great things from beyond we can believe in.  One thing for sure is, in our searchings, we will discover more, and life keeps getting wider.

When we personalise these, give shape and express them as only we can, not only are they meaningful for us, but they hold the promise of being meaningful to someone else.



30 provoked by ...

Entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, comedians, politicians, actors, sportspeople, holy people … .  We’ll each be able to name a list of people who’ve provoked some difference in others and/or the world by the things they’ve done and the way they’ve lived.

What if the universe is set up in a way which makes it possible for each of us to provoke a change or difference somewhere through the things we love or take notice of?

It’s not about provoking for the sake of provoking, but provoking for something better.

I can only think the more we connect with people, with our world, and with our future Self, the more this provocation will be something good and beautiful, rather than bad and ugly, emerging naturally from our lives.

(I haven’t done very well today but I can have another go tomorrow.)

going somewhere?

29 although frank ,,,

Whether you believe life has a purpose and direction or is accidental, when we step back we see how Humans have created a purpose and is pursuing it relentlessly.  We have found ourselves to be the curious species moving forward through inquiry.

Here are three questions which shape the present part of our journey through time and space:

What do we see?
With whom will we connect?
What future will we create?*

We no longer take as rote what we are told or taught.  We know there is no such thing as objectivity, we are all part of what we’re trying to understand and describe.  We understand we all potentially see things valuable to all.

We’re moving beyond the foothills of new connectivity, understanding how we’re able to always be connected – something we desire as Humans.  We are moving towards being ‘connected to each other at all times’** and a not-too-distant generation will look on ours and find it strange to think of how disconnected we were.

We’re moving towards a future shaped by all, for the good of all, including the planet and its many life-forms, of which we are one.

(*Implicit in Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)
(**From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)

oxygen or carbon dioxide

28 figure out what your gift is

Yesterday, I finished off with the thought, we cannot know ourselves without being open to others.

This doesn’t take place by demanding others become like us, but by celebrating our differences.*

We’re on a journey from xenophobia to xenophilia,** from fearing strangers to loving strangers, from hostility to hospitality.^  Rather than being anxious about those who are not like us, we’re discovering how it’s possible to be open to one another.

Brian McLaren warns us about some of the outworkings of unresolved anxiety about life:

‘Eventually, anxiety-driven people find a
vulnerable person or group to vent their
anxiety upon.  The result?  Bullying,
scapegoating, oppression, injustice.’

When we know ourselves and are doing what we must do, it’s akin to having the oxygen we need to live.  But oxygen for one becomes carbon dioxide to another.  When we do what others think we ought to do it’s akin to breathing their carbon dioxide.  When we expect others to do as we think they should, we’re doing the same thing.

Mild effects experienced from too much CO2 will include sleepiness and sluggishness, being unable to think and function well.  Taking in more excessive amounts places us in danger of nerve and respiratory damage, even asphyxiation.^^  Unless we find our oxygen we can go through life more asleep than awake, or, worse, permanently deadened to what our lives can be about.

(*This can only occur within an infinite game scenario – including as many as possible for as long as possible, and changing the rules when this is threatened.  Many situations we find ourselves in are finite game scenarios, demanding we fit in with the institution or people running the game.)
(**Alex McManus explores this journey in Makers of Fire.)
(^One of three Human movements identified by Henri Nouwen in Reaching Out.)
(^^Interestingly, too much oxygen can lead to similar life-threatening conditions, but that’s another blog.)
(Here’s a blog from Seth Godin which connects with this.)
(This cartoon and blog from Hugh MacLeod also connects.)

more work necessary

27 work in progress

Anyone who knows me knows this is true of me.

My personal daily exploration into becoming more Human is part of the great Human quest.  We do not know what we can be but somehow we know it is more than this.

Alex McManus caught my eye with his comment, ‘This nascent ability – or, at least, desire – to entertain multiple perspectives is a breakthrough in human development.  It has been millennia in coming and still has ways to go.’

Oftentimes,* one person is not completely right and another completely wrong.  This offers the possibility of you and me both being right towards some greater whole.**

Albert Espinosa finds himself quoting Saint Augustine – another example of more work necessary: “Know yourself, accept yourself, overcome yourself.”  You can only be you, and you must accept who you are, but you are more than this and must overcome the resistance you find in yourself to change.

We need each other to help us do this.  It’s not by accident that Otto Scharmer sees the emerging Human future coming through the opening of our hearts to one another.  It could be, the only way to know ourselves – our future selves – is to be open to one another.  When I really see another, I also see myself.

(*There are obvious exceptions.)
(**Steven Covey would see this as being the win/win scenario being sought; James Carse would understand this to express something of the infinite game, wherein the goal is to include as many as possible and keep the game going for as long as possible, and, when the rules prevent this, change the rules.)

prime directives

sometimes it can be hard ...

Any Trekkie knows the Prime Directive prohibits all members of the United Federation of Planets interfering with the internal development of an alien civilisation.

There’s a ton of stuff we can do before we get in the way of another’s development, stuff that may well be just the kind of stuff others need in order to flourish – recognising how everyone’s flourishing is different.

This is about each one of us having a prime directive, a purpose in our lives which we must identify and pursue, because we understand this is the only opportunity we have to live it.  As Hugh MacLeod puts it, in his inimitable way: ‘This is it.  Fight like hell.’

No-one understands better than you what you must do.  When we align our lives with the universe in which we find ourselves we will know it.

Whilst others may see from the outside what your life appears to be about, they can’t feel that important something the way you do – in the way that drives your heartbeat up, sending a charge of joy through you.

Prime directives are what take us out of the cyclical, out of WYSIATI, out of fateful sense of “this is all I am” into future possibilities – which are really present opportunities.*

What’s your prime directive?

There’s a mighty lot of space to explore what you believe you must do.  A whole universe of it, if we understand ourselves to be children of the stars.

Okay, I couldn’t resist it: your prime directive will be quite unique, to be lived with passion, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

You have this one life to make it so.

(*Futurists imagine the future in order to understand the present.)

heretics and faith and religion

25 what were talking about ...

Heretics and faith and religion are what life comprises of – read the sixth sentence, below.

A heretic sees what must be.

A heretic lives for their faith.

Religion, at it’s best, supports people with faith and, at its worst, when promoted above faith, destroys faith.

Heretics, then, challenge religion when it’s lost its way.

The Sixth Sentence: Seth Godin writes about heretics, faith, and religion in his book Tribes – his way of understanding how Human life organises itself.

So, religion isn’t only what happens at a church or mosque or gurdwara.  It can be a football club, a craft group, or your place of work, a games collective.

And faith is what you deeply believe in and live your life for – what you would do even if you weren’t getting paid for it.

Heretics look at the world and say, “We can do better than this,” and begin to shape the future with foresight, intention, and love.*

Faith is so basic to each of us thriving: ‘Our search for meaning is like our need for air.’**

The universe is all about energy in motion.  It makes sense to set people free to do the amazing stuff they do, rather than require them to fit in and worship the system.^

(*Seth Godin admits heretic might not be the best word but it’s the best he had to describe what he was seeing.  Certainly, heretics, as I use the word here, long for every person to thrive in body, mind, heart, and spirit.)
(**From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)
(^Chris Anderson makes the point in Makers: ‘To make things a new way, you need to make companies a new way too.’  You can’t make new things out of old ways.)




24 it's impossible!

Google the word heretic and you come up with definitions like, “a person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted.”

It doesn’t say a heretic is wrong to do this.  Heretics see something others don’t.  They’re willing to take the risk of being proven wrong.  They act on faith, the faith that says something – which others don’t see – is possible; it just hasn’t been accomplished yet.

Check out this video of climber Chris Sharma attempting to climb a previously impossible rock face.  He shouldn’t be able to do the things he does.  One movement he perfected, and which has overcome climbing challenges, is the dyno – a leaping movement which wasn’t considered to be proper climbing, but on acceptance, has opened up severe rock-climbing problems.

This is the thing about the heretic.  They’re willing to get really focused around an idea and put their life on the line to see what is possible – in the video, Sharma talks about working for seven weeks on climbing this particular rock face, he’s fallen many times, but he finally completes a climb others could only get halfway up.  (It’s just over sixteen minutes long and totally captivating.)

There’re many, diverse impossible challenges in the world.  Sharma how to be a heretic: he exemplifies patience – he knows the rock face won’t succumb on the first, second, or even, thirtieth attempt, but it will succumb; he embraces failure – those many falls; and he’s able to focus great energy into particular moments of impossibility.

Heretics follow their dreams, seeking to bring them into being: ‘North and south.  Nothing more.  Look for the north; look for the south.  Don’t stop travelling between them.*

(*From Albert Espinosa’s The Yellow World.)

field trip

23 the toll of making change ...

Humans have plenty of field trips ahead of them.

We live in a solar system moving at 558 thousand miles an hour, in a galaxy travelling at 666 thousand miles an hour, in a universe we estimate to know less than five per cent of – most of it being made up of dark matter and black holes.

In such a universe, wouldn’t it be strange not to think of ourselves as travellers.

Humans are made for change.

On field trips, things happen inside as well as outside of us.

Travelling to an unfamiliar place not only holds the possibility of engaging with an environment and its contents but also for the environment and its contents to engage with us.  That’s why they’re so powerful for the Human adventure.

We can travel to places for field trips and we can travel to different times – and the  most disorientating and change-making is the future.  Here, we get to ask a different question to “What are we post-?”  We get to ask, “What are we pre-?”

If the universe is expanding, why not Humans?  (Individually, when we identify an open-ended story for our lives that we like, we can explore living it to the full.)

Here is the greatest field trip of all.*

(*I’d count reading a book, connecting with a tribe, visiting a place, undertaking a task, setting personal goals, and more, as being field trips which can lead to change.  What might yours be?)
(The quote for today’s cartoon comes from Seth Godin’s Graceful.)



keep moving

22 more more more

There are people who’ll want you to stop.

Stop thinking those thoughts.  Stop meeting with those people.  Doing doing the things you do.  (Why can’t you just be more like them?  Fit in.  Be happy.)

But you have to follow the leads, the whispers.  You know Humans are made for more.  (The genius of this is found below.)

It’s not about stopping with the first thought, the encounter with the first person’s story, the first action or movement.  (Or the second, or the third.)

We must follow our curiosity: What lies behind this, and behind this and …?

Albert Espinosa decided at fifteen he wanted to use more of the his brain than the mythical ten percent we supposedly use (mythical because that’s not how the brain works – but it’s still underused), and he counsels:

‘You could put it this way: don’t obey your
first thoughts blindly.  Consider well what
it is your thinking.  Look for things; don’t
just be happy with your first thought.’

I just add opening our hearts and opening our wills to opening our minds.

It’s the only hope for our world.

Only working with our first thoughts, encounters, and actions, so closing out the possibility of more, may be nice and tidy, but look where it’s got us.  No, we need more:

‘Just about every system, whether its
political, financial, or even religious,
has become asymmetrical.’*

So, here’s the genius of this.

After I wrote down these thoughts, above, I began something of a journey.  It began with me mentioning to my daughter I’d had a sleepless night, finding myself thinking about a load of things that are happening, including the need to explore ways of finding income when the work with my employer reduces to 60%.  Charlotte connected me with business consultant Lesley,** who gave me loads of leads  to websites, videos, and ideas, which I’m working through, and each one is another step or more.  I may not see the end of this just yet, but I’m closer to it.

Brilliant.  (And I took a minute off my run afterwards as I was was thinking about all of this – it really is an energy thing.)

Keep moving.

(*From Seth Godin’s Tribes.  Asymmetry is the effect “heretics” have on the status quo.)
(**A wonderful conversation with Lesley Calland, and if you’re in the north-west of England and need a business coach and mentor, I recommend getting in touch.)