30 riskfullness

When we step outside of the roles and the everyday norm, we see and understand there is more to us than we think.

When we step into the worlds of others and allow them to step into ours, we’re opening ourselves to a future which wants to emerge.

To open our minds to see and understand more.

To open our hearts and be present to others.

These have required our vulnerability and riskfullness.

We have been brought to something new we must commit ourselves to; something Otto Scharmer has critically named the “essential emergence” – an opportunity to live  beyond WYSIATI.*

A year ago, I saw such an experience offer itself to someone.**   She was excited at first, but she later realised this would ask her to risk something (perhaps what others thought of her, perhaps what she thought about herself).  She withdrew from the possibility.   All I have left is the note in my journal capturing her initial excitement.

Only a risk-full life increases the possibility of more.

(*What You See Is All There Is.)
(**I journaled this as I thought it important for this person at the time: a serendipitous moment.)

to risk more

29 another word

There are three contexts for risking more.

There’s the internal context, when we’re prepared to explore the deepest, uncharted areas of our lives.  We’ve called this severally: contemplation, meditation, reflection, mindfulness: as there’s a hiddenness to all growing things, we too have a hiddenness for why we are who we are and do what we do.

There’s the external context, where we’re prepared to connect with people, discover more about how the world and the universe works, engage in our work, and are prepared to commit to causes which are important to us.

Then there’s the deep source of emergence,* the possibility of new things happening in and through our internal and external worlds, especially including what we can be about together because of the deep connections we’ve been able to make with others – deep because we have brought a greater understanding of who we are which enable us to overcome the obstacles and barriers we experience to others.

To deepen and expand each of these contexts requires risk.  And the willingness to risk, Brené Brown argues, is only made possible by our vulnerability.

Daily, we live in our relationships and do the work we do – not knowing how we will fair – because of our willingness to be vulnerable.

To be vulnerable is to be an experiential, feeling Human.  We already are vulnerable, so what we are contemplating is the possibility of knowing and exercising vulnerability so we can expand and develop it more: towards the things we feel to be so very important in life – the pursuit and living of our values and beliefs.

If we hope for anything, vulnerability is involved.

Whilst vulnerability opens us to what we are most fearful of and want to avoid – and it will be its very nature – it also opens up all we desire and value:

‘Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.  It is the source of hope, empathy, and authenticity.  If we want greater clarity and purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.’**

(*So named by Otto Scharmer in Theory U.)
(**From Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly.)

focal length

28 unfinished

As in the focal length of camera lenses as a way of  thinking about focal length in our lives.

Dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp shares different examples of artist’s work: some have a panoramic view, some work in the distance – observing and observed, whilst others are close up.  Of photographer Ansel Adams, Tharp offers:

‘Earth and heaven in their most expansive form was how Adams saw the world.  It was his signature, and expression of his creative temperament.  It was his DNA.’*

This got me thinking.

I love when ideas from different people come together and open up possibilities, and these thoughts from Tharp appear to collide with Otto Scharmer‘s about how we need to be people opening our minds, our hearts, and our wills towards an emerging future.

Seeing the panoramic or bigger picture means opening our seeing and understanding to there being more; inhabiting the middle ground is about getting closer to see and hear and touch the details we cannot appreciate in the big vista (we see and feel, and are seen and felt); and, the up-close (macro?) is about involvement, commitment, delivery with no escape.

Two thoughts then.

All focal lengths are desirable for our lives: the big picture of more, the close enough to see and be seen, and the up close and engaged.

We’ll also have a favourite lens.  Our signature, as Tharp puts it.

(From Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit.)

not enough or enough?

27 enough or

The products of two mindsets.

Not enough comes from a scarcity-mindset.

Enough comes from an abundance mindset.

A scarcity-mindset usually wins, though, and is the product of wars, terrorism, tragedies, disasters, injustices, crime, poverty, and much more.

Brené Brown suggests scarcity environments contain shame, comparison, and disengagement, with the casualties being our willingness to be vulnerable and engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.*

Mindsets are ways of seeing reality; they are not reality.

Arthur Schopenhauer offers,

‘The task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen, but to think what nobody has thought about that which everybody sees.’**

Erwin McManus adds, ‘When the soul is sick, one of the symptoms in blindness.’^

You may have noticed, I often suggest humility, gratitude, and faithfulness as ways of being present to an emerging future, enabling us to move forward.

Humility because we clearly see who we are and sense our worth.
Gratitude because we see what we have and understand how to engage with this.
Faithfulness as many imaginative and creative ways of putting humility and gratitude into practice.

The best question might well be, What Do You Want To See?

(*From Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly.)
(**Quoted by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschäppler in The Decision Book.)
(^From Erwin McManus’s Soul Cravings.)

why life is confusing?

26 out of order

‘I usually congratulate people when they tell me, “I don’t know who I am anymore.”‘*

The usual roles into which people fit themselves, or are fitted, are disappearing.

26 comes the chaos

Scarcity is being seen for what it is: a myth.  We’re not quite sure how to handle this, hence the confusion, but we’re increasingly seeing opportunities to produce our art.

26 and then out

I’m not saying we’re becoming invulnerable.

Quite the opposite.

Whatever we believe in or do in life, we die: our end is inevitable.  Embracing this truth and imagining how it is possible to live differently, I paradoxically find “when I am weak, then I am strong.”

26 a future order

As we begin to see how we live in a world of abundance rather than scarcity,  abundance often comes to us in random, even chaotic, ways: there’s hard learning and work to be done to capture and experience it, though Nassim Taleb suggests:

‘Everything likes or hates volatility up to a point.  Everything. … The best way to verify that you are alive is by checking you like variations.’**

Our ability to positively adapt to randomness over our lifetime – to develop complexipacity^ – opens the possibility of an abundant life which moves us out of our confusion and shapes us as generators and contributors.

(*Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth.)
(**Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile.)
(^The capacity to deal with complexity.)


outing the ego

25 we overcome

She wanted to be free,  to be able to live the life she felt was calling to her.

Each time she tried to move toward this, she found she compared herself to others, and something got in the way.

Sometimes she felt better than others; other times she felt not as good at all.

Eckhart Tolle writes, ‘whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that’s the ego in you.’*

The ego feeds on important cravings or needs each of us finds within us as a developed species: autonomy and mastery and significance.  All of these can be really good, rather than bad:

Autonomy to live as we believe we must.
Mastery of skills through which we can express ourselves through and contribute to others with.
Significance in living for some purpose greater than ourselves.

Sometime our hero struggles with pride, greed, and foolishness in her life; at other time the struggles are with unworthiness, asceticism, and cautiousness.

The ego plays games without us realising, but when we identify and embrace who we are without comparison, satisfied and giving,we free ourselves from the gravitational pull of the “more-than” and “less-than” pull of the ego and we can fly ego-free towards the future working in a complementary rather than comparative way with others.

‘The revolutionary force in this century is the awakening of a deep generative human capacity – the I-in-Now.’**

There’s quite an experiment to be lived out.

(*From Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.)
(**From Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)

just a little beauty

24 add beauty

How many people are coming?

How big will it be?

How much money will be made?

The contributor of beauty knows, whilst these sometimes are important questions, they struggle to measure just a little more beauty being brought into being.

She finds herself walking in the small way, which enables her to see and honour the little-beautiful things people are often making and offering.

She is increasingly grateful for the hundreds of little-beautifuls she finds around her every day: the things people cannot not do.

They all add up to something amazing.  Being grateful for them and connecting them up in an idea or an event or a relationship, allows something amazing to happen.

24 add beauty colour 2

To bring a little more beauty into the world can be scary, but I remember a conversation with my friend Dan last year: he said, we have to keep doing the scary stuff, else we’ll continue to do the same stuff and it won’t be very good.

Beauty happens when we allow our past and emerging future to meet.  Otto Scharmer names these: social time sculptures.  One of these is taking place on Friday – something the guys I’m working with find scary, but we cannot not do it.  And whilst there’ll be those questions about how many, how much, how big, the important one for us will be, have produced a little more beauty?*

‘I have found that the most difficult and most rewarding challenge of my work is how to be both a mapmaker and traveller.’**

(*If you’re in Edinburgh on Friday, please feel yourself invited to make a little more beauty.)
(**From Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly.)
(Cartoon: You’re welcome to print off and colour in the cartoon today; I’ll upload my completed version within the blog when completed.)