home sweet home

30 one of

I’m almost fifty-six years of age and am about to move into the first house I have chosen to live in.  I am grateful.  The task is now to turn it into a home.

This got me thinking about how I really have many homes.

I have a home in the universe.

Physicist David Bohm spoke about how  we belong here: “Wholeness is built into the universe – there is no hierarchy.”*

I have a home in the lives of others.

I have been a stranger and others have taken me into their lives.

I am at home in my own life.

John O’Donohue offers, ‘The body is your only home in the universe.  It’s your house of belonging here in the world.’**

If we dream of something more perfect we miss how this one, short life is the only opportunity we have to be at home.

Italo Calvino tells of how the fictional city of Fedora exists in a museum.  In each room there is a crystal globe containing someone’s dream of Fedora: ‘ a way of making it the ideal city, but while he constructed his miniature world, Fedora was no longer the same as before.’^

(*David Bohm, quoted in Joseph Jaworski’s Source.)
(**From John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara.)
(^From Italo Carvalo’s Invisible Cities.)

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deeper stories

29 narrative arc

We can feel overwhelmed in an unfamiliar place or situation or task, or when a conversation or relationship isn’t going as well as hoped.

So, we’re tempted to withdraw and retreat and doubt who we are and what we can do.

Let’s hit the pause button before this goes into free-fall.

Just below the surface to this is your deeper story, the amazing narrative arc you find yourself on: where you have come from, what you have done, and how this carries you towards your future.

None of this has changed.

In your story, you feel most courageous, generous, and wise.

This deeper story is the means by which you can explore and inquire within the unfamiliar, within the pear-shaped experience, making it possible not only to recover, but grow.

Wherever you are, take your story.

what’s your itch?

nitch

‘Mortals must do what they are here to create or they will become cranky.’*

That’s an itch.

Here it is again:

‘You can’t find your voice if you don’t use it.’**

We usually scratch or rub itches thoughtlessly continuing with what we’re doing – there’s even research data to show this makes things worse.

Best to be mindful to the itch.  What’s causing it?  The shampoo you’re using, or twisted clothing, or something else?

What if the itch is what we ought to be about?

What is my itch? is one of questions for identifying what it is I must do.

It’s what others aren’t doing.  It fills a gap.  More of a nitch.

‘Find a scenius, pay attention to what others are sharing, and then start taking notice of what they’re not sharing.  Be on the lookout for voids you can fill with your own efforts no matter how bad they are at first.’**

We have to be proximity to others to find nitches.  This also means here is where we find the things which make life better for others too:

‘When you make a dream come true for yourself, it’ll be a dream come true for someone else too.’^

(*From Seth Godin’s Tales of the Revolution.)
(**From Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work.)
(^From Derek Siver’s Anything You Want.)

two journeys

for all those

There is the outer journey which takes us into our activity and busyness.

And there is the inner journey which takes us to the source from which we are active and busy.

We’ve more often been concerned with the first.  Even what we have thought of as inner journeys – religion and faith and spirituality – have been more outward activity and busyness, warding off the unwelcome focus on who we really are and what we really are like.

But this is changing.

In better understanding the Human ability to continue developing and growing throughout our lives, and from generation to generation, we’re more willing and able to travel inwards: shaping the source from which we believe, belong, and behave.

What we find is a story, and when we can tell this story we find and spread wellbeing.

“All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.”*

Though, we can be blind to these stories, or hide from them.  Perhaps we haven’t realised how we can shape them.  In extreme cases, these stories can imprison us.

Psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz asks a question found at the far end of story dysfunction: ‘But what if a person can’t tell a story about his sorrows.  What if the story tells him?’**  Grosz as been sharing the story of someone who couldn’t find words to tell his own story, shaped by his parents, and so he acted out the only way he could.

John O’Donohue warns of, ‘the hungry, blistering need with which you continually reach out to scrape affirmation, respect, and significance for yourself from things and people outside your self.’^

Our story can be shaped with foresight, intention, and love:

‘They learn to whisper awake the deep well of love within.’^

 

(*Author Karen Blixen, quoted in Stephen Grosz’s The Examined Life.)
(**From Stephen Grosz’s The Examined Life.)
(^From John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara.)

 

write a song

creating not repeating

A short story.

On the car radio came Bobby Gentry singing Ode to Billy Joe.

I’d never really listened to the lyrics before, but found myself caught up in a story being developed rather than repeated.

It got me thinking about how everyday we get to write an intriguing song or story, one which unfolds, avoiding repetition.

In the background lies the great Human story: from cognitive revolution to agricultural to scientific, and what next?

I finished the day by reading Philip Pullman’s introduction to Lionel Davidson’s thriller Kolymsky Heights, in which Pullmann offers, “It’s classic in shape.  It takes an ancient form of the quest: the hero journeys to a far-off place, gains something valuable, and returns.”*

The following morning I read these words from Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler:

‘Thus, on April 9, 2012, just three months after Kodak filed for bankruptcy, Instagram and its thirteen employees were bought by Facebook for $1 billion.’**

Respectively examples of linear and exponential companies, Kodak and Instagram tell a story about how we are moving into a new age.  We are exploring ways on a personal level for moving from linear to exponential stories.  This is being made more possible by finding and creating with others.  We haven’t reached a tipping point yet, but it’s coming.

Austin Kleon elaborates on Brian Eno’s idea of a scenius, a creative community:

‘Being a valuable part of a scenius is not necessarily about how smart of talented you are, but what you have to contribute – the idea you share, the quality of the connections you make, and the conversations you start.’^

Today, we get to live the classic story: far away places can be close geographically, where you’ll find something valuable, and bring it back to those you love.

‘The shortage is in people willing to do it.  To take a leap.  To walk onto the ledge and start.^^

(*From Lionel Davidson’s Kolymsky Heights.)
(**From Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.)
(^From Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work.)
(^^From Seth Godin’s Poke the Box.)

barrierlessness

25 adjacent possibilities

Can we imagine and initiate a world in which barriers are overcome: barriers between a person and their future, barriers between different people, barriers between people and the world they live in.

I know there many things which suggest barrierlessness is not possible.

I also know there are many things suggesting this kind of adjacency is within our grasp: adjacent possibilities, adjacent stories, adjacent futures – all possible from where we are right now.

We need more experimentation into adjacency and barrierlessness.  Especially into how can we work together, surrendering and sacrificing to the group, community, or tribe and also bringing our genius.

Twyla Tharp reserves the right for artists to pick a fight, to find a way forward with the questions: ‘”Why do I have to obey the rules?” “Why can’t I be different?” “Why can’t I do it my way?”*

These are really important questions for identifying personal adjacency, but within a community or tribe they need to sound more like: Why do we have to obey the rules?, Why can’t we be different?, Why can’t we do it our way?

And how can we make these questions work for everyone and the planet?

It’s not about passivity but from a place of stillness and restlessness which arises from deep-heartedness.

I love adjacency.  I love how the possibility of people discovering a different way to live their lives, and how they can live differently with others.

(*From Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit.)

idea pilgrims

24 ideas

Every day we get to choose the way we will live our story.  Michael Heppell calls this brilliance: ‘brilliant people have a range of tools to move forward in a number of different ways.’*  Chip Anderson calls this genius, the ability to pour ourselves into doing something amazing.

“Our real purpose is to contribute to the planet so that it is a safer and happier place to live.”**

What Chip Anderson calls genius, Brian Eno sees playing out together as scenius: “a whole scene of people who were supporting each other, looking at each others’ work, copying from each other, stealing ideas, and contributing ideas.”^

I think of these people as idea pilgrims.  These pilgrims don’t make their way to a well visited site; they are looking for the idea no-one has had before, appreciating the ideas people have had are their resources.  Eno, in his scenius, is describing a band of pilgrims.

‘Please stop waiting for a map.  We reward those who draw maps, not those who follow them.’^^

(*From Michael Heppell’s How to be Brilliant.)
(**Founder of the Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus, quoted in Steve Chalke’s Being Human.)
(^Brian Eno, quoted in Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work.)
(^^From Seth Godin’s Poke the Box.)