ten things

19 10 things

If you were to take out a piece of paper and listed ten things you thought would make your life better, would they be things which made life easier, or ask you to put in more effort?

Just before you make your list, if I add, there’s a load of unique curiosities, and amazing skills and abilities in you waiting to get out, how would this shape your list?


what else is happening?

18 deep breaths

Or, what did we miss?

Edgar Schein writes  about how: ‘we take in a great deal of data but our tendency to leap to judgement prevents us from reflecting on most of it’.*  Schein’s immediate reflection is on a terrible evening when his granddaughter cut her forehead and had to be taken to hospital a long way away, altogether taking up six hours.  When he was asked this question afterwards he realised he’d missed six hours of brightness and chattiness from his grandchild.

We know it, don’t we?  We miss so much of what is happening in and around us.

”It is strange to be here.  The mystery never leaves you alone.  Behind your image, below your words, above your thoughts, the silence of another world waits.  A world lives within you.’**

A world?  Really?

I believe it.  When people begin to notice what lies within them, it is, nothing less then a whole, wonderful world.

The person who listens makes it possible for these new worlds to come to birth, and, when joined with others, create new solar systems.  They are an infinite gamester:

‘They did not expect an infinite listener who joyously took their unlikeness on himself, giving them their own voice through the silence of wonder, a healing and holy metaphor that leaves everything still to be said.^

(*From Edgar Schein’s Humble Inquiry.)
(**From John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara.)
(^From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)


17 the end

Lament and reality and despair and mourning.

Not our favourite words but necessary when it comes to opening the future.

‘There is mourning to be done for those who do not know he deathliness of their situation.  There is mourning to be done with those who know pain and suffering and lack the power or freedom to bring it to speech.’*

We possibly struggle to take hold of a new future because we’re unable to let go of the past.  The future can be too alive for us to handle.  What we are able to do, how we might relate, the art we are capable of bringing is to hot to deal with.

Unless we let the past die, we’ll re-establish what we have sought to escape and the new future quickly looks like the deathly past.

I’ve recently been exploring the idea of the new prophet,** the one who articulates an alternative reality for those who struggle but are not heard.

The prophet tells me:
Life is hard: a lament;
I am not as special as I think and my life is not about me: reality;
I am not in control: despair; 
I am going to die: mourning.  

Strangely, I find myself on the threshold of new possibilities;
Life is hard, yet, somehow, it’s here we find beauty;
We’re not special or the focus, but in serving each other we’re served and feel alive;
We are not in control but we are free;
We are going to die, but first we are going to be fully alive.

(*From Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination.)
(**The new prophet is not abrasive, rather what she sees is expressed in humility, gratitude, and faithfulness, towards a flowering of integrity, wholeness, and perseverance, resulting in courage, generosity, and wisdom.)

new futures

16 making go

I believe in new futures: futures different to the ones likely to happen if we continue along the path we’ve been on for so long.

Most of all, I believe in futures for those who think that only other people have new futures.

I can’t create a new future for anyone.  Only they can do this.  And they can because they’re more amazing than they think.

But what I can do is be there with people as their future emerges.

There’s a shortage of people who’ll stand in this place and say to someone: go!

It may be that you’re the person who needs a new future, or maybe your the person who can say go!

You’re probably both, because what you’ve experienced you want to pass on to others.

You know it’s important for people to see more, but also that when someone sees a new future, there’s often an unnoticed emotional response to this, which can lead them to say no.  You then help them to see this so they’re able to go!

The new future is not an idea, it’s simply how life is.


15 boo

‘It is the repeated parallel that brings us to see that the society that creates natural waste creates human waste.’*

Waste is what we give to losers, nonpersons,^ those who inhabit non-history – but this will change.

Our world is looking for ‘those who look everywhere for difference, who see the earth as source, who celebrate the genius in others, who are not prepared against but for surprise’.**

Those who welcome and accept this invitation will move towards the centre of history, be creators of a new world.

George Friedman suggests by 2030 western nations will be competing for immigrant workers.^  As the populations of these countries age, they’ll struggle to find the workers they need to maintain growth.  There will be an altering of border policies in many countries.

Whilst this will see an increase in tensions felt at the moment, behind it there can be a very positive story, as Humans take another step forward in their development, becoming more open to and creators of a new age in which there is no waste.


(*From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(**Nonpersons is a term coined by Walter Brueggemann in The Prophetic Imagination.)

(^From George Friedman’s The Next 100 Years.  This date will possibly have been pushed by the global recession, but powerful forces are observable right now.)

20/15 vision

14 we do not

We have more ways of being able to see and hear than ever before, but it’s possible many of us hear and see less than our foremothers and fathers did.

Wanting to arrive quickly, our seeing and hearing fall in line, but:

‘Genuine travel has no destination.  Travellers do not go somewhere. but constantly discover they are somewhere else.’*

We are travellers more than arrivers: through time, space, relationships, work, hope, love – every day.

(*From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)


humble curiosity

13 mindsets

How curious can we be?

It seems, when we let go of our desires and needs to control, we’re able to explore with deeper curiosity – taking us beyond the average, allowing us to be surprised by the unpredictable.

When we let go of our desire to be above or beyond something, and to enter into it,  our curiosity and our Humanity is set free.

come the festival

12 i wonder if the real art

‘I wonder if the real art comes when you build the thing that they don’t have a prize for yet.’*

The best way to “criticise” what isn’t right is to imaginatively and lovingly produce what is.

‘People don’t need new facts – they need a new story.’**

It’s a choice.  Instead of giving hundreds of reasons for why this is the worst (or the best) something can be at the moment, you can show me how we can set people’s stories free towards something more.

Yesterday, I found myself in the kind of conversation I love: one that digresses in all kinds of directions, producing new ideas, but also accomplishing why we were meeting.  We ended up imagining something to impact our city in a positive way and now have to see if we can make it happen; we’re creating a story.

‘True storytellers do not know their own story.’^

If they did, they’d be following a script.  Storytellers take us with them on a journey to we’re not quite sure where.  Prediction is just explanation from the future – more facts, more script.

What we need is an unfolding narrative which recognises we don’t know what we’re capable of, together or individually, and so can’t write or predict the ending.

We probably look a motley crew, but we underestimate what such a crowd of people – who know their superpowers and their kryptonite – can do with some passion and compassion.

No more facts, though; time to do.

(*From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)
(**From Blake Mycoskie’s Start Something That Matters.)
(^From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)

borders and lines and crossings

11 why not colour

When I look at a road atlas covering the area where I was born (North Yorkshire), I find all kinds of symbols and lines: a broken red line conveys a national trail, a blue “sun” with rays denotes a viewpoint.

Here’s a page of symbols and signs to tell me what I will find in the area covered by the map – none of which look like this, really – well maybe the rivers.  Who’s decided this view, shown by the blue sun symbol, is better than the one ten minutes down the trail or road, anyway?

over the lines

What if so many of the lines you won’t cross don’t really exist either?

Why can’t you ask questions?
Why not take the course?
Why not have employees sit with employers at break time?
Why not go beyond giving people labels?
Why not make friends at work?
Why not colour outside the lines?

Some of the greatest boundaries are those which say this is who I am, and, that is who you are.

Our better futures will require the crossing of many boundaries – those which keep us in and those which keep us out.