the earth turns

20 special offer

The earth spins.

Our small spot on this planet turns to face the sun with a regularity we call day, moving us into the light.

The universe does not keep us in the dark for very long, each day offering a new way of seeing, knowing, and doing, even larger and more beautiful than the day before.

‘Seeing the world as open and full of possibility is the fundamental shift of mind that opens the door to connecting to the Source.  Each of us has a capacity for awe, wonder, and reverence.’*

It’s very possible to be ushered into the light the universe provides every day yet stay in the darkness.  One day there’ll be no more opportunities provided, our darkness will be secured, but while its day …

‘Your worldview is the set of expectations and biases you bring to a situation before any new data appear.’**

Bring on the new data!

(*From Joseph Jaworski’s Source.)
(**From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?


19 what do you see beginning?

Yesterday, I was watching the live session which began U.Lab – a massive open online course (MOOC)* exploring transformation of business, society, and self.

During this, those watching were invited to tweet their response to two question?

What is ending?
What is beginning?

Technology made it possible for responses to form word clouds.

What is ending? The two most used words: WORLD DYING.

What is beginning? Two of the most used words after world: PEOPLE COLLABORATION.

I sensed the beginning of a creative connectivity.  As I listen to the whispers from our future, and experience people getting together and dreaming, I wonder about how we’re increasingly “getting” something: our capacity to make all things flourish in beautiful ways.

We live within systems we see as being greedy or foolish or hurtful, but we’re waking up to the truth, we are the system, which is more good news than bad, because it means we can change things, we can create new systems.

Whatever the past has been, the future can be different.  We’ll each see this differently, and our perspectives are hugely important – we are creative and generous beings, enjoying life as we express these things.

(*There are 35,000 participants, and more in China- accessing through a different platform but the second largest participating country.  It looks like you can still sign up.)

life whispers

18 whispers in

Whispers don’t have to be audible; they can be a look or an attitude or an action.

Every day, we’ve opportunity to whisper things about a larger life, with opening deeper truth which we haven’t fathomed the half of yet.

We can also influence people with whispers of judgement or cynicism or fear.

We don’t set out to do this; more likely, someone in the past has whispered these things into our lives from the way the world and their world was.

But when someone speaks judgementally we can whisper something about a hopeful future.

When something cynical is said, we can whisper we care and inquire positively.

When someone speaks out of their fear, we can dare to act courageously.

None of us set out to be judgemental, uncaring, or risk-averse.

These are the whispers we’ve allowed in.  When we step back, we know we want to live a bigger kind of life, to open our minds and hearts and wills.

We’ll need to identify those who whisper positively into our lives – wisdom is not found in what we know but in who we value.

We can also be whisperers of life in all its fullness to others.

These words from philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin caught my attention this morning:

“Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of love and then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”*

(Quoted in Joseph Jaworski’s Source.)

out of control

18 there is the world

You are not in control.

Richard Rohr identifies this as an elemental truth passed on in traditional societies when a child is about to become an adult.*

When we try and control things then it tends to get ugly.  Donald Miller and his wife Betsy identified five kinds of controller, or manipulator, just from watching interviews on TV.

There are:
Scorekeepers – they control the scores, and they always win; 
Judges –  are those who are always right;
False heroes – promise to deliver something wonderful in the future;
Fearmongers – appear invulnerable and control by fear;**
Floppers – who control by extracting sympathy and attention.

I have met all the above but, more alarmingly, I spot the seeds of each in me.

Hopefully I’m learning to spot them and prevent them growing.  The trouble is, unchecked, these behaviours rob people of integrity and wholeness and perseverance, and are the loneliest of people.

Respectively, these traits are tackled by true humility and courage, gratitude and generosity, and, faithfulness and wisdom.

Seth Godin comments, ‘It’s easier to teach compliance than initiative.’^  The better way is to give up trying to control and instead, behind the scenes, become co-conspirators of goodness and kindness freeing one another to flourish.

(*From Richard Rohr’s Adam’s Return.  There are five altogether, the other four being: Life is hard; You are not as special as you think; Your life is not about you; and, You are going to die.)
(**This made me think of Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada.)
(^From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)

give and take

16 sorry, but

The healthier we become the more we give.

Or should that be the other way around?

When we give more, something happens inside us.  For a start, we find that we quite like giving; there’s a chemical kick which comes with it.  Interesting.

Taking comes in subtle forms.  Wanting to win an argument or to take control can be about taking.  The want to control breeds in a world of debate, whilst giving happens in a world of dialogue.

Scott Peck writes a whole book on how we’ll only grow communities if we put down our agendas and listen to what others hope for.*

This will make for an fascinating time in Human history as we learn to listen to ‘those who aren’t at the table of privilege – the homeless, the sick or infirm in body or mind, the poor, the unemployed, those with special needs, the refugee, the immigrant, the alien, the minority, the different, the old, the last, the least, the lonely and the lost.’**

Add to this some intriguing observations Sherry Turkle offers about children’s responses to the first sociable machines in the 1990s – the Tamagotchi and Furby:

‘Children approach sociable machines in a spirit similar to the way they approach sociable pets or people – with the hope of befriending them.’^

This is our bent: to befriend, to care, to give.

The universe invites us to such a journey, the future opening to those who give more than they take.

We also need to take, though, because no one has everything our world needs.  It’s just a different kind of taking, caught up in a vortex of receiving and giving.

(*See Scott Peck’s The Different Drum.)
(**From Brian McLaren’s We Make the Road By Walking.)
(^From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)

healthy spaces

15 we do not (colour)

‘I have no idea why one person can be handed a tragic past and become healthy and selfless while another amplifies their pain into the lives of others.’*

Does everyone have a door to walk through into something better?

I hope they do, and I want to believe we all get to play a part in making doorways available.

Last night I met with a crowd of people engaging in a MOOC (massive open online course) which has, as part of the experience, offline hubs and circles.  It felt very much like a door into a healthy place where better stuff can happen.  I guess most of us know we all have unhealthy things going on in our lives, but as someone shared, there was a feeling of hope in what we were doing.

‘Yes, we are broken, but at the same time we are awakening to our brokenness.’**

Yuval Noah Harari writes about how Humans create imagined hierarchies.  No matter what kind of propensity or possibility we imagine for people, it ‘will usually remain latent if it is not fostered, honed and exercised’:

‘Not all people get the same chance to cultivate and refine their abilities.  Whether or not they have such an opportunity will usually depend on their place within their society’s imagined hierarchy.’^

I welcome Harari’s observation about everyone having talent.  There’s never been a time like this when we’re able to make development of talents a reality, creating healthy spaces not because we have the answer and others need it, but because we realise creating these open door, healthy spaces are the only hope any of us have to deal with our brokenness and become explorers of the one life we all get to live.

(*From Donald Miller’s Scary Close.)
(**From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)
(^From Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens.)

purpose is grown

14 you have (colour)

Listen to popular culture and you’d think we’re either born with purpose or can pick it off a rail and slip it on.

Reality is, we can’t live our purpose if we haven’t grown it.

The kind of purposes we put on like a new shirt can be taken off again just as easily.  Whilst, thinking we’re born with purpose doesn’t value the journeys we make.

It all begins with turning up: the alchemy of here I am and this is what I have.  We’re explorers of life, identifying our curiosity and deeply focusing on it:

‘As a Maker of Fire you may or may not have religion but you must have conviction and compassion.  You must have faith, hope, and love.  If you have your “why,” the “how” will come.’*

Joseph Jaworski suggests: ‘One knows one is on the right track if the revelation is progressively more beautiful.’**  Jaworski is describing sudden illumination, when understanding and realisation come because they want to come to us.  Behind this, hidden, is a journey of turning up and learning and trying and failing.  Lots of hard work comes to fruition, usually in a quiet, unexpected moment.^

Here it begins to get exciting because when purposeful lives connect, there’s the possibility of a significant shift in our world:

‘Here is a summertime truth, abundance is a communal act, the joint creation of an incredibly complex ecology in which each part functions on behalf of the whole and, in return, is sustained by the whole.  Community doesn’t just create abundance -community is abundance.’^^

(*From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)
(**From Joseph Jaworski’s Source.)
(^This is the experience a group of us had at the weekend, when things appeared, though we’d been turning up and working hard for two years.)
(^^From Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak.)



i’ve changed my mind

13 it's okay 1

We change our minds when it comes to the small things, but we we don’t change our minds over the big things.

As we grow older we can become more fixed in how we think about things.

Maybe we have things the wrong way around.

What if we changed our minds about the big things and didn’t change them about the small things – if you start signalling in your car to turn left, I don’t want you to turn right, or reverse.

To change one’s mind is often seen as being weak at best and dangerous at worst. But to keep our eyes open to there being more to people, to the world, and to ourselves will require we change our mind and our heart:

‘By heart, I mean that place where the emotions meet reason to mobilise the will and shape identity.’*

It’s the best hope we have for changing our world for the better:

“By deliberately changing the internal image of reality, people can change the world.  Indeed, the real fundamental changes in societies have come about not by dictates of governments and the results of battles, but through vast numbers of people changing their minds.**

(*From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)
(**Social scientist Will Harman, quoted in Joseph Jaworski’s Source.)


stay inexperienced

12 wanted

You read it in so many job adverts: Experience required.

What would it mean to turn this around: Inexperience needed?

We get one life in which to explore full aliveness and we have to be willing to stay inexperienced to explore it.

As I get older I discover I know less.

When we see ourselves as experienced our practice isn’t so deep; we have a reputation to preserve.  But when we stay naive, innocent, curious, humble, we keep jumping into things we don’t even know the depth of.

Alex McManus offers: ‘Humans feel more fully alive when they understand their purpose’.*

‘Practice without purpose is only exercise.’**

When purpose is added to our deep exploring and practising, then we have something powerful.

Deathcamp survivor Viktor Frankl suggested we ‘aren’t designed to spend too much time thinking about ourselves, that we are healthier when we’re distracted by a noble cause.’^

What don’t you know yet, and what don’t you know you don’t know?

(*From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)
(**From Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit.)
(^From Donald Miller’s Scary Close.)

why aren’t humans enough?

11 you're awesome

Psychologist Sherry Turkle asks, ‘Why do people no longer suffice?’*

It’s a great question to ask as we move deeper into the twenty first century.

Turkle has noticed how we conceive robots has moved from doing robots, to thinking robots, to sociable robots.  The first complex robots to hit the market are all sociable: Paro, Jibo, Pepper.

How does our growing acceptance of robots providing Human companionship help us to reflect on being Human?

Donald Miller tells of a therapy week he was part of in which the participants weren’t allowed to tell each other what they did until the final day.

The leader of these weeks shared how the final day always saddened him.  Friendships, forged whilst people didn’t know anything about each other’s jobs, were disrupted when they were able to reveal the reality some made more money or were a little famous or more successful in what they did.

The people who stepped back were those who didn’t earn so much or were not as successful as others – who felt they weren’t enough

Eckhart Tolle wrote something which caught my attention.**  How if I change the way I speak to someone powerful or famous or successful it’s my ego trying to be bigger.

I sometimes catch myself doing just this.  But am I not good enough just to be me?

Technology allows us to filter how others can or cannot get to us.  Robots won’t put us down – unless we programme them to.  But technology can be used in a different way: to show we have always been enough, enabling us to create a society which holds this truth for every person.

I dream for more and more to be woken up to who the are and what they have.   To know and to be content at rest and in motion.

My mission.

You’re welcome to join in.

(*From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(**Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.)
(The doodle is of my friend Steve who sends people thank you notes with this pose and “You!  You’re Awesome” across the front.)