31 psst! you're amazing

What if we could shape the new year so that it would be meaningful in new and imaginative ways?

‘In the beginning was the dream. … Before anything ever was it had to be dreamed.  Everything had its beginning in possibility.  Every single thing is somehow the expression and incarnation of a thought.  If a thing had never been thought it could never be.’*

Some of this has been created because of how you’ve lived through the last twelve months, but some of it has been suppressed.

Each of us has a generative heart, imaginative and innovative centres, the outer limits of which we don’t fully know yet – they could be inexhaustible.

When we open our minds to the possibilities, suspending our ways of seeing and understanding, we will see more, including more possibilities which we are uniquely talented to realise.

Opening our lives to more is not about us but others:

‘One of [Chip’s] extraordinary talents was seeing the best in people.  He spent his whole life calling out greatness in others and applauding it, even when he saw it expressed in the smallest of ways.’**

I met Chip almost eleven years ago and mentioned him in my post this day last year.  Chip was as Erwin McManus described him – I met him for only one day but Chip’s investment in me literally changed my life.

This is what I want to fill my new year with: I’ll follow in Chip’s footsteps.

(*From John O’Donahue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(**From Erwin McManus’s Soul Cravings.)

towards love

30 planning nothing

‘Part of the wonder of being a person is the continual discoveries that you find emerging in your own self; nothing cosmically shattering, merely the unfathomable miracle of ordinary being.  This is the heart of longing which calls us to new forms of belonging.’*

I’ve travelled a great distance to get here.

I’ve journeyed through many years, and from wrong places to better places.

I know I’m not finished yet.

Whether we say it’s life or the universe or god, we’re each provided with opportunities to travel.  A new year provides us with the awareness that it’s up to us to fill it with significance: being ingenious in the way only we can be, and to love in a way only we can love.

Not to travel, to stay where we are, would be a waste of a year to do something remarkable in:

‘when you expose yourself to the opportunities that scare you, you create something scarce, something others won’t do.’**

(*From John O’Donahue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(**From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)

the possibility of things

29 here's to all those

Gift 4.0.

Once upon a time, there were only a few who were seen as gifted and blessed ones – and everyone else was subject to them: Gift 1.0.

Then some people began to use the burgeoning free-market economy fuelled by travel, later industry, and finally technology – so the number of gifted and blessed grew, though everyone else still made up the masses: Gift 2.0.

Philanthropists and grant-making bodies and sports and media events then made it possible for many unknowns to be seen and heard – but still not everyone was seen as gifted and blessed: Gift 3.0.

But everyone is able to do something uniquely and wonderfully.  The question is, how can everyone take the one an only opportunity they have to express and contribute their gift?

As I pondered and reflected, I placed my feet on the floor, on the earth – representing the reality of things, but I raised my head up, to the heavens – the possibility of things: Gift 4.0.

“Wild ones
who have not been turned to stone
by the far-reaching grasp of the empire
and its programme of consumer sedation,
the killing of imagination.
Where, my friends,
have the wild ones gone?”*

‘Stuck is a state of mind and it’s curable.’**

Gift 4.0 isn’t impossible, it’s just hard because real life is not easy.

(*Joel McCerrow, quoted in The Northumbria Community’s Morning Prayer, 29 December 2015.)
(**From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)

before and after

28 a new law

There once was a before to 2015 and now there’s an after.

I took a step forward and the horizon changed; I took another and it changed again.

Really, I know I am still a before person moving towards a better after.

Here I am, at the before to 2016 and I’m imagining what my preferred after will be.

I back at the beginning again, as T. S. Eliot has helped me to see:

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

No one is just a before person; everyone can be an after person, too.

And maybe we can be helpers of one another to move from before to after.



Who is my gift for?

“Yet maybe this small and mysterious exchange of gifts remained inside me also deep and indestructible, giving my poetry light.”*

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda is reflecting on when he, as a child, found a worn toy sheep in a hole in the fence between his family home and their neighbour’s.  He left a pine cone in it’s stead, and, though he later lost the toy in a fire, this exchange of gifts directed his work.

Ideo’s Fred Dust dared to see the notion of design and product to be more than a financial transaction when he suggested:

“You’re a better designer if you love the people you’re designing for.”**

In the beginning, there is the gift.

The thing we most want to give for someone.  We must not compare ourselves with anyone else – who they are, what they have, how they express themselves.

There’s only you and what the universe has given you the opportunity to express.

And to carry this through life.

Otto Scharmer only warns us of three pitfalls: fame, money, and empire-building.^

(*Pablo Neruda, quoted in Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)

(**Fred Dust, quoted in Bernadette Jiwa’s Meaningful.)

(^Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)y


discoverers all


‘The very nature of the universe invites you to journey and discover it.’*

If the new year is to be one of new discoveries, then here are three things to help:

Avoid bias – which will only lead you to somewhere you already know.

Don’t critique or judge – which will only close possibilities down before they’ve had a chance to open up.

Play the “yes and” game – adding to what others share with you.

Discovering lies on the far side of exploring.

(*From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)

a child is born


‘The child and the artist are pilgrims of discovery.’*

A child is born with many possibilities before them, born of their curiosity, inquiry, and attention.  Finding the right path – the one with a heart – is about finding purpose.

And our purpose is our art.

We will know this is what we have found if there’s a spirit to it – if what we do is more than than the thing itself.  And we will know this is what we have found when it creates deep relationship and community.

And perhaps what Christmas does is remind us we too are born for a purpose, and it’s never too late to identify this.

For this reason, Happy Christmas.

ho snow love hope

(*From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)