stories for letting go and letting come (10)

29 all ourplans are awesome

“If you don’t have that disposition to question, you’re going to fear change.  But if you’re comfortable questioning, experimenting, connecting things – then change is something that becomes an adventure.  And if you can see it as an adventure, then you’re off and running.”*

Rehearsing and practice are good; we all have to learn the basics.  But at some point we have to step outside of the classroom or “rehearsal studio” and produce our art.  This is a naked moment with nowhere to hide.  It’s a deeper form of questioning and experimentation.  It’s about iterating fast to see what flies and what doesn’t.

Learning and practicing is never the final goal; it’s always about what will happen with an idea, dream, hope, when it makes contact with people, when something new happens.

The daily habits and practices are always in the background, bringing us to where we need to be everyday, where we need to begin.  But every new twenty four hours is different because of the last twenty four hours of iteration.  Every day I am letting go and letting come.

“If you double the number of experiments you do per year, you’re going to double your inventiveness.”**

(*John Seely Brown, quoted in Warren Berger’s A More Beautiful Question.)
(**Jeff Bezos, quoted in Jim Clifton and Sangeeta Bharadwhaj Badal’s Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder.)

stories for letting go and letting come (9)

28 your story

‘The journey to freedom is paved by the substance of our character.’*

Everything that is meant to prevail needs foundations.

A product has to pass many tests before going to market – the more complex the product, the more tests.  A story disappoints if a lack of research and plot structure becomes glaringly evident some fifty or sixty pages in.  A fantastically imaginative multi-storey building isn’t going to stand on the foundations of an average home.

And so it is with our lives.

The more we work on the foundations of our lives, the more our creative and innovative possibilities.  When we rush these, we limit and restrict our futures.

To live a courageous, generous, and wise life – and most of us like the idea of such a life – the greater will be the need for foundational work.  Unlike a building’s foundations, which have to be put in place before anything else happens, we’re able to add to the foundations of our lives every day.

There are many who struggle to “build” their lives as they want because of foundational problems: stumbling to accept who they are, unable to see what they have, failing to understand the power of habits and practices for affecting change.

‘The soul is always wiser than the mind, even though we are dependent on the mind to read the soul for us.’**

All of us are are more than our thinking, more than we think we are – better.  Edward Deci identified how people who perceive their environments to be autonomously supportive (supporting the decisions and choices we make), they grow and move:

‘They can elicit from the social context more and more support for their autonomy.  Their personality and social context are synergistic, and together they affect people’s experiences and actions.’^

This is an environment that is for you.  It is a place where, if our stories aren’t working for us, we can tell ourselves a better story.

(*From Erwin McManus’s Uprising.)
(**From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(^From Edward Deci’s Why We Do What We Do.)

stories for letting go and letting come (8)

27 come and see

‘Let me start with a fundamental observation: most people don’t know what they want unless they see it in context.’*

“Come and see.”

Movement and the ability to see, but how free are we to check something out when the invitation is made?

We value freedom, but our freedoms can become our prisons.  We choose this way, but when we want to change direction and go that way, we may find we cannot.

‘A person who cannot imagine the future is person who cannot contemplate the results of his actions.**

Alan Lightman tells a story of a world without future:

‘Imagining the future is no more possible than seeing colours beyond violet: the senses cannot perceive what may lie beyond the visible end of the spectrum.’**

Judgement, cynicism, and fear inhibit our ability to move and see.  Especially judgement early on, as we make quick decisions about the new from the perspective of the old.  Now, we don’t have to move, we don’t have to look.

There’s hope, though, in the effort of openness.

Questions are a good sign of things opening.  Not closed questions which are trying to close down possibilities, proving the other wrong and ourselves correct, but opening questions: “there’s never been a better time to be a questioner”^

Failure is another sign of openness – failure reimagined, becoming something we can learn from so we gain forward momentum.

A third sign, is struggle: when we have found a struggle, we have found our story.

(*From Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational.)
(**From Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams.)
(^MIT’s Joichi Ito, quoted in Warren Berger’s A More Beautiful Question.)

stories for letting go and letting come (7)

26 are we more alive (colour)

‘Aliveness is different from existence.  The latter is a struggle to survive; the former, a thirst for life.’*

Both are expressions of life, and both contain their own ways of measuring.   Most of us, I guess, live in aliveness or existence at different times.

26 are we more alive 1

But, do I have a stronger aliveness attitude, or existence attitude?

Aliveness always overcomes existence when our strengths take the lead over our weaknesses, where our superpowers overcome our kryptonite.

We’re altered at the nuclear level.

We become more connected – to others and our world, as well as ourselves: integrated life rather than disintegrated.  We become more whole when wholeness is the ability to hold and value and use all we have.  And it involves perseverance, rather than stalling – beginning and keeping going.

There’ll still be problems – life is full of them – but aliveness is about facing these in our strength rather than our weakness.

26 are we more alive (b:w)

The decision to let go of an overarching narrative of existence in order to let come a greater story of aliveness is ours and ours alone, and, if we do, we’ll be explorers of Úaisleacht.

‘The Irish word ‘Úaisleacht means nobility; it also carries echoes of honour, dignity and poise.  A person can be wild, creative and completely passionate and yet maintain Úaisleacht.’**

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

stories for letting go and letting come (6)

25 wisdom is the passionate

Foolishness can be found in very clever people and places.

As we look at the refugee crisis affecting Europe, there’s a lot of foolishness around in the beliefs that the old ways can be maintained, that something new isn’t taking place which will shape life on earth for generations to come.

Foolishness, then, looks after itself and struggles to engage with the needs of the one or the minority.

The refugee risks everything in order to live.  She reminds us that we’re all involved in a quest to find life, even, please, life in all its fullness.

‘I walked away remembering that passion was a rare commodity.’*

Erwin McManus had just been unsuccessful in his pitch to a millionaire for funding.  The donor had noticed, though, Erwin’s passion and remarked on how rare a thing he found passion to be.

Wisdom isn’t some stately, pious, dignified way of knowing.  It is a passionate, heart-beating-wildly expression of life which takes risks in order for something new to emerge for everyone.  Wisdom knows that a person’s values aren’t sealed into them by the accident or the planning of procreation, but is conceived in a dream and birthed through persistence, resilience, and generosity.  Wisdom knows that life offers each of us the opportunity to take responsibility for how we will live it.

‘Creating the future does not begin with a plan.  It begins with a dream.  And when someone acts on a dream, it creates a spark.’**

What must you let go of to let your passion come?

‘The starting place for change is accepting oneself and taking interest in one’s inner world.’

(*From Erwin McManus’s Uprising.)
(**From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)
(^From Edward Deci’s Why We Do What We Do.)

stories for letting go and letting come (5)

24 what if life is

Sometimes we let go but wonder where is the letting come?

In her happiness project, Gretchen Rubin contemplates the research which showed how happiness and unhappiness rise and fall independently of each other – we’re not simply one or the other.

‘To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right.’*

Feeling right is the interesting part of this, because choosing the right way leads to growth, and growth is really important to happiness.

The right way will express itself in success and intuitiveness, but it will also produce growth in us and meet our needs.  Indeed, these are four tests for our chosen path.

My friend Charlotte Bosseaux writes about the uncanny or acousmatic effect that can be our experience from ‘a voice whose source cannot be seen, i.e. and off-camera (or off-screen) voice’ in a film or TV programme that is dubbed.**

It made me think about how our life experiences can are often the other way around: we are being translated from a dubbed version – from someone else’s idea for our lives’s (parents, partners, peers) – to an original version (our authentic voice).  The journeys of letting go and letting come are transformational to this magnitude:

‘The most important change in any transformation journey is the change of heart.’^

‘By “heart” I mean the place where the emotions meet reason, mobilise the will, and shape identity.’^^

Crossing borders and entering unfamiliar lands leads to transformation.  Those who migrate are entering the liminal space between letting go and letting come.  So too the journey from the dubbed life to an original life is a liminal experience in which transformation occurs.

The letting come, then, isn’t being waited for, it’s happening all the time: new ideas and thinking, new people and cultures, new science and understanding, new behaviours and activities.

Life becomes stronger when we’re able to give ourselves away – which is about letting go and letting come.

(*From Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.)
(**From Charlotte Bosseaux’s Dubbing, Film and Performance.)
(^From Otto Scharmer’s Leading From the Emerging Future.)
(^^From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire.)
(*^From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)


stories for letting go and letting come (4)

23 to bring your art

“It’s only when we are naked that we’re fully able to take our turn and to understand what it is to make something.  If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing this naked, this alone, this responsibly.’*

Naked isn’t about a lack of clothes.  It’s about having nowhere to hide, being seen for who you are and what you do.  It’s about courage and selflessness.

Choreographer Twyla Tharp tells of how she’d put all kinds of ideas and materials and clippings and resources for potential projects into boxes.  There’ll have been plenty of things which didn’t make it into the boxes, things she let go of.

At some point, though, everything has to come out of the box, to see what will come.  And then, you have to get naked and bring what you have in mind and heart into the light.

What have you been storing away in the box?  What will it be in the naked light of day?

(*From Seth Godin’s What to Do When it’s Your Turn.)

stories for letting go and letting come (3)

22 i am only beginning

It’s 2040.

You’ve journeyed to a place of heightened awareness; some would call it wisdom.  Through your great curiosity and energy you’ve been open to more and more new ways of seeing and understanding; you’ve pushed the boundaries of human empathy by connecting to others, understanding your place within the universe with all flora and fauna, and to your Self with deeper feeling and grace.  All of these things have come together into a oneness, and you have found that instead of slowing down with age, you have grown faster, from idea to passion to action for the benefit of others?  Not only have you grown faster but you have grown younger, curious as a child.

Looking back to this day – the 22nd February, 2016 – you identify the discontent or itch or need or question or dream or urging that set you on a path to be an explorer of all you can be, with others, in this universe?

So, what was the thing you had to let go for all of this to come?

“You don’t learn unless you question.”*

(*Joi Ito, quoted by Warren Berger in A More Beautiful Question.)

stories for letting go and letting come (2)

21 when we know

Who are you?

I thought you’d be the best person to ask, but perhaps not.

We are each many people.  Sometimes the person we appear to be is not the person we really want to be.

Maybe, at some point in the past, we decided to hide away the person we really want to be because of how others reacted or treated us – perhaps not even questioning, just assuming it must have been our fault.

If you listen, though, carefully and kindly, when you’re not in a hurry, you’ll hear this person you want to be.

One of Alan Lightman’s stories about time describes a world in which the buildings are on wheels, powered by engines so people can get to what they have to do faster:

‘No one sits under a tree with a book, no one gazes at the ripples on a pond, no one lies in thick grass in the country.  No one is still.

Why such a fixation on speed?  Because in this world time passes more slowly for people in motion.  This everyone travels at high velocity, to gain time.’*

Whenever we’ve said, “We’ve no time for that,” we have been living in this world.

Whenever we have not allowed ourselves the time to listen to our lives, we have been living in this world.  The best stories can’t be created in a hurry.  Maybe we think, because we’ve been rushing by so many things without noticing, that our best story is lost.

This letting go story is about having time to let the person who is your most enjoyable and true self** emerge.  This will be the you who finds they have the most to give.  Wholeness doesn’t require we receive more, but give more.  We realise what we hold on to is getting in the way of who we are, and when we give, the person we wants to be steps out of hiding.

Who are you?

I’m looking forward to meeting you.

(*From Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams.)
(**Enjoyable to you, first of all, emerging from expression of creativity and generosity.)


stories for letting go and letting come (1)

20 we are all in a story

Two of the most important actions we can use for moving through life are letting go and letting come.

There are many old things we have to let go of if we’re going to be free to receive the new.  New learning asks that I leave an old paradigm behind – perhaps that we are using the resources of 1.5 planets at the moment and something’s going to snap.  Perhaps there’s something emerging behind the nation state and we’re being asked to put down an old political understanding for a new.

On the most personal note, when we see our talents and passions and experiences in a new way, an old way of living will need to be put down in order to take up the call of a new path.

In a meditation, Kerry Hellcoat repeats the refrain “If you must,” concluding with:

‘And above all, if you must:

This must or must-ness is the essence of what we need to let come.

We’ll each need to find a way of making this letting go and letting come possible over and over again.  More like a vessel to transport us into the emerging future.  Answers can be helpful but:

Perhaps what emerges from our questioning is not so much an answer but a story.

A great story can frame all that we are and have and must do.

Check this out, from Seth Godin today:

‘The realest thing in our lives.  Are the stories we invent.  We live with these stories, we remind ourselves of them, we perfect them.  And, happily, if you don’t like the story you’re telling yourself, you can change it.’**

(*Kerry Hillcoat, from the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer for 20/2/16)
(**From Seth Godin’s blog for today.)