wondering what could have been

30 he made me realise

“We are small creatures.
Our lives are not long, but long
enough to learn.”*

“He made me realise that
Education was so important
to everyone, not just the
Intelligent, it’s as simple as that!”**

Creativity is for everyone.

Some hold that only some are creative, that it’s a nonsense to say everyone is, but people can be innovative in ways these people can’t begin to imagine.

Everyone deserves opportunities to imagine and bring something beautiful into the world.  Some discover this early on in life, others later (I count myself amongst the latter), but it would be the most terrible thing to leave this world without making an attempt.

This is about asking what creativity lies at the centre of our lives (ways of thinking, relating, and behaving/acting), the thing which makes us feel at one with the universe, and, if we have one, our god.

It’s from this place that we ask our best questions.  It’s as though questions, the kind of questions which lead us out from our creativity into more – a journey of open and difficult questions, with every one of us asking something different.

The saddest question in the world, then, would be, “What could have been if I’d taken that path?

(*Stephen Lawhead, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer for 30/4/16.)
(**From student Karl Kripps’s poem following Ben Zander’s visit to Kripps’s London school, quoted in Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility.)


29 hey, your song


noun  trou·ba·dour  \ˈtrü-bə-ˌdȯr, -ˌdu̇r\

Simple Definition of troubadour

  • : a writer and performer of songs or poetry in the Middle Ages

I love this.  A troubadour wrote and performed their own songs.

You are a troubadour – you must compose and perform your song.  I want to heart it.

Relying on others to write your song, or only singing a “cover version” of someone else’s song, is akin to what Martin Seligman has termed “learned helplessness.”  We all have a song:

‘Could the psychological state of mastery – the opposite of helplessness – somehow reach inside and strengthen the body?’

“I have no song,” or, “I cannot sing.” is not good for our health and wellbeing.

The following line caught my attention because of my one-with-one dreamwhispering work with people:

“Certain things in life are better done in person.”**

This line is Ben Zander’s father’s response to Ben’s question about why he took a train from London to Glasgow (and back, in a day) to speak to someone, rather than speaking on the phone.

There’s nothing like face to face.  And face to face – which is about our future – is a wonderful thing when we turn up with our original and authentic song.

The universe has produced troubadours and they will sing in the future.

(*From Martin Seligman’s Flourish.)
(**Walter Zander, quoted in Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility.)

the second way

28 curiouser

“We all have but a short time on this earth.  As slow as time can be it is also fast, swift, furious and might, and then it’s over.”*

“If I were to wish for anything I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of what can be, for the eye, which, ever young and ardent, see the possible.”**

We can live out our days, or …

We can live out our days with passion.

Pursuing the thing we feel MUST do with out lives is easier than we think, and that’s the scary thing about it.

In Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice is intrigued to see a talking and clothed white rabbit, and follows him down a rabbit hole.  She suspends her disbelief in order to follow what she is seeing.  She doesn’t know how deep the rabbit hole is but once inside there’s no going back.  Lewis Carroll must have written this story just for us.

Living with passion is about noticing our curiosity and pursuing it.  At first this will mean we have to suspend our belief and disbelief to find ourselves “falling slowly” enabling us to notice more and more about what is all around us.  We’re falling and full of questions, and we have just begun.

Alice’s curiosity focused on a white rabbit.  My curiosity focuses on the potential people have to live amazing stories.  What’s yours?

We can live out our days, or we can choose the second way.

(*Photographer Thomas Hawk, quoted in Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)
(**Soren Kierkegaard, quoted in Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility.)

holes and walls

27 if we turn up (colour)

The future is deeper than we know – a rabbit hole of possibilities.

Two people can look at the same thing, though, and one sees a rabbit hole, while the other sees a wall.

I don’t know where the rabbit holes will lead, I don’t know how deep they will go.  I only know I am getting to see some amazing things and meeting some remarkable people, and trying a few new things along the way.

Possibilities are what they are.  Randomness, as the way the universe is, will determine the number of possibilities there are.  Our curiosities and beautiful questions will not only determine which holes we find, but will also ensure we’re more likely to turn up when they appear.  Then it’s all about how we see them:

“I can’t go there,” or

“I wonder where the rabbit hole goes?”


the way things are

26 doodling inside

‘[T]he capacity to be present to everything that is happening, without resistance, creates possibility.’*

How many times have you heard heard or talked about “out of the box thinking”?

There’s a lot of value to thinking outside the box.  It implies we’ve defined or designated the box, which often is not the case.  When we do this, rather than resisting the box or trying to escape it, we can find more comes into view that was previously invisible.

We can take someone’s life as an example.  Many people think the have to escape their lives in order to follow their dreams, when maybe all they need to do is to notice more of what is already in their lives.

Being present is really just noticing more – without barriers – to the people around us, the world in which we live, and absolutely to our own lives.  When we do, from the way things are, more happens.

26 doodling inside (colour)

(*From Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility.)

undivided heart

25 when i listen

‘The fact is that most of us are half asleep while we believe ourselves to be awake.’*

Some lives never identify their unique voice.

More than twenty years ago, I was lost in the general, feeling – though, I didn’t know what I was feeling – there had to be something specific.

It is from the specific that we come to ask our beautiful questions.  And the most beautiful questions are always disruptive ones.

There are some who appear very clear about what they must do in their lives, but the test is whether they remain open to, and are changed by, the new and the unknown.  The wide awake life is both specific and permeable, resulting in flow.

Inasmuch as this flow life works, we’re able to say the universe is amenable to it.

(*From Erich Fromm’s The Art of Listening.)

living the dream

24 the dream

Though many dream about a different life, sadly that is what it remains – a dream.

I don’t mean dreaming opulence, sunshine days and open-top car, drinks on the beach.  Rather, it’s the dream that frames our sense of deep purpose and meaning.  So, how do we live present to this dream-wide-awake life?

It’s important to be moving – not only reading and imagining.  We also need to identify others who can help us – specific people who’ll give their time and help us move forward.  And we need to make attempts – to prototype things.

When we move, the dream sharpens.  Holding a dream for many years means it never gets the chance to grow up.  But moving with it will find it changing and growing and gaining an identity to excite and stimulate us.  This is a process of attraction.

There is a need for both process and points.  Points are when we actually do something, when things change.  Process is about “This isn’t it” –  there’s an unfolding of a dream that can accompany us through a lifetime.

If there’s no movement, then there’s nothing to attraction, and when there’s no attraction miss the possibilities which open to points and process.*


(*Movement, Attraction, Process and Points are ideas Alex McManus explores. Thank you, Alex.)