bright energy

20-let-us-be

We are discovering there is dark energy in the universe, making it possible for the universe to accelerate outwards.

There is also bright energy, exuded by humans, making it possible for e universe to come together.  We don’t know what absolute truth is, but we can be explorers of trust.  Bright energy makes this possible, and we all give it off.

As it it something that can be grown, we can all learn to do this.

changing the story

19-within-this

‘What do I want to make of myself, and what do I have to work with?”*

‘In my experience, the flat-footed grow conservative; the nimble-footed get imaginative.’**

Humans change the story.

It used to be about the survival of the fittest, about natural selection, but we have found ways of stepping outside of this.  When we use our imaginations, we give ourselves a chance.

We wrongly think humility is about taking a lower view of ourselves but, for many, it’s about taking a higher view.

(*Erik Erikson, quoted in Eugene Peterson’s Run with the Horses.)
(**From Linda Rottenberger’s Crazy is a Compliment.)

and i, i did not know

18-we-are-journeying

“Everything’s wrong says he.  That’s a big text.  But does he want to make everything right?  Not he.  He’d lose his text.”*

“loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise …”**

There are many things we do not know, but we do not know ourselves most of all.

Today’s title appears in a story about the Hebrew Jacob on the run when one night, in the middle of nowhere, he had a dream about God.  In the morning, he wakes up, gasping, “God was in this place, and I did not know.”  Except the Hebrew says “and I, I did not know.”  It seems it wasn’t God or “out there” or anything and everything that he didn’t know, it was himself.

In the places between places is where we come to realise, we don’t fully know ourselves.  Geography, work, age can all feel like an exile.  Our complaint can become our life.  Even when something bright appears, I’ve seen people destroy it because they prefer their complaint.

These spaces feel can like an exile to us, or they can be a place for living our best self, where, through the creativity of humility, gratitude, and faithfulness, we get to imagine a world filled with what matters most of all.   To dare to strip everything away and find our primal energy.^

I can do this.  You can do this.

Wherever you are, know yourself, then do something amazing.

(*From George Eliot’s Felix Holt, quoted in Eugene Peterson’s Run with the Horses.)
(**Dawna Markova, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(^Check out this video sent in timely fashion by my friend Steve.

let me offer you some feedback

17-when-we-journey

‘The religion gets in the way of the faith.  Static gets in the way of motion.  Rules in the way of principle.’*

‘Human beings are exquisitely designed to sense the future, shape it, and bring it to reality – to actualise it when necessary and meaningful, as it desires.’**

There are plenty of people who want to tell us what they think (and what we ought to think); as Edgar Schein sees it, ‘Feedback is generally not helpful if it is not asked for.’^

If I ask for feedback, I try to lead through specific questions; when unsolicited feedback is provided it often is found lacking, being ‘too general, judgemental, or related to some goal’ of the other person.^  As such, a lot of feedback is evaluative rather than descriptive, aiming to overpower someone rather than meeting them on the same level.

Religion belongs to the powerful, faith belongs to everyone, a future sensing ability in all humans, and one that opens up stories of possibility, and stories are important because:

‘Characters only change when they live through a story.^^

Feedback is a skill – an art, even.  It can even be thought of as a journey we take together into the unknown.

Now, what’s your question?

(*From Seth Godin’s Tribes.)
(**From Joseph Jaworski’s Source.)
(^From Edgar Schein’s Helping.)
(^^From Donald Miller’s Scary Close.)

live where you are

16-there-are-no-colour

‘With the pain and in the midst of alienation a sense of freedom can occur. … False dreams interfere with honest living.’*

Life is a series of arhythmic dislocations.   For most of us these are mini-exiles, moving from what we know to what we do not know.

As we search for and journey into truth, we’re moving into the unknown or the new-known, an exile experience.

I had to leave my home for school – a very scary and unpleasant experience as I remember it.  I had to leave school and childhood for adulthood and work – scary.  I have sometimes found myself pushed out of one work context and had to journey into another to begin over.

When in exile, we want to be somewhere else, to return to where we came from or to at least get away from here – this job, this small town, this person – but for those who embrace where the dislocations of life have brought them, there’s the discovery of something magical, a strange alchemy that turns exile into blessing.**

You may be just what those around you need and don’t know it.  Prophets of hope make little sense to those who feel at home, but for those embracing their strange lands there is magic to be worked.

(*From Eugene Peterson’s Run with the Horses.)
(**I’m not referring to those whose experiences are so toxic that the only thing they can do is leave.)

proximity

15-and-are-we-yet

“We complete our personality only as we fall into place and service in the vital movement of the society in which we live.”*

“We are sensible that behind the rustling leaves, and the stacks of grain, and the bare clusters of grape, there is a field of a wholly new life which no man has lived; that even this world was made for more mysterious and nobler inhabitants than men and women.”**

There will always be surprises.  Hardly surprising in a universe such as this one.  One?

‘According to the current thinking of many physicists, we are living in one of a vast number of universe.  We are living in an accidental universe incalculable by science.^

We may try and insulate ourselves from surprises, but perhaps they are where life is most vitally found.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with two others pondering how an experience we’ve been involved in designing and evolving might be shared with more.  We had come to an impasse.  The experience had begun with one person’s question, developed into an enterprising community exploring crucial questions.  How to offer this without being to prescriptive?

Someone then said, invitation feels to be the right way to move forward, meaning the experience will only exist as it continues to be co-created.  The other two of us felt this to be good and right.  The word had come through the openness of one, and the other two of us were open to the surprise of this.

Surprise begs improv for the flow to continue: yes and … .

‘[T]he proverb is, when in doubt, scout.’*^

Instead of avoiding surprise, there’re ways to be open to surprise which leads to us being more alive, even more human.

‘I wanted to be with people who were humble and hungry, had healthy relationships, and were working to create new and better realities in the world.’*^

(*Peter Forsyth, quoted in Eugene Peterson’s Run with the Horses.)
(**Henry David Thoreau, quoted in Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)
(^From Alan Wightman’s The Accidental Universe.)
(^^From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire – eBook version.)
(*^From Donal Miller’s Scary Close.)

uncrowded

14-first-give-yourself

They said it wasn’t possible, but you have shown that it is.

There’s a reason you’re doing what others are not, why you’ve chosen this path and not the paths so many others are using.

For now, your ways appear odd to others, but there’s too much to lose by giving up your path.

You’re touching the future.

This is an uncrowded position:

Immaturity is the inability to make use of one’s own understanding without the guidance of another.”*

So is this:

‘The three abilities – seeing systems, collaborating across boundaries, and creating desired futures – must continually develop institutions as well as individuals.’**

Crowded is losing our essential distinctiveness in order to fit in (whether consciously or unconsciously) with everyone else.  The tension we find between these two quotes, above – being our own person and bringing our best Self to working with others – is where we find the brightest life.

(*Immanuel Kant, quoted in Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman.)
(**From Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)

sensitive instruments

13-evolution-is-personal

‘[T]he essence of teamwork is the development and maintenance of reciprocal helping relationships among all the members.’*

“The universe is a communion of subjects rather than a collection of objects.”**

When it comes to participating teams, here are some tests to see how complexly the team organises itself beyond the organisation’s hyperbole:

Is everyone invited to bring your skills in ways that make it possible for people to succeed?
Does everyone find it possible to progress things intuitively, to be in their flow?
Is it possible to see everyone growing in the process?
Do people find their contribution meets a need, so that everyone leaves at the end of the day feeling personally fulfilled?

The universe teaches us that all things exist in relationship, and evolution leads to more complex relationships.  Evolutionary theorist Thomas Berry suggests there are three dimensions of evolution: variety, interiority,^ and communion.  The more developed our interiority, the greater the possibility of communion, or relationship.   As part of this larger story, it feels like humans are still evolving.

By this argument, we’re becoming ever more sensitive instruments to the outer universe in which we live and breather an have our existence, and also the inner universe of our lives.  We’re able to see and feel and do more together.

Perhaps, as a species, we have hardly begun.

(*From Edgar Schein’s Helping.)
(**Thomas Berry, quoted in Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)
(^From Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution: ‘Interiority refers to a richer perceptual universe and awareness of self.’  Another name for this might be complexipacity – the capacity to interact with greater complexity.)

fan the foolish flame*

12-stop-planning-colour

Everyone has a great story to tell, a remarkable life to live.

Linda Rottenberger’s counsel is, ‘Stop planning, start doing.’*

Her words are offered up to those who think they have to put some complicated business plan together before they can begin their dream work.  Rottenberger’s are also pertinent to the one who’s thinking of pursuing their life passion and purpose.

The people you look to for permission to begin are often comfortable with how things are; they don’t want you to come along and subvert this.

Instead of trying to impress people in authority, why not start living your dream in some small way – let it unfold.

Maybe, just maybe on the way, you’ll find on the way, that you are becoming ‘creative nonconformists, … difference makers, aliveness activists, catalysts for change.’**

‘Humans feel more alive when they understand their purpose.’^

(*From Linda Rottenberger’s Crazy is a Compliment.) 
(**From Brian McLaren’s We Make e Road by Walking.)
(^From Alex McManus’s Makers of Fire – eBook version.) 

crazy or what?

11-we-must-not-wait

‘[W]ithout people pushing against you quest to do something worth talking about, it’s unlikely to be worth the journey.  Persist.’*

When electrical lighting looked to be a possibility there was resistance: too much exposure to such light would result in eye problems, nervous breakdowns, and even freckles.

We may smile on this side of the invention of electric lighting, but right now there are things we are resisting and there are things we must advance: thresholds to cross so that we might grow in our humanity, growing through the journey.

(*From Seth Godin’s Tribes.)