covenants and technology


‘We are all cyborgs now.’*

‘[W]hen you expose yourself to the opportunities that scare you, you create something others won’t do.’**

The year is 1996.  Sherry Turkle is noticing researchers moving around Massachusetts Institute of Technology wearing gadgets which allow them to be constantly connected to the internet – describing themselves as cyborgs.  Some even report that this cyborg-state allows them to feel a “better person.”

Now we have smartphones and we are all cyborgs.  Now we can be connected to everything, everywhere, all the time but I can’t help but think this connectivity is less than we imagine it to be.  I don’t see us giving up our technology but I do imagine us adding more to it.

There’s an older form of connectivity.  It comes in the form of a covenant in which people agree to work together in a deeply connected way for the good of each other – covenants often include sacrifice from both parties.  The primal covenant, however, is the one we make with ourselves.

‘The most sustainable Musts happen slowly, thoughtfully and quietly.  They don’t happen impulsively but are built with a soner, calm, intention.’^

The covenant we establish with ourselves has zing to it.  We feel the electricity.  It involves something that excites us and we’re prepared to sacrifice for.  When we have forged this covenant with ourselves then we’re ready to covenant with others, finding electricity there too.

Technology can never replace this experience, though, it can support it.

(*From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(**From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)
(^From Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)



‘Must needs solitude.’*

‘We don’t get to know who we are because we’re not listening.’**

We all need a space in which we can be open to more can happen.

My “I-in-Me” world is too small and I need some place to grow.  Beyond the noise and technology, here I can simply wander, follow my curiosity, and daydream.

This is the world of “I-in-It” in which I’m open to connecting with more.^  Here I find the future.

The worlds of “I-in-Us” and “I-in-Now” will follow but, for now, I’ve somewhere I can go every day, beyond the fixed state of who I have become into the interactive state of who I am becoming.

Something else happens.  I find this to be the place where my head and heart and hands are rejoined:

‘We are born makers.  We move what we’re learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands.’^^

‘It turns out there is no way to divorce the demands of the head and the demands of the hands from the lining of the heart.’*^

We all get stuck – in life, in work, in relationships, in direction – and it’s normally when we disconnect the head from the hands and so from the heart.

We can all make places for rejoining- these places are already in and around and in-between our homes and workplaces.

(*From Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)
(**From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(^I-In-Me, I-in-It, I-in-Us, and I-in-Now are terms borrowed from Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.  The four refer to, in order, the closed life, opening the mind, opening the heart, and opening the will.)
(^^From Brené Brown’s Rising Strong.)
(*^From Bernadette Jiwa’s Meaningful.)

out of reach


Where do you go to stay outside the reach of the establishment, the institution, the status quo, in order to feed your wildness?

‘These rituals include a gathering of tools, a wearing of a wandering uniform, a reciting/reading of the Wander’s Manifesto, and summoning the spirits of fellow wanderers.’*

This isn’t a place of invulnerability, indeed, it’s the opposite.  It’s where you’re able to move out of the reach of the judgements of those who don’t understand what you do or what you long to bring to others.  You have shaped practices that make it possible to do this daily.

An important note from Rohit Bhargava proffers, ‘there is beauty in the imperfect as well, and that beauty may be far more worthy of celebrating’.**

This “imperfection,” as Bhargava names it, keeps what we do out of reach of those who want to standardise and, whether consciously or unconsciously, control you.

The only control, though, comes from within, not without.  You know that whilst the best things include others, you must be capable of moving alone.

Where this begins to happen is in your understanding that you can make time.  It began by creating just ten minutes to explore your Must and now you know the creative human spirit is one of the most powerful things in the world.

In this way, you are able to inhabit the space that lies between the earth and the skies, between the reality of things and the possibility of things.

(*From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(**From Rohit Bhargava’s Non-Obvious.)

without precedent


This has never happened before doesn’t mean this can’t happen now.

This has never happened to me doesn’t mean that this cannot be begun by you now.

What can the future be that the past has not been?  What is your dream?

Beginning with your kind of electricity, the energy unique to you, what are you noticing and others don’t – the things others miss you can’t help dreaming about?

‘The wanderer becomes one with himself or herself and the universe.  We connect with the energy of all living things.  We live according to ur inner nature.’*

You create precedence.

(*From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)


and in the end


I seize today as another opportunity to fill my days.

This doesn’t require something big and momentous; it’s said of Walt Whitman that he gained pleasure from the ordinary things he came upon while sauntering and strolling.

It’s not what we have but what we appreciate about and/or do with what we have.  I sense this to be a great adventure opening for 2017.

It’s in this effort life invites us to make, so incomprehensible to those who look for the least disrupted and safest path, when wrapped up in the vulnerability that is about trying and failing and trying again that in the end  produces the gift we make to others.

blessed are those who look for they will see more

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

‘I closed my eyes and tried to remember the way everything had looked as I walked home.  As soon as the image started to form in my head, I began to draw.’**

Our lives and their purpose emerge from what we see.

All see differently and this is because of the universe of possibilities we live in.  Everyone is capable of bringing some different perspective to enrich others, contribute to the world that is our home, and grow ourselves.

The difficult thing is to keep seeing, to be open to see more and more – to always hold an attitude that we have not seen enough of the infinite-more there is to see.  Those who hold this sense of life always see more, and then more still.  It is not about being privileged or celebrity-special in some way but is simply about being prepared to keep looking.

The universe opens to those who seek.

(*From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(**From Alette Willis’s How to Make a Golem.)

you are the one

“Wherever the hero may wander, whatever he may do, he is ever in the presence of his own essence – for he has the perfected eye to see.”*

‘There is delight in seeing something unexpected … Embrace your flaws.’**

You are the one we have been waiting for.  Rejoicing in your birth, we wait for what it is you bring, the imperfect thing that fascinates and energises you that is better than perfect.

In this, your life is for a greater purpose, it is for our salvation.

Today can be a day of births and beginnings and becomings.

(*Joseph Campbell, quote in Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(**From Rohit Bhargava’s Non-Obvious.)

what we do not see


‘Read, look into other areas, use different learning mediums, ask better questions, reflect, be open to ideas, be surrounded by learners, and prioritise learning.’*

If we can begin to do what we feel we must do with our lives with what we have – and we all can – who knows what will follow.

That’s the problem, of course: we don’t know.  We fear what we do not know.

There’ll always be fear when it comes to this place of beginning.  An important question then is whether this thing you want to do is worth the fear.

Before this, we must be sure wee’ve opened ourselves to all the adjacent possibilities our lives can be about – there’re an infinite number of outworking to our talents and passions and experiences.

Then we need to be sure that this thing we have settled upon is the most energising of all the possibilities.

If it is then it’s okay to feel the fear – because there will always be fear.  But there’s a trick we can use with fear.

Stare it in the face.  Right now, where you are, with what you have … begin.

More will follow.

(*From Michael Heppell’s The Edge.)

now what?


“I have no idea where I am going.  I do not see the road ahead of me.”*

You are journeying into the unknown.  Following your learnings and your hunches.  The mix of the two feels odd.  Learnings are tangible, verified by others: hunches are the unknown and very personal.

But what can you do?  This is where you are.  You have a desire to make something invisible become visible:

“You see, there are invisible problems all around us, ones we can solve. But first we need to see them. to feel them.”**

It began with a thought, but the thought became charged with an energy only you can feel, and now what?

It doesn’t feel right.  All of your life you’ve been about settling more and more into knowing exactly what a day should contain and what you have to do within it – from morning to night.  Now there’s some kind of unknown, a mystery, a randomness about which you have no idea of the destination.

‘When we repeat the same activities, day in and day out, we limit our ability to have new experiences.’^

If you dare, take a moment and write down what you must do.  Leave it somewhere for someone to find.


Now what?

(*Thomas Merton, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**Tony Fadell, quoted in Bernadette Jiwa‘s Meaningful.)
(^From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)

who’s listening to you?


‘Slowing down … is about allowing room for others and otherness.  And in that sense, slowing down is an ethical choice.’*

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path.  Your own path you make with every set you take.  That’s why it’s your path.”**

This is about being stuck and getting unstuck, about being lost and finding the way again.  And we all get stuck, we all get lost.

Perhaps those who are stuck most of all are the ones who are trapped in the kind of busyness that is more about answers and rarely about questions.

Slow time, contrarily, is about questions – having the time to find things out, including about finding out about ourselves.  Slow listening is open and inquisitive about the whole person, the larger world, and the universe of possibilities.

Over the millennia, humans have developed many tools to help them find some movement with purpose, tools to be used with their most powerful capacities of imagination and reflection: drawing, recording, music, creative writing, books and journals.  Getting unstuck will involve these things in our lives in some personally pleasing way:

‘Intentional silence: Pick a practice that helps you connect to your source.’^

Who’s listening to you?

Who’s your slow listener?

A slow listener doesn’t tell you what you ought to do – more answers – but helps you to hear what is coming from within you by asking questions:

‘When we are in rhythm with our own nature, things flow and balance naturally.’^^

One thing we can do is step outside of our plans and routines and simply wander.  Wandering can be physical or metaphorical but I believe it’s always about exploring the Self we’ve neglected because we’ve been seduced by technologies.  This very capable self has been there all the time, if only we’d listen.

In order to wander, simply provide yourself with some unplanned empty moments when you’ll allow your feet or nose or eyes or ears take you where they will.  There are no rules.  If you want to take pictures, write things down, sit in one spot or journey through many, that’s entirely up to you.

One thing to be discovered, though, is to feel the whole universe is listening to you and what you have to think, feel, and do.

(*From Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s The Slow Professor.)
(**Joseph Campbell, quoted in Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)
(^From Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)
(^^From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)