have you heard the good news?

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“Listen to your life.  See it for the fathomless mystery it is.”*

‘Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness in our lives: it’s how the process teaches us the most about who we are.’**

You’re not just the messenger – the good news is for you, too.

You are a messenger, though.  When you receive some good news, some gift that sets you free, you become a good news giver to others.

Good news doesn’t just appear fully formed.  It comes about by unwrapping a promise through personal work, often hard work in difficult circumstances.

Part of this is the emotional work and more we have to do – and nothing we do is free from emotion.  It’s often how we feeling think about things that forms the prison the good news is able to set us free from: when we identify what we most want to do – must do – we don’t want to carry our prison around with us.

You can’t turn your prison into a garden.  By this, I mean the things which emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually de-energise you are very unlikely to be turned into the things which energise you.  Better to see these for what they are and work on them from the outside.  That is move away from them altogether or manage them through the things which energise you.

And knowing this is good news worth sharing.

(*Frederick Buechner, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From Brené Brown’s Rising Strong.)

a slow society

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“Society wants us to live a planned existence, following paths that have been travelled by others.  Tried and true.  The known, the expected, the controlled, the safe.  The path of the wanderer is not this!  The path of the wanderer is an experiment with the unknown.  To be idle.  To play.  To daydream.”*

Those who gain light give light.

Then how do we become people of light, enlightened?

Eugene Peterson suggests the need to go slowly, imaginatively, reflectively,** and obediently.  Theory U points us to opening our minds (slowly, imaginatively), our hearts (reflectively), and our wills (obediently).

Slow helps us to avoid rushing to judgements (often involving substituting the difficult question for an easier one and the use of heuristics).imagination frees us from the same old, same old.  Reflection takes us deeper to the heart of the Self and the Other, and obedience is about making everyday opportunities to live out what we discover.

‘Knowing that there is a global movement for slowing down can fuel us … . Slowing down is about asserting the importance of contemplation, connectedness, fruition, and complexity’.^

Core to this enlightenment is knowing who we are and who others are, knowing what we have and that it is enough, and knowing we can keep going.  These things are like sticks to be rubbed together to create fire and light for others.

(*From a Wander Society leaflet, quoted by Keri Smith in The Wander Society.)
(**From Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.  Peterson points to prayerfulness, which I have expanded to being reflection)
(^From Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s The Slow Professor.)

in the end

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“The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.”*

‘Don’t wait for it.  Pick yourself.  Teach yourself.’**

We don’t have to wait until the end to find out what we will be.

No surprises.  What lies at the end of a journey of long obedience’s everything that has comprised the journey.

I am reminded by my friend Charlotte Bosseaux that each person’s unique voice is formed by many things. These things are what we choose on the journey.  Each is different, an opportunity to be taught, enchanted, and guided by the what we choose.

“That’s why they always have two blank pages at the back of the atlas.  They’re for new countries.  You’re meant to fill them in yourself.”^

(*Friedrich Nietzsche.)
(**From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)

(^From Roald Dahl’s The BFG.)

your imagination is being wasted*

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“I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise…”**

Sherry Turkle writes about having met people who want to see robots developed as extensions of the self: ‘a robot will still be an other, but one that completes you.’^  Others dream of ‘intellectually and emotionally alive rooms [that] will collaborate with us.’^

I’m not anti-technology, far from it.  We are creatures of endless possibility with an interactive environment and our technologies have helped us to understand this even more.

Technology comes withe a bright and a dark side, both improving human life while at the same time creating a disconnection with the environment out of which humans have developed.  We won’t all be able to afford the robot that is the extension of the self or the room that is fully connected to us but we are all able to wander, to be present, following our curiosities and, so, firing our imaginations.  Every day a being full of possibilities in the human adventure, possibly the universe’s adventure.

There are those who seek another way to become more connected and complete.  They’re a mysterious community called The Wander Society.  We don’t know who they are, but they’re not exclusive – anyone can join the society.  One of their leaflet claims:

“[It’s possible to] have a much deeper experience of the world through the use of deep looking and regular documentation of everyday life.  Through these practices we may be able to create a new narrative for ourselves, one in which we are at the centre of a powerful and important adventure.”^^

This is not sweet idyll.  It is easier to purchase the technology then to find the time to enter into what is all around in nature and city and the other and the self.  But to those who wander the possibility of time travel becomes available, to be those who dwell in the past, the present, and the future as one.

All are welcome to enter the adventure.

(*From a flyer produced by The Wander Society.)
(Dawna Markova, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(^From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(^^From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)

overlooked

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“No recorded cultural system has ever had enough different expectations to match all the children who were born within it.’*

I think of those who’ve influenced me and those who still do.  Doing what they must do has opened worlds of possibility for me.

We often look for something from outside our lives to change us when all we need is to give what we already have.  This is what the best influencers do.

You have your influencers.  People who help you to notice and be the person you can fully be but you have to move

‘Sometimes we forget that dreams require change, your are not willing to venture to where your dreams come true.’**

‘If you want to know Must, get to know Should.  This is hard work.  Really hard work.’^

“Should” is what holds us prisoner.  It’s what stops us from venturing to where our dreams come true.  Everyone’s Should is different – often we feel it but cannot see it.  We see it but don’t want to acknowledge it.  We acknowledge it but don’t know what to do about.

Look for those who will show you the way.

Be the way for others.

(*Margaret Mead, quoted in Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.)
(**From Erwin McManus’s An Unstoppable Force.)
(^From Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)

wanderers all

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“Wandering is not a mindless task, but instead the opposite, the gateway to enlightenment.  A surrender to the great mystery.”*

‘And we might even find ourselves as adults still living in a world of Should from childhood that we have unconsciously examined.’**

We enter into a wider self when we connect with others, our world, and our own soulfulness more deeply.  This is wandering.

But we’ve been taught to stay put, not to fidget, to make up our minds and not to keep changing them.  This is the status quo.

We’re a wandering species, though,  When we’re moving, we see more, feel more, understand more, imagine more, and, are able to do more.

All of us are wanderers – all wandering in different ways – and when we journey together we emerge into a bigger world, a larger universe:

‘the commerce of art draws each of its participants into a wider self.  The creative spirit moves in a bod or ego larger than that of any single person.’^

We are all wanderers and we are all artists.

(*Unknown wanderer, quoted in Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(**From Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)
(^From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)

extraordinary lives

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Out of everyday struggles unlikely heroes emerge.

Heroes are not identified by title but by what they know they must do.

Often they begin by seeing what others do not.  They struggle to articulate this, all the time a breathlessness inside of them.  It’s likely they do not like what they see, that their gasping for breath is both exhilarating and painful but they realise they are feeling more alive than they have for a very long time.

Where there is no way, their mustness finds a path.

Yet, we’ve not been taught these things.  Teachers were too busy with the curriculum.  Heroism’s never been on the timetable.  We grow up wondering what this strange sensation deep within is and what we can do about it

Yesterday I met with two people experiencing their mustness, coming as they did from different places and experiences – mustness does not discriminate – they’re looking for their way, their story.

I hope for them.  The mustness of some is to help others find theirs. Perhaps this is you?  What do you see?  What are you trying to describe?  What is the breathless ache deep inside you?

We need to find each other, towards helping more people find their path – their path, not ours.

You know who you are.

Watch this space.

who needs a goldsmith in the desert?

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‘A “flamboyant” worker, exuberant and excited, is willing to risk losing control over his or her work: machines break down when they lose control, whereas people make discoveries, stumble in happy accidents.’*

“Seek out people who aren’t afraid of making mistakes and who, therefore, do make mistakes … they are precisely the kind of people who change the world.”**

What a beautiful sunrise today: the sky lit in orange and pink and purple.  For most of us it wasn’t especially necessary – we could do what today required without it and may not have even noticed it.  A bit superfluous!

Only kidding.  I found myself gazing at it, filling up with its beauty, somehow given strength for the long journey that today is a part of.

Hope for the future turns up in our long obedience.  It’s the turning up every day, making something we see but others don’t visible for more.

Dreams without obedience, that is without doing something, drains energy- so does doing stuff without a dream.

There’s a story in the Judaeo-Christian scriptures about a small band of artists and artisans who were able to work in precious metals, jewels, and fine textiles.   But they were in the middle of a desert so who needed their skills?  They all brought their skills and created the most beautiful tent imaginable long before glamping was thought up.  In their minds, they were making something invisible visible.

Each of us has some skill or artistry to make visible the invisible, to make it possible for others to see the universe they see.  Often it’s the very things which we think preclude us that actually qualify us – physical or emotional or mental scars can be beautiful things.

What would the world be like without Vincent Van Gogh?  He wrote in a letter to his brother Theo:

“What am I in the yes of most people – a nonentity, an eccentric, or an unpleasant person – somebody who has no position in society and will never have; in short, the lowest of the low.  All right, then – even if that were absolutely true, then I should like to show by my work what such a nonentity, such a nobody, has in his heart.”^^

‘Do you find your quiet talents going unused and unnoticed in a world that values bravado, celebrity, publicity, and money?^

So begins Keri Smith’s The Wander Society and an invitation to bring your outlook and hope and crafts to a world that doesn’t know it needs them yet.

(*From Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman.)
(**From Paulo Coelho’s Aleph.)
(^From Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)
(^^From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)

becoming more and less

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‘Does the knowledge to which we are machines mark the limit of our communion with machines?  Is this knowledge taboo?  Is it harmful’*

‘”It’s not what an artist does that counts, but what he is,” Picasso said.  But his art was so thoroughly autobiographical that what he did was what he was.’**

Sherry Turkle argues that as we use words like emotions, feelings, intuition, and intelligence for machines these biological qualities become less for us, even one-dimensional.  Even if robots and machines becomes intuitive and emotional and intelligent, they’ll be different kinds of intuition, emotion, and intelligence because they’re not grown in flesh and blood

I’m wondering whether we struggle more with our emotions and expect less of our connectedness and relationships the more we become entwined and dependent upon our technology advances? Sometimes our technology only seems to make it possible to say less faster and in a shinier way.

Sometimes there’s a counting machine in the places I shop, with three or four buttons with smiley to sad faces, inviting me to evaluate my visit.  Perhaps a little information for Ikea to use in the future but what was I thinking about when I hit my choice of button?

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Or what does this tell you?

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When we allow the technology to lead, we become less.  But when it serves our fully biological life then life wins and we become more.

All of this began in a different place.  Not in Arial 12 or Helvetica 11 or the most horrible Comic Sans.  My font is Geoffrey and these thoughts began in the ideas of people who sweated to creat something, were first written down with a pen i lovehere. Yours in unique to you,It’s not only a thought but it’s wrapped In flesh and blood, the joy of a pen, the speed of movement across the paper finding its flow with the speed of the thoughts in my head and also the feelings in my heart.

You have the amazing capability of making life more.

(*From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(**From Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)

profane

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When we treat our lives and those of others with irreverence or disrespect when we ought to treat them as sacred.

Beyond our jobs and careers, we all have a calling.  It comes with the territory of being human.

‘All too often, we feel that we are not living the fullness of our lives because we are not living the fullness of our gifts.’*

‘Everyone on the Planetary Team knows the moment.  The moment when we knew our calling was to break boundaries and push humanity to the stars!’**

Elle Luna asks, ‘When you decide to look for your dreams in real life, where do you go?’*  Her solution?  To treat it as a treasure hunt.  It’s the as a that’s important here.  We need some way of moving from this to that.  Without it this will remain this and that will be unreachable.

A treasure hunt …

A story or song or dance …

An explorer in an adventure …

An infinite game … .

This is what makes it possible to get up every day and connect to what is pulling you into the future.  Dreamwhisperers know there is no point waiting for the future.  They decide to do something.  They take risks and fail, but things begin to happen.

And we stop profaning life to holding it as sacred.

(*From Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)
(**From Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.  And we are all part of this planetary team and we all have a call.)