tethered

31-free-at-last

“I glance at my watch to sense the time; I glance at my Blackberry to get a sense of my life.”*

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”**

We wonder what can be accomplished if we stay connected and available.  This is our tethered world.  It’s efficient but not particularly effective in what matters most.  Effectiveness required presence.  Multi-tasking is another way of saying we’re not doing anything particularly well.

When we’re able to focus our minds and hearts and bodies then we not only see, we feel and find our minds working in unusual ways.  No computer necessary – and new things appear.

‘Then there are those who think their bodies don’t exist.  They live in mechanical time.’^

With no smartphone in sight, wanderer “R” notices someone she thinks she recognises, a little later she notices him again as he walks in the opposite direction.  She walks to where the man has returned from, noticing a box tied to a tree with pamphlets in it, she takes a copy.  It’s The Perigrinator, a publication of the Wander Society containing a number of strange articles for how to wander.  Touching on something as mysterious as this and yet timely for the age we live in, she expresses:

“I hugged the paper to my chest and felt myself wanting to run excitedly down the street.”^^

Perhaps here is a picture of a life, untethered from an ineffective continual copresence in which we try to remain connected in many directions at all times.

‘Let us allow our wild spirits to roam unfettered and unbound.’*^

(*A university student, quoted in Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(**Physician Albert Szentgyorgyi, quoted by Rohit Bhargava in NonObvious.)
(^From Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams.)
(^^Wanderer “R,” quoted in Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.  She comes to the realisation the man she had seen and recognised could have been Nick Papadimitriou, also known as the London erambulator.)
(*^From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)

Advertisements

every day, some new creation

30-attend

At the end of the movie Gravity, Sandra Bullock’s character Ryan Stone crawls out of the water her spacecraft has returned her from weightless space and shakily stands up in a world of gravity and begins her unsteady walk.

As I get older, I become more aware of the laws of gravity in the morning, making me stretch to be able to move.  At the same time, slowness is something of a gift.  Rebecca Solnit writes about how we are filling up our “time-inbetween,” seeing the time spent between things we have to do it ‘as waste, reduced, and its remainder filled with earphones playing music and mobile phones relaying conversations’.*

There’s a special  time between getting up and going out into the day which is rich for reconnecting with our hearts, our songs, and our souls.  When we see this as wasted time or un-time we are shaping a ‘buffer against solitude, silence, and encounters with the unknown.’*

At the beginning of the day, we each have the opportunity to reconnect with what John O’Donohue refers to as the ‘rhythm of our nature’ when “things happen of themselves.’**.

Perhaps when we connect our breathing and our walking we will find the day becoming more full with the things we value.

‘Let us investigate, explore, uncover.  Let us follow every lead that we find interesting.  There is no limit to our curiosity.  Let us explore our own inner wildness and wander through its tangled brambles.  We will emerge, knowing that we are stronger and more powerful than we thought.^

(*From Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust.)
(**From John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.)
(^From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)

they walk among us

29-the-perigrinator

‘Let us allow our wild spirits to roam unfettered and unbound.’*

“perhaps the wild ones among us are our only hope in calling us back to our own nature”**

They are the deep cartographers.

They see the things that others cannot or do not want to see.  They map the “blue” places and ideas and moments and people we do not find on our usual maps, the ones that take us to more.

I’ve met some of these people but there are many I will never know of; they dream of changing the world in some kinder, more generous way.

They were not born this way but followed their curiosities, seeing their minds and hearts and wills as not being bound by their present knowledge and understanding, believing deep leads to deeper still.

Theirs is not an exclusive tribe; they only know that anyone can choose to map the undiscovered things, whether large or small.

“It is not down on any map; true places never are.”*

(*From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(**Joel McKerrow, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(^Herman Melville in Moby Dick, quoted in Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)

the undiscovered

28-we-go-to-the-future

‘Courage comes from willingness to “die,” to go forth into an unknown territory that begins to manifest only after you dare to step into the void.”*

There is a more beautiful and hopeful future which will only open to those who walk in gentleness and humility.

Humility opens the possibility of integrity, a connection to all things.

Integrity leads to courage, the selflessness to live our lives for those people and things we dare connect to.

This future only opens to those who are willing to explore this way because we make the future as we walk.

(*From Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)

on love matters

27-the-ascent-of-humankind

‘Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between people when it exists within each of them … we can only love others as much as we can love ourselves.’*

What if love was included in the school curriculum?

I don’t mean sex education but love as the ability to value, empathise, and gift to another.

What if we were to see love as an art requiring the mastery of theory and practice towards love becoming instinctive?

And one more thing, says Erich Fromm:

‘the mastery of the art must be a matter of ultimate concern; there must be nothing else in the world more important than the art’^

Fromm’s contention is that we can invest great amounts of energy into gaining success, prestige, money, and power, but never think this is necessary for love.  The problem is that it can be very hard to have what is most valuable in life from such places as these.

We talk of finding love but not creating or growing love, and yet this is what an art makes possible.  The more adept we become the more we increase freedom and choice.

Seeding: The act of putting guerrilla art out into the world.’^

Walker Geoff Nicholson offers many words for slow walking.  Have you ever strolled, wandered, pottered, tottered, dawdled, shuffled, mooched, sauntered, meandered, angled, rambled, shambled, gambolled even?^^  Leonard Cohen sang to be danced to the end of love.

Nothing created or grown happens quickly.  Every day offering us opportunities to learn more of the theory and practice of love.

‘The path is not somewhere in the sky  It is in our heart.’*^

”Is love an art?  Then it requires knowledge and effort.’*

(*From Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly.)
(^From Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving.)
(^From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(^^From Geoff Nicholson’s The Lost Art of Walking.)
(*^The Buddha, quoted in Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)

 

why you are a missionary

26-this-presence

‘Figuring out your life has become figuring out your job, which is still coming from an industrial revolution mentality.’*

What if our mission in life is to live out our uniqueness as fully as we can rather than to see it as finding the “right” job?

‘The nature of life based on photosynthesis assures this will happen: fire will occur unless something blocks it.’**

And if you’re not producing “fire”or genius of some kind then you need to identify what’s blocking it.  Because as photosynthesis is to flora so imagination and dreaming is to humans.

‘Dreamers can never be tamed.’

‘Position yourself with something that captures your curiosity, something that you’re missionary about.’^^

Who we are (compass) leads to what we do (work).  What we do hopefully informs our job choice but is far larger.  This is the thing we can’t help but be about.

My work with the people I meet in life is not about helping them to find their job but about identifying their work (out of which, hopefully, they will go on to make the decisions they must about their job-life).

We find our work by noticing things, the things we’re instinctive and intuitive and explorative in.  What do you see that excites you, the thing others may not see, or may see but not be excited by.  Your enthusiasm for this and not the enthusiasm, or lack of, from others is what counts when it comes to what excites you.

Then some simple things to purse it.

Read about this.

Go to conferences and workshops focusing on it (there are lots of free resources on line).

Talk to people who are also interested and enthused and who are further along the path.

And make sure to do something.

Through all of this, journal – write it out.

This is your calling and mission.

‘Attend.  Listen to what life calls you to do.’*^

‘But what if wandering is the the real work.  In nourishing our bodies, giving space for our minds and hearts to breathe, caring for the soul, and letting the subconscious mind tackle problems, we are actually doing much more for ourselves and the world.  This is the big work.’^*

(*From Patrick Dodson’s Psychotic Inertia.)
(**From Stephen Pyne’s Fire.  This may seem a little random to include here but I wander through many texts and this one caught my eye and imagination)
(^Yau the translator in Paulo Coelho’s Aleph.)
(^^From Peter DIamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.)
(*^From Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)
(^*From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)

pauseable

25-life-cant-be-fitted-2

‘But now, with mobile technology, cycling through has accelerated into the mash-up of a life mix.  Rapid cycling stabilises into a sense of continual copresence.  Even a simple cell phone brings us into the world of continual partial attention.’*

“What if our life skills had more value than our worldly possessions?  The most content human by far is one who can create a world out of nothing.”

Pauseability is about continual partial attention.  I guess this is something we’ve always suffered from and struggled with.  Technology certainly amplifies it.

Last week, I was listening to a radio debate about the benefits of letting students have access to their mobile phones in lessons.  How do you think that went?

Multi-tasking is a fallacy.  The experience gives us a chemical high but we don’t perform well at any of the things we’re trying to do.  (I know, I’m doing it right now.)

There are whispers and messages coming to us from everywhere all the time.  We are creatures able to be continually co-present without technology. We’re able to connect with the past through memories, to the present through heightened awareness, and to the future through imagination.

We connect to our natural world (try taking a journey through your town or city by just following the songs of birds.)  We’re able to connect to those we share the day with.  And throughout our lives we are learning to can connect more and more to ourselves:

‘We’re so engaged in doing things of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that’s associated with being alive is what it’s all about.’^

Technology isn’t bad.  It is what it is.  We can  use it to either provide an easy illusion of co-presence or we can utilise it to support our development of our natural co-presencing – something more difficult but ultimately more satisfying and hopeful.

(*From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(**An anonymous wanderer, quoted in Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(^Joseph Campbell in Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’s The Power of Myth.)