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

“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.”**

Every day we travel with what we know through a greater unknown.

Which makes us perpetual learners, if we choose to be.

We get to expand our knowing through the other: objects ‘moving through other objects in a continual flow of intention and action.”^

We’ll never know everything – which is quite comforting and freeing when we admit to it – but there are seven billion people who can help us know more.  And these are only the living.  There are many who’ve gone before us and have left some amazing knowledge and insight behind, and I believe we can learn from those who have not yet been born, too.

Speaking of what human myths have to teach us about overcoming and becoming, Joseph Campbell shares:

‘These bits of information from ancient times, which are to do with the themes that have supported human life, built civilisations and informed religions over the millennia, have to do with deep inner problems inner mysteries, inner thresholds of passage, and if you don’t know what the guide signs are along the way you have to work it out yourself. … the only way to describe a human being is by describing his imperfections.  The perfect human being is boring . … It is the imperfections of life that are lovable.’^^

This is not a journey to the meaning of life, Campbell suggests, but an ‘experience of being alive,’** and for this, I think, we cannot stand still in our knowledge and understanding, each following our unique curiosities and interests.

Always journeying, then, and never arriving.

‘We would like to know what, as moral agents, we have to do because of logic, what we have got to do because of human nature, and what we can choose to do.  Such a programme is easy to state and possibly impossible to carry out.*^

Wherein lies the adventure.

(*Frederick Buechner, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**Stuart Hampshire, quoted in Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good.)
(^From Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’s The Power of Myth.)

(^^Albert Eibstein, quoted in Bernadette Jiwa’s Meaningful.)
(*^From Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good.)

escaping to equipoise


“Civilisation occurs and maintains itself when the two forces – the striving and the ordering – approach equipoise.”*

When one of these becomes considerably heavier than the other, we have problems.  The striving part of us has to bring this into some kind of order, else what has been discovered or created will be lost, and this ordering must stimulate the our striving else what has been formed will stultify.  Most of us prefer the order part of this to the striving.

‘If you know, in the morning, what your day looks like with any precision, you are a little bit dead – the more precision, the more dead you are.’^

I’ve just been checking online to see whether Second Life is still around and it is.  Describing itself as a way to “Explore Multi-User Fantasy Worlds” and means to “Meet Your Wildest Dream,” Sherry Turkle writes that it is another way to ‘escape from ourselves.’**

What about escaping to ourselves rather than from?

This kind of escape means to become more our true Self, escaping to the big world and to those people who fill our smaller worlds – beyond our heads, and even our hearts, into action, our noblesse oblige, our noble obligation.

This isn’t escapism, it includes escaping to something that connects us.  One of the ways we can find it by wandering off the well-trodden paths where we’re able to listen for the whispers.

When we create our own path we make it possible for others to create theirs: to ‘create the conditions in which others will motivate themselves.’^^

‘Ask a friend to give you wandering instructions.  Tell your friend to write a location in your journal.  Do not look at it until you are ready to set out.’*^

Beyond the world of scarcity there is a universe of possibility:

‘Did you suppose there could be only one Supreme?  We affirm there can be unnumbered Supremes and that one does not counterfeit another … and men can be good or grand only of their supremacy within them.’^*

(*Clark Emery, quoted in Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)
(**From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(^From Nassim Taleb’s The Bed of Procrustes.)
(^^From Edward Deci’s Why We What We Do.)

(^*From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(^*From Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.)

in troubled times


‘Oil’s current market price leaves out its true costs to the economy, national security, and the environment.’*

We live in an amazing and endangered world,  For hundreds of thousands of years hominids have been exploring how interactive and spontaneous they and their environments are.  Throw in randomness and it gets very spicy indeed.

Our ‘dynamic spontaneous power’** is monopolised by some and ignored by many.  I find myself an explorer of many things but have little certainty.  Unable to get to where I want to be from where I am, perhaps when I give up my dependence on certainty, I find something better.  Certainty may often be ignorant bliss.

I am unarrived.

‘It certainly takes bravery to remain sceptical; it takes inordinate courage to introspect, to confront oneself, to accept one’s limitations – scientists are seeing more and more evidence that we are specifically designed by mother nature to fool ourselves.’^

‘[R]e-examine all you’ve been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body’^^

It is our trusting in certainty and our susceptibility to being fooled that rob us of the contribution each person has to make.  Perhaps, more than ever before, we have the ways and means that make it possible for people to make their best contribution, rather than being pushed to the place of their greatest frustration and popularism.

‘If your community can provide a legitimate release valve for people’s frustrated passion, you are unleashing one of the most potent forces in the history of the world.’*^

(*From Amory Lovins’ Winning the Oil Endgame.)
(**From Patrick Dodson’s Psychotic Inertia.)
(^From Nassim Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness.)
(^^From Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.)
(*^From Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.)

what matters most?


‘I will not live an unlived life, I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.  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 become a wing, a torch, a flame …’*

Is it more important to be right or loving?

My guess is that we’d say, although there are exceptions, loving is the most important.

When we allow this, the number of exceptions reduces.

I also suspect it’s easier to get to truth from love then it is to get to love from truth.  After all, love and truth need to hold hands.

To be right is an answer.



To be loving is  not really an answer in that way.   It must keep moving, dealing with all sorts of people and situations in graceful, merciful, and peaceful ways.

Being right is an easier game, a finite game: one side wins, the other loses. Sorted.  Next.

Becoming loving is much harder.  We want to win so much but we grow more when we love.  This is the infinite game.  It goes on and on.

‘Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.’**

‘It’s why we build, not what we build, the matters.’^


(*Dawna Markova, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc..)
(^From Bernadette Jiwa’s Meaningful.)




‘[F]olks expect of the poet to indicate more than the beauty and dignity which always attach to dumb real objects … they expect him to indicate the path between reality and their souls’.*

In a rapidly changing world, perhaps more than ever, we need broken-openness to the other: to that which is unlike us, to the idea of trying something we wouldn’t normally do … and this to grow in the right directions to something bigger rather than retreat to a smaller world.

There’s no risk of becoming less who we are, of losing our identity, only the possibility of becoming more.  This is our zing.  The thing that we feel ranging back and forth within, that makes us feel are more alive and more ourselves.

Broken-openness is a way to live.

(*From Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.)

tools of awareness


We can connect to a greater awareness wherever we are and whatever the time.

“Each thing we see hides something else we want to see.”*

I begin by being aware of my breathing.

Then I make myself aware of my feet on the ground – it doesn’t matter that it happens to be the floor of a bus.

I allow my senses to break in: sound, smell, touch, sight.

As I continue to be aware of my breathing, I feel the energy of my purpose coursing through me.

I let my mind wander where it will in connecting to all these things.

And what do I hope for.

This isn’t just a bus journey.

‘Your brain is most intelligent when you don’t instruct it on what to do – something people who take showers discover on occasion.**

Everyone else can see what you see and yet cannot see what you see.

‘The greatest poet hardly knows pettiness or triviality.  If he breathes into any thing that was before thought small it dilates with grandeur and life of the universe.’^

All of us can do these things.  As with all tools, or skills, I’m learning how to use them.

(*Rene Magritte, quoted in Erwin McManus’s Soul Cravings.)
(**From Nassim Taleb’s The Bed of Procrustes.)
(*From Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.)

enough is enough


What would your enoughness look like if it were set free?

Enoughness is about everything you are and have being enough to flourish.

All the things that would be possible if more people realised they already have more than enough?

We don’t think we have enough, though.  We think we need more talent, more energy, more permission, more money.

Our technology makes it possible to augment what we think we lack, covering up what we already have.

‘In the course of a life, we never “graduate” from working on identity; we simply rework it with the materials at hand.  From the start, online social worlds provided new materials. Online, the plain represented themselves as glamorous, the old as young, the young as older.  Those of modest means worker elaborate virtual jewellery.  In virtual space, the crippled walked without crutches, and the shy improved their chances as seducers.’*

But all the time we have enough.

We live in a world where we’re either told overtly or subliminally that we’re not enough, or we’re told we are enough and never get any help to get creative with it.

We all have far more than we think we have and there are ways to identify this.  Also, we’ll likely discover what we don’t have but maybe wished we had.  This can often be compensation for what we have but don’t see or don’t value: talents, dreams, experiences.  (It’s always what we lack that we get concerned over rather than what we have.)

There’s a beginning when we discover more about ourselves.  Then there’s a middle when we need to figure out what’s most important and to do something.

‘The middle is messy, but it’s where the magic happens.’**

‘[Failure] cleanses.  It helps you put aside who your aren’t and reminds you who you are: Failure humbles.’^

If you want easy, ignore all of this, but if you’re ready to begin one thing to do is slow down slow enough to notice.

‘This is a different way of moving into the world.  There is no need to speed up.  Everything you need is right here.’^^

(*From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(**From Brene Brown’s Rising Strong.)
(^From Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit.)
(^^From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)

it isn’t personal


Sorry but it’s all personal.

Any thing that’s worth anything is personal.

‘What [Kevin] Shawinski and his cohorts had accidentally stumbled upon is what I call the Law of Niches, the idea, quite simply, that we are not alone … there are plenty of folks that share the same passion.’*

‘So calling is not about what you should do, it’s the opportunity to know who you are, to know your name.’**

Kevin Shawinski found more than a quarter of a million people who helped to identify more than sixty million galaxies.

(Pause: That’s a staggering number of galaxies …)

What’s becoming more possible on a huge scale courtesy of the internet has always been available on a smaller one.  Jake and Elwood understood this when they put the band back together. Just yesterday, I was meeting with someone who has a great idea for making a difference in young lives and only needs to find others to join in.

To see the individual helps us to see everyone.  Many talk generally about the many and never get tot the individual.  And when we begin to see the truth of ourselves an incredible universe opens.

‘We will always need to be humble enough to accept that our heart knows why we are here.’^

(*From Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.)
(**From Patrick Dodson’s Psychotic Inertia.)
(^From Paulo Coelho’s Aleph.)

questions of faith


We all have faith – it’s part of being human – fully open and fully alive.

Mythologist Joseph Campbell believed that we’re not interested in the meaning of life but Are we alive?.  It’s faith that makes it possible to set out towards the new, the unknown, the other, and faith is also our critical connecting sense or attribute, making tribes and societies and communitas* possible.

‘The unpardonable sin, in [Joseph] Campbell’s book, was the sin of inadventure, of not being alert, not quite awake.’**

‘Oxytocin is released when we’re physically close to another person’s body, and can be described as a “social glue”, since it keeps society together by means of cooperation, trust and love.’^

To be alive requires hygge^^ and journeys into the future.  One without the other is destructive, we might say, toxic, and each provides the antidote to the other.  Faith connects these in our lives, asking questions about where we’re going and how we are being, enabling us to move towards the deeper things which will require us to be honed by trial.

‘An idea starts to be interesting when you get scared of taking it to its logical conclusion.’*^

(*Communitas is a community that forms around purpose.  See Victor Turner’s The Ritual Process; Band of Brothers offers fascinating observation in how communitas is formed in extreme circumstances and struggles when stress is removed.)
(**From Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyer’s The Power of Myth.)
(^From Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge.)
(^^Hygge is the Danish sense of wellbeing^ delighting in atmosphere and experience, home and safety.)
(*^From Nassim Taleb’s The Bed of Procrustes.)



This has become that and we haven’t even noticed.

Life could be many things but we’re convinced it is what it has become.  We have discounted other possibilities and the “hindsight bias” makes sense of our choices.

There is, however, a slow and steady walk which we can take back to the reality of many possibilities.

“I never knew I was creating a world which was an antithesis to the world around me which was full of sorrows, full of wars, full of difficulties. I was creating the world I wanted, and into this world, once it was created, you invited others and then you attract those who have affinities and this becomes a universe.”*

‘[W]e humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditised ideas, reductive categories, specific vocabularies, and prepackaged narratives, which, on the occasion, has explosive consequences’**

Every one is a universe.

When we understand and grow our personal universe we make it possible for others to see and explore theirs.

Steven Covey put it this way:

‘Find Your Voice and Inspire Others to Find Theirs.’^  

Multiversing is a slow way of becoming.

Just as our world and universe are filled with randomness and chaos so are our personal universes.  We need some way of navigating the For this, we have the possibility of slow walking to help navigate the possibilities..

‘The best way to get attention, then, is to give it unconditionally.’^^

We’ve been making walking movements from 17 weeks – in the womb and it’s something available to everyone.  Rebecca Solnit observes: ‘instead of a few great experts, walking has a multitude of amateurs – everyone walks, a surprising number of people think about walking … so that everyone I know contributed an anecdote.’*^

Try some wandering to explore and discover your universe, through places you go (think the city, town, or countryside you find yourself in), the people you meet (known and unknown to you), the books you read (be open to the books which “come to you”), through writing (my journalling began with 30p reporters notepads), and the things you do (you may be surprised by the number of invitations you receive to help someone).^*  I guarantee this universe is larger than you know and you will never reach the outer limits of it’  All you have to do is walk around.

‘[M]ore than ever more of us have the freedom to care, the freedom to connect, the freedom to choose, the freedom to initiate, the freedom to do what matters.  If we choose.’⁺

(*Anaïs Nin, quoted in Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(**From Nassim Taleb’s The Bed of Procrustes.)
(^From Steven Covey’s The 8th Habit.)
(^^From Bernadette Jiwa’s Meaningful.)
(*^From Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust.)
(^*A wanderer’s kit might consist of a bag to carry tools, a book to read, a notebook and pencil with which to record what is observed, some eats, and something in case it rains, phones are okay for emergencies but great for recording what is seen.)
(⁺From Seth Godin’s What to Do When It’s Your Turn.)