When in doubt, realign

“Listen to your life.
See it for the fathomless mystery that it is.”*
(Frederick Buechner.)

‘Old age offers the opportunity to integrate and bring together the multiplicity of directions that they have travelled.  It is a time you can be awakened and new possibilities come alive for you.’**
(John O’Donohue)

Our lives are trying to tell us some important things about who we are and what we can do and they never stop trying to help us find the way.  Albert Espinosa encourages us to just keep moving:

‘North and south.  Nothing more.  Look for the north, look for the south.  Don’t stop travelling between them.’^

This is something the young Espinosa had been taught by an intensive care nurse as he was realising that he now only had one lung.  She had stroked his hair and said:

“Dreams are the north for everyone; if they come true then you’e got to head south.”^

Heading north and south, north and south, north and south will take us to everywhere that is anywhere in our world – a “multiplicity of directions.”  We collect many things on the way – skills, ideas, experiences, achievements, struggles, overcomings – and in our later years we can see what possibilities these can mean.

One note as we continue our north an south thinking: we’re not alone.  There’s often a tribe of people we can connect with:

“There is strength that comes when you walk together with those are are of one heart and mind as you.’^^

Over a lifetime there can be a positive and growing intensity to our lives.  We find it in the thoughts we have, the conversations we engage in and the actions we take.  I think of this as our gift.  Ken Robinson calls it my element.  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi thinks of it as flow.  Joseph Campbell referred to it as my bliss.  Seth Godin might talk about our art.   Traditionally we have considered it to be calling or vocation.

When we’re travelling north and south between the poles of “Who am !? and “What is my contribution?” the gift is being forged.  All the time we’re moving we are realigning ourselves to this.

Realignment is not easy.  Brené Brown writes about three actions towards finds the better story for our lives: Reckoning involves an honest facing of the truth (“I am off-course”); Rumble means we must allow this to get to grips with us (“I am off-course because of … and need to let go of it”); and, Revolution (“I can now realign to what wants to come”):

‘We’ll do anything to avoid the lowest fo the low – self-examination.’*^

Daniel Kahneman, who knows a bit about how our thinking trips us up, points out that without another system of thinking we’re prone to think this is all there is and that we’re doing better than the rest:

‘The familiar System 1 processes of WYSIATI [What You See Is All There Is] and substituting [with an easier question] produce both competition neglect and the above average effect.’

Ken Mogi introduced me to the concept of datsusara – which feels like an act of realignment:

datsusara is a phenomonen in which a salaried worker, usually employed in office work, decides to leave the sage but unexciting life as a company employee to pursue their passions’.^*

The alternative seems to be exemplified in dojinshi.  Dojinshi are the self-published manga comics.  Beyond their salaried work, Japanese dojinshi producers will pay around £70 for a space that is only 90×45 centimetres at the huge Comiket event in order to sell their art.  The incredible thing is that some of these publications go on to re-sell at ten or even a hundred times their original price.  There is great demand for what they make.

Realignment might mean finding a new possibility or adding a new possibility to  dojinshi-style to what we’re already doing but the most important thing of all is to listen to what our lives is trying to tell us.

 (*Frederick Buechner, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara.)
(^From Albert Espinosa’s The Yellow World.)
(^From Erwin McManus’ The Last Arrow.)
(*^From Brené Brown’s Rising Strong.)
(^*From Ken Mogi’s The Little Book of Ikigai.)

Slow cities

‘Frequently, in a journey of the soul, the most precious moments  are the mistakes.  They have brought you to a place you otherwise have always avoided.’*
(John O’Donohue.)

In her very enjoyable history of walking Wanderlust, Rebecca Solnit, when moving from the open spaces of rural walking to the streets of urban walking, notices:

‘Streets are the spaces left between buildings.  A house alone is an island surrounded by a sea of open space, and the villages that preceded cities were no more than archipelagos in the same sea.  But as more and more buildings arose, they became a continent, the remaining open space no longer like a sea but like rivers, canals an streams running between the land masses.’**

This has demanded that we find new ways of living.  Ways we are still figuring out:

‘People no longer lived anyhow in the open sea of rural space but travelled up and down the streets, and just as narrowing waterway increases flow an speed, so turning open space into the spillways of streets directs and intensifies the flood of walkers.’**

All of human life seems to be witnessed and experienced in a more intense way in cities.  Perhaps this is also where we can find our hope because here there are lots of mistakes and accidents in cities.

Lauren Elkin is mesmerised by cities.  She confesses of her experience of living in New York:

‘I gaped at the gargantuan ornate apartment buildings, the wide boulevards, Zabar’s, H&H Bagels, the Hungarian Pastry Shop with its sticky glazed croissants, the men selling books on folding tables on Broadway.  To sit in a restaurant on Broadway with the world walking by and the cars and taxis and the noise was like finally being let in to the centre of the universe, after peering in at it for so long.’^

When many of our cities began to fill in space in this way, they were quite different to how they are today, as Solnit notes for us:

‘All the furniture and codes that give modern streets their orderliness – raised [pavements], streetlights, street names, building numbers, drains, traffic rules, and traffic signals – are relatively recent innovations.’**

The experience of cities for many, though, is quite different to how Elkin experienced New York.  Life’s needs are intensified too.  Whilst there are movements to get people from the cities into the countryside, to appreciate the natural world, movements that make it possible for people to feel all their city is theirs need to happen too.

But Elkin reminds me of how I felt when I arrived in Edinburgh.  I would walk around the streets and open spaces in what became a long Summer (I particularly remember an evening in Holyrood Park) pinching myself to see if I was really there.  But I also remember that I did not choose to come here, I followed my work.  And I loved living in the industrial town of Oldham on the edge of Manchester – a city without the long history of Edinburgh – and I wanted to stay there but couldn’t.  Before Oldham, there was the industrial town of Blackburn, a place I also wanted to stay but couldn’t.

Edinburgh, though, would teach me about my mistakes in a way other places hadn’t, would make it possible to change more than anywhere else.  This is why it’s become so special to me.  But it’s not the specialness of the city but how I walk in the city.  Elkin believes that the cities are finding hope – I think she is right, and an city can be a place of hope.  We have not finished with our cities and they are not finished with us.  :

‘But it is the practice of the city that we have the best chance of making a just world.  Freedom of movement is an intrinsic part of that.

Let me walk.  Let me go at my own pace. Let me feel life as it moves through me an around me.

[…]

The city turns you on, gets you going, moving, thinking, wanting, engaging.  The city is life itself.’^

There seems to be a growing “slow cities” movement, part of the slow movement, recognised here by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber in their considering of the slow university:

‘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.’^^

Here this slowness is expressed in a Wander Society leaflet:

“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.”*^

We may not be able to build new streets and alleyways but we can walk them differently, with new eyes and with new people.  Erwin McManus shares something that can remind us of how the best cities are those exploring new relationships when he asks:

‘Who are the people you have bound your life to?  Who are the people in your life to whom you have declared, “I am with you”?’^*

My challenge to self is to head into the city now and notice something happening between people I would have missed if I was going too fast.

(*From John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara.)
(**From Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust.)
(^From Lauren Elkin’s Flaneuse.)
(^^From Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s The Slow Professor.)
(*^From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(^*From Erwin McManus’ The Last Arrow.)

When it’s a jar (get it?)

Really the door is either open or closed.

Metaphorically speaking, we’re either opening doors for people of closing them:

‘This is competition at its best, reminding us that the word compete comes from the Latin competere, meaning striving together.’*

Peter Senge is offering us an open door to walk through.  How often, though, does our culture close doors for most people, from an early point in their lives?  In his book Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari concludes his chapter on The Capitalist Creed with the following thoughts:

‘The Industrial Revolution that swept through Europe enriched the bankers an capital-owners, but condemned millions of workers to a life of abject poverty.

[…]

Capitalism has two answers to this criticism.  First, capitalism has created a world that nobody but a capitalist is capable of running.

[…]

The second answer is that just need more patience – paradise, the capitalists promise, is right around the corner.’**

We’re not going to be able to restart the world without capitalism and some would argue the alternative philosophy of communism is even more destructive.  What we can do is seek to bring openness where there’s closedness.  It’s to be seen whether people like Peter Diamandis bring a different form of capitalism with the kind of openness we need to see introduced:

‘The world’s most precious resource is the persistent and passionate human mind.’^

I hope so.

Seth Godin advises:

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

We need more of this kind of thinking to be shared around, opening doors for people.  Erwin McManus urges us to find others:

‘You will go faster and farther when you find your tribe.’*^

Tribes don’t have to be large in number.  Some of the best are very small but are places where we can explore openness – the mind, heart and will kind – in playful ways.  Eugene Peterson perhaps points out what can happen when we find our tribeship:

‘there is an older wisdom that puts it differently: by changing our behaviour we can change our feelings’.^*

The door still isn’t a jar but it may just be a little more open.

(*From Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)
(**From Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens.)
(^From Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.)
(^^From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)
(*^From Erwin McManus’ The Last Arrow.)
(^*From Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.)

 

Information versus imagination

“I will not die 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 becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise…”*
(Dawna Markova)

‘This is always one of the great tensions in an awakened or spiritual life, to find the rhythm of its unique language, perception and belonging.’**
(John O’Donohue)

Life feels more like a journey than a destination.  The unfinished business of understanding (expressing), as John O’Donohue has it, the thing that is our particular way of seeing, imagining, and connecting.  Life is energy and in these three things we are embedding energy in a unique way:

‘The key word here is energy.  All life is energy; without energy there is no life.  Passion is the power of positive spiritual energy.’^

Ken Robinson is touching here on the game-changer.  We think that if we only had more – information, money, time – then we could change the game.  All the time, we have our imagination, as The Wander Society puts it:

“Your imagination is being wasted.”^^

Nassim Taleb declares in his typically ascerbic but clearer-sighted way:

‘The problem with information is not that is it diverting and generally useless, but that it is toxic.

[…]

people often think that it will be the best batch of news that will really make a difference to their understanding of thing.’*^

It’s not that information is useless per se but more information is of little value if we cannot imaginatively use what we already have – which may be more than enough to get or to stay moving.

Which brings us to O’Donohue’s point about belonging.  The people we connect with can make a big difference.  Erwin McManus quotes an African saying:

“If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”^*

The endless number of permutations of people can make astonishing things happen with all their information and imagination.

(*Dawna Markova, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara.)
(^From Ken Robinson’s Finding Your Element.)
(^^The Wander Society, quoted in Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(*^From Nassim Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness.)
(^*From Erwin McManus’ The Last Arrow.)

Adaging before our time

“If people would but do what they had to do, they would find themselves ready for what came next.”*
(George MacDonald)

‘An adage worth repeating is also halfway to being irrelevant.  You end up with something that is easy to say but not connected to behaviour.’**
(Ed Catmull)

No one wants to adage before their time.

Adaging creeps up on us as we rely more on what we have done in the past and less on what lies before us.  The future doesn’t exist and for this reason doesn’t do well with adages.

Seth Godin points to how we try and move into something new by comparing it with something old:

‘Of course, if you put a new experience in the box of an old experience, it’s not a new experience, is it?  Problem solved.

But you’ve also just cut yourself off from what that new experience could deliver.  A new box.  The entire point.’^

If we move into the future with the understanding that it can be what it wants to be then new things are possible – and within ourselves first of all.  Peter Senge writes:

‘An inner alignment starts to develop that can release extraordinary energy and creativity, qualities previously dissipated by denial, inner contradictions, and unawareness of this situation and oneself.’^^

John O’Donohue “adds” that we’ll find there’s more to us than meets the eye:

‘In the neglected crevices and corners of your evaded solitude, you will find the treasure you have always sought elsewhere.’*^

Here we find what we need to counteract the adaging affect.  Peter Senge continues:

‘It is critical that you don’t frame your goal in the context of what you know today.  If you do, you will limit the reach of your aspiration.’^^

Another treasure for overcoming early adaging is found in the companionship of others, particularly those who help one another to keep on exploring.  O’Donohue names these anam cara – soul-friends – those who bring their best self to others.

Erwin McManus finds himself challenged to believe in the friendship someone was offering him, and asks:

Who are the people who can believe in my friendship?’^*

If you find yourself using adages for oneself, don’t believe them, don’t succumb to adage.

(*George MacDonald, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc..)
(^From Seth Godin’s blog: Experiences and your fear of engagement.
(^^From Peter Senge’s The Necessary Revolution.)
(*^From John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara.)
(^*From Erwin McManus’ The Last Arrow.)

Plenty of new things under the sun

‘What was will be again,
    what happened will happen again.
There’s nothing new on this earth.
    Year after year it’s the same old thing.
Does someone call out, “Hey, this is new”?
    Don’t get excited—it’s the same old story.’*
(King Solomon)

‘A characteristic of creative people is that they imagine making the impossible possible.  That imagining – dreaming, noodling, audaciously rejecting what is (for the moment) true – is the way to discover what is new or important.’**
(Ed Catmull)

There’s never been a time when we have been more aware and better resourced to explore a life of autonomy, mastery and purpose.  Developing in each of us is something instinctual – the beginning of creativity.   What matters now is for this instinct to be honed into artistry; as Erwin McManus asserts:

‘every human being is both a work of art and an artist at work’.^

Keri Smith writes of this growing awareness when she investigates a mysterious organisation (organism?) named The Wander Society:

‘I believe its members exist to aid us in out quest to discover our own deepest soul life, too help us move to a higher plane of consciousness.’^^

Richard Sennett also caught my eye when connecting the home and art in his example of the goldsmith, perhaps a reconnecting thought for us as we live in a world where home and labour are separated:

‘Goldsmithing is perhaps most revealing in what it tells us about the workshop conceived and s craftsman’s home – as place that united family and labour.’*^

In writing about moving instinct to art, Seth Godin writes:

The world is a lot more complex than our gut is likely to comprehend, at least without training.  Train your gut, get better instincts.’^*

Godin goes on to offer three practices to help in this movement, which are basically:
practise in private at anticipating the future of what you feel;
work more and more in the area of your interest: and,
hone all of this beyond instinct into an art.

You can’t wait until 9 o’clock on Monday morning to begin.  Start now, right where you are, and turn life and home into a studio.

There’s something under the sun waiting to be brought into being by you.

(*Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)
(**From Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc..)
(^From Erwin McManus’ The Last Arrow.)
(^^From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)
(*^From Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman.)
(^*From Seth Godin’s blog: Better instincts.)


YOU STILL GIVE A GIFT TO SOMEONE THAT WILL CHANGE THEIR 2018

Dreamwhispering is a guided journey of five “conversations” that makes it possible to explore the instinctual life of talents and passions towards living more possibilities.  This is available at the 2017 price of £150 until the 31st December.

Illegally human

When we measure humanity against the vast span of nature – from the largest to the smallest, from the most-developed to the least – the differences between those we think to be the most amazing humans and the least amazing are very small.

Yet, when we make ourselves the centre of the universe, the differences are chasmatic.

We accentuate these differences to the advantage of some and disadvantage of the many.  One of the most amazing human attributes, compassion makes the difference, making the valuing of and collaboration with others possible.  Conscious evolution means we are quite capable of imaginatively extending or expanding compassion.  Karen Armstrong writes:

‘Does the need to create a “competitive edge” endorse and aggravate the “me-first” drive that makes us heartless in other areas of life?  The acquisitive drive of the reptilian brain evolved for scarcity, not plenty.  Do we find it difficult to say “enough”?’*

Instead of leaving others feeling inferior, when we break through the barriers of scarcity into abundance – in employment, food, education, healthcare, commerce, economics – there’s the possibility of encouraging people to explore t their creativity.  Lewis Hyde considers this when thinking of the gift each of our lives contains and contributes:

“True worth […] inheres in the creative spirit, and the objects of the world should move accordingly, not to some other, illusory value.’**

We see this happening belatedly, even posthumously, because we’re constantly pushing our thinking around these things.  Here’s how Vincent van Gogh felt during a lifetime in which he never sold a single painting:

“What I am in the eyes 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 they were absolutely true, then I should like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart.’^

Elle Luna includes these words in her book about internal and external motivations, dis-mything the idea that many people don’t achieve because they’re lazy:

‘To choose Must is to say yes to hard work and constant effort, to say yes to journey without a road map or guarantees, and in so doing, to say yes that what Joseph Campbell called “the experience of being alive, so that our life experience on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the reality of being alive.”‘

In another place, Joseph Campbell asks:

‘How much of the beauty of our own lives is about the beauty of being alive?  How much of it is conscious and intentional?  That is the big question.’*^

If we exercise the freedom and opportunity that nature has provided us, it can feel positively illegal because it takes us across boundary-lines drawn up by those who are on top.  Rebecca Solnit writes of British walkers challenging the boundaries of ownership drawn by the “haves”:

‘Walking focuses not on the boundary lines of ownership that break the land into pieces but on the paths that function as a kind of circulatory system connecting the whole organism.’^*

Erwin McManus tells of when he was asked to preach to a small church in Cuba, at the end of which, the church pastor said:

“What you just did was completely illegal.”⁺

From different worlds and perspectives, Solnit and McManus are providing a picture for what we’re doing when we encourage people to enter into their creativity – to be illegally human.

(*From Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.)
(**From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)
(^Vincent van Gogh, quoted in Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)
(^^From Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)
(*^Joseph Campbell, from Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth.)
(^*From rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust.)
(⁺From Erwin McManus’ The Last Arrow.)


YOU CAN EXPLORE BEING ILLEGALLY HUMAN THROUGH DREAMWHISPERING

HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS PEOPLE HAVE SAID ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE:

“Dreamwhispering is helping me to discover my strengths and the things that I love most in life. It is helping me to transform my work from a list of to-dos to a situation where I can live out the person that I am, be creative and innovative and contribute to the development of the University with the best that I can give of myself. It is also helping me to be more aware of the strengths of my colleagues and to find ways that we can work together to bring out and build on the best in each other.”

“Dreamwhispering has been the only time in my otherwise hectic student lifestyle when I am able to reflect about the direction I am moving in in life. I haven’t yet finished this process, but I’m already making better decisions that are making me much happier. This is such a rare experience […]. I would absolutely recommend dreamwhispering to anyone in my life […].”

GET IN TOUCH TO FIND OUT MORE

Allow me to misinterpret that

‘If you’re merely following [shortcuts], you probably won’t get anywhere interesting.’*
(Seth Godin)

‘As the scholastics used to say: Homo non proprie humanus sed superhumanus est – which means that to be properly human, you must go beyond the merely human.’**
(Eugene Peterson)

I misread the text on a Hugh Macleod doodle:  I thought it read “Never lose the way,” it actually read “Never lose the why” but I liked the mistake.  Our Why? and our Way have a lot in common.  The way changes, disappears, re-appearing – sometimes completely somewhere else.  Our Why?, though, helps us through the invisible or hidden.  What we discover in the new helps us to avoid complacency and narrow-mindedness.  Indeed, it seems we must remain open-minded to have any mind at all.

Mistakes and misinterpretations can be our happy accidents moving us away from shortcuts to the familiar and  “Same again.”

I may ask someone a question about how they live out their talents with energy.  Their response indicates it’s not the right question.  I’ve misinterpreted or misunderstood something they’ve said.  I ask another question.  It’s still not quite right, but the responses have made me think of something different and I try another question.  This time something amazing opens up.  Richard Sennett’s words then make a load of sense:

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

Paulo Coelho also exhorts us to move in this direction:

‘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.’^^

We’re looking for Seth Godin’s detours, journeys where unexpected moments happen:

‘This “moment-spotting” habit can be unnatural.  In organisations, for examples, we are consumed by goals. […] The goal is the thing.

But for an individual human being, moments are the thing.’*^

(*From Seth Godin’s blog: Actual shortcuts often appear to be detours.)
(**From Eugene Peterson’s Run With the Horses.)
(^From Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman.)
(^^From Paulo Coelho’s Aleph.)
(*^From Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of Moments.)


THIN|SILENCE ON YOUR WALLS?

What do you want to most remind your people of?

You can create your own messages of encouragement for your walls.  Get in touch for a quote.

Voices loud and deep

There’s a difference.

A loud voice may have nothing important to say but because its loud, everyone listens.  Sometimes we need people to say something loud – like when the building is on fire – but not very often.

Here’re some words I came upon this morning that got me thinking about deep voices:

“Sink me a well to water all this land: […] release the nether springs.”*

‘A million people can build what you’ve built.  How do you make yourself the one who solves the problem?’**

‘In how many situations are we given the gift of spending time talking about a kind of heartbeat life – music, people, connections, meaning?’^

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of who you really love.  it will not lead you astray.”^^

David George Haskell writes of the voice of the Amazonian rainforest.  It doesn’t speak as loudly as our cities but what it does have to say brings us life from the mighty lungs of our planet.  Maria Popova includes these words in her delightful post on the songs of trees:

“Winds sometimes bring pulses of dust from Africa or smog from a city, but mostly the Amazon speaks its own tongue.  With fewer seeds and abundant water vapour, raindrops bloat to exceptional sizes. The rain falls in big syllables, phonemes unlike the clipped rain speech of most other landmasses.

We hear the rain not through silent falling water but in the many translations delivered by objects that the rain encounters.”*^

We have much to learn from this giant silence if we’re to find our own authentic voice.  Ken Mogi writes about depth over loudness, I think, when he proffers:

‘In order to have ikigai [life purpose], you need to go beyond the stereotypes and listen to your inner voice.’^*

Going with the stereotype sometimes means becoming louder and louder if we’re to be noticed and, before we know it, the world is shouting.  We see this in many ways, as Michael Bhaskar identifies here:

‘For the past two hundred and fifty years our technologies have been directed at boosting our productivity.  To producing more.  More goods, more food, more data, more stuff.’⁺

The world is shouting solutions at us but what are the problems?  Perhaps Bhaskar is helping us in this direction when he suggests:

‘In a world of too much, selecting, finding and cutting down is valuable.’*

Edgar Schein points us in the direction of questions over answers and provides us with four kinds of inquiry that help us go deeper rather than louder:

‘The helper can be in the process consultant role and still have choices of how to play that role.  I have found it very helpful to differentiate four fundamentally different kinds of inquiry:

  • pure inquiry
  • diagnostic inquiry
  • confrontational inquiry
  • process-oriented inquiry’⁺⁺

Each of these forms of inquiry takes our voice deeper.

The opposite of a loud voice is not a quiet one, rather, it is a deep voice. In loud spaces, it’s funny how I can hear some people’s voices really easily.  They’re not shouting, there’s simply a quality to the tonality of their voice that means I can hear them.

Don’t raise your voice to me, take it down a little deeper.

(*Andy Raine, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From gapingvoid’s blog: The golden rule to unlimited customer devotion.)
(^Aaron Johannes from Drawn Together by Visual Practice.)
(^^Rumi, quoted in Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)
(*^David George Haskell, quoted in maria Popova’s Brain Pickings:
The Songs of Trees.)
(^*From Ken Mogi’s The Little Book of Ikigai.)
(⁺From Michael Bhaskar’s Curation.)
(⁺⁺From Edgar Schein’s Helping.)

 


 

Okay, I confess

“Because life is network, there is no “nature” or “environment,” separate and apart from humans.  We are part of the community of life, composed of relationships with “others,” so the human/nature duality that lives near the heart of many philosophies is, from a biological perspective, illusory.  We are not, in the words of the folk hymn, wayfaring strangers travelling through this world.  Nor are we the estranged creatures of Wordsworth’s lyrical ballads, fallen out of Nature into a “stagnant pool” of artifice where we misshape “the beauteous forms of things.”  Our bodies and minds, our “Science and Art,” are as natural and wild as they ever were.

We cannot step outside life’s songs.  This music made us; it is our nature.”*
(David George Haskell)

“And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?   And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.”**
(Jesus of Nazareth)

A year is a good measure of time, involving seasons, rituals, and celebrations.

A day is also good, marked by food and rest, by dawn and dusk.

Hours are pretty good too, marking when to begin something or complete something.

Moments are important, something we can be “in,” when something comes to us or dawns on us or becomes clear to us – as Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler describe here:

‘Everyone in the Planetary Team knows the moment.  The moment when we knew our calling was to break boundaries and push humanity to the stars.^

Minutes, however, introduce a dangerous precedent.  Disrupting moments and hours and days and years.  Demanding that we be efficient, avoiding waste – and also satisfaction.  Nothing worthwhile has ever been accomplished in a minute, but may well have been lost to one.  And we better not even mention seconds.  Even the measurement of the speed of light and all of our fractalising of the universe has really been accomplished in moments, hours, days, and years.

Confession is usually used in relation to owning up wrongdoing but we need a different kind of confession – the kind that  finds the time to admit what we do that is beautiful and good.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi imagines how people see things differently:

‘Things that most people take for granted puzzle him; and until he figures them out in an original yet perfectly appropriate way, he will not let them be.’^^

In a moment, this can become that.  To others this always remains this, but perhaps not to you.  You’re noticing more, you’re taking the time to notice what it is you must do:

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

We all have the same amount of time.  This is not measured in seconds and minutes, but in moments of clarity, in hours of opportunity, in days of labour, and in years of development.

(*David George Haskell, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: The Songs of Trees.)
(**Jesus of Nazareth, from the Gospel of Matthew 6:27-29.)
(^From Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.)
(^^From Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow.)
(*^From Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)


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