Use it or lose it

God and the universe have already made their move.  If you’re waiting for another message then all you may hear is static.

They wait to see what we will do with these minds, these hearts, these hands.

It’s not only that if we don’t use it then we’ll lose it, as if who we are and what we can do is some fixed thing.  It’s about growing, developing, unfolding, building, moving beyond.

I’m still here and a little more

Gratitude is how we acknowledge our humble place in the universe, our place in the big dance.*
(Hugh Macleod)

The best way to predict your future is to create it.**
(Abraham Lincoln)

While many in the world are waiting to feel grateful about something, others know it’s a habit born of a choice to be honed every day.

As Viktor Frankl reminds us, although others may take everything else from us, they cannot take away our choice of how to respond.

(*From gapingvoid’s blog: Count your blessings.)
(**Abraham Lincoln, quoted in Ben Hardy’s These 20 Pictures Will Teach You More Than Reading 100 Books.)

The unbreakable thread

Rumbling with our story and owning our truth in order to write a more courageous ending transforms who we are and how we engage with the world.*
(Brené Brown)

Sometimes we look for great wealth to save us, a great power to save us, or great ideas to save us, when all we need is that piece of string.**
(Bill Moyers)

It was Ariadne who gave to her lover Theseus a ball of thread so he could enter and return from Daedalus’ labyrinth.

Yesterday, I was taking part in a storytelling workshop and it struck me that we were given a ball of thread in the form of writing.   We were able to enter our personal stories, gain something we needed and to return by writing them out.   I am grateful to have been a part of this and hearing people’s astonishing tales.

One form of story writing is personal daily journaling, making it possible to enter into the past, present and future stories of our lives as the protagonist and not the victim.

I do this with many trustworthy guides to strengthen the thread – Seth Godin, Alex and Erwin McManus, Brené Brown, Keri Smith, Elle Luna, Hugh Macleod and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi are a few of mine.  You will have your own.  Find the right ones, the ones who open a bright future rather than leave you submerged in the past and the present, gather them around you when you open your journal, pick up your pen and begin to write the adventure.

How do I know I’m grown up?

When are they going to know that they’re now men and must put aside childish things?


But there is a consciousness in the body.  The whole living world is informed by consciousness.  I have a feeling that consciousness and energy are the same thing somehow.  Where you really see life energy, there’s consciousness.*
(Joseph Campbell)

Joseph Campbell’s concern was over our loss of myths that work for us when it comes to who we are and how we connect to our society.  He argues that the inability to find or create new ones is the result of the speed of change.  In noticing our energy, though, he identifies something that can help us navigate and shape humanity’s future.

Ben Hardy writes about his culture wall keeping him on track, this created by Hugh Macleod and gapingvoid.  It’s something I’m now exploring more in order to bring my own dreamwhispering and doodling more together:

‘The Culture Wall is intended to create an environment that continually reminds me of what I stand for and what I aspire toward. […] I call these artefacts TRANSFORMATIONAL TRIGGERS.’**

As we move from the myths of the past towards those we’re capable of creating for the future, we have become stuck in the experience economy beyond which lies a transformation economy.

Being grown up has, in part, meant different things for different ages.  We’re now in an age of unlocking and fuelling a greater personal capacity, able to carry us beyond our culture and society of self-indulgence into one that can facilitate making a difference in the lives of others.

I finish with the words of Seth Godin which Ben Hardy uses to open his article with:

Art isn’t only a painting.  Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal.  An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo.  Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient.  The medium doesn’t matter.  The intent does.  Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.”^

(*Joseph Campbell, from Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth.)
(**From Ben Hardy’s article: These 20 Pictures Will Teach You More Than Reading 100 Books.)
(^Seth Godin, quoted in Ben Hardy’s article: These 20 Pictures Will Teach You More Than Reading 100 Books.)


A choice – more or less

Some people as they grow up become less […].  Some people as they grow up become more.*
(Eugene Peterson)

I suggest wisdom is precisely the wisdom to be present.**
(Richard Rohr)

Every day, I feel as though I am only beginning.

Today is my birthday.  I am 59 years old and still so much to be open to and discover, seeking to become more present, to others, to the world, to my God, and to my self.

Rohit Bhargava provides me with some help when it comes to moving into the life that is more and avoiding the life that is less.  In his latest iteration of Non Obvious he encourages me to practise the five habits of a trend curator: be curious, be observant, be fickle (i.e, not too be fixated on something), be thoughtful, be elegant.

These help me select and arrange and add value to the things of my life.  They are what I try to make available to others, so, as it’s my birthday, I would like to offer a gift: a dreamwhispering journey of discovery for someone.

All you have to do is email me at telling me why this is the right time for you to be open to more.

To be more or to be less – it’s a choice.

(*From Eugene Peterson’s Run with the Horses.)
(**From Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now.)

Reclaiming work

The capacity to be present to everything that is happening, without resistance, creates possibility.*
(Roz and Ben Zander)

There are no rules when it comes to developing our capacity to work – where our skills and knowledge being turned into greater artfulness.

We don’t have to “switch off” at 5pm, or at the end of the week and do what we really want to do.  There’s never been a time like this, when, armed with a smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer, we can open up greater areas of adjacent knowledge and connect with people who are as passionate as we are about something.

In this way, everyone is at least a skillful sub-contractor, bringing their ever-developing best to what they are doing.  You are not your job description, you have always been more

‘Let us allow our wild spirits to roam unfettered and unbound.  Let us roar and howl and voice our deepest yearnings without caring about what other will think about us.’**

(*From Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility.)
(**From Keri Smith’s The Wander Society.)

The slower we walk the farther we go

How far would we make it through today without relationships, without others helping us to find what we need or to do what we must do?

Or put it another way: how many relationships will we invest in today?

We know relationships are important – the bus driver who’ll help me get to work today, the co-worker who’ll work on the project.

To build relationships we need to pay attention, but attention needs some help:

‘To be its best, Attention, from inside itself it seems, summons Ease.  Ease emerges and dips and saunters, draping itself around Attention’s focus, allowing it dimensions greater than focus alone can produce.


We bought into an equation […].  Rushed = Important.  Tense = Focused.  Tight = Professional.  Pressured = Alive.  They are all the same thing.  And not one is true.’*

It’s counter intuitive but we are rediscovering that the more time we invest in relationships the more we produce:

‘Walking, I realised long ago in another desert, is how the body measures itself against the earth.’**

(*From Nancy Kline’s More Time to Think.)
(**From Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust.)





The city’s unfinished

Take deep-dive journeys to the place of most potential.*
(Otto Scharmer)

She walked through the city of endless building works.

It can never leave things be, as if it has more questions than answers.

Never one to miss a metaphor, she realises, here is a picture of our lives.

She determines to keep walking, our of judgement, cynicism and fear.

(*From Otto Scharmer’s Theory U.)

I am from here

I am from here.

I was born somewhere else but I am from here.

I have lived in many different places through the years but I am from here.

I face my challenges that disorientate but I am from here.

Being here, fully present, belonging, is more about finding the right Self than it is about finding the right place.


Deep time therapy

The sense of deep time brings a deep peace with it, a detachment from the timescale, the urgencies, of daily life.  Seeing these volcanic islands and coral atolls, and wandering, above all, through this cycad forest on Rota, has given me an intimate feeling of the antiquity of the earth, and the slow, continuous processes by which different forms of life evolve and come into being.  Standing here in the jungle, I feel part of a larger, calmer identity; I feel a profound sense of being at home, a sort of companionship with the earth.*
(Oliver Sacks)

The tree-lined reservoir was only a few miles from my home in the compacted mill town of Oldham and I was standing among its tall pines on a windy day, mesmerised by the swaying of their straightened trunks, creaking and moaning as they adapted and resisted the wind.  I don’t know how long I was there.  It felt as if it was a long time and it felt as if it was a short time, and even now, maybe fifteen years later, I am still deeply moved by the memory.

Winston Churchill had reflected on the adversarial layout of the House of Commons:

“we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us”.

The same must be true of our towns and cities.  They are human creations shaping our thinking and feeling and behaviour directly and indirectly.

Nature is another place all together.  I’m not saying one is wrong and one right, but they are very different.

Deep time for me means the deep past and the imaginable future being somehow present in the now, holding a sense of both my smallness and bigness.

For all my present home of Edinburgh represents many centuries of inhabitants and all their buildings, but it’s the cities volcanic hills that provide me with a sense of deeper time – some 350 million years, and outside the city, the hills and trees and skies take me into deeper possibilities.

‘Look at this Indian paintbrush,” he said.  “Have you ever seen this colour of magenta?”


A stunning boulder left behind by glaciers loomed large on a slope speckled with yellow and orange lichen.  Chanterelle mushrooms looked like the gold fringe of a fallen log.  It was a good stopping place for lunch.’**

(*From Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Oliver Sacks on Nature’s Beauty as a Gateway into Deep Time and a Lens on the Interconnectedness of the Universe.)
(**From Terry Tempest Williams The Hour of Land, quoting her father as they walked along the Teton Crest Trail in the Grand Teton National Park.)