A narrow path of many possibilities

While capable of incredible sophistication of thought and discovery, we still desire clear, compelling stories to make sense of the world. We still crave certainty and simplicity and shy away from complexity and ambiguity.*
(Eamonn Kelly)

The usual marathons, the popular ones, are done in a group. They have a start time. A finish line. A way to qualify. A route. A crowd. And a date announced a year in advance. Mostly, they have excitement, energy and peer pressure.

The other kind of marathon is one that anyone can run, any day of the year. Put on your sneakers, run out the door and come back 26 miles later. These are rare. It’s worth noting that much of what we do in creating a project, launching a business or developing a career is a lot closer to the second kind of marathon. No wonder it’s so difficult.
(Seth Godin)

I resonated with Seth Godin’s blog when I read it earlier because the solo marathons are the kind I used to run – usually because when others were running in the big marathons, I had to work.

The solo marathon isn’t only a metaphor for the project or career, but also the life-story with you as the main protagonist, an adventure with a developing character.

The path is narrow because it is focused and takes great effort but it is only such a path that opens many possibilities. It’s your path and you don’t even have to wait for a fork to make a choice, you can make one. (Warning: I did this once when out on a training run and ended up running 36 miles – it was wonderful, though.)

(I’m going to be taking a few days off. I’ll still be journaling and doodling each day but I won’t be posting. Thank you for sharing the journey; back soon.)

(*From Eamonn Kelly’s Powerful Times.)
(**Seth Godin’s blog: Solo marathon.)

At the heart of resistance

It is the heart that makes us human. The heart is where the beauty of the human spirit comes alive. Without the heart the human would be sinister. To be able to feel is the great gift. […] Facing possibility, the mind is in relentless thought-flow. Concealed within the dark, the heart is concerned with who we are.*
(John O’Donohue)

And the ways of “sharing” enabled by hyperlinks are now creating a new type of thinking – part human and part machine – found nowhere else on the planet or in history. The web has unleashed a new becoming.**
(Kevin Kelly)

The mind is being enhanced by technology but what of the heart? How do we grow the heart?

In some ways, technology helps us to take the path of least resistance but the heart requires we take a path of greater resistance.

We will create new myths to tell how this might be, but there are boundaries or thresholds needing to be crossed: if we are to find, we must seek; if we are outside, we must open the door to move inside (or vice versa); if we do not know, we must ask questions.

These resistances are how we become more:

We want to start with resistances, those facts that stand in the way of the will. Resistances themselves come in two sorts: found and made.^

The thing about the resistant heart is that it gives us a place we know, to push against, to begin.

(*From John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us.)
(**From Kevin Kelly’s The Inevitable.)
(^From Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman.)

2,000 whispers

Mostly, I love anything that encourages sustainability, usefulness, beauty, compassion and the wild.*
(Sue Fan)

Successful cities are a glorious mess of old and new, of hours and shops and work place, and where the richer residents and poorer one mingle together. And it is that diverse mess that makes them safe, innovative – and, perhaps above all, resilient.**
(Tim Harford)

My goal had been to whisper every day of 2014 as long as I could add a doodle, just to see what would happen.

That should have been 365 whispers, but today I hit 2,000. Here’s number 1 from August 2013, when I must have been playing with the idea.

(Playfulness is really important as a way of overcoming the kind of judgement that would have stopped me doing anything.)

In between, I have found my love for the visual leading me into illustrating work I couldn’t have imagined five years ago: here’s my latest collaboration with Daphne Loads, newly published: Rich Pickings.

All of this is to encourage you to follow the thing you want to do. It doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be full-time, just see what happens when you pursue it every day.

I love Sue Fan’s words because they encourage us to create a space for our creativity that is both centred and exploring: a home that is also a studio.

And when Tim Harford describes successful and resilient cities, he could be describing a person’s life – where the old and the new mix, where there’s work and play and rest, where there the developed and undeveloped side-by-side, all dwelling in some “glorious mess” that makes it possible to be and to explore.

Who knows what will happen then.

(*Sue Fan, from from Sue Fan and Diane Ogilvy’s Do/Inhabit/.)
(**From Tim Harford’s Messy.)

Time for a little prutsen

Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. […] Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye.*
(Jesus of Nazerath)

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.**
(Paulo Coelho)

Prutsen is doing something of little significance that doesn’t change the world but changes ours.

The thing is, when we change our world, we end up changing the worlds of others.

When we resist changing our worlds, what we end up doing is erecting fences that keep others out and, inadvertently, keep us in.

(*Matthew 7:1-5)
(**From Paulo Coelho’s Aleph.)


… I am the necessary angel of earth,
Since, in my sight, you see the earth again.*
(Wallace Stevens)

It is very possible to see what has already taken place, less so what is happening around us right now because it’s still playing out, but the most difficult and the most necessary seeing is what can be and has not been imagined or tried.

Yet, we’re all capable of this seeing.

(*From Wallace Stevens’ The Necessary Angel.)

The width of seeing

Spiritual maturity is largely a growth in seeing, and full seeing seems to take most of your life time, with a huge leap in the final years.* (Richard Rohr)

The more we look the more we see, the more we see.

It’s not only a physical thing alone but it’s not a default in life, it’s a choice, and it’s available to everyone.

Every day.

When we do, something we can only describe as magical happens over a lifetime.

(*From Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward.)

Dreamlines and other paths available

The American man was captivated. ‘And can we go and look for these Dreaming-tracks? […].’

They can,’ she said. ‘You can’t.’

‘You mean they’re invisible?’

‘To you. Not to them.’

‘Then where are they?’

‘Everywhere,’ she said. ‘For all I know, there’s a Dreaming-track running right through the middle of my shop.’*

Only you can see your dreamline.

Each person must have the eyes of their heart wide open in order to see their own.

Dreamlines sound magical, but we have formed them with our values, talents, energies and experiences.

They are wild, foot-trodden ways and can be hard to follow with all the metalled and paved alternatives, but they run through every aspect and dimension of each person’s life:

A hero sets off in search of something elusive that has the power to change both their life and the world.**

(*From Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines.)
(**From Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.)