Hier zu sein ist so viel*

Give and you will
always have more to give.

What kind of law
is this?

Drawing from the deepest places
things you can never empty.

From deep depths of character
and talent

Expressed time, friendship,
Compassion,

A true Self
to which there is no end

To give is only to deepen,
Eyes enabled wide to see more,

Always becoming more than
you now know yourself to be –

Giving invites who
you can be tomorrow.

(*Rainer Maria Rilke, quoted in John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us: to be here is immense.)

Whatever you do, don’t think of an elephant

If you’re blessed with imagination, it’s part of your job to bring better images to the world.*
(Austin Kleon)

Imagination is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger and more expansive it becomes.

We’re helped to forget at a young age that we all have imaginations – you may have noticed that it isn’t taught in school.

If you can create a picture in your mind you have imagination. In fact, it likely that you use it hundreds of times a day for everyday things, l such as going shopping (what picture just flashed into your mind?).

It just needs to be used for more than the everyday. A good place to begin is with your curiosity. Notice it, wander around it, wander wherever it leads …

Before you know it, you’re a recovering unimaginative.

(*From Austin Kleon’s blog: How to talk to someone with a missing imagination.)

Rituals for life

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.*
(Seth Godin)

Ultimately the goal is to have everyone in the company begin to think like a designer: to question traditional practices and ways of doing things to envision new possibilities, to be able to express and share those ideas, to collaborate within teams and begin turning the ideas into realities.**
(Warren Berger)

These two quotes don’t use the word ritual but in reality they are jam-packed full of them.

Artists and designers shake up the way things are with their imaginations – and we’re all artists and designers. Those imaginative possibilities need vessels to bring them into reality: rituals.

It’s the necessary thing I am becoming more and more aware of when it comes to the work I engage in with people towards identifying and developing their talents and abilities.

(By the way, this is something I am trying to make available to those who are being made redundant as they come to the end of the furlough scheme – please share with anyone you know kin this position, especially the young.)

Rituals help us to get things done, imagination keeps these fresh through introducing the new. Jordan Peterson captures it well here:

Meaning is the ultimate balance between, on the one hand, the chaos of transformation and possibility and on the other, the discipline of pristine order, whose purpose is to produce out of the attendant chaos a new order that will be even more immaculate, and capable of bringing forth a still more balanced and productive chaos and order. Meaning is the Way, the path more abundant, the place you live when you are guided by Love and speaking Truth and when nothing you want or could possibly want takes any precedence over precisely that. Do what is meaningful, not what is expedient.^

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have come across this same idea – Christian Schwarz‘s dynamic and static poles, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi‘s need to explore and need to be secure, and Friedrich Schiller‘s material and formal urges being just three.

These rituals will be different for each of us – the best are those we create for ourselves – but each will have within them the danger of turning stolid. This is why we always need to be feeding our imaginations, but imagination without ritual lacks corporality and too much of that will only leave us jaded.

You’ll have rituals that you’ve introduced to your life that are there because they worked. Name them and shake them up with a little imagination. See how different even a small change will leave you feeling and you’re back with what is most meaningful to you, the art and design you want to bring into the world.

(*Seth Godin, quoted in Ben Hardy’s article These 20 Pictures Will Teach You More Than Reading 100 Books.)
(**From Warren Berger’s Glimmer.)
(^From Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life.)

Flamboyance

Let’s stop trying to be so productive all the time and make an effort to be more curious.*
(Rob Walker)

What if it was the case that the world revealed whatever goodness it contains in precise proportion to your desire for the best?**
(Jordan Peterson)

Curiosity brings light.

Light is a servant; it does not bring attention to itself but to all it gives its light to.

Attention is the companion of curiosity, energy brought to what we are noticing:

Attention is like energy in that without it no work can be done and in doing work it is dissipated. We create ourselves by how we invest this energy.^

When we pay attention we are bringing our particular light.

Alacrity is attention, energy that does not necessarily know what it will discover.

Each person’s alacrity is different, the make-up of their energy, their light, shaped by their curiosity. This is their flamboyance – their blazing, their flaming:

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

What is all this light all about?

Enlightenment.

Wisdom.

We need a wiser world.

We need illuminators, not extinguishers.

(*From Rob Walker’s The Art of Noticing.)
(**From Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life.)
(^From Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow.)
(^^From Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman.)

What’s that in the way?

It’s time to let go. It might even be time to sacrifice what you love best, so that you can become who you might become, instead of staying who you are.*
(Jordan Peterson)

Our mistake […] is our inability to be ambitious for each day.**
(Bernadette Jiwa)

It is quite possible that we hold onto as the best is less than we are capable of.

It is not by accident that we write stories, legends and myths that speak to us of something more lying beyond what we know and have. For as long as humans have been exploring their higher consciousness, they have wondered about who they are and what they can achieve.

Jordan Peterson, whose words open today’s post, writes,

The price you pay for that utility, that specific focused direction, is blindness to everything else [(…] getting what we currently want can make us blind to higher callings). […] Since you’ve ignored so much, there is plenty of possibility left where you have not yet looked.*

The places we have been ignoring or avoiding are the very places we should be looking. The very thing in the way may be what we are doing every day and we need to follow our curiosity into something more.

Let’s slow down enough to notice our curiosity and then follow it where it leads.

(*From Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life.)
(**From The Story of Telling: On Ambition.)

Better with design

Thinking metaphorically is common in design.*
(Brian Mau)

We’re born designers.

We love metaphors.

These make for an interesting mix – nothing is as it seems, everything can be reimagined. Live a different metaphor and things happen.

Enjoy thinking about today differently.

(*Brian Mau, quoted in Warren Berger’s Glimmer.)

Yes?

We can wonder whether we have made the right choices, said yes to the right things.

Here’s a triage I found myself pondering earlier:

Am I courageous for what I am doing; would I do it even if I didn’t get paid for it?
Am I most generative and generous when I am doing this?
Am I becoming wiser in that I know things that work in life and make a difference for the better?

I didn’t ask if this way is easier or more comfortable; they’re the wrong questions.

Show me

When people see a concept presented visually, they tend to understand it in a way that goes beyond words.*
(Brian Mau)

It must be one of the oldest and most universal phrases.

I can’t see it; can you show me.

People have been drawing pictures for each other millennia.

Designer Brian Collins defines design as hope made visible.** Where there once was nothing, possibility appears.

Doodling and sketching create a conversation between the hand and the mind. First the hand draws something, the mind thinks about it and suggests tidying it up, and so on, and something takes shape.

Of course, we’re also living doodles of hope to one another.

(*Brian Mau, quoted in Warren Berger’s Glimmer.)
(**From Warren Berger’s Glimmer.)

The game of found

So then the journey for peace begins within our hearts. This is why we must face our fears, stand-in in our pain, and walk courageously into the uncertainty and mystery of a better future.*
(Erwin McManus)

Some who think they are lost are really hiding. Others who tell themselves they are hiding are really lost.

We can all be found, though.

Good news.

(*From Erwin McManus’ The Way of the Warrior.)