The wherewithal

You can’t ever be sure the future will go the way you want. But you can usually (if admittedly not always) be sure that when it fails to go the way you want, you’ll have the wherewithal to cope.*
Oliver Burkeman

If you stick with writing, you will get better and better, and you can start to learn the important lessons: who you really are, and how all of us can live in the face of death, and how important it is to pay much better attention to life, which is why you are here.**
Anne Lamott

I do not hold with the doctrine of original sin, but something strange does happen to us because of consciousness and trauma.

Life can become messy, ugly even, and smaller.

Yet, it can also be transcendent and our wherewithal can make all the difference, à la Frederick Buechner’s assertion that we find our purpose where our deepest gladness meets the world’s greatest need.

Our wherewithal forms our seeing:

Both the gaze that sees and the object that is seen construct themselves in the one act of vision. So much depends on how we see things.^

Today’s convergence of texts caused me to think of what ca happen in dreamwhispering: how people can find their wherewithal. That is, their values, talents and energies with which help them to see a larger llife.

*Oliver Burkeman, quoted in Sam Radford’s blog: The wherewithal to cope;
**From Anne Lamott’s Almost Everything;
^From John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty.

Living peacably

Peace of mind is an inside job, unrelated to fame, fortune, or whether you partner loves you.*
Anne Lamott

Creativity isn’t learning the right answers but asking the strongest questions.**
Robert McKee

It’s tempting to think of peace as the absence of conflict and turmoil, but I’m more interested in the kind of peace that keeps me in the journey:

We are hardwired with curiosity inside us, because life knew that this would keep us going even in bad sailing.*

There’s a peace that makes it possible for me to speak to new people, to change my mind, to try new things. It isn’t a peace we wait upon, but we are able to grow , better even than Harry Potter’s liquid luck. It’s about creating a better narrative for the contents of our lives:

If you’ve gone through gathering and aggregating ideas this is the point at which you’ll probably confront the same problem I do every year: there are too many possibilities.^

For me, it begins with my journaling and reading at the beginning of each day. How do you grow your peace for possibility?

*From Anne Lamott’s Almost Everything;
**From Robert McKee‘s newsletter: What to Do When You Doubt Your Dialogue;
^From Rohit Bhargava’s Non Obvious 2019
.

Windy

The mind can be a noisy and cluttered place that can drown out the heart.*
Susan Friel

You have travelled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back
.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.**

John O’Donohue

The wind is blowing furiously.

Storm Dudley is on its way.

Already the winds are high, the clouds are scurrying, the trees beginning to bend.

My thoughts feel sluggish this morning. I need this wind to blow through me, uncovering my heart as it progresses.

*Susan Friel, quoted in Corita Kent and Jan Steward’s Learning by Heart;
**From John O’Donohue’s Benedictus: For One Who is Exhausted.

Permission received

It’s a grand thing to get leave to live.*
Nan Shepherd

Some people get one. Most people don’t. But, if you’re reading this, it means that you’ve received more than one, perhaps a countless number of, little breaks.**
Seth Godin

We’ve all had at least one big break.

Now it’s up to us to put in some effort and to accept the help of others whenever possible and yet keep moving when we’re on our own:

Nobody’s gonna give you permission. Nobody’s gonna welcome you into the club. Nobody’s gonna pat you on the back and say “well done.”  All you can do is keep making the work you want to see in the world.^

*Nan Shepherd, quoted in Philip Newell’s Sacred Earth Sacred Soul;
**From Seth Godin’s blog: Your big break;
^From Austin Kleon’s blog: Validation is for parking.

Into our words

If I always seek to pattern my life after another, mine is being wasted re-doing things for my own empty acceptance. But, if I live my life my way and only let the other [artists] influence me as a reference, a starting point, I can build an even higher awareness instead of staying dormant.*
Keith Haring

In the Celtic World from the earliest centuries, speech was viewed as our greatest strength, greater than any physical force. True words hold a mighty energy for change.**
Philip Newell

Our truest words
don’t just come from
anywhere;
they thrill forth from
humility,
accepting the wonder
of our life as
it is and as it
may become.

*From Keith Haring’s Keith Haring Journals;
**From Philip Newell’s Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul.

For what we have received

Much of the stress and emptiness that haunts us can be traced back to our lack of attention to beauty. Internally, the mind becomes course and dull if it remains unvisited by images and thoughts which hold the radiance of beauty.*
John O’Donohue

The only essential is this: the gift must always move.**
Lewis Hyde

Input beauty.

Imagine.

Innovate.

Output beauty.

*From John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty;
**From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.

Perigrini

These peregrini, as they were also known, viewed their wanderings, or peregrinations, as a process of seeking their place of “resurrection” – they were searching for their path of new beginnings.*

I wander through old and new texts because new words and old words in new combinations are important for hope and for beauty.

Staying where I am is not a good place, as Erich Fromm reflects:

Our social pattern is such that the successful man is not supposed to be afraid or bored or lonely. He must find this world the best of all our worlds; in order to have the best chance for promotion he must repress fear as well as doubt, depression, boredom, or hopelessness.**

Jan Steward writes of a better way:

Play is a way of working and work is a way of playing. Our best times are when working and playing are the same.^

Yet, beneath the surface of a life that has separated play from work, or, as Johan Huizinga had exposed, separated play from seriousness, there lies one or more of Fromm’s ailments.

We need to wander as an expression of hope, becoming perigrini, for then we shall

see and cherish all signs of new life and [will be] ready at every moment to help the birth of that which is ready to be born**.

*From Philip Newell’s Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul;
**From Erich Fromm’s The Revolution of Hope;
^Jan Steward from Corita Kent and Jan Steward’s Learning by Heart.

To live who we are …

To live well and prosper, first know your natural bent, your star, your genius and the place suitable to these; here live. Follow your natural profession.*
Marsilio Ficino

… becoming.

Courage means to live from the heart.

For this, we have to be who we are and not who we are not.

For this, we require humility: that is not to have to high an option of myself, nor too low an opinion, but a true opinion.

Back in 1489, Marsilio Ficino published his book on self-improvement Three Books on Life, and, whilst he mixes a number of things into this, including astrology, he expresses a timeless truth: we must recognise our talents and preferences.

Ben Hardy has written much more recently about the critical nature of our environments for growing ourselves, But Anna Katharina Schaffner notes that the fifteenth century, Ficino also

urges us consciously to choose the environment that harmonises most with our needs.**

Humility is critical for something else, too.

Together with gratitude and faithfulness, it helps form our inner guide as someone we can trust, our Truth-Self.

Not that this Self is ever fully formed, rather it is ever seeking to be complete.

I really appreciated a conversation yesterday with one of my dreamwhisperers about whether we can trust the inner guide – look at what some get up to because they trust their inner guide – because it made me really think about how we need to positively develop the person we can trust, and part of this is the conversation with good, loving, reverent, compassionate sources.

My inner guide is a communitas, not only me on my own.

*Marsilio Ficino, quoted in Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self-Improvement;
**Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self-Improvement.

And there’s always more

Self-knowledge might be the most difficult of life’s rewards – the hardest to earn and the hardest to bear. To know yourself is to know that you are not an unassailable fixity amid the entropic storm of the universe but a set of fragilities in constant flux. To know yourself is to know that you are not invulnerable.*
Maria Popova

To open ourselves to the way of insight is not an easy thing: we find ourselves struggling against the inner resistance of all we already know.

What we find though, perhaps as we get older and are mindful of all our mistakes and failings, is that openness and change are critical to life:

What you love to do will grow in you as you stay true to who too are and allow yourself to change and develop freely.**

As I was reading this morning, my encouragers lined up:

You observe a lot by watching.^

Pay attention to the world and train yourself to notice the details that others miss.^^

A god can create a world only by listening.*^

Incomplete knowledge leads to asking what-if questions, because the questioner has treated reality as undetermined; it’s up to you to make sense of it.^*

May we come to the realisation that we only use a small part of our capacities to see and understand more, and that all we need to pursue this way are learnable:

Curiosity

Observation

Openness

Reflection

Creativity.

*From Maria Popova’s The Marginalian blog: Bob Dylan on Vulnerability, the Meaning of Integrity, and Music as an Instrument of Truth;
**From gapingvoid’s blog: Life without dissonance;
^Yogi Berra, quoted in Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score;
^^From Rohiit Bhargava’s Non Obvious 2019;
*^From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games;
^*From Richard Sennett’s Building and Dwelling.


Get well soon

Our hope lies not primarily in human reason and scientific analysis, but in the untamed regions of intuition and human imagination.*
Philip Newell

For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.**
Viktor Frankl

If your imagination cannot fly, may it run, and if it cannot run, may it walk, but, please, bring your imagination.

May we recover from our imagination-sickness and, critically, weave imagining with love

Finding the edges of the box can be a great place to begin:

It’s the limits that make it interesting, the limits that give us an edge to the box, something to leverage against.

*From Philip Newell’s Sacred Earth Sacred Soul;
**Viktor Frankl, quoted in Jonah Paquette’s Awestruck;

^From Seth Godin’s blog: Limitless.