Into the subtext

Text means the surface of a work of art and its execution in its medium: paint on canvas, chords from a piano, steps by a dancer. In the art of story, text names the words on the page of a novel, or the outer life of a character. Subtext means the inner substance of a work of art, the meanings and feelings that flow below the surface.*
Robert McKee

The heart never forgets. Everything of significance is inscribed here. The heart is the archive of all our intimate memory. What is truly felt leaves the deepest inscription. Each of us carries the book of our life inside our hearts.*
John O’Donohue

Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey takes the protagonist from their familiar though ordinary world into an unfamiliar though special world.

Their call may be some difficult circumstance in life or a desire to become unstuck, and so their journey begins.

They encounter a guide, at least one person who will journey with them, someone who has experienced something not dissimilar and knows something of what lies in front.

There comes a point of commitment, a leaving of the familiar as the protagonist throws themself into their quest.

There will now come trials and challenges which both test and prove the content of the “hero.”

When these are completed, their journey is far from over: everything so far has made it possible to approach their most important engagement of all.

Demanding everything, in this moment they wonder if they will be enough.

Their gained treasure is to find that when they pour themselves into the vessel of this adventure they fill it up and more.

They have what they need.

It is now time to leave the special world and re-enter their own world, but something has shifted.

They notice a shift within towards a new beginning.

Their old and new come together into a greater story.

It is a larger familiar, an ordinary plus.

Welcome to dreamwhispering where we explore your journey, which I like to think of as exploring the subtext of our lives.

*From Robert McKee‘s newsletter: Why Dialogue is Critical to Character;
**From John O’Donohue’s Benedictus.


It is, in essence, the arc of acquiring greater psychological flexibility: facing difficult emotions and thoughts with greater openness; letting go of limiting self-stories; finding resources within that allow us to see ourselves and our situation in a new way; connecting with a deeper and more authentic sense of self; connecting with a chosen purpose and discovering the actions that help us to fulfil it; and finally committing to those actions with perseverance.*
Steven Hayes

Stories that follow the hero’s journey blueprint, for example, can teach us about the important threshold moments that we all have to master.**
Anna Katharina Schaffner

We’ve all been there.

Blaming circumstances and systems and individuals for the problems we face.

In the end, unless we can magically line all of those things up in such a way as to convince them they need to change, our best efforts may well be spent beginning our journey within.

We still have to convince ourselves, and that’s hard, and it’s far from easy and simple, but, as all those who have made their own hero’s journey encourage us, it’s not impossible.

*From Steven Hayes’ A Liberated Mind;
**From Anna Katharina’s Schaffner’s The Art of Self-Improvement.

In addition

In addition, we humans can influence our evolution by the environments we construct and the choices we make; our evolution is not just a matter of chance.*
Steven Hayes

Perhaps this is a scarier thought than not having enough: now there’s nowhere to hide.

Today is a wonderful day, but I get to bring something more into it, and what will that be?

*From Steven Hayes’ A Liberated Mind.


The way I chose to put the messages of my life together into a picture is related to all I have ever seen through the eyes of other picture makers and through a constant kind of looking I do myself. What is my own is the constancy of observation of forms and feelings as they combine into the final object to which I sign my name and for which I assume responsibility.
Corita Kent

Genuine self-knowledge has to be the starting point for any attempt to improve ourselves.
Anna Katharina Schaffner.

I have been helped by many people to find and know myself, and I have borrowed from many to put my work, my art, together.

But I know this is what I must do and I sign my name to it.

What I’d love to hear about, though, is what you have brought together from many sources and is the things you must do.

Corita Kent from Corita Kent and Jan Steward’s Learning By Heart;
From Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self-Improvement.

Attitude control

If we do not seek variation, we end up dead in life, shutting out those new experiences that keep our hearts and minds active. Our horizons will shrink, our learnings will stagnate and we will become nothing but creatures of habit.*
Anna Katharina Schaffner

An aircraft’s attitude is stabilised in three directions: yaw, nose left or right about an axis running up and down; pitch, nose up or down about an axis running from wing to wing; and roll, rotation about an axis running from nose to tail.

Variation is not a matter of distance or of money, primarily it is a matter of attitude, a matter of openness to all that is around us right where we are.

(If, then, distance or money happen to come along, we’ll know what to do with them.)

Being curious and interested is good for our health. Finding something to pursue and invest ourselves in, no matter the space, experience or circumstance.

A clear sense of self-directed meaning provides us with an essentially inexhaustible supply of motivation.**

Here are a few simple ways in: take a familiar walk slowly to notice more, take an unfamiliar walk and note things to find out more about, like the person who has given their name to a road-sign you see, meet up with someone for an hour and find out all about their work and/or their motivations.

*From Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self-Improvement;
**From Steven Hayes’ A Liberated Mind.

Far from an ordinary life

For the past eighty years I have started each day in the same manner. It is not a mechanical routine but something essential to my daily life. I go to the piano, and I play two preludes and fugues of Bach. I cannot think of doing otherwise. It is a sort of benediction on the house … It is a rediscovery of the world of which I have the joy of being a part. It fills me with awareness of the wonder of life, with a feeling of the incredible marvel of being a human being. The music is never the same for me, never. Each day it is something new, fantastic and unbelievable.*
Pablo Casals

May all that is unlived in you,
Blossom into a future,
Graced with love.**

John O’Donohue

Our birth is wrapped in wonder and mathematical improbability.

This is something we can remember or ignore at the beginning of each day.

Helping each other to remember is one of the most precious gifts we can give to each other.

*Pablo Casals, quoted in Maria Popova’s The Marginalian: Music and the Mystery of Aliveness;
**From John O’Donohue’s Benedictus: To Come Home to Yourself.

The thing

The sacrifice is that doing The Thing requires not doing everything else we might like to do, at least when we’re actually making The Thing. The risk is that The Thing just might not work – in Buber’s words, it will break, or it will break us.*
Austin Kleon

It is about waking up to a knowledge that is deep in the very fabric of our being, and it is about living in relation to this wisdom.**
Philip Newell

Austin Kleon contemplates the sacrifice and risk involved when Martin Buber’s “eternal origin of art” comes knocking.

This is not “art-art,” rather the art we all have the capacity of creativity for: the thing that, when we come upon it, we must do.

Kleon considers the sacrifice to be greater a demand than the risk

The risk, surprisingly, seems much easier to me. Something will break us, eventually, so why not The Thing? And if The Thing breaks, well, it didn’t even exist before we tried to bring it forth, now, did it?*

To sacrifice, though, is to give up all the other things we may have otherwise pondered or dwelt upon for the sake of pursuing the thing.

His words find me at a time when I have been wondering about what I haven’t done because of the thing I have decided to do.

There is a moment of anguish, then recovering, I find myself so full of gladness because of this thing I do.

The test of this is that it makes a difference for others. My forlornness would extend much further if this were not so.

That we may awaken,
To llive to the full
The dream of the earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit and light.^

*From Austin Kleon’s blog: A sacrifice and a risk;
**From Philip Newll’s Sacred Earth Sacred Soul
^From John O’Donohue’s Benedictus: In Praise of Earth.

Pray and play

Play to keep playing.*
Seth Godin)

Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.**
The Apostle Paul

Hope in everything.

Set imaginations free.

Lights, cameras, action!

Don’t exclude.

Include everything and everyone.

The game includes more clues than rules.

And its name is Transcendence!

*From Seth Godin’s The Practice;
**Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.