Growth spurts

I am bigger than this. And may I be helped to grow to my full size.*
M. C. Richards

My, look how much you’ve grown!

When did adults stop saying this to you?

Perhaps more importantly,
When did children stop saying this to you?

A growth spurt is only growth that we notice,
But we’re growing little by little,
And the days add up.

Now that our outside growing is over and done with,
Each day becomes another opportunity to grow on the inside.

Some want to grow big quickly,
But the best way has always been a little each day,
And we’re on the way to a spurt.

*M. C. Richards’ Centering.

A rich vein

The painting is like a thread that runs through all the reasons for all the other things that makes one’s life.*
Georgia O’Keeffe

It is the time you have wasted for your rose that make your rose so important.**
Fox to Little Prince

For Georgia O’Keeffe it was painting,
And for you,
The rich vein
of your purpose and enjoyment –
Often craftily disguised as
discomfort and gritty determination –
Will be one of eight billion possibilities,
And you must mine it or be poor.

*Quoted in Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals;
**Quoted in Maria Popova’s The Marginalian: The Flower and the Meaning of Life: Emily Dickinson, Michael Pollan, and The Little Prince.


Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.*
Jesus of Nazareth

They say that seeing is believing. But it might be more true that believing leads to seeing.**
Seth Godin

It’s an argument for openness over judgement,
To be open as if we believe.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained,
Or is that,
Nothing gained, nothing ventured?

But breakthroughs, creativity and human connection don’t come from predictability. They come from unpredictable interactions with unknown ideas and voices.^

*Matthew 5:5
**Seth Godin’s blog: Seeing and believing;
^Seth Godin’s blog: Chaos, connection and industrial systems.

Waiting for inspiration

Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.*
Chuck Close

Best not to wait for the
muse or
guide or
to get here.

There’s plenty we can be getting on with,
As Verlyn Klinkenborg writes helpfully for all of us:

And like “flow,” “natural” is one of the words behind
writer’s block.
So let’s suppose there’s no such thing as writer’s block.
There’s loss of confidence
And forgetting to think
And failing to prepare
And not reading enough
And giving up on patience
And hastening to write
And fearing our audience
And never really trying to understand how the sentences
Above all, there’s never learning to trust yourself
Or your capacity to learn or think or perceive.**

He’s not only penning these words for writers
but for all of us.

Beginning with loss of confidence,
Simone Weil writes:

If we go down into ourselves, we find that we possess
exactly what we desire.^

So let’s go there first,
And then we may know what to think,
How to prepare,
What to read,
How to be patient,
Where to begin
and where not to,
Understanding our “audience,”
And most of all,
Understanding ourselves.

When we arrive on earth, we are provided with no map for our life journey. Only gradually, as our identity forms and we get an inking of who we are, do possibilities begin to emerge that call us.^^

*Quoted in Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals;
**Verlyn Klinkenborg’s Several short sentences about writing;
^Quoted in John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty;
^^John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us.

Talent plus

I’d been distracted by talent.*
Angela Duckworth

Unless your talent is one that keeps you focused on the matter in hand,
No matter what,
Then talent won’t be enough.

It may seem a little strange for me to be telling you this;
I’ve been working with people and their talents since 2005.

Reality is,
You need to keep turning up,
Whatever the “weather.”
There’s always the possibility that “this” might not be for you to be considered,
But if you’re sure, then you have to keep going,
Disappointment after failure after hurt.

It’s what grows talents into strengths.

*Angela Duckworth’s Grit.

As alive as possible

We save the world by being alive*
Joseph Campbell

I write when the spirit moves me, and the spirit moves me every day.**
William Faulkner

Following on from yesterday’s thoughts on being infused
leading to doing some infusing,
And alhough I am getting older and crumbly,
I am yet noticing more and more how each day provides me with
the possibility of being more alive
for me to pluck or ignore.

I want to unfold. I don’t want to stay folded anymore, because where I am folded, there I am a lie.^

*Quoted in Keri Smith’s The Wander Society;
**Quoted in Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals;
^Rainer Maria Rilke, quoted in Anne Lamott’s Hallelujah Anyway.

The setup

Transience turns everything to air. You look behind and see no sign even of a yesterday that was so intense. Yet in truth, nothing ever disappears, nothing is lost. Everything that happens to us in the world passes into us. It all becomes part of the inner temple of the soul and it can never be lost.*
John O’Donohue

A set up is a cause hidden in the past. … Setups are nothing without …**
Robert McKee

… payoff.**

We’re all infused.
Some more intentionally:
Being as open as possible
to as much as possible
for as long as possible.

When we look more closely to see what all that infusing makes
And are as open as possible to as much as possible of what we find,
And this for a long as possible,
We are ready to do some infusing.

The last time we took action on an idea, extended ourselves for a friend, and perhaps encouraged ourselves for a new project – these happened because the story worked.^

Which all leads on to what I want to share tomorrow …

*John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty;
**Robert McKee‘s newsletter: How Setups Can Drive Your Story.

First environments

At Bollingen I am in the midst of my true life, I am most deeply myself.*
Carl Jung

the world within you will create the world around you**
Erwin McManus

Of the different environments a day comprises,
The first is the one most personally shaped,
The one we have carefully formed
to take us most deeply into ourselves,
Where we re-member who we are and what we want to bring to others
for a new day.

For some, the first environment is extended throughout the day,
For more,
Having to move into spaces shaped by others,
The first environment is carried within their heart and mind and soul.

While the knowing of the mind is limited by frontiers, the soul has no frontiers.^

*Quoted in Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals;
**Erwin McManus’ The Way of the Warrior;
^John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty.

Making ritual

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone … .*

Whatever it is we want to contribute
or produce through our lives,
The likelihood is that it will benefit when wrapped in routine.

Though we will not find a shop on the high street,
Nor some online store, providing ready-made routines and rituals
We can shape our own
through trial and error,
Whilst always stimulating and stirring its life through adaptation.

We learn from others –
I’m beginning to read Mason Currey’s book on how history’s famous
shaped their daily routines –
About what to include and what to avoid,
Helping us to create our own
within our particular restrictions and limitations.**

*Matthew 14:23;
**I wish I had more time, but I have until around 9.30am each day to read and journal, and blog and doodle, before turning my attention to my four days of university work spread over five days.

Find your awkward, find your weird

The shape of each soul is different. An individual is a carefully fashioned, unique world. The shape of the flaw that each person carries is also different. The flaw is the special shape of personal limitation; angled at a unique awkwardness to the world, it makes our difficulty and challenge in the world different from that of others.*
John O’Donohue

Look at the person sitting to the right of you. And if there’s no person on the right, look at the person sitting to the left. That person and you differ at over a million locations in you DNA.**
Lee Silver

Why can’t you fit in?
Why can’t you be like everyone else?

Perhaps we need to take a closer look at that difference we carry,
The awkwardness,
The odd-angleness we feel.
See where it leads,
What it hooks up to.

Mason Currey introduced me to pie-artist Wayne Thiebaud
whose breakthrough in painting happened when he began painting food:

I could not from then on leave that subject matter alone, and it was because the drawing and the painting was coming together in this very interesting way.^

Here is the discovery of what my friend Alex McManus
and writer-artist Elle Luna call
The stuff our lives are whispering to us about,
Only they’re drowned out by the shouts to fit in,
To be like everyone else.

Currey then, is right to ask us:

isn’t this what we’re all seeking as painters or writers or musicians or other makers-of-things – to strike a vein of work that we can’t leave alone, and where we can shed our inhibitions and find “charm and freedom” in the work?^^

The thing you are looking for lies with you,
Just waiting for a story to be unwrapped from.

When you trust yourself enough to discover and integrate your strangeness, you bestow a gift on yourself.*

*John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty;
**Quoted in Mary Reckmeyer’s Strengths Based Parenting;
^Wayne Thiebaud, quoted in Mason Currey’s Subtle Manoeuvres blog: Wayne Thiebaud on finding “charm and freedom” in your work;
^^Mason Currey’s Subtle Manoeuvres blog: Wayne Thiebaud on finding “charm and freedom” in your work.