Lift is created by the onwards rush of life over the curved wing of the soul.*
Robert Macfarlane

It is by becoming increasingly complex that the self might be said to grow.**
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

What if,
Complexity isn’t heaviness.
We follow our curiosities,
Alchemising these into interests and pursuits and processes –
The kinds that change us in the process:

We were living the process as we created it.^

What if,
Complexity is more heightened definition –
Me being more me,
You being more you.
And with it a lightness that shapes each life differently,
Forming each more purposefully,
That purpose being a graceful arc
through the bright but also the
dark days,
And sometimes it feels like

*Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways;
**Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow;
^Joseph Jaworski’s Source.

Inconvenient life

By the pressure of reality, I mean the pressure of an external event or events on the consciousness to the exclusion of any power of contemplation.*
Wallace Stevens

My sacred space became the rolling fire of the imagination. But, you know, these days, I wonder about this too. Maybe these lofty claims about the imagination are yet more artistic hubris, a further place to hide, like the office – another invented way to separate ourselves from the world. Perhaps, the sacred space is simply the world itself – a hallowed place where we all exist at this time, where we engage with life in all its many tempers, within the present moment.**
Nick Cave

Imagination needs reality,
As much as reality needs imagination.
The pressure of reality can turn predator if we fail to face it with
healthy imagination.
Clarissa Estes Pinkola’s Wild Woman comes to us
as a helpful illustration of undomesticated imagination:

Wild Woman comes diving over whatever fences, walls, or obstructions the predator has erected. … She and the predator have know each other a long, long time … . Wherever he is, she is, for she is the one who balances his predations.^

Reality saves imagination from
Being sated by Netflix,
Endlessly scrolling social,
Craving more bread and circus.

Reality reminds us that we are here
to save the world,
And may be found in that next wild thought that
comes to us.

*Wallace Stevens The Necessary Angel;
**Nick Cave’s The Red Hand Files: #192;
^Clarissa Estes Pinkola’s Women Who Run With the Wolves.

Talent, grit and awe

Self-expression is a natural by-product of your work, because you are doing it. If the purpose of the project is to express yourself, there is a danger there will be no surprises.*
Corita Kent and Jan Steward

In my view, the biggest reason a preoccupation with talent can be harmful is simple: By shining our spotlight on talent, we risk leaving everything else in the shadows. We inadvertently send the message that these other factors – including grit – don’t matter as much as they really do.**
Angela Duckworth

Talent, grit and awe –
Each can be developed, grown.

Talent is truth,
Is how it is,
Is how I am,
Is a beginning:

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I can change.^

So remarked Carl Rogers,
In whose words I sense a humility,
Carefully positioning us in life
for gratitude and awe and surprise:

To listen takes time, … to learn to hear the world within and the world without, to attend to the quiet voice of life and heart alike.^^

And if we were to give expression to truth and awe
in hundreds of different ways
then we would be building grit,
Growing perseverance.

Today is simply another day for exploring
three quests,
One path.

*Corita Kent and Jan Steward’s Learning By Heart;
**Angela Duckworth’s Grit;
^David Rome’s Your Body Knows the Answer;
^^Maria Popova’s The Marginalian blog: An Illustrated Ode to Attentiveness and the Art of Listening as a Wellspring of Self-Understanding, Empathy for Others, and Reverence for the Loveliness of Life

The best of the many paths

For me there is only the travelling on paths that have heart, on any paths that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worth-while challenge is to traverse its full length. And there I travel looking, looking, breathlessly.*
Don Juan

To walk is to gather treasure.**
Miguel Angel Blanco

There’s understanding and there’s doing,
both are important but better when wrapped around
the heart.

*Carlos Castenedes’ The Teachings of Don Juan;
**Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways

Not done yet

That feels like fun to me, but work to others? … What makes me lose track of time? … Where do I get greater returns than the average person? … What comes naturally to me?*
James Clear

There is a STATE OF MIND which is NOT ACCESSIBLE BY THINKING. It sees to require a participation WITH SOMETHING.**
Lynda Barry

As I read James Clear’s
Intended to help me figure out which habits to focus on developing,
I find myself thinking about how,
When it comes to my particular kinds of activeness,^
I have hardly begun,
Never mind being ready to retire.

(I want to add a note of thanks to those who have recently signed up
to follow thin|silence.
I hope the daily posts encourage you in the amazing things you find you
be about.)

*James Clear’s Atomic Habits;
**Lynda Barry’s What It Is;
^Thank you to Erich Fromm for his word to describe the opposite of passiveness.

Just a doodle 43

And then there are the moments, maybe more toward middle or old age, when the leopard comes down out of the hills and just sits there in the middle of the doorframe.  He stares at you inescapably.  He demands your justification.  What good have you served?  For what did you come?  What sort of person have you become?  There are no excuses at that moment.  Everybody has to throw off the mask.*
David Brooks

*David Brooks’ The Second Mountain.

On being faithful (or, Into the action verbs)

Only the person who has faith in himself is able to be faithful to others, because only he can be sure that he will be the same at a future times as he is today, and, therefore, that he will feel and act as he now expects to.*
Erich Fromm

What if your life is like a story and you and I are in the theatre of our own minds, looking out the cameras of our eyes, and the story unfolding feels either meaningful or meaningless based on what we decide to make happen in it? … meaning is only experienced in motion**
Donald Miller

Faithfulness is about putting
who we are
and what we have
into action.

It requires that we be faithful to ourselves,
To notice what fascinates and intrigues us most,
And to our desires and passions.
If we cannot find things to be faithful to in ourselves,
How can we be faithful as we need to be for others?

There is stuff that each of us does that gives us energy –
A lot of energy to do more stuff –
It is critical we notice what this is;
There is other stuff we each do that sucks energy out of us
faster than Buddy the Elf can empty a bottle of coke
It may be even more critical that we notice this.

Here’s a simple thing to do that I’ve shared before:
Keep two lists –
A “loved it” list and a “loathed it” list.
When you notice you are highly energised,
Make a note right then of what it is:^
Likewise, when you are being greatly de-energised
by something you are doing,
Make a note of what it is.

You have to be faithful to what is on the loved it list and DO more of these;
You have to be faithless to what’s on your loathed it list,
But if you can’t avoid these things,
Manage them with the contents on your loved it list.

*Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving;
**Donald Miller’s Hero On a Mission (emphasis mine);
^The things to make a note of are: What are you doing?, why are you doing it?, who are you doing it with or for?, and, when are you doing it?

It’s a kind of magic*

Most of the time, the phrase is, “it’s time to get back to work.” This means it’s time to stop being creative, stop dancing with possibility, stop acquiring new insights and inspiration – and go back to the measurable grind instead. Maybe we’d be better off saying, “I need to get back to making magic.” Because that’s what we’d actually like to be getting paid to create.**
Seth Godin

As much as we love Harry Potter,
We now this saga’s magic isn’t to be found in the spells and incantations
of witches and wizards,
But in the love of family and friends,
The courage to keep going against overwhelming odds,
In spite of all our limitations,
And, yes,
Facing our own death,
The ultimate limitation.

There’s a kind of alchemy that occurs
when we are prepared to live within our story,
As Donald Miller encourages here:

The heroic transformation begins when the hero takes responsibility for their life and for their story. The hero becomes the hero only when they decide to accept the facts of their life and respond with courage.^

Again, this time from Lewis Hyde,
A suggestion that something magical is possible through our lives:

because world and body are meant to pattern one another, when [the trickster] reimagines his body he imagines the world^^.

Magic is possible where we are when we are
who we are;
Here is Joseph Campbell touching upon this:

To claim the land.  To turn the land where they lived into a place of spiritual relevance. […] One should find the symbol in the landscape itself of the energies of the life there.  The is what all traditions do.  They sanctify their own landscape.⁺ 

We may want someone else’s story,
But really,
The very best place to begin is within our own story;
The facts of life are not how we were made,
But where we are right now,
However difficult a place this might be:

Being able to perform becomes the critical issue: Competence is the best defence against the helplessness of trauma.*^

Magic is moving our lives toward the future,
Transforming our stories.
Yes, there will be a lot of sweat and tears,
Failing and persevering,
But amongst these, there’ll be moments that can only be described as

For our purposes today,
The opposite of magic is tragic,
Not allowing ourselves and others to believe there will be moments of
wonder and amazement that are the result of their imagination and creativity.

For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is a problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.^*

*Thank you to Queen for the title;
**Seth Godin’s blog: Time to get back to magic;
^Donald Miller’s Hero On a Mission;
^^Lewis Hyde’s Trickster Makes This World;
⁺Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth;
*^Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score;
^*Thomas Merton, from Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile’s The Road Back to You.