You were born to make art. But you’ve been brainwashed into believing you can’t trust yourself enough to do so.* Seth Godin
bring new skills to an old problem, or a new problem to old skills** David Epstein
You must not think that you can only do this or only do that. It is more than possible that you can bring something others cannot, And being truly humble – For there is also a falsely humble – This is made even more powerful, So if you hear the call, If I were you, I’d say yes. I trust you to take nothing for granted, To be fully present and Charged with alacrity.
To be someone, as an artist, means: to be able to speak to one’s self.^
When language becomes exhausted, our freedom dwindles – we cannot think; we do not recognise danger, injustice strikes us no more than “the way things are.”* Madeleine L’Engle
All we need do to impoverish life is to reduce our vocabulary; We need more words to describe our world, people, god, ourselves, The past, the present, the future. Here are two lists I find myself keeping: The words that are special to me, Raising my heart-rate and serving as portkeys to multitudinous destinations; The words I write down as I’m reading – Some I do not know, Others I haven’t come upon in a long while (I share some below). I mention these only because i wonder what your important words may be and what they encourage you to bring into the world.
From my list of words unknown to me: inspiratrice monads analysands adumbration metonymy trifecta palimpsest sumptuary thelemic prolix afferent negatios lensatic connubial pusillanimous
(There are 13 of my favourite words in the word search; I’ve highlighted the first, and you’re welcome to try and find the others.)
Which is better? Feeling like you were right the first time or actually being correct now?* Seth Godin
We have become a generation of unstorytellers, which is a reason we’re a generation of malcontents.** Bruce Feiler
When I came upon Seth Godin’s words a year ago, I reflected on how I am now in the right place doing the right things; I was also able to admit that this has not always been so. I’ve changed my story. In the past I was sure that I was doing the right things – And perhaps I was … For then … And perhaps in the future I’ll look at now in a similar way. One thing I know is the more I’ve seen my life as a living story the more I have overcome the problems and have moved towards the things I want to fill my days with.
From the disparity between the immensity of the possible and the smallness of the human being there springs the torment and the energy of the flâneur. Persecuted by frustration, he is sentenced to a sort of perpetual motion.* Federico Castigliano
First we have to persuade ourselves we can make pigs fly; only then do we have a chance of helping them to fly.** Bruce Feiler
Bruce Feiler is telling of John Steinbeck‘s quirky flying pig logo Pigasus, Placed at the end of his signature:
His explanation: We must try to attain to the heavens, even though we are bound to the earth.**
I’m not into fantasising, but there are often different ways in which to tell our stories, About how we’re going to rise above what is happening, Create a different ending even though the present reality is somewhat different:
When a story demands transformation, you are much more likely to transform.^
Giving in to what is, Accepting the story that comes to us as the only way the story can be told may get us through the day but leaves us earthbound or worse:
whining isn’t resilient or scalable^^
Instead of a story telling how there are just so many unscalable problems, Why not write yourself a role of Overcomer, Battler of difficulties, Establisher of Flourishing, And then pay attention to and small things beginning to change in you.
Movement gets us unstuck. It restores agency by giving us a feeling we’re acting on our situation … .* Bruce Feiler
although it may appear paradoxical, in order to acquire a profound view of things, you must first of all move randomly** Federico Castigliano
I know it is important that I keep my mind open to more and more information, It is also vitally important that I open my heart and know certain things more deeply, passionately, But most important of all is to open my will and move what I know and what I feel into some expression.
The fairy godmother replied that true magic is to help each thing become its best and most free self.* Rebecca Solnit
They won’t carry a wand and be from fairy-folk: They possibly won’t be someone you know and they may be no longer alive; You will know them, though, because they help you bring out the the true fullness of who you are, Strongly and growing, Free to imagine and free to give.
I found myself this morning reading a lot of texts on writing; Here’s Bruce Feiler connecting to Ross Macdonald, Noting how those he interviewed were able to transition better from the past to the future if they wrote about it:
Central to the act of writing is a process of growth, of slowly gaining control of their narratives. … The act of writing speeds up the act of meaning-making.^
And, A la Edward Carey, Here is Lynda Barry putting together writing and drawing:
When we get stuck [writing] instead of forcing or stopping we can go to the extra paper on our desk and start to draw a spiral.^^
I am thinking this is so important that I am beginning to suggest to those I am dreamwhispering with that firstly we spend some time exploring mindful journaling, Including writing and doodling so the adventure may continue.
Let me know if you would be interested in a session.
A transition is a vital period of adjustment, creativity, and rebirth that helps one find meaning after a major life disruption.* Bruce Feiler
With only slight exaggeration I would say that we are not; we continually constitute ourselves anew and differently at the intersection of all those influences that reach its the sphere of our being.** Rainer Maria Rilke
When I look back over my life I see many different Geoffreys – I imagine that you have had many incarnations too.
Annie Murphy Paul suggests that the continuous-me or -you is not to be found in our minds but in our bodies:
Because our hearts beat, because our lungs expand, because our muscles stretch and our organs rumble – and because all these sensations, unique to us, have carried on without interruption since the day of our birth – we know what it is to be one continuous self, to ourselves and no other.^
The more aware we are of the messages of our bodies – Interoception – The more we are aware of who we are: I feel, therefore I am.^
Everything else is open for change – Through urges from within or pressures from without – Change is one thing guaranteed.
This is a wonderful thing, Expressive of the wonder of what it is to be human, For whilst we do not shed skins or antlers or fur or shells as other creatures do, We are able to shed our old stories and grow into the new; A sense of stuckness or trappedness may simply be a sign or message to us that it is time to change.
The sense of wonder can also help you recognise and appreciate the mystery of your own life.^^
The word that comes to me from my past is askesis – A place of confinement (stuckness?, trappedness?) without which there is no energy or purpose, A place or moment of transformation.