The call

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.^

*Seth Godin’s The Practice;
**David Epstein’s Range;
^Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters on Life.

Lexicons of possibility

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.)


*Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water.

You’ve changed your story

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.

*Seth Godin’s blog: The right answer;
**Bruce Feiler’s Life Is In the Transitions.

There’s more than one ending to this story

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.

*Federico Castigliano’s Flâneur;
**Bruce Feiler’s Life Is In the Transitions;
^Donald Miller’s Hero On a Mission;
^^Seth Godin’s blog: Whining and status.

Keeping moving

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.

*Bruce Feiler’s Life Is In the Transitions;
**Federico Castigliano’s Flâneur.

Who’s your fairy godmother?

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.

*Rebecca Solnit’s Cinderella Liberator.

Solvitur ambulando*

Free and alone in the maze of the city, the flâneur craves a revelation that might change his life and destiny.**

Fast or slow,
Keep moving,
Including as many of the senses as possible;
Even the tohu va-vohu^ of life
Gives way to the orderliness of
walking, of
moving.

*We solve it by walking;
**Federico Castigliano’s Flâneur;
^Disorder and emptiness.

Words and pictures

This is how I make a book: by hiding from writing by drawing or the other way around.*
Edward Carey

We reshape ourselves as we write.**
Ross Macdonald

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.

*Austin Kleon’s blog: My interview with writer and artist Edward Carey;
**Peter Turchi’s A Muse and A Maze;
^Bruce Feiler’s Life Is In the Transitions;
^^Lynda Barry’s What It Is.

Shedding

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.

*Bruce Feiler’s Life Is In the Transitions;
**Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters On Life;
^Annie Murphy Paul’s The Extended Mind;
^^John O’Donohue’s Eternal Echoes.