On originality

There is no blank slate upon which works of true originality are composed, no void out of which total novelty is created. Nothing is original because everything is an influence; everything is original because no influence makes its way into our art untransmuted by our imagination.*
Maria Popova

Each of us is an artist of our days; the greater our integrity and awareness, the more original ad creative our time will become.**
John O’Donohue

Open the space of your originality,
Be as open as open as possible
to as many and as much
for as long as possible.

May you find the relationship with all that is,
So that you will be both changed
and changer.

*From Maria Popova’s The Marginalian blog: Nick Cave on Creativity, the Myth of Originality, and How to Find Your Voice;
**From John O’Donohue’s Benedictus.

How to become a sorcerer

No vulnerability. No courage. We have to show up and put ourselves out there.*
Brené Brown

Once you decide you can’t, you’ve pretty much guaranteed you won’t.**
Kelvy Bird

Sorcerers are not magicians.

They know nothing of trickery and illusion,
Or finding a lamp with three wishes within.

They do know that it’s about turning up,
Staying longer than everyone else,
Failing, learning, trying again,
Before turning what they have into something
beautiful and hopeful.

*From Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness;
**From Kelly Bird’s Generative Scribing.

Me and my dragon

When you have named your dragon, how will you face it?

Stephen Gilligan and Robert Dilts name six archetypes:

a. The Innocent (doesn’t know the dragon exists)
b. The Orphan (overwhelmed or consumed by the dragon)
c. The Martyr (persecuted by the dragon)
d. The Wanderer (avoids the dragon)
e. The Warrior (fights the dragon)
f. The Sorcerer (accepts the dragon)*

You will see how it is possible to be all of these at some point
in facing our dragon,
But arguably the healthiest,
or so it seems to me,
Is to become a sorcerer,
Using our alchemistic powers
to receive and transform the dragon.

(More to follow on what makes a sorcerer.)

*From Stephen Gilligan and Robert Dilts’ The Hero’s Journey.

A community of saints

Carl Jung used to say that one of the most important tasks for each person was to develop what he called a “community of saints.”*
Stephen Gilligan

I am grateful to those who accompany me on this journey.

For those I know as friends,
Whose conversations search me.

And for those I meet through their writings,
Some accompanying me for the length of a single book,
Others across years in a line of many tomes and blogs.

Openers of my mind and stirrers of my heart,
Helping me create and
making it possible to navigate the unpredictable course.

*From Stephen Gilligan and Robert Dilts’ The Hero’s Journey.

The power of one

There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sounds of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have.*
Howard Thurman

The relationships of thinking and feeling are at the heart of the creative process in all fields, including the arts and the sciences.**
Ken Robinson

This is the story we find ourselves in.

Members of the hive,
Each is also one,
Genuine,
Unique.

Your genuine is not mine
and my genuine cannot be yours,
The somethingdifferent in every
one
of us.

In our thinking,
But beyond it.
In our feeling,
And yet beyond it.
Beyond,
In our openness to all
and everything
and everyone.

*Howard Thurman, quoted in Brian McLaren’s God Unbound;
**From Ken Robinson’s Out of Our Minds.

Seeking the generative field

I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.*
Joseph Campbell

I want to know I have lived.

The important thing may not be for me to see the fruit,
Perhaps I will have to take these by faith.

The important thing,
Or so it seems,
Is to know I am doing the right things,
Most of the time,
For the sake of others.

For this, I open my mind:
Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts.
I open my heart,
Feelings, feelings, feelings.
But beyond these,
A generative field field of
possibility, possibility, possibility.

religion and philosophy
what I’d learned in the churches and schools
were all too heavy
for this travelling life
all that remained to me was poetry
but a poetry
as unobtrusive as breathing
a poetry like the wind
and the maple leaf
that I spoke to myself
moving over the land**

*From Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth;
**Kenneth White, from Philip Newell’s Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul.

Reasons to be playful (part 3)*

Everything changes once you see how the universe is designed for abundance and not for scarcity. It not only changes the condition of your life but it changes you.**
Erwin McManus

To be generative, you cannot be only serious. You’ve got to be able to play.^
Robert Dilts

It has been said that we live in a universe in which life eats life.
It isn’t difficult to see where the notion of the universe being a place of scarcity comes from.

The first elemental truth states that life is hard,^^
But … .

The but is important,
It’s where something quite wonderful can take place.

In one sense,
the universe is neither a place of scarcity nor abundance,
It is what it is.

Scarcity and abundance exist in our higher consciousness,
How we see and how we behave makes all the difference.

Quite unaware,
The universe has opened a field of possibility for us,
Resulting in our species’ unmatched awareness,
With all of its inquisitiveness, questioning, imagining and creativity.

Quite simply, we are generative beings,
Capable of opening or withholding fields of possibility both for ourselves
and for others.

Not to put too fine a point on it,
Abundance and scarcity are found in our hands.

Therefore, many beliefs, faiths, philosophies and religions
encourage us to play.

devote yourself to nourishing this animating spirit. Bring all your enthusiasm to bear on the development of that good and essential force*^.

*This is the soundtrack that came to mind, from Ian Dury and the Blockheads;
**From Erwin McManus’ The Last Arrow;
^From Stephen Gilligan and Robert Dilts’ The Hero’s Journey;
^^From Richard Rohr’s Adam’s Return;
*^From Nick Cave’s blog: The Red Hand Files #181.

Stepping into a possibility

Being creative is not only about thinking: it is about feeling. … Feelings, hunches, subconscious perceptions and intuitions can all play a central part in creative work, and not only in the arts.*
Ken Robinson

In which areas of your life are you still holding back until you feel like you know what you’re doing?**
Oliver Burkeman

I’d rather stay in here, thinking,
Then be out there, feeling.

People get hurt out there all the time.
Sometimes they never recover.

Perhaps missing out on possibility is a price worth paying,
But is this life?

Maybe this is the greatest quest of all,
Outside of myself,
In the endless undiscovered?

Perhaps that was the real guest of this adventure, the infinite quest for connection with everything, everyone, everywhere, always – the quest to let down my barriers, let go of my agendas and expectations, and simply be open to who and what may come, now and next.^

Karen Armstrong assures me there are three outcomes to this stepping out of myself,
This experience of ekstasis,
And they are:

(1) to recognise and appreciate the unknown and unknowable; (2) to become sensitive to over-confident assertions of certainty in ourselves and other people; and (3) to make ourselves aware of the numinous mystery of each human being we encounter during the day.^^

It feels like this could be quite a day.

A simple exercise to try:
At an appropriate moment,
Stop what you’re doing,
Take one step forward as a physical expression for stepping outside of yourself.
Whether you are looking upon a natural or human scene,
Allow it to come to you without preconceptions or labels.
Simply be curious,
For a moment,
And see what happens,
Or wantS to happen.

*From Ken Robinson’s Out of Our Minds;
**From Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks;
^From Brian McLaren’s God Unbound;
**From Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.

Only everything

I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.*
Carl Jung

But true healing and transformation come from being able to sponsor the wound, sponsor the demon, sponsor the shadow.**
Robert Dilts

We too easily dismiss parts of our lives as unimportant,
Or undesirable,
Or unpleasant.

We hide them away,
Not wanting to afford any light to these,
For our own sake,
And certainly not for others to know of them
or to see them.

It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, more the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.^

There is the possibility that we are limiting our story –

a story is an account of a character, in a set of circumstances, facing choices, who undergoes change^^

The possibility that our largest story involves making a space for our wound, our demon, our shadow,
To hear what it wishes to speak to us, or to show to us, or simply to hold us in.
Beyond it’s clumsy and crass way of catching our attention.

We each carry within a wound and a gift.
Sometimes our wound is our gift.

We may first need someone to be our sponsor,
Or be this sponsor to ourselves.
Without judgement,
Curious, listening, inquiring, allowing for transformation.
Making it possible for us to unwrap our larger story that is our unique version of life-in-all-its-fullness.

*Quoted in Ken Robinson’s Out of Our Minds;
**From Stephen Gilligan and Robert Dilt’s The Hero’s Journey;
^Charles Darwin, from Brian McLaren’s God Unbound;
^^From Bernadette Jiwa’s What Great Storytellers Know.

Story interrupted

If you’re serious about changing yourself and your life, you must change your environment.*
Ben Hardy

your ordinary ego mind isn’t enough for your hero’s journey**
Robert Dilts

You have set out on your hero’s journey,
You are living your story,
And then comes the obstacle, the issue, the problem.

It’s spoilt everything.
Or has it?

What if the interruption is the story,
That you need this to become the person you must be
to realise your calling?

It has always been so.

There is no pre-laid super-highway of destiny or fate,
Only the grafted path
shaped by the feet of the one who must walk this way,
even while it shapes the character of this soul.

*From Ben Hardy’s Personality Isn’t Permanent;
**From Stephen Gilligan and Robert Dilts’ The Hero’s Journey.