Keeping the channel open

We see the world not as it is, but as we are.*
Steven Covey

We see the world not as it is, but through a veil of perceptions.**
Ken Robinson

There is so much more world out there,
There is so much more in you to bring into the world;
We must keep the channel open –
In this we are poetic learners –
As in creative:
Poetry … is not to be confused with versification. …
It is about learning the rhythm of the earth.^

Not only the earth,
Also the rhythm to be found with
each other, our god if we hold to one, and
to ourselves.
To this end, we must bring intention of ritual, as
the ancients did, though time has passed, and
we must find new ways:
You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day,
where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning,
you don’t know who your friends are,
you don’t know what you owe anybody,
you don’t know what anybody owes to you.
This is a place where you can simply experience
and bring forth what you are and what you might be.
This is the place of creative incubation.
At first you may find that nothing happens there.
But if you have a sacred place and use it,
something eventually will happen.^^

*Ben Hardy’s Personality Isn’t Permanent;
**Ken Robinson’s Out of Our Minds;
^Philip Newell’s Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul;
^^Joseph Campbell, from Austin Kleon’s blog: The Bliss Station.

How small is your dream?

Never be limited by the small dreams others have for you.*
Bernadette Jiwa

Are you holding yourself to, and judging yourself by, standards of productivity or performance that are impossible to meet? One common symptom of the fantasy of some day achieving total mastery over time is that we set ourselves inherently impossible targets for our use of it – targets that must always be postponed into the future, since they can never be met in the present.**
Oliver Burkeman

By dream I mean
purpose and meaning, which
I hope will be both big and small for you:
Big to sustain you for a fulfilling life,
Small so that you can give expression of it today
and every day.
If you have to keep putting it off, then
something is probably not right,
It may not be your dream.
If dreamwhispering can help, let me know.

*Bernadette Jiwa’s What Great Storytellers Know;
**Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks.

I need to hear your story

Merely factual information tends to activate your language processing centres. Stories, by contrast, stimulate much larger areas in our brains, including not just the language centre but also those parts that are responsible for visual and motor processing, as well as our sensory cortex.*
Anna Katharina Schaffner

We need myths that will help us identify with all our fellow-beings, not simply with those who belong to our ethnic, national or ideological tribe.**
Karen Armstrong

Truth is often deeper than we believe.
The truth about you and me will not be revealed
in facts and figures alone, but
in the stories we create for ourselves and each other,
How we use our imagination matters:
We use our imagination not to escape
from reality but to join it,
And this exhilarates us because
of the distance between and apprehension of
the real.^
Time and again we will discover our deeper truth in
our interactions with those who are quite different to us,
Not only present truth, but also future truth.

*Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self-Development;
**Karen Armstrong’s A Short History of Myth;
^Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good.

It’s really all of this

What if our life skills had more value than our worldly possessions. The most content human by far is one who can create a world out of nothing.*
Keri Smith

There is another world that exists only because you exist: the world of your own private consciousness, feeling and sensations. Your world is one in which, as the psychologist R. D. Laing put it, there is only one set of footprints.**
Ken Robinson

It feels like it came from nowhere, that, somehow,
we made it out of nothing,
But everything comes from somewhere, from
some thing.
It’s just that we’ve embraced a part of ourselves we hadn’t
previously recognised and/or valued, or
put some skills together in a different way, or
remembered how we used to do this thing, and put it to
action in a new way.
May you explore your inner world, and
Bring us back something to inspire us
into our own, to make something
out of all of this:
Jimmy Baldwin used to like to talk about
is “achieving ourselves,”
finding you we are,
what we’re for and
making that possible for each other.^

*Keri Smith’s The Wander Society;
**Ken Robinson’s Out of Our Minds;
^Vincent Harding, from Krista Tippett’s Becoming Wise.

Believing is seeing

What we call imagination is from the first an attribute of the senses themselves; imagination is not a separate mental faculty (as we often assume) but is rather a way the senses themselves have of throwing themselves beyond what is immediately given, in order to make tentative contact with the other side of things that we do not see directly, with the hidden or invisible aspects of the sensible.*
David Abram

The first great wonder at the world is big in me.**
Margaret Wise Brown

Victor Meldrew could see it right in front of his eyes, but
declared “I don’t believe it!”
He didn’t want to see it and, so, wouldn’t believe.
When we understand that “to believe” derives from “to love” or “hold dear,”
We understand that if we love something, or
someone, even though we can’t see something right now,
We will keep looking.
And that ultimately means we will be seeing more.

*Maria Popova’s The Marginalian: Ecologist and Philosopher David Abram on the Language of Nature and the Sacred Wisdom of the More-Than-Human World;
Bruce Handy’s Wild Things.

Life is way more interesting with gratitude

Walking on earth is a miracle! We do not have to walk in space or on water to experience a miracle. The real miracle is to be awake in the present moment. Walking on the green earth, we can realise the wonder of being alive.*
Thich Nhat Hahn

Maybe we can at least learn to listen again to the world. Who knows into what secrets that may lead us.**
Kenneth White

The thing is,
Noticing not only leads to gratitude – which is
a reward in itself, but also to
What may happen that we otherwise
would miss.
And noticing is something we can learn and develop:
Here’s a good place to begin, according to Verlyn Klinkenborg::
Start by learning to recognise what interests you.
Most people have been taught that what they notice
doesn’t matter,
So they never learn how to notice,
Not even what interests them.^

We’ll then find ourselves becoming interested in
more and more.
In alliance with this, it’s good to slow down,
To mould a place for rest, apart
from our activities, as Michel de Montaigne counsels:
We must reserve a back room,
[arrière-boutique: “behind the shop”]
wholly our own and entirely free,
wherein to settle our true liberty,
Our principal solitude and retreat.^^

*Mary Ruth Bolz and Barbara Flynn’s Midwives of An Unnamed Future;
**Philip Newell’s Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul;
^Verlyn Klinkenborg’s Several short sentences about writing;
^^Annie Murphy Paul’s The Extended Mind.

A long obedience

[T]he essential thing “in heaven and earth” is … that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.*
Frederick Nietzche

It’s the going there, not the getting there that’s most important.**
Mary Ruth Broz and Barbara Flynn

A long obedience sounds like no fun at all, but
turning up, making
the journey, practising
the practice
is about being in the right places at the right times
for the surprises when they come,
And the surprises will come.
Finding our long obedience
is a gift.

*Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction;
**Mary Ruth Broz and Barbara Flynn’s Midwives of An Unnamed Future.


I went to the woods to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life … so that when it come time to die, I will not discover I have not lived. Living is so dear.*
Henry David Thoreau

Where in your life or your work are you currently pursuing comfort, when what is called for is a little discomfort? … Choose uncomfortable enlargement over comfortable diminishment whenever you can.**
Oliver Burkeman

Before doing there is
imagining, and before imagining there is
listening, and before listening there is
It is perhaps an uncomfortable thought in
our busy lives, but it is an ability we can all
Why not include one minute of stillness today?

*Mary Ruth Broz and Barbara Flynn’s Midwives of An Unnamed Future;
**Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks

Attention and imagination

[Henry David Thoreau] reminds us that the cost of a thing “is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.*
Anna Katharina Schaffner

Rather than facing our fears, and rather than facing the truth, we avoid them.
Rather than creating the life we want, we build the life that allows our problems to exist unresolved.
Rather than becoming the person we want to be, we stay the person we are.
Rather than adapting our personality to match our goals, we adapt our goals to match our current and limited personality.**

Ben Hardy

When we pay attention,
When we notice it for what it is,
Then we get to bring our imagination to bear:
To play with what it can become
is a powerful thing.

*Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self-Improvement;
**Ben Hardy’s Personality Isn’t Permanent.