More things you could do if you wanted to

The mind can be a noisy and cluttered place that can drown out the heart.*
(Susan Friel)

Yesterday, I encouraged you to make the most of what you have, and you have a lot more than you think using the first of five tools Rohit Bhargava employs to identify the non obvious: gathering. Today we’re going to use the second tool: aggregating.

After yesterday, you’ll have a list of values, talents and abilities, significant experiences, and high energy moments.

Write these out on some strips of paper that you can fold up and put into four piles or bowls.

Pick out one piece of paper randomly from each of the first three (value, talent, significant experience) and reflect on how they these three things combined to create a memory that is important to you – it doesn’t have to be a success, it may matter more to you that you tried.

Now put aside the significant experience and randomly pick from the fourth – you should now have the value, talent and a moment when you felt yourself highly energised. Reflect on the possibilities that this combination throws up for you.

Don’t worry about how strange or ridiculous these might feel to you. It’s intended to be a playful exercise to help you imagine more possibilities you could make happen if you wanted to – adjacent possibilities.

More to follow.

*Susan Friel, from Corita Kent and Jan Snowden’s Learning by Heart.

Making the most of what you have, and you have a lot more than you think

Your big break. Some people get one. Most people don’t. But, if you’re reading this, it means that you’ve received more than one, perhaps a countless number of, little breaks.*
(Seth Godin)

What if, instead of using our jobs to pay for our lives, we use our work to express the highest part of our beings: joy, passion, hope, meaning, and love.**
(Hugh Macleod)

The first thing we need to do is gather everything we have – I’m thinking especially of values, talents, significant experiences and energies.^

And a really good way to gather is to journal as it encourages reflection as we write and the development of a story, although you may begin with a list.

We are seeking to reply to two critical questions: Who is my True Self? and What is my contribution?

More to come. (There’s always more than we think.)

*From Seth Godin’s blog: Your big break;
**From gapingvoid’s blog: Create love or die.

^Towards identifying your energies, seek to be more aware of when you feely really energised and really de-energised. Make a not of each of these extreme experiences: what you are doing, why you are doing this, who you are doing it with or for, and when you are doing it – e.g., the beginning or end of something, or the time of day.

A meaningful day

When in doubt, come back to the stories.*
(Chris Guillebeau)

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day.

If we want today to be meaningful we could do a lot worse than to bring to mind those who have been a part of our lives in helpful and supportive and caring ways through their kindness, ideas and example.

When I think of these people in my life, I find little scenarios playing out in my memory, stories I carry with me, stories to help me keep going.

For all of you, I am so very grateful.

*From Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit.

Beauty and the gift

Much of the stress and emptiness that haunts us can be traced back to our lack of attention to beauty. Internally, the mind becomes coarse and dull if it remains unvisited by images and thoughts which hold the radiance of beauty.*
(John O’Donohue)

The only essential is this: the gift must always move.**
(Lewis Hyde)

When we slow down enough to notice, we can stagger at the beauty of nature.

Anyone who has every attempted to offer some commentary of nature knows how inadequate words are and how more fitting are silence and awe.

When we look closer, we see a great struggle, even pain involved in producing the sights that cause us to gasp.

I take away the lesson that there is no easy path to beauty, that we must keep moving in the direction of what we believe in and hope for, to show up, to do the hard work, to give.

Perhaps something beautiful will result.

*From John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty.
**From Lewis Hyde’s The Gift.)

See everything

To hope is to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is not birth in our lifetime.*
(Erich Fromm)

Erich Fromm contemplates the nature of hope following Eugene McCarthy’s presidential election loss to Richard Nixon in 1967. Fromm had hoped for a change in American policy through a man who was a professor, poet and philosopher. It wasn’t to be.

Though published in 1970, Fromm’s words are more than relevant for today, describing, as they do a spectre, unseen by many, walking among us:

It is a new spectre: a completely mechanised society, devoted to maximal material output and consumption, directed by computers: and in this social process, man himself is being transformed into a part of the total machine, well fed and entertained yet passive, unalive and with little feeling. With the victory of the new society, individualism and privacy will have disappeared; feelings toward others will be engineered by psychological conditioning and other devices, or drugs which also serve a new ind of introspective experience.*

So begins his argument for a revolution of hope that is

neither passive waiting nor is it unrealistic forcing of circumstances*.

Rather, persons of hope

see and cherish all signs of new life and are ready at every moment to help the birth of that which is ready to be born.*

Many more hope than are aware, Fromm describing in 1970’s-ese those who are unconsciously hoping:

Our social pattern is such that the successful man is not supposed to be afraid or bored or lonely. He must find this world the best of all worlds; in order to have the best chance for promotion he must repress fear as well as doubt, depression, boredom or hopelessness.*

I was reading Fromm alongside Rohit Bhargava’s curating habits – included in my blog of a couple of days ago – which offer skills for the hopeful person who wants to

see and cherish all signs of new life and are ready at every moment to help the birth of that which is ready to be born*.

Bhargava’s habits are curiosity, observation, fickleness, reflection and elegance.**

In this context, I read these as finding what you’re curious about and widening this out – everything is attached to everything else; take a longer look at what began with a curious glance – what it is, what it’s doing, where it’s heading; don’t get hung up on one or two things but stay curious and observant – everything is attached to everything else; build deep reflection in – journal, walk, talk with others, read; move with and give aid to what is wanting to be born, in collaboration wherever possible.

Perhaps then, to use Richard Rohr’s words, we might be ‘seers of alternatives’ who ‘move forward by influencing events and inspiring people’ who know that ‘wisdom is the art of the possible’.^

*From Erich Fromm’s The Revolution of Hope;
**From Rohit Bhargava’s Non Obvious 2019;
^From Richard Rohr’s Eager to Love.

The hidden path

What you love to do will grow with you, so long as you stay true to who you are and allow yourself to change and develop freely.*
(Hugh Macleod)

Pay attention to the world, and train yourself to notice the details that others miss.**
(Rohit Bhargava)

For each of us there is a path that bears our name.

Hidden to others, it must not become hidden to us for in the complexity of life it helps us to maintain our direction and purpose, to see our big picture.

We find the path by listening.

By paying deep attention, we stay connected with the fullness of our lives.

Following the path shapes the path – it is not predetermined – and is why we must pay it deep attention.

Rohit Bhargava’s five habits of curation work well for detailing this attention. It is curious, observant, fickle, thoughtful and elegant.

From these I deduce that I must notice what I am most fascinated by but in such a way as not to get stuck on certain things whilst missing others, turning my mind and heart towards all that stands out the most, and out of these crafting beautiful things, ideas, relationships.

*From gapingvoid’s blog: Life without dissonance;
**From Rohit Bhargava’s Non Obvious 2019.

Is it humility?

Humility allows us to change our mind, change our heart and change our actions.

To put it another way, humility allows us:

To detach from our limiting stories which are often rigid and not open to the unknown and unfamiliar;
See our True Self as a result rather than our False Self;
Accept the painful things in our lives rather than hiding from them or denying them;
Be present to now and all it contains rather than escaping to the past or future;
Live out our values as journeys open to exploration and adventure; and,
Committing to action and therefore to keep on changing.

The calling

If you come, we can build this together.*
(Bernadette Jiwa)

Calling is a human experience.

Everyone has at least one calling in their lifetime.

They can be heard, missed or ignored.

Last year I placed these two texts side by side, one about explanation, the other enlightenment:

Explanation is an antagonistic encounter that succeeds by defeating an opponent. It possesses the same dynamic of resentment found in other finite play. I will press my explanations on you because I need to show that do to life in the error that I think others think I do.**

It should be obvious that those who live enlightenment lives have demonstrated a unique ability to lear from everyone and everything.^

Over the years of dreamwhispering I’ve noticed that those who gain the most co-create their experience with me – we are both enlightened, an infinite game. Not “Let me do that for you,” but “Let’s create this together.”

*From Bernadette Jiwa’s Hunch;
**From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games;
^From Erwin McManus’ Uprising.

The caret

I’m just doing my job. But what if you weren’t? What if you replaced “doing” with “improving” or “reinventing” or “transforming”?*
(Seth Godin)

A caret is a v-shaped grapheme (usually inverted and extended) used to indicate where a word or three need(s) inserting into a line of text. I often use ⁁ but hadn’t known what it was called.

I disturb a line with “⁁” and add the additional words above or below the line. It looks messy but the line makes more sense when all the words.

My dreamwhispering work with many people has shown me how life also comes with the possibility of using a caret when we discern that there’s something missing.

Most of the things missing will only cost us in terms of time. Even those we may need to pay for end up being ridiculously low-priced relative to how important they are.

The messiness is real cost, though, and it can be too much for some to pay – wanting our lives always to appear tidy in front of others can be a higher price to pay.

*From Seth Godin’s blog: I’m just doing my job.