It’s not your father, Harry

When one is at home in oneself, one is integrated and enjoys a sense of balance and poise. In a sense that is exactly what spirituality is: the art of homecoming.*
John O’Donohue

Living in accordance with ours values is never finished; it is a lifelong journey.**
Steven Hayes

Harry Potter knew that he could produce and maintain
a powerful Patronus charm to save himself
and his godfather Sirius Black from the dementors
because he’d already produced one.^
We may not be able to play with time
in the way Harry and Hermione Grainger were able to;
We have something better:
We can spend some time exploring our talents, energies and values –
Which are our home –
Producing a smorgasbord of experiences and expressions that
we can zoom with, which is
to produce even more of:
those who know hot to transform
a hopeless situation in to a new
flow activity that can be
controlled will be able too
enjoy themselves, and
emerge stronger from the ordeal.^

*John O”Donohue’s Benedictus;
**Steven Hayes’ A Liberated Mind (emphasis mine);
^Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkeban;
^^Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow.

Time to tiffle

tiffle to potter aimlessly in a landscape Suffolk*
Robert Macfarlane

A life sincerely followed is always surprising and always leads you into places you did not feel you could either enter or the you could deserve. And part of the ability to hold the science as we move and as we tiptoe, or walk or take our pilgrim path from one epoch of our lives to anther is our ability to not name things too early and to allow yourself to be surprised as to where you’ve arrived.**
David Whyte

When stuck, tiffle.
Wander through a larger landscape.
A story is larger than a day-to-day-life:
A novel examines not reality but existence.
And existence is not what has occurred,
existence is the realm of human possibilities,
everything that man can become,
everything he’s capable of.^

The confinements of a day-to-day-life don’t allow time or energy for exploration.
But listen, your story is calling you.

*Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks;
**Maria Popova‘s The Marginalian: source lost;
^Milan Kundera; Maria Popova’s The Marginalian: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Opaque to Ourselves: Milan Kundera on Writing and the Key to Great Storytelling.

Out, not in

Creativity doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.*
Seth Godin

The Neighbour as a Stranger bears on the mundane realm of the city. Awareness of, encounters with, addressing others unlike oneself – all constitute the ethics which civilises. Indifference to strangers, because they are incomprehensibly strange, degrades the ethical character of the city.**
Richard Sennett

Our greatest achievements will be those accomplished
Indeed they may well be our
being together:
Variation is the life of prose, in length and in structure^
This is true of human life as well as our writings.
And whilst an important human trait is
our individual desire to grow and develop, yet
the truly improved self show itself in its interactions with others.^^
We have a saying:
“They are so into themself,”
But this is ego-waylaid improvement, and life-in-all-its-fullness
is discovered when
we are out of ourselves and into others.

*Seth Godin’s The Practice;
**Richard Sennett’s Building and Dwelling;
^Verlyn Klinkenborg’s Several short sentences about writing;
^^Anna Katharina Schaffner’s The Art of Self Improvement.

Best of all

Ultimately, the goal is to become the best in the world at being you. To bring useful idiosyncrasy to the people you seek to change, and to earn a reputation for what you do and how you do it. The peculiar version of you, your assertions, your art.*
Seth Godin

We tend to write about the things that matter most to us, the things we wish to learn more about. I have always wanted to improve, to understand more deeply what self-improvement entails.**
Anna Katharina Schaffner

I sometimes wish I could do what others do,
And I become disheartened, deflated,
But when I keep focusing on what I love, I realise
I’d make a rubbish someone else, and,
at the same time,
Miss out on being an ebullient me, and encourage
you to be you.

*Seth Godin’s The Practice;
**Anna Katharina’s Schaffner’s The Art of Self Improvement

Still in denial?

The challenge then is to have one superpower. All out of balance to the rest of your being. If, over time, you develop a few more, that’s fine. Begin with one.*
Seth Godin

We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones.**
Henry David Thoreau

The early Jesuit novitiates disappeared
for thirty days to explore the
shape of their calling,
Returning with what they believed to be
the most important thing in the world to give themselves to.
During this time, they were paying attention in order to
notice their superpower.
It may not be an intense thirty days, but
deep attention to our
abilities and energies and values
is something we all can do,
And, when we notice one and begin to use it,
There’ll be more to follow.
Or course, we may still be
in denial, claiming that
we have no superpower,
So I’ll keep turning up here, every day, to remind you that
you do and that
the world needs you.

*Seth Godin’s The Practice;
**Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key.

It’s not over yet

Our negativity bias is part of why we often overlook moments of awe – our brain is so busy trying to help us survive that it overlooks potential sources of awe.*
Jonah Paquette

Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it, because the largest part of the job of the artist is to listen to the work and to go where it tell him to go.**
Madeleine L’Engle

I wonder if the driver who swerved out and
overtook me at speed on Saturday morning
in their white Range Rover Evoque
happened to notice the dawn sky, big
and painted extravagantly
in oranges and salmons and turquoises and golds and reds and lilacs and purples?
Yet, I know I can miss
what’s all around me in way of possibilities and opportunities
because I am so focused on the task in hand
or the difficulties and problems,
Like getting old and
running out of time, but,
If I lift my head up,
And the game isn’t over yet.

*Jonah Paquette’s Awestruck;
**Madeliene L’Engle’s Walking on Water.

Let the conversations begin

Time does not pass for the infinite player. Each moment of time is a beginning of a period of time. It is the beginning of an event that gives the time within its specific quality.*
James Carse

Enough comes from the inside.**
Ryan Holiday

A conversation is not
fast talk;
We cannot have a conversation in a hurry,
We can throw words at each other quickly,
Or chat, or
have a word with someone,
But a conversation,
created by at least two people, requires
time if it is to be co-created by
equals, regardless of titles, age or seniority.
Beyond sharing information, ideas, facts and opinions,
Conversation is fed by at least two people
sharing the contents of their enoughness, being
increasingly open to surprise and to
the possibility of beginning something new together that had not been
in anyone’s mind before.

*James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games;
**Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key

Stronger than we know

Surprise is the great enabler of seeing.*
Alan Jacobs

We care most about the things we have struggled to understand.**
Leon Festinger

It is possible to educate ourselves
for surprise,
according to “infinite player” James Carse;
The opposite is to train ourselves
against surprise:
Surprise causes finite play to end;
it is the reason for infinite play to continue.^

The infinite player
plays to be transformed by surprise.
And not only to be transformed but also
to be transformative.
To be open to surprise,
To see and to understand, is
to become powerful, or strong
as Carse names it:
Power is finite in amount.
Strength cannot be measured,
because it is an opening and not a closing act. …
Power will always be restricted to a relatively small number of selected persons.
Anyone can be strong.^

Power desires to get more,
Strength longs to give more.

*Alan Jacob‘s newsletter: Architectural Thoughts;
**Richard Sennett’s Building and Dwelling:
^James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.