Next?

When you cannot predict the future and emergence is unpredictable, you can’t build training programmes in advance because you don’t know what you’ll need.*
(Jay Cross)

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)

Who’s next?

The question comes from the sales assistant who’s unsure of how to invite me forward to the till.  I am the only person waiting.

How do we invite the future to step forward, the multiple futures we cannot see?

Our best tools will be the questions that emerge out of the questions we ask ourselves, then one another.

This on a daily basis:

Who am I?  What is my contribution?

Then Who are you? and What is your contribution?

Which leads to Who are we? and What is our contribution?

That’s a movement.

(*From Jay Cross’ Informal Learning.)
(**From Erwin McManus’ The Last Arrow.)

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Heart-work

Any life career that you choose in following your bliss should be chosen with that sense – that nobody can frighten me off from this thing.  And no matter what, this is the validation of my life and action.*
(Joseph Campbell)

Do the emotional work of working on things that others fear.’**
(Seth Godin)

Bliss is Joseph Campbell’s word for our purpose or calling in life.  It is connected with the hero’s journey.  The deep search for something in life that matters more than anything else, the obtaining of the boon to be brought back as a contribution into the life of their family or tribe or community.

There comes a point in the difference we want to make in life when our head understanding is not enough.  There comes a point when only knowing and feeling it deep down in the core of our being will make it possible to keep going.

So we stay open.  Yes, we keep opening our minds but we also open our hearts, to allow ourselves to feel it, turning our attention to the zing, the energy, connecting with our generative core, and open the will and keep producing.

(*Joseph Campbell, from Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers’ The Power of Myth.)
(**From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)

Back story – forward story

If you choose to, though, you can do your own review.  Weekly or monthly, you can sit down with yourself (or, more powerfully, with a small circle of peers) and review how you’re shifting your posture to make more of an impact.*
(Seth Godin)

One’s inner voices become audible.  One feels the attraction of one’s most inner Sources.  In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives.**
(Wendell Berry)

Listening to one another’s stories is a reflective practice.

We need to develop ways and means of listening to our own story, sometimes alone, sometimes with others.

I mentioned recently how someone in a reflective circle of this kind had found it unnerving to have a number of people listening non-judgementally, mirroring back to them what they saw and heard and also felt in the story they were listening to.

This is an interesting observation on their part.

They’d found themselves having to look at more in themselves, more deeply.

Criticism can limit what we look at, even when it’s positive as well as negative.  Listening without lines of measurement can mean we open up all that lies beyond, though it’s an art to be learned, not a blind anything-goes.

Not only have we need of stories that have been somewhere but also stories that are going somewhere.

(*From Seth Godin’s blog: Your soft skills inventory.)
(**Wendell Berry, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Wendell Berry on Solitude and Why Pride and Despair Are the Two Great enemies of Creativity.)

Options

Learning is not compulsory but neither is survival.*
(Edwards Deming)

We are learning creatures.

We can learn our way out of just about anything.

I don’t mean gaining the information and knowledge to be able to tackle our greatest life issues, but beyond these, we find ourselves to be producers of information and knowledge, emerging from our willingness to jump into the playfulness of learning that is available every day and throughout our lives.

The informal learning that happens when we get a few books together, connect to people who fascinate us, use walks for reflecting, identify some things we’d love to do and pull out a journal and a pen.  There are lots of ways but these are a few sound starters.

(*Edwards Deming, quoted in Jay Cross’ Informal Learning.)

Everyday redemption

Eventually, you will discover a detached place of self-observation.*
(Richard Rohr)

For the robust, an error is information; for the fragile, an error is an error.**

Everyone should have the opportunity to change direction, to admit they were wrong, to make a switch, to begin again.

A new day dawns.  The world is new.

It’s a learning disposition but that’s another blog post.

The person who allows themselves the place of self-observation is becoming stronger; they will help bring the dawn to others, too.

(*From Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance.)
(**From Nassim Taleb’s The Bed of Procrustes.)

The thin life

Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.*
(John O’Donohue)

In life, the challenge is not so much to figure out how to play the game; the challenge is to figure out what game we’re playing.**
(Kwame Anthony Apihh)

In a short TV series on the development of children, researchers explore the idea of there being three basic personality types – excitable, calm and timid – how this is set for the rest of our lives.

Of course, his doesn’t say nearly as much as we need it to.  We live as swirling, changing worlds within a swirling, changing world.  Increasingly, we’re understanding that our environments can change us, even transform us.  These become the thin places for our lives.  In this way we understand our lives to be thin, not in terms of lightness or shallowness, but open to the more-just-beyond.

This isn’t to say that we’re more likely to be excitable, calm or timid, but being honest about who we are is the place we have to begin when exploring who we can become.

Graham Leicester and Bill Sharpe describe Three Horizons Thinking for transforming education, identifying three voices:

‘The voice of Horizon One is the voice of the manager. […] The voice of Horizon Two is the voice of the entrepreneur. […]  The voice of Horizon Three is the voice of the visionary.‘^

These three voices exist in each of us, too.

Horizon One is where we are at the moment; it’s usually not working but it’s all we have.  Horizon Three is the future possibility, the things we dream of, where things are most thin.  Horizon Two is the transition between these, how we invent ways of moving from here to there.

(*From John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us: For Presence.)
(**From Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together.)
(^From Graham Leicester and Bill Sharpe’s Transforming Higher Education.)