That we are here is a huge affirmation; somehow life needed is and wanted us to be. To sense and trust this primeval acceptance can open a vast spring of trust within the heart. It can free us into a natural courage which casts out fear and opens up our lives to become voyages of discovery, creativity and compassion.* (John O’Donohue)
We talk about risk like it’s a bad thing. But all forward motion involves risk. You can’t find a risk-free way to accomplish much of anything.** (Seth Godin)
the door is open and we need only pass through – our humility, gratitude and faithfulness making this possible.
to know who we are, what we have and to find small ways of expressing these means we are more than enough
the open door is our calling
That’s how you’re going to fix the world – with your own gifts and talents.^
More than “how to see,” drawing teaches “how we see” – the various shortcuts and hacks by which the brain renders the external world. … Drawing wasn’t such hard work but seeing was* (Tom Vanderbilt)
A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms and atmospheres. … At this threshold a great complexity of emotion comes alive: confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope.** (John O’Donohue)
Once we really begin to see (and I mean with more than our eyes) not only do we find there to be far more than we thought, but there is often far more than we can handle. But the effort somehow changes us.
Artist Michael Grimaldi warns Tom Vanderbilt that in their art lessons,
We’ll be deprogramming a lot of our biases with things.
We like our biases and programmings. They’re how we mange to navigate our worlds. Yet, our worlds are far larger than we know.
To slow down and be able to see people, places, the world, objects, ideas, god, myself, this is unnerving … and wonderful.
The flow experience, like many others, is not “good” in an absolute sense. It is good only in that it has potential to make life more rich, intense and meaningful; it is good because it increases the strength and complexity of life.* (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)
Then when the grip of some long-enduring winter mentality begins to loosen, we find ourselves vulnerable to a flourish of possibility and we are suddenly negotiating the challenge of a threshold.** (John ‘Donohue)
There is more of the seasons in us than we allow: life-in-all-its-fullness including winter and autumn as well as spring and summer.
We have to be vulnerable to possibility.
*From Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow: **From John O’Donohue’s Benedictus.
They want the things that are truly worth wanting. They elevate their desires. The world tells them to be a good consumer but they want to be the one consumed. – by a moral cause.* (David Brooks)
We are creatures of desire because we are creations of desire.** (John O’Donohue)
I am reminded of what a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly, as described by Sam Anderson:
Terrible things happen in there: a campaign of grisly desolation that would put most horror movies to shame. What a caterpillar is doing, in its self–imposed quarantine, is basically digesting itself. It is using enzymes to reduce its body to goo, turning itself into a soup of ex-caterpillar — a nearly formless sludge oozing around a couple of leftover essential organs (tracheal tubes, gut).^
What’s the cause that consumes you and is turning you into a different kind of person?
As in the case of lines, you are likely to stop when you are no longer sure you should go further – at the rear edge of the region of uncertainty.* (Daniel Kahneman)
When man is born, the human race as well as individual, he is thrown out of a situation which was definite, as as definite as the instincts, into a situation which is indefinite, uncertain and open.** (Erich Fromm)
We’re born into a world of lines.
Some are fine just the way they are: such as gravity and love.
But there are many more we can play and get bendy with: such as talents, purpose and stories.
A blessing to begin a day of playing with lines:
May the games of your belonging be generous enough for your dreams.^
In the most elegant complexity possible, everything in creation exists not for itself but for everything interconnected to it.* (Erwin McManus)
Looking at social mentalities and archetypes in general, theorists have recognised that “the innate” is only the potential and the social world we live in and the relationships that surround us guide and help develop our archetypal potential.** (Paul Gilbert)
It can be tempting to think that focusing on ourselves – on our talents, energies, values – is something of a self-absorbent thing to do.
What we may be missing is bringing the very best of ourselves when it comes to being helpful to others:
We’re only as much as what we can give to others.^
It doesn’t matter who a person is, their background, their path so far in life, there are things to be discovered by them. All they need is the right environment for this to happen. We might be just the environment they need, and, when we do, we find ourselves stepping into an ancient story.
Therefore, I often remind those I work with that there is nothing indulgent in understanding more about ourselves and our calling to others:
Life is hard You’re not as special as you think Your life is not about you You are not in control You are going to die.^^
There’s a reason why this may feel self-absorbent at first. The new things we’re uncovering about ourselves need to be handled with increasing skill, but then we fall into wondering just what we might do with all of this for the good of others:
Beginners are always looking at themselves. … The better you get, the farther away you start to look.*^
I find this again and again in those I work with, the wonderful hopes they have of serving a cause greater than themselves. My hope each day in writing is to provide something that will feed, guide or remind.
I leave you with a blessing for your discovering:
Awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence. … Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to follow its path.^*
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited the world.* (Mary Oliver)
The way we store energy is through our desires, values, passions, hopes, dreams, and aspirations, and ultimately our greatest capacity for energy storage is through what we love. […] I have come to realise that people do not bring the same level of energy with them.** (Erwin McManus)
As we were brought up to appreciate, tomorrow never comes.
It’s always today.
This is where the future lies.
Yes, we travel into possibilities that do not yet exist, but we do this so that we may bring them back into today… and begin.
The best place to begin, as Erwin McManus proffers, is in identifying and exploring our desires, values, passions, hopes, dreams and aspirations, and, above all, love.
Along with these we’ll find astonishing talents and abilities shaped through our years, waiting for their next adventure.
It’s going to sound ugly before it sounds pretty, but it has to sound ugly.* (Danielle Amedeo)
There’s no such thing as writer’s block. There’s simply a fear of bad writing. Do enough bad writing and some good writing is bound to show up. And along the way, you will clarify your thinking and strengthen your point of view. But it begins by simply writing something.** (Seth Godin)
Singing, writing, beginning the day, or whatever we need to get to. We could sit here, waiting for some inspiration to come to us, or we could dive in, make a noise, take a pen for a journey across a page, be some sunshine to a grey, lifeless day, or the task we have to perform.
It doesn’t matter what it sounds like or reads like or looks like, we’ve made a start, and that provides you with a distinct advantage to not having done anything. Our minds and our hearts have something to work with.
In his latest book A Muse and a Maze, Peter Turchi includes how to complete the front and back hand palm illusion – a playing card that disappears. We could say, I can’t do that, or we can search for the playing cards and start practising.