[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.
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 stillness. It is perhaps an uncomfortable thought in our busy lives, but it is an ability we can all grow. Why not include one minute of stillness today?
[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.
As we stand on such thresholds, life itself is commissioning us to move onto a new stage of our Becoming. Something at the core of our being is urging us forward … as surely as the onset of labour and the breaking of the waters commission the expectant mother to begin the process of birthing.* Margaret Silf
Nothing open up the mind like the glimpse of new possibility.** John O’Donohue
If we are to be known for something, Why not generosity, Not only does it benefit others with listening and openness and faith and time and words, but takes us deeper into life-in-all-its-fullness. In her foreword to Jean Houston’s A Mythic Life, Mary Catherine Bateson describes Houston as an “omnivorous learner”^ – Which feels like a very good place to begin.
When you get to be older, and the concerns of the day have all been attended to, and you turn to the inner life – well, if you don’t know where it is or what it is, you’ll be sorry.* Joseph Campbell
If you’re unwilling to interact with uncertainty, then you’ve greatly limited who you are and what you’ve become. You’ve limited your ability to make choices, because all choices involve uncertainty and risk.** Ben Hardy
When the busyness is over and there’s time to think about where you find yourself in life, It’s not too late find your inner life you’re unsure, to explore what is wanting to grow there. Mary Ruth Broz and Barbara Flynn describe the Vision Quest of Native Americans: a process that encourages people to pause and create some sacred time and space in order to reconnect to a deeper part of themselves and help unfurl a vision for their lives.^ This quest involves leaving the familiar, moving to a remote place and forming a circle of stones within which they remain for three days, whilst invoking the Great Spirit. One quest expression might be to engage in dreamwhispering in a focused and immersive way: Three days to find your inner life and quest. Drop me a line to find out more.
1. The Untruth of Fragility: Who doesn’t kill you makes you weaker. 2. The Untruth of Emotional Reasoning: Always trust your feelings. 3. The Untruth of Us Versus Them: Life is a battle between good people and evil people.* Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt
Any human action or experience loses meaning when disconnected to future outcomes or consequences. Nothing exists in a vacuum.** Ben Hardy
The Untruth of Comfort: Allow nothing in your life that makes you uncomfortable.
The Untruth of Specialness: There is a universe waiting for you to be at its centre.
The Untruth of Self Care: Always look after Number One.
The Untruth of Control: You can do anything you want.
The Untruth of Death: Ignore your mortality and live as though you’ll never die.
You may have spotted what I’ve done. These are the the five elemental truths I’ve referred to for some fourteen years now, but flipped here. If I believe these untruths then I’m going to be poorly prepared for a world in which life is hard, I’m not as special as I think, my life is not about me, I am not in control, and I am going to die. Better to develop my future self sooner rather than later: Through humility leading me to the truth of who I am that can be grown, Through gratitude leading me to the truth that I have much to give, Through faithfulness leading me to the truth that I can learn much from others and invent many ways of giving expression to who I am and what I have. As for the writer so for the future self: Being a writer is an act of perpetual self-authorisation. No matter who you are. Only you can authorise yourself. You do that by writing well, by constant discovery.^
Writ large, sociality is both a modest and an honest social bond.* Richard Sennett
Don’t fight with people, study them.** Austin Kleon
I was asked to sit in on an important meeting as a listener and doodler. The room was filled with stories, both personal and group It highlighted for me how are greatest hope is yet found in our capability to create new stories for solving our problems: My own sense … is that there is something deeply built into us that needs story itself. Story is such a source of nurture that we cannot become really true human beings for ourselves and for each other without story – and without finding ways in which to tell it, create it, encourage younger people to create their own story.^
Elevate from needing to wanting to knowing.* Ben Hardy
You may think you have to wait for someone else to give you what you need, or you may now believe it necessary to go out and get it yourself, but what if it’s already in you, and a little bit of self investment will find it?
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