The holy grail

Find something you love to do and then excel at it.*

The Judaeo-Christian scriptures say that when making the world and everything in it, God said it was good and people were very good.

It’s a great starting point that we’re simply trying to uncover with our imaginations and creativity every day.

There are endless possibilities.

(*From gapingvoid’s blog: How the movie making model can help drive better business.)


The desires of your heart

When is a question not a question?

When it’s a space.

A space to explore more, to feel the depths of what is being explored and to be able to identify what to do next.

What do you want?

If there’s a map, someone’s already been there

In her wonderful aid to moving from the familiar into the unfamiliar, Rebecca Solnit reveals the significance of blue for us as longing.  In longing there is something even more powerful than possessing:

‘For something of this longing will, like the blue of distance, only be relocated, not assuaged, by acquisition and arrival, just as the mountains cease to be blue when you arrive among them and the blue instead tints the next beyond.  Somewhere in this is the mystery of why tragedies are more beautiful than comedies and why we take a huge pleasure in the sadness of certain songs and stories.  Something is always far away.’*

I laugh in the moment of comedy, I continue to searching the significance of what is happening in a story containing sadness and its overcoming and an ending that is inconclusive – I am left with the blue.

I find it helpful to think of knowledge in three forms: general, specific and deeper.  I can know generally from outside of something, I can know specifically from inside and the deeper is top know this is never it – there is always more.

Of the infinite game, James Carse writes:

‘Infinite players cannot say when their game began, nor do they care.  They do not care for the reason that their game is not bounded by time.  Indeed, the only purpose of the game is to prevent it from coming to an end, to keep everyone in play. […] Since each play of an infinite game eliminates boundaries, it opens to players a new horizon of time.”**

Seth Godin asks:

‘How do you bump into the thing you didn’t know you were looking for?’**

This requires an infinite game.  There is the sense of a finite game when Solnit describes how some see longing as a problem:

‘We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on that something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire, though often it is the distance between the object of desire that fills the space in between with the blue of longing.’*

There feels to be something here about living with longing rather than seeking to remove it that is about giving rather than receiving.  Erich Fromm dropped this itchy thought in my mind when I read:

‘Giving is the highest expression of potency.  In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power.  This … fills me with joy.  I experience myself as overflowing, spending, hence as joyous … in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.’^^

For  this, there is no map.

(*From Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost.)
(**From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(^From Seth Godin’s blog: Organised for browsing.)
(^^From Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving.)

To touch the earth quietly

Do not search for the answers, which could not be given to you now,
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is to live everything.
Live the questions now.*
(Rainer Maria Rilke)

There are plenty of people willing to provide noisy answers, wanting their voices to be heard over the voices of others.

Rainer Maria Rilke points warns, though, answers don’t allow us to live everything.

At the beginning of my day, I found myself wondering about something taught by Jesus of Nazareth.  To the crowds that came to the wild places to listen to him, he said, “Blessed are the meek because they will inherit the earth.”

Why inherit rather than rule or possess?

It feels as if there’s a moving of the inheritance-lines.  Most of the inheritance would go to the first-born male.

Now the important and valuable things will go to anyone who lives in an open inquiring way with everything that exists rather than to those with privilege by design or accident – my redefining of meekness.

Those who know they can’t have and keep something beyond the grave live in a different way through life.  To the person who knows they cannot possess a beautiful sunset, the oceans or mountains, a simple flower or the smile of another, there can be a great openness that allows them to more fully absorbs it.

The earth is truly theirs as they wander from the narrower paths of answers across the hidden ways of questions.

Here’s a blessing from Hugh Macleod for the meek:

‘Stay curious. Never settle.  Amen.’**

(*Rainer Maria Rilke, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From gapingvoid’s Stay curious.)

I once was found but now am lost

I rarely goof off.  I rarely follow a path I think might lead to a dead end.  I rarely imagine and dream beyond the four walls of a prescribed project.  I hardly ever give my mind permission to take a recess, to go outdoors, and play.  What have I become?  A robot?  A cog in a wheel?  A unit of efficiency myself?*
(Alan Lightman)

You are only free when you realise you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all.  The price is high.  The reward is great.**
(Maya Angelou)

Hugh Macleod writes:

Value is the spaces between people.^

How often do we go directly to who we think the person is and what they have?

How often do we miss the possibility of what can come into being between me and the  other – what we can imagine together that is far more than the sum of our two sets of knowledge and experience?

We lay our maps down side by side and a new disorientating scape appears but also something new.  I like the way Rebecca Solnit introduces this:

‘Lost really has two disparate meanings.  Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing […] in which car the world has become larger than your knowledge of it.’^^

In these words of blessing from John O’Donohue I find encouragement to enter the unfamiliar:

‘May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
The cut right through the surface to a source.’*^

In a book of blessings of the spaces between, I cam upon this blessing of darkness:

‘Light cannot see inside things.
That is what the dark is for:
Minding the interior,
Nurturing the draw of growth?
Through places where death
turns into life.’^*

This darkness for me is the new-unfamiliar – disorientatingly unavailable to the measure by my familiar-light.

If I stay here, though, something new will appear:

‘Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins
To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
Rhythm not yet heard,
That calls space to
A different shape.’*^

To become lost is an alternative response to our need that our foundness has not been able to meet.

(*From Alan Lightman’s A Sense of the Mysterious.)
(Maya Angelou, quoted in Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness.)
(From gapingvoid’s blog: What we learn from chickens.)
(^^From Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost.)
(*^From John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us: For the Artist at the Start of the Day.)
(^*From John O’Donohue’s To Bless the Space Between Us: For Light.)


I am framing some Thin|Silence signed originals for very reasonable prices, from £20 (plus postage and packing).  If you have a favourite, why not let me know (more information to follow)

If you don’t find what you want why not commission a doodle?

Here are a few examples …

Visible and invisible ways

I felt connected not only to the stars but to all of nature, and to the entire cosmos.  I felt a merging with something far larger than myself, a grand and eternal unity, a hint of something absolute.*
(Alan Lightman)

It was during his time as a school-teacher that Arkady learned of the labyrinth of invisible pathways which meander all over Australia and are known to Europeans as “Dreaming-tracks” or “Songlines”: to the Aboriginals as “Footprints of the Ancestors” or the “Way to the Law”.**
(Bruce Chatwin)

In a material universe, two of the visible ways we know our physical bodies keep moving are through food and healing – we require fuel to burn and we go wrong.

Life is more than these, more than the visible, though; it seems to shine brightest where the visible and invisible ways cross and intertwine.  And there are so many.

(*From Alan Lightman’s Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine.)
(**From Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines.)

The goal, the distraction and the wonder

The question then is how to get lost.  Never to get lost is not to live, not to know how to get lost brings you to destruction, and somewhere in the terra incognito n between lies a life of discovery.*
(Rebecca Solnit)

This truth works out in many places at many levels but today it may be in the person who stops you doing what you have a mind to do and in your turning towards them and giving your attention to them something wonderful appears.

(*From Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost.)