Stranger than fiction

An individual is a carefully fashioned, unique world. The shape of the flaw that each person carries is also different. The flaw is the special shape of personal limitation; angled at a unique awkwardness to the world, it makes our difficulty and challenge in the world different from that of others.*
(John O’Donohue)

Look at the person sitting to the right of you. And if there’s no person on the right, look at the person to the left. That person and you differ at over a million locations in your DNA.
(Lee Silver)

Wabi is the Japanese word for the flaw that deepens the beauty and character of a thing.

In other words, flaws are to be valued – though not blindly.

No matter how much we try to bring our character and personality into the light, there will always be a part of us that dwells in shadow, though.

To embrace this, to seek integrity with our superpowers demands we also seek integrity with our flaws – is not the same as excusing: we can be without pretense and guile, and be strong:

Your soul will not want to neglect the regions of your heart that do not fit the expected. When you trust yourself enough to discover and integrate your strangeness you bestow a gift on yourself.*

A critical part of embracing and connecting with this strangeness is to live closer still to our values:

Values hold us to different standards for managing energy.^

Perhaps harnessing our strangeness, weirdness, flawed-ness, is what someone in the world is waiting for.

*From John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty;
**Lee Silver, quoted in Mary Reckmeyer’s Strengths Based Parenting;
^From Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz’s The Power of Full Engagement.


Born in doodle

When you discover something new about yourself, you become more grounded and free. It is delightful when you find out more of your hidden light, when the radiance inside you glimmers through in new unexpected colours.*
(John O’Donohue)

*From John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty.

Doodle dream do

When copies are super-abundant they become worthless. Instead, stuff that can’t be copied becomes scarce and valuable.*
(Kevin Kelly)

I swapped around the sequence from my doodle on Thursday.

Doodle derives from dawdle, so slow things down so you can take more in.

Out of this, allow more time for dreaming of possibilities emerging from your new input.

Move into doing something anything, experimenting, failing, our of which comes innovating and making.

Repeat each day.

*From Kevin Kelly’s The Inevitable.

Walk in the way and do not turn from it

It is interesting to ask: what are the limits you have set for your life? Where are the lines of these limits? Why do you think you cannot go beyond them? Did you construct these limits out of anxiety and fear?*
(John O’Donohue)

The path of our creativity and beauty is greater than the place we find ourselves:

The awakening of the beauty of your creativity can totally change the way you view limits.*

John O’Donohue writes about how our creativity changes the way we see.

Instead of being barriers stopping us they are thresholds to cross:

When you see the limit not as a confining barrier but as a threshold, you are already beyond.*

Our path of creativity comes with passion and imagination to carry us farther than we might ordinarily imagine.

As I read O’Donohue’s mention of thresholds, I consider their larger nature, as liminal spaces.

These are often uncomfortable and unfamiliar to us.

They make ignorant, incompetent, noviciates: all experiences we have sought to leave rather than arrive at:

We are confronted with an unattractive direction that we have to take. For weeks or months we have to travel through limbo; the comfort and security of our familiar belonging lies far beyond us. Where we will belong next has not yet become clear.*

Such experiences also offend our need to move and arrive quickly, but life in our universe seems to be set up differently to how our cultures frame it. There is much to valued in a slow journey in the same direction.

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz offer a different understanding of direction and purpose which includes three movements:

Purpose becomes a more powerful and enduring source of energy in our lives in three ways: when its sources moves from negative to positive, external to internal and self to others.**

These movements allow us to both consider and measure the path we are on, so that if we find it incapable of accommodating these movements then we will find another path.

But if it is truly a path of imagination, creativity and beauty then we will begin to see the possibilities:

The beauty of imagination helps you to see the limit as an invitation to venture forth and view the world and your role in it as full of beautiful possibilities in how you think feel and act … possibility is the gift of creativity.*


*From John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty;
**From Jim Loehr and
Tony Schwartz’s The Power of Full Engagement.

The beauty of I am

The who-ness of someone can never be finally named, known, claimed, controlled or predicted.*
(John O’Donohue)

We are all capable of great beauty in not only the things we make but also the person we are becoming.

Beauty despite all we have gone through.

Beauty because of all we have gone through:

The beauty that emerges from roundedness is a beauty infused with feeling; a beauty different from the beauty of landscape and cold beauty of perfect form. This is a beauty that has suffered its way though the ache of desolation until the words or music emerged to equal the hunger and desperation at its heart.*

How can we get our stuff together?

With imagination that comes with grace – imagination being one of the first victims in our worlds of scarcity devoid of kindness:

No one sets limits to the flow of grace. … Grace is the permanent climate of divine kindness.*

Whether we believe in god or not, playing in grace is available to all of us:

God has no why, but is the why of everything to everything: deus non habet quare sed ipsum est quare omnium et omnibus.**

Grace has no agenda and rekindles imagination for us towards being able to say I am.

And that is enough.

*From John O’ Donohue’s Divine Beauty;
**Meister Eckhart, quoted in John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty.

Here I am, there I go

Mortals must do what they are here to create or they will become cranky.**
(Seth Godin)

The awakening of individuality is a continual unfolding of our presence.*
(John O’Donohue)

The most important doings are to be found in moments of presence.

To ourselves, to the context and those within it.

There will appear something we must do and at that moment life is stirred becoming richer with the promise of beauty.

Robert McKee writes,

Every writer must strive towards this ideal: include no scene that doesn’t turn.^

Be present, find your turning.

The words in the doodle are the inscription my daughter Charlotte wrote in the gift of a journal for Fathers’ Day 2016.

*From John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty;
**From Seth Godin’s Tales of the Revolution;
^From Robert McKee‘s newsletter: Why Your Story Needs Meaningful Change.

Curating transcendence

you have to believe your life belongs in a poem … Glimpsing your life in this frame, like seeing yourself in a beautiful photograph, will help you view your experience freshly and value it more.*
(Kate Clanchy)

All through your life your soul takes care of you. Despite its best brightness, your mind can never illuminate what your life is doing.**
(John O’Donohue)

compressed within a poem’s lines,
life becoming bigger, brighter, more beautiful,

this curation of words and pictures
forging more from less,

earth’s ordinary magic altering and
deepening perspective

measuring life by the weight of a soul
more than titles and chattel,

this vessel through the stars,
this kosmos I am and you are,

not some science fiction tract but
biography

*From Kate Clanchy’s How to Grow Your Own Poem;
**From John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty.

Nil saoi gan locht

There is an old Irish proverb, ‘Nil saoi gan locht’ – there is no craftsman without a flaw.*

Frequently, in a journey of the soul, the most precious moments are the mistakes. They have brought you to a place that you otherwise woulds have avoided.**

(John O’Donohue)

We may think flaws and mistakes are no way to live and work.

As I reflect on how I got to be here, in place and time, I have to confess John O’Donohue sees me truly.

This truth keeps moving me forward.

His words brought to mind some words I embraced as soon as I read them decades ago, and which architect and artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh would make his mantra:

There is hope in honest error, none in the icy perfections of the mere stylist.^

*From John O’Donohue’s Divine Beauty;
**From John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara:
^J. D. Sedding.

Doodling with a wandering line

(Temporary image)

Here’s another simple doodling exercise following on from last Saturday’s doodling post.

We’re going to use one line to complete today’s doodle using the frame method.

Check out last week’s post to make your simple square frame.

Place your frame in one corner of the paper you’re doodling on, use all the shapes from the visual alphabet filled the square, leaving your line waiting to carry on once you’ve re-placed your frame, which should slightly overlap the square just finished.

Make each square different until you’ve finished.

Colour in. Everything changes with colour.