Playing with treasure

Silence will speak more to you in a day than the world of voices can teach you in a lifetime.
Find silence.  Find solitude – and having discovered her riches, bind her to your heart.*
(Frances Roberts)

Most of us then default to one of a handful of templates and filters for all their experiences; everything gets pulled inside of what my little mind already agrees with.**
(Richard Rohr)

It’s not just that we live in an amazing world, making each and every one of us rich.

It’s not only that humility and gratitude and faithfulness open these riches to us.

It’s that our ability and willingness to play make these things available to us more quickly and permanently:

“Scientists have recently determined that it takes approximately 400 repetitions to create a new synapse in the brain – unless it is done with play, in which case, it takes between 10-20 repetitions.”^

Then this new year begins to look different, what it might also be, not only what it already is.

(*Frances Roberts, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance.)
(^Karyn Purvis, quoted on Speech and Language Therapy Lanarkshire‘s Facebook page.)


Have a playful new year

Most important is the [Chinese] word wan, in which ideas of children’s games predominate, but extending its semantic range to the following special meanings: to be busy, to enjoy something, to trifle, to romp, to jest, to crack jokes, to make mock of […] the semantic starting point would seem to be “handling something with playful attention”, or to be “lightly engrossed”.*
(Johan Huizinga)

Live from day to day, just from day to day […] surrender completely to the moments as they pass [and] live more richly the moments.**
(Anne Morrow Lindbergh)

To the hurry, add slowness,
To the noise, silence,
In the crowdedness, find solitude,
May your computers live alongside
Inky pens and journals,
May life’s lists of words
Have doodles and pictures added,
Let deep listening
Accompany all the posting.
And when seriousness threatens,
Play, play, play.

It’s that time of year when we try to take a new direction, to fill the year differently.

We think we must take it all very seriously if we are to succeed, but our greatest aid is our playfulness.

Make it a game, a game to explore and include all of who you are for as long as possible, and when the rules you began with threaten to exclude you or bring the game to an early close, change the rules.

And, wherever possible, play with others.

(*From Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens.)
(**Anne Morrow Lindbergh, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)

Faithfully does it

May you never be isolated but know the embrace
Of your anam cara.*
(John O’Donohue)

You have a squad, but it’s small and not everyone in your squad is going to agree or do the same thing.  But, truthfully, you hate those kind of squads anyway.**
(Steve Alley)

As I complete an online workshop, one of the things I want to do is connect with a handful of people from among the thousands that have been involved, to talk slowly into the new year about the things we’re trying to make happen.

Anam cara is Gaelic for soul friend, the kind of person who gets what we’re about.  They may be quite unlike us but that’s an important feature in this tribe.

A lot of what we will be doing will find us on our own, but to know there’s a group of people who understand this and are there for us, is huge.

Brené Brown shares this interesting conversation between Maya Angelou and Bill Moyers:

‘MOYERS: Do you belong anywhere?
ANGELOU: I haven’t yet.
MOYERS: Do you belong to anyone?
ANGELOU: More and more.  I mean, I belong to myself.  I’m very proud of that.  I am very concerned about how I look at Maya.  I like Maya very much.  I like the humour and courage very much.  And when I find myself acting in a way that isn’t … that doesn’t please – then I have to deal with that.’**

As we journey into 2019, may we be faithful to who we are and what we must do.

But know there are others out there who would be there for you, if they could be, encouraging you on and thankful for your encouragement of them.  They’re not “yes  people” but they are your tribe, trying to make some kind of dint in the world’s you are.

We don’t go into the new year alone; perhaps finding one another is one of the things the year will include for us.

(*From John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara.)
(**Brené Brown’s husband Steve Alley, quoted in Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness.)
(^From Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness.)

A particular beauty

Presence is about observation, presencing, and realising.*
(Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski and Flowers)

I … a universe of atoms … and atom in the universe**
(Richard Feynman)

Everyone has a different presence to bring.

For a while, a few moments in eternity, we bring our particular beauty into view …. and then it is gone.

It is quite unlike the particular beauties of others, made up of the things we have dropped into our “cluttered drawers” over the years, sometimes purposefully, other times because we don’t know where else to put something.  I borrow “cluttered drawers” from Anne Lamott:

‘But it comes from within, from love, from the flow of the universe; from inside the cluttered drawers.’^

No-one’s drawer is empty; that would be to say it is possible to live without experiencing.  It’s about how and what kind of story we bring together from what we find in the drawer.

(*From Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue Flowers’ Presence.)
(**Richard Feynman, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: The Universe as an Infinite Storm of Beauty.)
(^From Anne Lamott’s Hallelujah Anyway.)


Every developing human child rests, like all developing beings, in the womb of the great mother – the undifferentiated, not yet formed primal world.  From this it detaches itself to enter a personal life, and it is only in dark hours when we slip out of this again (as happens even to the healthy, night after night), that we are close to her again.’*
(Martin Buber)

We’re all different but it doesn’t just happen.

I read and listen to others every day, noticing how they are different.

I don’t want to be like them; they are helping me to find my different.

It begins with our curiosity, as my friend Alex says, “We are a mystery wrapped in a question.”

Each one of us.

(*From Martin Buber’s I and Thou.)


try to be here.  Which as you know, is the hardest place to be.  Can you be present to this little bit of now?  Get curious …*
(Richard Rohr)

You’re sitting looking at a blank page … space … hour.

How are you going to fill it?

Your mind goes blank.

You look around for some assistance.

Who can help?

What is there to use?

Then your remember.

It’s not what is outside that matters, but what is inside you.

‘If you learn to listen to your curiosity, you will find that you become curious about those things that are different and new. […] Possibilities and the unknown, not the predictable or obvious, make you curious. […] Curiosity pursued is one of the things that allow serendipity to happen.’**

You have overestimated what you need from outside and have underestimated what you carry within, all that has brought you here.

So you bring out your journal, take out your pen and begin to write and to draw:

‘In that special silence, you can hear or see, or get a stronger sense of something that wants to happen that wouldn’t be aware of otherwise.’^

(*From Richard Rohr’s The Divine Dance.)
(**From Frans Johansson’s The Click Moment.)
(^Joseph Jaworki, from Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski and Betty Sue Flowers’ Presence.)

Some things will take a lifetime

They say everyone has a story.  But more than that, everyone IS a story. […] more as an arc, a thing that is becoming a narrative.’*
(Hugh Macleod)

Everyone has a story to tell.  Over the course of a life, we tell so many stories […] We are so used to it that we don’t even think about structuring our stories, or editing parts in or out […] Style, rhythm, panel arrangement, visualisation, structure and even just how do I go through with it anyway?**
(Tom Hart)

Autobiographies don’t have to be written backwards; they are best written forwards.

I think this is going to be my major theme for 2019.

Instead of waiting for circumstances to be just right, exploring and working into the day ahead what we’ve already got to work with.

(*From gapingvoid’s blog: It’s all about the narrative.)
(**From Tom Hart’s The Art of the Graphics Memoir.)