Beauty, Creating, Learning, Reflection, self realization

Pathways to Change

In the previous post I spoke of Rosamund Zander’s guidance for individual change. She also dealt with bringing change to families and organizations by recognizing that others, like ourselves are walking stories.  As the book progresses she focuses on energy.

She starts with a scientific analogy.  Energy becomes amplified, she says, when in proximity to waves of similar tone and length.  Visionary people use it that way too – though her she defines energy as commitment to something broader than our personal concerns.  And it’s not just about  getting one’s own way.  We enter relationships of collaboration and become catalysts to create a new story.

The physical world is dynamic – an ecosystem where things connect, react and change. The canopy of trees outside my window is awash with green where weeks ago there were naked limbs. Blossoms will turn to fruit, seeds will scatter, new growth will erupt and old growth with succumb to lightning or disease..

It’s a fractal universe too – in nature and in computer simulations and even in emotions when we share feelings and experiences that cross cultures and times.

When we want to change things, we traditionally  develop goals, objectives, strategies and tactics as though we are totally in charge – usually forgetting that there are other forces and energies operating around us – in a  playful universe of galaxies.

Zander suggests we try to think of ourselves less as actors and doers and more as conduits that interact with the energies of others – especially in bringing about change. That story is called possibility and it mirrors natural evolution.  Humans act and talk. How we do both has a marked effect on the bigger picture. She observes

We reconcile by acts and words; we restore through how we relate and how we grow; we inspire through what we build and the art we make; and we cure ourselves by how we care for others and what we give away. In those ways we bring our hearts into a collective resonance – and that is where the power lies.

Nations have child stories that often need a re-write. As we work on our personal maturing,  we change our habits and find new insights and truths that become more like the patterns of nature.  Rather than either/or we learn to live with ambiguity.  We lessen our need to always be right or to avoid the realities staring at us.

Our caring for the earth needs a rewrite even more.  Evolution has always favored invasive species – yet humans are the most invasive of the lot.   Urban living divorces us from the natural world. Nature embraces all systems, Zander says, while we have primarily looked after ourselves.

She has several prescriptions –  get out and walk in nature, question the child stories that place man at the center as the hero. Stop treating nature as a thing to exploit and re-frame it as an evolving system constantly becoming more complex and beautiful.  Take the same stance toward human relationships. “What would be a more compassionate or collaborative way of doing things?  Through the practice of what art may I expand my heart?”, she asks.  It’s an invitation to join an infinite story.

She closes with what she terms infinite games:

  • Take an infinite leap and find someone who has been lost to you
  • Get the love you want
  • Make a decision in a different way that you normally do – change a habit
  • Choose a guiding principle – some examples are wonder, service, courage and authenticity – and commit to making every decision based on it for a day or two.

The entire book is an entertaining reminder that I am not the center of the universe – and at the same time, there are plenty of new possibilities ahead.

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Beauty, Pausing, Reflection

Seeing

One of my very favourite arrivals on Sunday morning is the latest version of Brainpickings,org – Maria is an amazing curator of interesting sources of reflections on life.  And today’s talk is about busyness.

It’s interesting to read how concerned that Kierkegaard was in 1843 – complaining about people being “brisk about their food and their work”.  So it got me off the hook to spend more than three hours over a relaxing lunch saying good bye to friends who were moving soon – I wish I could say the same about the briskness of daily tasks.

Hesse is also quoted extensively today on other ways to avoid busyness – but there is one way that moving into new quarters has worked for me,  He says:

Just try it once — a tree, or at least a considerable section of sky, is to be seen anywhere. It does not even have to be blue sky; in some way or another the light of the sun always makes itself felt. Accustom yourself every morning to look for a moment at the sky and suddenly you will be aware of the air around you, the scent of morning freshness that is bestowed on you between sleep and labor. You will find every day that the gable of every house has its own particular look, its own special lighting. Pay it some heed if you will have for the rest of the day a remnant of satisfaction and a touch of coexistence with nature. Gradually and without effort the eye trains itself to transmit many small delights, to contemplate nature and the city streets, to appreciate the inexhaustible fun of daily life. From there on to the fully trained artistic eye is the smaller half of the journey; the principal thing is the beginning, the opening of the eyes.

On the first evening of daylight saving time even that sky helps take us away from our petty distractions with a moment of awe.

 

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Beauty, Pausing, Reflection, self realization

Light

candleFor most of my life I have been an inveterate self-help reader – expecting resources from the not-for-profit or the churchy world to provide the answers to my recurring shortcomings.  This isn’t totally bad but it gets complicated when I try to integrate about a dozen of the gimmicky solutions.

Most of the resources have lots in common.  The churchy world ones are often simpler and better – but they come with a lot of baggage that doesn’t make them useful in more secular settings.  So to talk about them without seeming totally arrogant is a challenge.

But here is a small one.  Silence is necessary.  Just shutting up simply allows the quantity of stuff in our minds to come to the fore.  One way to tamp it down a little is to focus on something – and a small candle helps.

This one is more than 10 years old and came from a visit with my late husband to beautiful Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC. Lighting it, looking at it and just sitting for a half hour is one way to try to move into the silence.

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Beauty, Creating, Innovation

An intimate look at design

The designer of the Olympic Cauldron talks about other designs of Heatherwick Studios and how he creates them.

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Beauty, Creating, Innovation, Reflection, vision

The Garden of Ideas

Here’s a diversion that is more than worthwhile:

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Beauty, Creating, Creativity, Innovation, purpose, self realization, Teamwork

Where arts and technology meet

This inspiring story shows how using what we have – or don’t have! – can lead us in positive new directions. It’s all about convergence of different kinds of capability coming together to produce a beautiful thing.

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Beauty

Seasonal Greetings

A quiet moment for the holiday recorded by some friends and fellow choristers with best wishes for a restful and peaceful holiday

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