Heed The Thwack [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

Have a Drink

It occurs to me now that Marilyn J. was thwacking me on the back of the head. In her comment about my post, AGREE TO DISAGREE, she mirrored back to me something I have taught: without an antagonist there is no story. Without an obstacle there is nothing to drive the story forward. Marilyn was reminding me of two things. First,  the antagonists in my story were giving me fuel for forward movement. Second, that in my post, I was pushing against what I don’t like. She was reminding me that productive movement is toward what I wish to create rather than resisting what I do not want.

We have a new phrase in our lexicon though it feels ancient: social distancing. In thinking about what Marilyn wrote to me I have decided the real social distancing that we are experiencing has less to do with stay at home orders or six feet of space or wearing masks; it is about the distance between the world inhabited by the red and the world inhabited by the blue. They are, I believe, no longer merely divided, they are distinctly separate realities. What makes sense in one reality looks like utter nonsense in the other.

I just took a dive into quotes by E.O. Wilson. He wrote something about brilliant enemies and I wanted to find it: “Without a trace of irony I can say that I have been blessed with brilliant enemies. I owe them a great debt, because they redoubled my energies and drove me in new directions.”

This is point of Marilyn’s head thwack. Redouble your energies. There is no denying that my daily disbelief at the malignant narcissist and his propaganda machine is driving me in new and as yet unknown directions. It has filled me with fear for my family and friends. It is also filling me with energy and it is up to me to live what I believe and use my redoubled energy to move toward what I desire to create rather than become “the thing hate:” an angry absolutist incapable of listening. A resister. An energy eddy.

Or, as Saul-the-Tai-Chi-Master so often reminded me, “Look beyond the obstacle to the field of possibilities.” That is where all of life is truly found.

[note: if you want to feel good about humanity or just need some perspective in the time of pandemic, Google quotes by E.O. Wilson. Or, better yet, since we are in this for a while read one of his books].

 

read Kerri’s blog post on this NOT SO FLAWED WEDNESDAY

 

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Chicken Marsala Monday

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Once, during a particularly dreadful  and seemingly eternal period of lost-ness in my life, fully indulging in my panic of not knowing what to do or which direction to go, Rob gave me some world-class advice. He said, “When you are lost in the woods the best thing to do is stop and sit still.” In other words, the first thing to do is to stop doing anything at all. Just stop. The first step in finding where you are is simply to stop trying to be somewhere else. I laughed out loud.

Be here. Now, you know where you are! The problem of lost-ness is solved. Breathe a bit.  Take in the unknown sights and listen. Direction and/or clarity are more likely to become available after a good still-sit.

SOMETIMES WHEN YOU ARE LOST… merchandise/still-sit reminders

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read Kerri’s thought’s on lostness and sitting still

 

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…it’s best to stop and sit still ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

Row

may-you-be-small-crop-jpegSometimes the way forward is akin to rowing a boat: facing backward is the only way to get proper leverage. Today, to stir my pot, to get some leverage and new energy, I revisited three books that I wrote but never published (or limply offered to a tiny audience). It was a revelation. It’s as if the man who wrote those books in the past meant for me to read them today. The man who wrote them was not ready or clear enough to birth them. The man who read them today knows just what to do (including rewrite some odd bits). Here is the introduction to the first of the three books:

I’ve generally stepped in every pothole, tripped over every opportunity, broken the family dishes, and made every mistake a person can make. I feel fortunate to be alive. I used to try and hide the mess behind a veneer of “knowing.” Eventually I realized that in order to find what I was seeking I had to stop pretending that I knew what I was doing. I didn’t. I now recognize that the more I learn, the less I know. Life is not about knowing stuff. Life is vibrant when engaging with the un-known. Seeking is messy business. Being human is messy business. To pretend otherwise is…well, to pretend.

One day, while exhausting myself pretending, I realized that I was telling myself a story of fear. I realized that I was the only person invested in my fear story. I realized that I’d cast all the other people in my story as dangerous characters. I believed that if they really knew me they’d shame me. I realized that I was the only person in my story feeling pain, frustration and exhaustion. So, why was I telling myself this story? This was not the story that I wanted my life to tell. That day I began changing my story.

At some point, each of us comes face-to-face with the story of our lives. When we do, we have the choice to retreat further into hiding or to take off the mask, turn around, and walk toward the thing we fear the most. This is to seek the bear.

Every human being who has walked the face of the earth has come to the same crossroad; those that faced their bear left behind clues about how to do it. They left us messages about how best to stop hiding, how to turn and walk toward fear, what to do when it is time to stand in front of the bear’s cave and how to welcome the encounter. The clues and messages are found in the stories they left for us. The stories are maps for navigating our inner geography.

Our ancestors understood that stories are a participation sport. Our lives are mirrored in the tale of adventure. We know what to do in our personal story because we identify with the heroine/hero in the story. Their journey of transformation is a guide to our journey of transformation. Their follies and foibles give coherence and direction to our messy passage. Their death and rebirth is a map for our death and rebirth. Their story is a call for us to step more fully into our adventure-story.

As is true in all life-lessons, it’s a perfect loop. I’m back where I started (apparently) only with new eyes and a few more years of experience. Order from chaos, chaos from order, I suspect we are all, one way or another, rowing in a perfect circle.circle-peace-earth-jpeg

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Hold The Image

692. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

I’ve shared this image with k.erle a day ago, and with my class this morning and it feels like some kind of message. I can’t shake the image because it is speaking to me. Some images are powerful that way. This image wants me to pay attention. It is the image of the Wayfinder.

I came across the image in Wade Davis’ book, The Wayfinder. The title refers to the navigator in a traditional Polynesian canoe, sitting in the bow, sensing and reading the waves, the air, the stars, the rings of the moon, but mostly, the navigator holds in her mind the image of the island that they are attempting to find. Wade Davis writes that, according to the Polynesian belief, the canoe is still in the water and the Island finds them. The power of the Wayfinders’ image calls the island to them. They must simply point their canoe in the proper direction while the Wayfinder holds the image.

I ask myself as I sit in the bow of my canoe, what image do I hold? What island do I draw to myself? In my urban ocean have I developed the sensitivity to read the currents, the subtleties of energy in the waves that help me point my craft in the direction of the island that rushes from the future to meet me? Or am I out to sea? This ocean is vast. I have an image for home, a smell, a taste, an undeniable energy that makes me shake when I allow myself to fully feel it, and in the midst of this vast ocean I am taking my cue from the Wayfinders to remain still and know that the power and potency of my image will soon call my island home to me.