There Is Wisdom In Dancing


There is wisdom in dancing

To restate an old notion: knowledge is not wisdom. And, often times, our reliance on knowledge blinds us to wisdom (for instance, passing a test has little or nothing to do with learning). My mentors taught me that the toughest thing in life to master is relationship. The reason: relationship is at the heart of everything we do whether we acknowledge it or not. Life IS a relationship. Education, business, art, spirituality, leadership, management, self love, economics, agriculture, kindness, gratitude… are all relationship skills. Wisdom is found in the fields beyond your thinking. Get onto the floor of life and dance.


Update Your Model

InfinityI laughed when I read this phrase on Skip’s Power Point presentation:

“All models are false. However, some are useful.” Alan Kay

I spent years of my life reading books built upon the thought models of thinkers, consultants, physicists, mathematicians, artists, business people and spiritual thinkers. None of the models was true. Many contradicted other models. Models are only useful if they help us make sense of our days on this planet.

Culture is a thought model. Travel to another culture and you’ll spend some time being disoriented because you will have entered a different model for sense making. For instance, some cultures/models place the accent on the individual and others place it on the group. I come from a culture that celebrates the individual and my world was rocked in a culture that celebrates the group; the model was so different that I could not sense make anything and fell head long into “not knowing.” While stumbling about unable to make sense of the world, I saw my own cultural model for what it is: a useful model – not truth.

Art, in most of Western culture, is considered important if it breaks or disturbs the model. In most Eastern cultures art is considered important if it supports the model.  Neither is truth. Neither is right. Both are useful for sense making if you understand the model.

Language is a model. It is very useful model, wouldn’t you agree? Wade Davis is sounding an important alarm that is going mostly unnoticed: we are losing languages faster than species are going extinct. Each language lost is more than a lost collection of words; a language lost is an entire world lost. It is a mythology lost. A language lost is a way of seeing and engaging with the mystery that is lost. What is useful and unknowable (un-see-able) to other languages/models is lost forever.

Religion is a model. Science creates and constantly revises its models. Religion could learn a thing or two from science (and vice versa). Maps are models. For a terrific book on mind models, get Charles Hampden-Turner’s, Maps Of The Mind.

A study of history is a study of models that served as sense makers for a time but collapsed under the weight of updates. For instance, no explorer ever sailed off the edge of the world despite the unassailable model of the day. It turns out that the sun does not rotate around the earth though many people were hushed and crushed for going against the model of their day. Newton showed us that space and time were fixed and Einstein showed us that space and time are not only fluid but connected.

We get into trouble when we confuse our models with truth. No model is true. No model is right. This applies especially to the models that we carry within us: the mind models that lead us to believe that, “I can’t do it…” are false. My favorite model that is mistaken for truth shows up like this: “I’m not creative.” That is a model that is both false and not very useful. What might you need to do to reconsider your model and accept an update?

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Exit The Circle

Mind Chatter

Mind Chatter

Jen came over today. She is taking a photography class and her assignment this week is to take pictures of people. She is working on mastering depth of field and introduced me to my favorite new term: circle of confusion (note: depth of field is also a great term but is less ominous!). I spent several minutes reading definitions for circle of confusion. This is the kind of stuff I encountered:

A lens cannot resolve a point exactly. Instead it creates a small circle of light called the ‘Circle of Confusion’ (from

What does that mean? In my search for definitions of ‘circle of confusion’ I entered a circle of confusion! I kept digging and I learned that the term predates photography and originated in the study of optics. So, this is my stab at defining a circle of confusion for myself: my eye (or a camera lens) breaks an image into dots and the dots can never be completely focused. So, each dot is rimmed with a circle of light. In an image that appears to be completely focused, the light circle is very, very small so the dots are closer together and make a sharp image. In an image that appears unfocused, the light circle is large so the dots are farther apart, making a fuzzy image. This circle of light is called a circle of confusion, a blur circle, or a blur spot.

The greater the circle of light around the dot, the greater the potential for confusion. What a fantastic metaphor! The same concept applies to the imagination. I have friends who’ve always known what they wanted to become when they grew up. They had a sharp, clear picture of what they wanted to do with their lives. They imagined a clear, focused target-life. For instance, when I was in college, my best friend Roger knew that he wanted to direct plays and, more specifically, he wanted to direct plays at The Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts. Thirty years later, Roger has spent his career at PCPA directing plays. His actions were distinctly aimed at a very clear image-target. He did not spend much time wondering what he wanted to do with his life. Roger has lived with a smaller circle of confusion than most of us.

The metaphor could also be applied this way: If people were dots, the circle of light surrounding them would be their mind chatter. The greater the mind-chatter the greater the circle of light, the greater is the potential for confusion. Buck Busfield used to say of people with loud mind-chatter, “That guy has a big dog barking in his head.” The Buddhists call mind-chatter, “monkey mind.” A person with monkey mind is a person with a large circle of confusion; their dots can’t focus through the noise. Victim stories come with lots of mind chatter. So do blame stories or a fix-it mentality.

When we see and own our choices, we reduce the size of our circle of confusion. That’s how choice works. When we invest in stories like, “I have to…,” or “I should…,” stories that lead us to believe that we have no choice, we amplify our circle of confusion. Embracing our choices makes intentions clear. Embracing our choices clarifies our life-target. The noise in our minds quiets. It’s an equation: own your choices and your mind quiets. There’s less division in a mind that says, “I choose,” so there is less need for inner debate. If you want to exit your circle of confusion, start by seeing how vast is your capacity for choice.

Go here to get my latest book, The Seer: The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Artist, Visionary, title_pageSeeker, Learner, Leader, Creator…You.

Or, go here for hard copies