Chicken Marsala Monday

A Chicken Nugget from the melange to help you start the week

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I appreciate the Chicken Nuggets – especially today’s – because I know the back story.  Without knowing where these drawings with words came from or why we took the time to develop them, they could be tossed off as so much fluff. A nice sentiment. But.

What is it to stand in another person’s shoes? To understand the feelings of another? An other. Not me. Nice sentiments are rarely easy when put into practice.

There is a direction in Empathy. It is a reach toward an other. To reach out. To reach across a boundary, seen or unseen.  To try. The direction is important to grock. ‘To understand’ is a fundamentally different thing, a radically different direction and intention than ‘trying to be understood.’ It suggests an openness to possibility, a willingness to consider. A shedding of the armor. It unlocks the magic of “what if….”

There is a big drum banging the opposite narrative – closed doors, closed ears, closed eyes. It is easy to believe that we-the-people are incapable of listening, that we are unwilling to consider and are only adept at shouting each other down. Putting each other down. Closing off. Closing down. But.

Take a walk today. Count the moments of generosity that you see. Count the times that others reach. Count the times that you reach. You might be surprised how different your actual experience is from the prevailing narrative. Human beings are, for lack of a better analogy, a pack animal. We run together. We die when we close-off. We wither when we turn in. No human being, if we are honest with each other, knows who they are absent of relationship with others. We know each other together. Reaching is what we most naturally do. We reach when we see others hurting.  We open doors. We run into burning buildings, not for ourselves, but for the sake of others. It is infinitely more common to reach than to withdraw. Fear may demand a narrative of opposition, of irreconcilable difference, of standing alone in singularly righteous shoes. But, to believe it, you’ll have to close your eyes. You’ll have to disappear in the corridors of your busy, busy mind.

Today, do what is most natural. Open your eyes. Reach out. See what they see.

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read Kerri’s thoughts on Try To See What They See

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try to see what they see ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

Taste. Test.

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

Many years ago I spent most of my time in the studio. I spent hours each day alone with my paintings and my thoughts. I’d go out at noon to get food. Later in the evening my friend Albert would meet me for coffee. He knew I would twist and fall into my self if I wasn’t forced to emerge and speak to other humans. He was right. The life of a painter is a lonely existence. In addition to my gypsy tendencies I used to tend toward the hermit and it was wise and loving friends like Albert that saved me from myself. Now my inner gadfly has the keys to my personality; I just can’t leave people alone.

I had occasion to go through old journals this afternoon. It is a quirk of mine that my personal and work journals are one-and-the-same. I’ve never understood the separation between working and not working, playing and not playing. I’ve tried to explain that to the IRS to no avail. Apparently one must separate oneself to be in compliance with the regulations. My life is my work. Megan told me that I am purpose driven and she is right. So sorting through old journals is a funny affair because I’ve collaged dream imagery with workshop notes with thoughts about paintings with personal insights with notes from calls. And, since I’ve never learned what the lines on the paper are used for, my notes go in multiple directions. Ask me which came first and I will squint and turn the journal upside down. I also noticed that I sometimes start an entry on the right hand page and then move to the left hand page – essentially moving one step back before taking two steps forward. I refuse to entertain this journal practice as a life metaphor. I intend to lie to the IRS if they ever ask me about my journaling. I am linear, linear, linear.

I opened a journal from 2009 and found this thought from Ana-The-Wise: For every child everything is new and unknown. They see with the eyes of the new and that is okay. For the child, it is all unknown and so it all must be tasted and tested.

We dull our palates. Last night in class a man asked me what is the point of courting chaos once you’ve made order of your world. He liked order. Arriving at order was his goal. I’d just finished telling the class that chaos is where innovation lives: if you are playing in the fields of the known you are not innovating. I edited my reply and stayed in the context of business and entrepreneurship. What I wanted to say was that, just as innovation, vitality and life are found in the unknown. Order is not a fixed state. It is fluid and flows toward chaos. Life is motion. Try and stop the movement and you will one day look up and wonder why your life has no meaning. You’ll wonder where you lost your passion.

Ana-The-Wise spoke truly: it is all unknown and so it must be tasted and tested. I’ve not yet lived tomorrow and I will miss it if I think I know what’s coming. There is so much to be tasted, so much that begs to be tested.

It’s About Seeing

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

The book is starting to take over. I’ve been working on it for a week or so with lots of bumps and uphill pushing. Today it announced where it wanted to go and required that I type a short prologue that I thought was post worthy:

This is a book about seeing.

Not many people see. Most people merely look. Just as most people hear but they do not listen, most people look but they do not see.

And, although this might not make sense yet, seeing has more to do with stories than it does with eyes. It works like this:

Everyone can see as a child. And then something happens. Children learn to name things with words. Then, they learn to spell the words they use to name things. Soon, they grow up and have a hard time seeing beyond their words.

It is a funny paradox about words: they can imprison your mind; they can also set you free. It all depends up how the words are used.

Artist’s and entrepreneurs share this trait: in order to master their craft they must learn to see again. And, in order to see, they must once again understand the power of their words.