From Hull, Hell and Handicrafts

G. Perry crop

I really enjoyed meeting everyone at The Fourth National Cancer Conference in Hull last week. It was my University town, not my birthplace but nevertheless a formative place I have many fond memories of.

There were a few familiar faces from the world of palliative care I used to inhabit and some really exciting new ideas and themes that resonated with me. It was the first time I had had the opportunity to share Disentangling Genius with a professional audience and as a keynote speaker. If I could only have seen this coming all those years ago as a frustrated artist and idealistic nurse who felt lost in the increasingly complex and process driven world of healthcare and a hellish time of personal disorientation.

Yes, I am happy to say there are many voices appealing for such spiritual qualities as “love” and “comfort” in our work with patients.

One speaker was a patient who appealed for “compassionate ordinariness”. Another, David Sheard the CEO of Dementia Care Matters lit up the audience with his passion for the vulnerable and our ability to meet and connect with a dementia patient on a truly imaginative and emotional level.

As if I had needed to worry whether the healthcare-orientated crowd would “get” my cause for creative expression and each person’s uniquely contributing genius. I had wondered how the audience would react to my meandering tale of recovery from hellish frustration, a slide of Grayson Perry’s Tom Rakewell tapestry, Jackson Pollock’s paint blotches and an appeal to “Live Full, Die Empty”.

One or two were stunned, a couple of educationalists intrigued and a few fresh student nurses visibly excited about the passion and vulnerability of my own story. I hope they felt inspired to continue in their unfolding dream to be real game changers as nurses in a demanding time for their profession. The overall plea coming from the platform was a resounding appeal to be real, to own who we are and equally honour our stories and our humanity as professionals as much as our patients.

If anything, this year I am learning to embrace more fully than ever, the combination of work and play that is my chosen lifestyle. As I continue my practise as a nurse and choose to have the margin I make to write, to teach and create exciting learning experiences, I am more content than I have ever been. In fact I have almost lost track of whether writing or nursing are work or play, or whether either of them could be both! That’s quite a liberating place to be. No longer trying to escape a day job for a dream job but living purposefully for today with a sharp eye on where each moment is taking me. What an adventure!

And one of my next adventures will be the teleconferencing coaching I aim to deliver over 8 weeks as a high value peer learning opportunity for the frustrated mid-lifer, the weary pioneer or deflated dreamer. Come on, let’s pick up that passion and run for a new season of genius creativity in our lives and relationships!

Click here for tickets…………..

Also check in at my facebook fan page
https://www.facebook.com/sevenknotsoffrustration

Don’t forget to “Get Unknotted”

Gill

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Three quick tips to avoid the trap of tick-boxing

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Three ways to get out of “another fine mess I got me into”

Imagine you have just made a really dumb mistake.

Like deleting and trying to retrieve day’s worth of laborious data entry. You will know the feeling ……it’s like unscrambling this brainteaser puzzle below without a pen!

You have to do it mentally without leaving any guiding marks on the paper. (And you must not mentally cross any other mental tracks, And you’re tired, and the light is dim).

scrambled lines (2)

 

I feel befuddled at the very thought! And that’s only in 2D. Then there’s internet marketing!

“Why, when  I try so hard to do this stuff, can’t I get it right?”

Is that what you whisper under your breath?

Perhaps you are a Dominant or Inspirational, or a Plant or Team-Player? Whenever you do one of those personality or leadership assessment style tests, do you feel just a little comforted by your summary? (If it’s what you expect I guess so). It’s very liberating to know what you are best at. And a bit disheartening if you need to offload an awful lot of the things you are not good at.

There’s an odd thing about most of you. (Whether you are “top of the wave” big-picture visionaries or into cautious detail and directions).

Yes, YOU REALLY LOVE LISTS.

Because of one of these , I had a sensible plan to out-source something I was avoiding. It was a daunting task for me.

Yes, I would pay someone else to migrate and blend a blog and a website into one home. Valuing my time and their skill I could have the pleasure of doing something else with them!

In a week it would all be streamlined and integrated! Great!

Blog self-hosted TICK

Website refreshed TICK

All hyperlinks tested TICK

Ultimately email list growth TICK

Well it didn’t work like that. The first seller freaked me out by directly asking for my Paypal details so I aborted that transaction.

The second one was mysteriously removed from the (shall remain unnamed) marketplace platform before my task was through, leaving me with NO original content and no new website. I did what I never wanted to do. I had to ask for generous support from a virtual friend to retrieve and re-direct everything back to where it started. Nine days locked out of webmail later and $40 lighter, I was SO tempted to repeat the mantra.

“Why, when  I try so hard to do this stuff, can’t I get it right?”

Yet, my list was covered in ticks!

Anyone that has attempted to unscramble their stuff knows how therapeutic it can be to write a list.

But the list isn’t the end, it’s a means to an end. And if working through a list means you skate over the task in hand then the list is a mockery of your intentions.

Make it a list of interdependent technical tasks and for creatives like me-you have a recipe for disorientation right there!

So to a favourite quote,

A threefold cord is not easily broken

However, a threefold cord in the wrong combination can be carefully disentangled.

To re-state and straighten out everything, just to be clear, here are the essential and effective list-maker’s three interdependent strands of a nearly indestructible cord of creation.

  • Lists should serve the intention (that’s why we have listservers)
  •  The intention should simplify the list (don’t even list the things that you don’t HAVE to or WANT to do)
  •  Thirdly, and where I had it wrong this time, YOU be that list-server or simplifier for someone else and those people will start to show up for you too!

Now I want to get you my my fun, free Mini Three-fold List check pdf

So here’s my dilemma.

I could spend more than half a day poring over the intricacies by which I can get you on my email list. And if I work really hard at stuff I’m not good at, I might get a clickable image here to send you to a contact form on my (recovered) website. There you subscribe and automatically receive a responder with a link to the URL of my dropbox saved freemium gift.

Wow! Instant for you, painstaking for me.

Or we could do something a bit different, trust each other and I simply ask you anyway to visit the site, subscribe, download it and take it from there. A simple service for those who really intend to do something with it!

Thanks, Gill

Three invaluable benefits of hindsight (As If you already have it)

 

Dentdale

I’ve been inexcusably quiet on the blog front. There was a reason though.

As If, is my next book. And I’m learning to tie it to the blog as a win-win for us all.

It is due late 2016 and I’m giving an early taster here for first readers….Next book- free chapter

Today I’m releasing the first publically available partial chapter for my readers. I look forward to conversation about the key theme RETROSPECTIVE FAITH.

With all its invaluable hindsight, we are visiting today from the future.

We would all love to reduce the likelihood of the really expensive mistakes we make in our lives. They are decisions of direction, withdrawal and investment. Be they decisions about our time, money or energy, we tend to approach these pressure points with heady delusion, imagined invincibility, fearful damage-limitation or potentially out-dated and irrelevant second-hand advice.

Here’s a thought.

What If you could look into your future with the benefit of hindsight?

Let’s do it.

Let’s zoom in now on a chat between me and my future great granddaughter Trea. This one took place in 2054-

What are you Grami?” asks Trea, my seven -year old great-granddaughter.

(She is in complete ignorance of the enormity of this simple question).

We are sharing an ice-cream treat in the retro dairy creamery where historical narratives of the 20th Century rural and waterway industries are exhibited. Trea is wondering who I would choose to be, of any character in the whole world. I glance at her talented drawings of fantastic creatures and smile. Our leisurely setting and my characteristically philosophical interpretation of her question is an irresistible trigger for reflection.

Am I a product of what I did? Who I knew? Or where I went or what I desired? She has me thinking and whilst she entertains herself with animated drawings of Specio the morphing magician I ponder at the possible answers I might give.

I cast my mind back to the flurry of inspiration that was the time when I wrote my first book “Disentangling Genius”. Maybe this would be my last: a book end of the first? The start of my life as an author had been cathartic, an exciting and interactive process. Yet, I had always been a writer and had known this all along.

Disentangling Genius

Three main strands were described in that book, in which I took stock of a frantically frustrated life.

A black, nightmare strand of fear had almost wrecked my sanity. Eventually it redeemed itself as strength, clarity and a just return of all my perseverance. Then there was the red strand of self-conscious embarrassment that I finally re-interpreted as blood-red boldness and daring. Thirdly, I unpicked the bright green of demanding and overwhelming responsibility.

By my mid-forties this tangled trio of colours had matted and caught on the spinning wheel of my life and I had had to cut loose, pay attention to the series of knots, gently coax, lean into and loosen the snags. The rest of my life had been a faithful and more selective design of these threads. Oh, and the green thread…it became the soft green element of recreation and playfulness. Surely this was the perfect complement to the courage of maturity!

Trea certainly thinks so.

Here I am in May, 2054. I am a re-created artefact of all of those things. The threads were essentially tangled unwise choices I made, based on presumption, imagination and even fear. Later, converting these knots more effectively into hope, faith and sometimes inspired risk, my patterns and rhythms changed.

Who does that make me?

It makes me the person I have become, at eighty-nine. Perhaps not who I thought I would be; perhaps someone better than I ever would have been. Certainly better than I fundamentally believed I was. So what beliefs did I hold about me for so many years that brought me here? What beliefs could sharp little Trea do well to uphold if she aspires to everything she can be?

God is watching us, God is watching us,

God is watching us from a distance”.

She gently sings.as she concentrates on a scribbling a fantastical feathered headdress.

Never liked that song! I think.

Any developed sense I now cherish of an intimately familiar and loving God is not exactly helped by the thought of Him peering over the lip of a cloud bank with sniper-like binoculars trained on us. As if she can read my thoughts, Trea looks up earnestly and appeals “How can God be with us if He’s distant?”

hat is how this account began; how I explain God can be watching us from a distance and yet, with us. Intimately involved with us in the creation or re-creation of our lives.

And that leads us neatly to the three benefits of hindsight

  1. We get to realise what we are ultimately here for
  2. We then intuitively know which decisions take us there
  3. We will rapidly recognise exactly who is meant to be going with us

Now, here’s your chance to feedback on the concept of As If, my next book. Written with the benefit of hindsight, as if I am elderly, this is a pilgrimage imagined through the eyes of my future self as I remember my lessons in conversation with Trea.

I would love to test/crowd-source readers’ responses to this extract of the book that is coming out before Christmas 2016.

For a further free chapter please sign up for my newsletter below and by doing so, give permission to collect your email address and become part of the pre-launch blog conversation and an invitation to be part of the launch team (with benefits).

Click here button image

 

Why I was fidgeting in 2015 and deluded about 2016!

unskilfulness

As everyone on the planet is doing today, I am about to offer my best wishes for a new and improved upgrade on 2015!

So was 2015 an upgrade on 2014?

For me, I really couldn’t say it was overall. Though it has had its moments of joy and defeat as every year does. The cycle of life often takes very elliptical turns and twists. We really cannot assume anything.

Yet, Hope does spring eternal and is always backed by good intentions and relevant effort for the most part. However, my challenge is always to manage that precariously fine balance of effort and expectation with gratitude and contentment.

Storm of Frankness

We just suffered a battering in the UK by Storm Frank that brought flooding and devastation to thousands of homes and livelihoods. Now, allow me to be frank as I too had my own little personal disruption. Unpleasant and yet refreshing, I now have a chance to tackle life with new vigour.

Let me admit it. I may have written a book on the subject. I may be the “Unravelling Frustration Guru” to some and I had a still deeper lesson into its cycles of intrusion coming. To me.

Yes, I still battle with this sucker.

To add context, I’ll explain that my rude awakening relates to my secret name Sought-After Dares. This identity was discovered through a defining moment upon reading Your Secret Name in 2011. You can download that story here.

Yet again, among the leftovers of Christmas, I was examining my persistent lack of breakthrough in life.

I was deeply challenged by my listening friend who actually suggested that even in my very deliberate and diligent efforts I was somewhat self-deluded.

Wham! That hurt!

(Who knows that wounds from a friend are invaluable, far more precious than kisses from an enemy?)

Why indeed do I, (and possibly you) work so hard, with so little breakthrough? In fact I encounter some disproportionate and unbelievable setbacks and U-turns. I suddenly flashed back: I was about seven years old, sent to my room as was common discipline after many childish mishaps. It broke my heart that for long hours no one came to me to resolve the situation.

No One Comes

So I realised a pattern, a glaringly obvious one.

I drive forward to a point in effort, or an investigation then I stop short of a breakthrough.

I eventually turn to prayer but do I really push in an invested way?

No!

The implementation or follow through on my dreams and desires is tantalising. Yet despite starting with vigour, I retreat because I have learned that “no one comes”.

It isn’t that I give up easily.

That’s what makes this insight so gut wrenching.

I strain, I strive and overwork without great results because I don’t first gain that definitive “Yes” in my spirit that is so hard to reach. So I go about doing it anyway.

In those days when I was banished to my room I used to have to entertain myself. I learned to be very self-sufficient and creative with the limited resources in my room.

So now, you see, when I get no breakthrough, I am setting about entertaining myself in busyness.

For a very purpose driven character, this is quite shocking to realise. I would never want to just “fill time”. However, somewhere I lost the balance between learning and acting.

This failure to thrive is costing me dearly. And so in transparency today, without self-pity or even wanting to disclose this stuff for the sake of it I ask,

“Can you and I be real this year, share burdens, hopes and dreams, cut the niceties and ask honestly How are  you doing and maybe how are you “not doing?”

Let’s think before we all send out our NYE greetings into crowded cyberspace. Before we casually wish everyone the best for 2016 with back slapping and tipsy hugs at midnight.

No fidgeting

Be such a friend that you will say the hard stuff and stand with one another through its aftermath?

Find a true friend, an accountability partner or group, and the fun takes care of itself.

A Truthful, Authentic New Year to you and yours!

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A Holi Life!

An explosion of colour

I have a friend who honestly and humbly told me recently that all they really ever hoped of life was to love and feel loved, a sense of belonging and to be able to make a real personal contribution.  I think this is a very clear and honest take upon what lies behind most of the complexity of what we DO or say we want to BE or HAVE.

And I truly believe that we only really have what we are free to give away unreservedly! What is really ours flows unfettered and infinitely and therefore freely

Lifted

As an artist and creative, I have often been heard to say jokingly “I could get high on colour”.

To browse a draper’s, stationary or wallpaper store is invigorating for me! I can still imagine the sweetish smell of powder paint rationed out into palettes at infant school. Six neat pyramids of a simple selection were shaken out for us to mix and dissolve with our oversized bristle brushes.  With paints akin to the powdered pigments sold for participants of the traditional Indian Holi festival, we too celebrated the arrival of spring and the sheer joy of life and carefree fun as kindergarten kids.

holi

Bringing out the God-colours

There is a Christian perspective I subtly point to in this blog from which the blog and brand emerged. So I know of a comedian, itinerant speaker and actually yes, an evangelist who spoke this summer at the world famous performance festival, the Edinburgh Fringe. In itself this is an incredible scoop.  To have been billed, in our secular society as a so -called “religious” person is testament to the real diligence Mark has applied to his art, his deep love for people and gifted communication with them.

This entertaining and ardent guy used a fabulous phrase in his presentation from the very readable Bible version called The Message.  Speaking of the believer’s certain influence as a light in a prominent place, we are to bring our God-colours out, he enthused, with abandonment and generosity.

He was contrasting what is commonly mistaken to be the church; a closed, preoccupied club whose members gather like art critics around a masterpiece.  They describe in obscure words and exclusive language  the merits a particular art piece may have.

Instead, we are to be an explosion of God-colours, a dynamic and expressive living art installation!

It gives me pleasure when the comment arises, to refute the suggestion that I may be “religious“. As much pleasure as it would give to be able to throw some powder-paint around in a white room for the sheer joy of it!

Instead of following a dot-to dot or colour by numbers scripted canvas!

Isn’t this releasing of colour (or disentangling of inner genius as I would call it) a wonderful picture of the sum of our parts?  All are contributing to make a whole; a unique and momentary experiential explosion of colour.  We land or settle in one another’s lives……creating remarkable effects and joyous expressions of temporary art!

 holi 2

And I hope that with as much sensitivity as Mark Ritchie would exercise, I will be hosting my very own fringe event in November!

This is for those who are eager to be honest with themselves, explore, identify and give liberal expression to their own unique colour.

I am SO excited that you could be one of this special group who recognise their core genius and start to know HOW, WHEN and WHERE to export their WHAT and WHY and with WHOM they will do so!

Click here to find out more. I can’t wait for this Holi-day (white room permitting).

Second-hand lessons from first-hand failures

Safety

This is a sobering poster, seen in a classroom used regularly by safety trainers for the offshore oil industry.

Have you ever had to teach or been taught from someone else’s notes? It can be stilted, awkward and lacklustre, however thorough your preparation is.  Ah, there’s nothing like working with your own interpretation of a subject in any teaching situation!

Thoughts of my earliest attempts to teach the physiology of pain now make me smile. I once created an elaborate poster/collage of washing line nerves running into a transverse section of a cabbage for a brain. I was full of imagination and enthusiasm, very much deceived by the need to feel like an expert in my subject.

At the same time I was in awe of a slightly older, more seasoned teacher and trainer called Janis.  She was able to walk into a roomful of learners, quickly assess their relevant needs and seemingly, effortlessly pull exactly the right material from her toolbox of knowledge, models, tools, analogies, anecdotes and research-based findings.

Just the other day, a good 23 years on from those clumsy lessons of mine, I had a realisation that now I was doing just that! And I probably have been for quite some time! Wow Janis would have been proud of me!  I was authentically confident because I was making an opportunity to work with my own material arising from my own experience written in my own words with my own lived examples! Teaching doesn’t get better than that!

How had this happened?

This was once the schoolgirl swot, so entrenched in her narrow field of “A” level subjects that she gained a “D” in General Studies (only able to hazard guesses at the multiple choice language comprehension  by reading the questions).  How did I ever come to the point of even a fighting chance at identifying a correct “Pointless”* answer (on occasions)?

It’s a fair trade-off.

I suppose its called experience. Not just the passage of time, though that happens, but accurate interpretation of it. What someone of my age might lack in energy and zeal, they should by now have acquired in knowledge, understanding and wisdom.

This is how I experienced a wonderful thing last month whilst teaching a small group of women about the Knot of Stuntedness. Something far more invigorating than physical energy kicked in. Something like a mixture of conviction, fluency, volume and authenticity synched at a new level and I knew that I was experiencing a flow of passion that came from my story, my survival, my singularity.

This group of girls with life-controlling issues and the high degree of brokenness within the room were sucking the life out of me! It was marvellous and I recognised the moment where I received a desire of my heart that had lain unanswered for many years.  I was able to exercise my gift almost unconsciously with passion!

Second-hand zeal?

I craft lessons I want to share and I labour over discovery of principles for others’ fulfilment. I long for it to be possible to gain and help others gain THAT kind of convergence about things they have simply read or watched or heard about. The hard fact is that my nuggets are no more accessible than anyone else’s!

The truth is that we humans are really poor at learning from those that go before us.  We tend to have to make the mistakes for ourselves in order to experience first-hand pain of failure and attunement to further risk.

So why do I keep putting myself in a roomful of learners? 

Sometimes they are hungry; sometimes unconvinced. Why do I work to build rapport with strangers who may find my thoughts remarkable or unfathomable (I never know, until I walk in that door, which “example” it will be, which “disclosure” it will take or how long it might require to move anyone from start to finish!) Or whether anyone is already past start or even finish!

And what then? I may be thanked, forgotten or fooled by the whole experience. Ultimately I believe that even if I can’t help others learn from what is to them my second hand failures, I can help them efficiently recognise and grow up from their own.

First-hand.

Recognising that we are not failures but we can choose to be formed by failure.

Recognising that frustration can actually be our friend and not our enemy.

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*”Pointless” is a UK, TV general knowledge game show in which the prize-winner is able to pick an answer that is  correct, the most obscure possible by not already having been mentioned in a previous poll of 100 people.

History Re-interprets itself!

clocks

I’m going deep into time today….History and Future!

There’s a word that I rarely used until fairly recently when a business friend of mine brought it squarely into my conscious vocabulary. This business friend has invested years of study into the design of a problem solving framework. It offers a fun and playful approach to deep and thorny issues in transitioning anything from corporate change to family priorities.

Wikipedia describes this word “Iteration”

An iteration is the next thing that comes out of the last thing! Ad infinitum.

And if you ask me, the cycles keep speeding up.  It is the act of repeating a process with the aim of approaching a desired goal, target or result. Each repetition of the process is also called an “iteration”, and the results of one iteration are used as the starting point for the next iteration. (By the way, I call it the Flow of Fruition!) Going back to my friend, he refers often to the knotty concept of emergence in a 21st century world of continual iteration.

Our lives and modern world are filled with vulnerability, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. It becomes more and more obvious to me that nothing seems to be sacred in a continual evolution of comment and challenge, response and recoil, adaptation and compromise.

Even when something is sacred (like faith, hope and love) we still attempt to credibly repackage and re-vamp! We haven’t yet had the verb “re-pimp” but that will probably be the next thing!

Learning; recycling mistakes

Let’s take learning to sew for instance.

It is a fine motor skill refined through iteration after iteration of one common mistake after another. Each is repeatedly corrected until basic skills become fluency and fluency finally turns into mastery.

1. First you thread the needle clumsily. Later, with accurate eye-hand co-ordination

2. Then you learn how to make the essential knot or anchor of the first stitch. Without this, your stitches are merely fleeting, temporary and pointless.

3. You might carelessly lose the thread a couple of times until you ALSO learn to keep enough margin threaded through the eye.

4. You start to handle the fabric, needle and thread with dexterity, without injury or force.

5. You create a useful object, secure attachment or decorative feature without ugly distortion or puckering.

Simple! Yet not easy

What teaches you all this? Only painful first hand experience.

Such as the frustration of seeing the needle’s eye pop through the fabric too many times without its coloured train of thread!

The bloodstain of a tender thumb-prick.

Or the unwanted creases of a sweaty, crumpled sample

The legendary treaty

Last Monday something both historic and fresh caught my attention. An exhibition of The Magna Carta is currently showing in The British Library on the 800th anniversary of its signing in 1215.

A piece of art was commissioned and created as a 2015 anniversary memorial to the original landmark document in its 800th year. (Those of you who have read my book Disentangling Genius know that I have both a fascination for people who have found their niche and those who still need to i.e. all humans generally! Especially the artistically inclined.)

So on Monday, when I discovered the current exhibit by Cornelia Parker, a British sculptor and installation artist, I was intrigued by this major piece of work and it’s embedded (or I should say embroidered, symbolism). This encounter continued to play with my thoughts throughout the rest of the week. Every time I saw the pamphlet left on the dining table, that I had picked up in the British Library, I was conscious it had something to say to me.

The original Charter was a necessary and wise restraining order of the most corrupt King’s rule, England’s people had endured. The clergy, noblemen and commoners worked quickly to protect their individual rights and freedoms which were very fragile in thirteenth century England. As a result of oppression, cruelty and the whims of a weak and cowardly ruler this bold step hastened the establishment of personal freedom and legal justice under the increasingly threatening and tyrannical rule of King John.

Our value as citizens established and re established

Cornelia Parker has re-created the digital Wikipedia page about the historic Magna Carta as a 13m long fabric. The commissioned embroidery has been completed by over 200 people. In an intriguing twist, the majority of the piece has been completed by prisoners, punctuated occasionally by one word or phrase contributions from many representatives of the Magna Carta’s legal clout such as civil liberty campaigners, judges, barristers, diplomats and Members of parliament. I love the fact that the original charter has been reinterpreted intricately in embroidery as a piece of communal creativity by incarcerated lawbreakers alongside those who represent the arm of the law. It is as if it were for them an act of contrition and reconciliation.

Sew…..

I want to ask you today, what would it take to create the next iteration of YOU?

What will be in keeping with the old and what will emerge as a new development?

What is your commentary?

And what new medium of the old version will you be exhibiting?

How will you reinterpret your personal history meaningfully for yourself and the masses?

Illustration

Did you see the viral clip this last week of the American barrister who recognised her captor in the dock as a middle school peer during the issue of her verdict?

Just imagine yourself some years down the line, the presiding judge as one version of your future self. You are delivering a verdict to the accused who is another version of your future self.

What is going on between them?

Maybe you can start reinterpreting your history and re-designing your future!

A Treat for The Senses

 

tyre play

(I’ve got something planned for you)

One of my sayings when conversation moves to one’s typically favourite “buzz” is

“I could get high on colour”.

For that reason I enjoy exhibitions, artwork, textiles, stationary displays, architecture, wild meadows, gardens and shop windows!

As a small child I would often arrange my Platignum felt tip pens in colours of the rainbow. I was conscious of the “eccentric” individuals who seemed to have no sense of colour, wondering at their ignorance of rules of matching dress code taught by my mum.

 “A contrast is better than a bad match” she would say, or

“Never wear orange and pink” (Although this was the seventies)

or even “blue and green should never be seen”.

Yet nature herself breaks all these rules!

And so do children when left to their own devices!

I remember once discussing with and testing a bright little five year old friend on her shape recognition.  When presented with a hexagon she proclaimed confidently “That’s a bee’s house”.

What a wonderful and truthful perspective!

Picasso once said

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

This is my fascination.

Given that we are born innately gifted (and I do believe this) some kind of layering upon layering, binding and tying, distorting and disturbing of an underlying genius has taken place.  As clumsy dismissals or criticism, pre-fixed aspirations are externally applied to us. Or outright discouragement takes place and we quickly lose the natural and unself-conscious expression of who we are.

Our child prodigies may simply be those whose genius was correctly and intensely nurtured!

However, for most of us the revealing of our artisan soul, as Erwin MacManus calls it, will be an intentional extraction process that can be daunting at the very least.

That is why art is esteemed. It is exacting of us personally. And sometimes takes a little kickstart.

And that is why I esteem and honour the precious work of finding and revealing your authentic inner genius. It’s sometimes frustrating.  I am intimately familiar with that myself and so I invest the shared compassion I feel for the caught, tied and even sedated who hardly dare believe they can face another potentially fruitless attempt at self-actualisation!

I’m taking a big risk here

I have already booked a superb venue this August.  It will be a feast for the senses and a safe, supportive environment.  There I will re-introduce you to the unwrapped, unchoked version of yourself, awaken the hope that you are still worthy of the fight to express yourself in a pure and childlike way.

Indulgent?

Does this sound selfish?

Perhaps so but not compared with indulging complacency or reluctance to use what you have in the interests of natural health, wellbeing, even a much greater good. Which you will easily stick at!

Because it is YOUR personal seam of wealth both to exploit and export.

If you read my book Disentangling Genius you will have come across Ruth the Yorkshire wool expert who has dedicated her life to the passion for natural fibre and all things crafty.

A showcase of talents

Today and tomorrow she has one of the many stalls at The Annual Woolfest in Cockermouth, Cumbria where the simply curious mingle with the dedicated spinners, knitters, felters and weavers.

(They are the ones in exquisite shawls or crochet patch applique jeans!).

They are the ones who got past the norm, the opinion, repetitive TV, rules of fashion and mass production, to export something unique and inherently valuable.

Do you want to get past all that and get in touch with the yearning to create? Click and follow the link to learn more of how!

I would love to help you experience life as you were intended.

Conscience Uncoupling

Gwyneth-Paltrow-Christ-Martin-Coldplay-divorce-separate-400x470

It’s always sad to hear about a business partnership, trusted friendship or marriage coming to an end. However amicable it is claimed to be. Remember a couple of years ago, a couple’s decision to split hit the headlines. They called it “conscious uncoupling”.

Again, I recently came across this phrase coined by a psychotherapist and author. Whether it really is just a euphemism or makes an important distinction from selfishness and individualism is the point I want to consider.

Agree to disagree

The debate about the lead singer of Coldplay, Chris Martin and actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s dispassionate agreement to disagree was a reminder of the less than perfect life we risk when we engage intimately with those in our world. Not that we have a perfect life before coupling!

To what degree they were incompatible we will never know and ours is not to judge. However this new phrase brought back into the spotlight for me the thorny issue of loyalty and perseverance. Especially if it is misplaced!

(Now I’m speaking as a divorcee who persistently clung to a phrase “Divorce is not an option” through my dark times)

We honour and respect those silver, ruby and golden wedding couples who stay together for life. This mutual characteristic of commitment is highly valued. On balance, it serves both parties extremely well. However, there are exceptions. Then, it does pay to consciously uncouple.

And fortunately or unfortunately, it might take two to tango but it only takes one to uncouple.

It’s the power and the vulnerability of the freedom of human will.

We all have one.

I nearly forgot that I did, but thankfully I woke up just in time.

Between Trapezes

Let me tell you about the time I first came across this concept of conscious uncoupling, years before it became a fashionable relationship status. I was in an inspirational meeting with one of the emerging communicators of our time. His signature message still is “Crossing Over”. He illustrated a fundamental truth, in reality a hard one to trust. It is that we will all face our wilderness, our “land between” or “dark night of the soul”.

The Next Thing

There is always a moment of faith before you can have the next thing you want.

The next thing only becomes available when your hands are empty. It is a moment, a space, seemingly an eternity aptly described by the metaphor “between trapezes”. We never know how long we will be flying.

With or without a safety net; we don’t find out in advance.

It would be so much easier if we at least got to touch and feel the next thing first and then compared the risks and benefits of staying or going. But trapezes don’t reach in the middle. If they did, they would crash and tangle.

You simply have to launch into space for your arc of faith in order for the momentum of the old to take forward the new.

Risk being empty-handed

“If I want to reach Gill, I have to let go of Marie’s hand” the speaker stated

Two of the audience stood at the front on either side of the speaker. He illustrated his point very simply, in fact quite prophetically. He held the hand of the current leader to one side of the platform and stretched impossibly toward me at the other. (I was soon to become the next leader though no one would have guessed it).

Reaching out, he made the point that that which is in your future can never come to your hand until you actually let go of that which is presently in your hand. Whereupon he she or it, will immediately become your past.

In the words of brooding singer, Chris Martin

“Nobody said it was easy, it’s such a shame for us to part.

Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it was so hard. I’ll take it back to the start”

This is what we do, we bear the imagined blame, shame and silently endure the swinging trapeze and its circular and familiar patterns. In the interests of public opinion or religious dogma, we take ourselves back to the start over and over and yet our conscience is crying out for finality. Even at risk of missing our catch ever again. Whatever or whoever that might be.

“’Til death do us part”….

That a marriage could or should end, some believe is heretical. For others it’s a fair risk to try your best and pray that under pressure, your choice doesn’t turn out to be a sociopath. Then there are those drawn along like a caravan coupled to a fated car. Attached, its driver sleeping, they creep inexorably toward the cliff edge. Together!

“You’ll be the death of me”?

The choice is stark and yet clear

  1. Uncouple, salvage and remain on safe ground whilst time still allows.
  2. Or, respect the principle of loyalty above life and stay attached.  Pulled by the gravity of the situation you plunge hopelessly after the car-wreck.

Yet I feel your caution.

Before rashly or logically attempting uncoupling, first ensure you are fully engaged with your conscience. Then you have the authority to uncouple. (A little disclosure here). For me this happened in a moment, a genuine revelation sealed it for me that God loved me more than the institution of marriage. I believe he loves both. It shouldn’t be “either/or” but I am sure you will agree that if it is, the marriage has to go.

Next, you ask “Can I trust my conscience?”

Now that is another important question!

If you would like to join this conversation, or direct the flow of my next blog, please comment, link or suggest other voices I too might like and share. I am passionate about helping you further

  • if you feel you have lost your way
  • if you think you disappointed your own community
  • if you believe you “screwed up”
  • or fight loss of hope in the future