how do you do becoming?

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I love the phraseology that juxtaposes ‘human being’ with ‘human doing’ and also with ‘human becoming’. I don’t know who first coined it?

The ‘becoming’ piece intrigues me most.

It suggests evolving, learning, growing. It infers movement, change, desire. It implies a different state.

We say we’re becoming better, or we’re becoming a teacher (substitute any other skill/profession of your choosing). We say we’re becoming clearer, or becoming irritated. We’re becoming addicted or becoming curious. I’m becoming numb to it, or I’m becoming a recluse. And so on…

But how does one do ‘becoming’? What’s going on? What makes ‘becoming’ possible? What’s the process?

More significantly perhaps what’s my process? And what’s your process?

How do you do becoming? Is there a pattern? A recipe? A methodology? Do you have a style, a flavour, a posture for becoming?

How do you know? Know you’re becoming? Where’s the evidence? Is it tangible or is it a sense of becoming? Are there feelings, thoughts, behaviours with becoming? And when do we stop becoming and just be? When do we reach the destination?

Then does ‘being ‘ inspire us to strive, to grow, to move forward into another spate of becoming? Does ‘being’ bore us, frustrate us, drive us to more ‘becoming’?

What triggers becoming? What fuels the becoming?

Becoming curious?

just one day later…

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There was a sombre mood around yesterday. Whatever your perspective, whatever your vote, it seemed to me the nation was reflective. A realisation dawning. Not so much of the implications, because those are still unclear. Instead, a realisation that something significant has happened. Something historic. Some were sad, some shocked, some pleased, but many seemed quiet, reflective.

And so it should be. Reflection is an important human activity. It’s the process by which we recreate our experience and mull it over. We exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about our fundamental human nature, purpose and essence. We explore our emotions, our thinking, our actions, our options… and from this reflection of our experience comes deep fundamental learning. Wisdom and awareness.

Taking time to reflect is important. The learning crucial. The time to be with and assimilate our thoughts and feelings vital. The Ancient Greeks, like many wise ancient civilisations, valued reflection as a form of contemplation by which our personal truth could be found.

It disappoints me that some seek to act immediately. Seemingly unable to internalise and reflect, instead they hit out, they strike forward, they speak out their emotions and thoughts in an antagonistic, blaming manner. They rush to take sides, to point fingers, to exert power, to make claims, to advise, to draw attention to themselves.

Maybe if some of our politicians, media and activists were able to reflect, to pause, to be still, they might find their own truth, rather than live a life constrained by rhetoric, by sides, by division, by debate, by ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, by blame.

Let’s pause people.

‘stuff’ solutions to ‘us’ problems

In this modern technological world it seems we love to invent solutions to problems; problems that for many years had remained somehow hidden, unnoticed, unappreciated. Someone then says, “Here’s a cool solution to a real problem.” Suddenly we all want the solution. Even though we hadn’t ever struggled with the problem.

How many of us have a computer, a laptop, a tablet, a phone, maybe a mini tablet and now also use our TV to access the internet?  I don’t recall the day I said, “What I need are six devices at my fingertips from which I can do largely the same things.” Indeed, things that twenty years earlier I couldn’t do at all and didn’t know I wanted to.

The other day I was introduced to Samsung ad wash – add more clothes part way through the wash. There was a time when we sorted the clothes, put them all in the wash and got on with life. If something had missed the wash, it waited to next time. Now we have a solution to the ‘problem’.

For many years I have had hatchback cars.  It has proved to be little trouble opening the rear door; they have always been assisted with hydraulic struts, so you simply squeeze the handle, lift slightly and the tailgate lifts open.  Closing was straightforward too.  Reach up, pull down with a little tug and the door falls, slamming shut using that age old invention called gravity.  But now, my car has an automatic boot opening and closing gizmo. I can press a button in the car, or on the key fob, and the rear tailgate lifts by itself.  When I’m ready to close it, I press another button and it silently lowers and clicks shut.

What next?

It seems we have learned as a species to direct our talents to ‘stuff’. To improving ‘stuff’. We are now approaching a time in many areas, where improving ‘stuff’ is getting harder to warrant, so we’re fabricating ‘stuff’ solutions to once only imagined ‘stuff’ problems. But we stay stuck on the treadmill that is improving ‘stuff’. We know where we are with improving ‘stuff’.  We’re good at it.  It pleases us.

Meanwhile improving ‘us’ takes the back seat. ‘Us’ problems are real. ‘Us’ problems are there in our existence as individuals and there in our interactions and relationships. ‘Us’ problems cloud our thinking. ‘Us’ problems stop us maximising our potential. Our very humanity, our happiness, our fulfilment is stifled by ‘us’ problems. Yet we seem to struggle with ‘us’ solutions to our ‘us’ problems. We’re not good at it. It scares us.

Maybe we need a ‘stuff’ solution to the ‘us’ problem?  Or is that stuff and nonsense?

 

 

life’s guest house

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This being human is a guest house.  Every morning is a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor…

Welcome and entertain them all.  Treat each guest honorably.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

Rumi

Each thought, each feeling that arrives in your awareness, greet it, thank it for its wisdom, its desire to speak to you. Each is a messenger. Each a mentor.

Do not turn them away or shun them. Do not hasten to compost them. Be curious about their story. Enquire of their intent; how they seek to serve you. Each has a purpose, each a meaning. We’re usually just too busy to notice. Too dismissive of this errant thought, this unwelcome sensation in the body, this repeating voice.

They seek to help us grow.

learning from the man crèche

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Waiting for a train, reading a notice board on the platform. It’s a real curiosity generator.

It seems, just within a mile or two of this platform, I can join a talk on the Inter City story hosted by the local Railway Correspondence and Travel Society. Who knew such things existed, or that experts travelled to tell the story of the creation of this brand?

I can donate £5 to buy a brick to help extend the local primary school – perhaps a reflection of the slow decay of government as the inexorable demands for funding grow in all quarters and increasingly cannot be met?

I can get my bike serviced with options ranging from a ‘tune up’, through a ‘full monty’, to a ‘strip and rebuild’ – there was a time a full monty might have been all in, but now a strip costs more.

I can join a debate on Georgian Kitchens and Cookery, hosted by the Local History Society – is that a debating topic? I’m not sure I’d have much to argue?

But the notice that most intrigues me is the Man Crèche.

The term crèche might normally be equated with children and I love this notion that one exists for fully grown men. The poster asks, “Is he getting under your feet?” It goes on to suggest, “Leave him with us. We’ll look after him.” Apparently, “All he needs is his pocket money.”  There are poker nights, curry nights and, most intriguingly, a pie night which incorporates a gravy boat challenge. I’m hooked by the gravy boat challenge. Games for men. Opportunities for men to play with men. How fabulous.

Ideas that shake up norms. That challenge our thinking, question convention. These are useful. They generate new possibilities, new thinking, new learning for us.

Taking a word like crèche and juxtaposing it with another people group. Juxtapolicious!

 

neat living?

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I need to cut the grass. It’s a routine during three seasons. Mostly a chore. Weekend job.

We cut a lot of things that grow.

Outside we not only cut grass, we prune roses, clip shrubs, pull up weeds, lop branches.

On our own bodies we clip nails, cut hair, exfoliate skin, pluck eyebrows, shave underarm hair, trim beards or shave them off all together; each day, often at prescribed times.

Most of this cutting seems to serve a tidiness purpose.

But our children grow their knowledge and we cut that too. Don’t do this, don’t say that, run away and play, not now, because I say so… Not tidy. Just timely. For us.

Our own knowledge grows wild, unkempt, organically. We prune that too. Discarding things which might be useful because they’re someone else’s opinion, experience, idea, viewpoint. Tossing our own experiences aside because we cannot find meaning or make sense of it. Often because we don’t have time to. Not tidy. Just timely.

Meanwhile, out of control, inexorably, experience washes over us. And we randomly accept knowledge and learning every day, through every interaction, every experience. Our brains filing it away with dutiful order and precision. Some to be recalled, some to be lost forever in the grey matter. There is no real plan, no real order, no tidy symmetry. Structured randomness.

Unkempt sense making, messy knowing, time restricted learning, disorderly growth.

Neat gardens, neat hair, neat nails, neat lawns, neat children.

Neat lives?

 

the spectacle of spectating


I’m spectating today.

Many of us do this. Watch other human beings do things. Sport. Competing. These are common environments to spectate.

I’m not aware any other species does this. Just watch.

Is it to admire the abilities of others? To observe excellence?Do we aspire to their level of capability?
Maybe it’s about the experience? The thrill? The enjoyment?
Maybe it’s a throwback to learning? Learning to hunt?
Maybe it’s about the other spectators? A social thing? Being with others, enjoying the watching?
Maybe it’s tribal? We are part of a gang of like minded watchers?

What do we get from this watching? This voyeurism? And why is it only human beings who seemingly spectate?