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Tag: Un-Seeing

A CROWDED FIELD

A CROWDED FIELD

Very often the stories you tell yourself keep you stuck in suck.

TOO MANY PEOPLE GOT THERE FIRST

Here’s one that’s likely to stop you in your tracks:  “There are too many people doing __________ (fill in the blank) already.”  You tell yourself this and then make up a story about how you’ll get lost in the vast crowds of people doing the same ­­­­__________ (fill in the blank) that you want to do.

Maybe you tell yourself, “Nothing I can do will really make me stand out in this crowd,” and then, after surveying all the competition, maybe you allow yourself to be intimidated.  Maybe you ask yourself, “Why even try?”

THE VOICES IN YOUR HEAD

Remember the Good Mom Litany?  Do this, don’t do that….”If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump, too?”  If you’re running the “too-many-people-are-already-doing-it” story in your head, it could be you took that Litany to heart a little too much.

In this funny YouTube video published by joeschoi, comedienne Anita Renfroe condenses what a good Mom says in 24 hours into 2 minutes and 55 seconds in “The Mom Song,” sung to the William Tell Overture.

That litany, like all the other Mom (and Big Person) admonitions, was supposed to get you to stop and think before you did something irrevocably damaging – physically, mentally or socially — to your little self.

It was supposed to keep you safe and unhurt when she or some other Big Person couldn’t be around to watch over you and protect you.  Maybe you heard it so much that now it just pops up all on its own every time you want to try something new or do something different.

In order to get your head turned around when the Litany is running through your head, you will probably need to do another Un-Seeing Exercise.

CHANNEL YOUR INNER IMMORTAL

The best way to turn this situation around is to channel your Inner 12-Year-Old.

  • Remember when you still thought you were Immortal?
  • Remember when you thought you could do anything?
  • Remember when you wanted to try something just because you wanted to see what happens next?
  • Remember when you were too dumb to know what the Smart Thing was?

Here are some counterpoint thoughts you might want to roll around in your head that will encourage that 12-Year Old to step on out:

  • Just because somebody else…or even many somebody elses are doing it does not mean that you can’t too.
  • Nobody is you. You will bring your own gifts, your own skills, your own sensibilities to this thing you do.  (Just make sure you do the thing the best way you know how.)

This YouTube video, “Too Many People Already Do What I Do” was published by Sean McCabe, a young entrepreneur who is the founder of seanwes, a brand that mashes together making art (in this case, hand-lettering) and creating a successful, audience-driven business.

In the video, Sean deconstructs and refutes the too-many-people story.  He points out that in this vast interconnected world of ours, we are exposed to the best of the best on a daily basis.  We often populate our daily feeds with all the minds we appreciate.

He also points out that it’s quite likely that when you are checking out all of the makers you admire and against whom you measure yourself, you are probably only seeing a tiny fraction of the 7 billion-plus humans on the planet.

The tiny fraction of the world’s population that is grabbing your attention are the ones who are doing things and making awesomeness.   If you’re looking to become one of that number, then you’re going to be one of the relatively few.

Most of the rest of the people on the planet are more likely to be spectators, audience, or customers….people who are waiting for you to share your own gift.  That is a very cool thought, huh?

Imbue what you do with your own meaning and start building and sharing your __________ (fill in the blank) your own way.  Listen and respond to the feedback from your audience and persist in sharing what you do.

REMEMBER TO KEEP YOUR MESSAGE SIMPLE

Steve Jobs once said, “This is a very complicated world.  It is a very noisy world.  And we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us…And so, we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.”

Keep your message about your __________ (fill in the blank) focused.  Keep your message simple.  There is incredible power and freedom in simplicity.

Think.  What’s the ONE thing you want people to know about you?

If you can distill your message down to one simple phrase that’s aligned to your values then that one phrase will help you maintain your conviction.  With that one phrase you can carry on through the whole obstacle course you may encounter and finish what you start.

Showing up is what counts.  Doing what you do the best way you know how is what counts.  Maintaining your effort tenaciously (McCabe suggests showing up every day for at least two years) until you’ve made your dream real is what counts.

The rest is just parsley.

parsley
Parsley by Phelyan Sanjoin via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
Here’s a poem:


ANOTHER FOOL, ANOTHER FOLLY

I am a Maker.

(You are one too.)

The choices and decisions I make

Determine and define the life I live.

They make a springboard or a pit

As I run and tumble and leap,

Cartwheeling across this stage

We call the World,

Dancing like God’s Own Fool.

 

I do have to remind myself:

It is only another performance,

Only another folly,

Just another chance to make

Someone else smile or frown or weep,

A chance to grow,

A chance to make Beauty,

A chance to touch the Mystery.

 

And I have to think:

It is not such a bad thing,

This dancing like a Fool.

by Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  Great Reno Balloon Race by Ken Lund via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

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STEP BACK AND SEE

STEP BACK AND SEE

Very often we are told that the best way to solve any Problem is to concentrate and focus down and down into it, blanking out everything except that Problem.  The Problem becomes a world all by itself.  By delving into it deeper and deeper, you’re supposed to be able to pull out a solution that should, logically, solve the silly thing.

There are all kinds of books and videos and so on and so forth about this…all kinds of how-to-do-it and do-it-yourself info.  It’s how you’re supposed to do things, and there are a lot of people who will tell you how.

Most of the time, this strategy works fine.  Sometimes it does not.

The thing about this particular strategy is this:  there will be times when you’ll expend a lot of head-achey, heart-breaky effort and you’ll wind up repeating and reiterating the same so-called solutions everyone else who ever focused down on a particular Problem found.  These tried-and-true solutions may not be completely effective.  They may just be “regular” stuff people always do when faced with such a problem.

The solutions you find using this strategy probably will work just about the same way as all the rest of the solutions that others have found.  It’s possible that the old trite answers will fall apart in the same way they have always done as well.

In order to tell when the tried-and-true road is less than optimal, all you have to do is check the results that other people who tried it got.  Perhaps the results they got are not satisfactory for you.  “Good enough” may not be where you’re trying to go.

There are other ways of looking at a Problem that can produce fresh, wondrous, and often peculiar, things.   There are other ways to play.

STEPPING BACK

Now, think about this:  What happens when you take a step back from the thing you’re seeing?  Instead of having The Problem looming large and important, blocking out your entire view of the world, you might, instead, notice the area around the Problem.

Maybe if you pay better attention to how The Problem is affecting the larger spaces you see when you step back, you might notice some detail you missed when your focus was so laser-sharp.  Maybe you’ll be able to notice another way to go next…something that might actually help mitigate the effects of the Problem better than a frontal, deep-drilling, logical approach.

Jumping into the fray before you’ve actually looked at the whole tangled mess as well as the space all around it often means you are ignoring some valuable information – like where all the exits are, for example, and whether there are more than one path that you might like to explore.  Stepping back and checking the spaces all around The Problem can lead you into unfamiliar, exciting new directions…or maybe not.  When you’re exploring new uncharted territory, there can be risks.

no-walking-backwards
“Danger! No Walking Backwards” by Matthew Klein via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

 A RADICALLY DIFFERENT WAY OF UN-SEEING

In this YouTube TEDxMarthasVineyard talk “Step Back and Look Again” the self-styled artist-designer-activist Sebastian Errazuriz details how he has developed and uses the practice of stepping back and widening his focus so that a Problem is just a part of a bigger world rather than the only part of the world he can see.  He uses this mindset to make his extraordinary art/design work.

Errazuriz is internationally acclaimed for standing different.  His work always surprises and frequently enchants.  It also often provokes controversy.  It is “remarkable” —  the subject of many remarks.

His explorations – from his artful public installations and political and social statements (some of which he talks about in the video)  to his product designs that include experimental furniture that move and flow gracefully; fashion designs that include fanciful 3-D printed shoe-sculptures that recall past relationships as well as a fur coat made out of (gulp!) teddy bear skins and a dress made entirely out of zippers; and transportation options like a motorboat coffin – have been celebrated in over forty international exhibits or featured on magazine covers and in assorted books and catalogues, and critiqued or exclaimed over in thousands of articles and on television.

There is even a book about his work, THE JOURNEY OF SEBASTIAN ERRAZURIZ.

The man’s body of work asks you to “look again,” to see what is hidden in front of your eyes and to really notice how extraordinary this world can be.

FINAL THOUGHT

Stepping back and taking another look apparently opens up the possibility that you will be more likely to see other ways of doing things that don’t involve getting caught up and trapped in a particular Problem.

Your visions and the things that grow out of them will probably be very different than what you’ve thought before.   Perhaps you’ll discover some interesting lessons (also known as “mistakes”).  Perhaps this way of Un-Seeing might lead to your finding uniquely effective solutions.

Step back….look.  What do you see?

Here’s a poem:


MIRROR WALL

 

I’m really liking where I’ve put my head…

I’m standing here, looking at this World of Dust,

Seeing it as a mirror,

A kaleidoscopic construct of shards and tiles

Made of fun-house mirror glass –

Each one reflecting an image

That is quintessentially human.

 

Every bit of it shines.

Every movement of the one standing in front of it

Is echoed in that mirror-mosaic that

Repeats a captured image endlessly…

Maybe into infinity.

 

If you stand too far away from the mirror that’s the World,

Then the thing is just a lovely bit of shiny…

Mildly interesting in a sort of kitschy, impersonal way,

But not particularly arresting because,

Let’s face it…f’r real,

The way us humans are built,

The most mind-catching thing

Is pretty much our own selves.

If we’re not in it, whatever it is doesn’t mean much.

 

Step close enough so

You can see yourself echoed in the glass

And the mirror-wall becomes

An animated interactive thing…

Interesting – fascinating , even.

 

But if you try to encompass it all,

Try to see the bigger picture

Of you and everybody else reflected in it,

Your monkey-mind goes boggling off,

Gagging on the overload.

 

The crazy bent-glass bits

Distort the images they capture

And send them back bent out of shape,

Warped into patterns

That merge and dance before your eyes.

You can’t make sense of what you see,

But your diligent little monkey-mind keeps trying.

 

Step in too close and focus

On one little bit and you

Miss out on the impact of

The beautiful play of movement

Across the patterns of that glassy wall.

 

But then it hit me:

The construct’s really just a wall, you know.

You don’t get to step inside it

Just by looking at it…

No matter how hard you try.

 

It’s a reflecting mirror-wall, silly,

All it does is bounce back images at you

And the images …

Well, they’re just little bits of

The you who is dancing there

In front of it.

It’s not SUPPOSED to enfold you.

(Who wants to get hugged by a wall?)

 

And then it occurred to me…

Maybe…

Somewhere in that wall,

There’s an entryway –

Some secret door or

Maybe a hidden panel

That you press.

Maybe you can’t see it if

You’re dazzled by the image-dance.

 

And maybe that is why

You have to reach out and

Touch that wall…

Run your hands along it,

Making fingerprint smears all over it,

So you can find that hidden door

The one that opens up into

The Mystery that

The world-wall surrounds….

 

Ho, wow!

by Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Mirror Wall by Jason Meredith via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

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LIFE DE-STALE-INIZATION

LIFE DE-STALE-INIZATION

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  a tendency to practice Life De-stale-inization.  [What’s so good about same-old anyhow?]

THE RISE OF RE-PURPOSING

Re-purposing is one of the latest post-modern trends, it seems.  When you re-purpose something, you adapt it for another use.  Most re-purposing gets done to things, probably because there’s so much stuff just sitting around.  The stuff’s still good.  It’s usually under-utilized or obsolete or redundant or otherwise superfluous, but, for one reason or another, nobody wants to haul it away.

So, the deal is that you take this existing thing that’s no longer quite so spiffy and deconstruct it, reconstruct it, or manipulate it into something else that’s more useful or interesting or fun.

Re-purposing is also another way of Un-Seeing.

The cool thing about the re-purposing mindset is that you look at something and then figure out what else it can be.  You could develop some seriously artful or surprising projects that way…like these, for example:

repurposed-truck
Repurposed Truck by Paul VanDenWerf via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
tyre-chameleon-and-bee
Tyre Chameleon and Bee sculpture by Annalisa Mandia (at the Nomadic Community Gardens, Shoreditch, London). Photo by Maureen Barlin via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
repurposed
Repurposed by Jeremy Hill via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0] Old train used as mural in Santa Fe, NM
double-happiness
Repurposed Billboard by Irish Typepad via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]  “Double Happiness” at the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Bi-City Biennial of Urbanism and Architecture. Swingset installation by Architect Didier Fiusa Faustino. (Uses billboard ad space.)
repurposed-garbage-truck
Repurposed Garbage Trucks by Colin Knowles via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0] Garbage truck as snow-plow

TURNING THE RE-PURPOSING MINDSET ON YOU

You could also use the same re-purposing mindset to develop a different sort of life for yourself.  If you’re feeling stuck or stale or under-utilized, then re-purposing might be the way to go for you.

This inspirational YouTube video, “Finding Your Meaning of Life,” was put together by TheJourneyofPurpose (TJOP).

Basically the video tells you that you get to create your own meaningful life.  It’s one of those human “super-powers” each of us is issued.  All the people who appear in the video are folks who took up the challenge to give their own lives meaning and mana.  They did okay with it.  Maybe you can too.

LIFE DE-STALE-INIZATION HACKS

These ideas come from James M. Kilts, the author of DOING WHAT MATTERS.  I think they’re good ones for when you’re facing situations with a lot of moving parts….like re-inventing yourself, for example.

  • VISION.  Adopt a straightforward vision of what you want to do and how you want to do it.  Make it actionable and easy to understand.  That way anybody who wants to join in your dance knows what they’re supposed to    do in it
  • FUNDAMENTALS.  Don’t get caught up in the fad theory of the day.  If you stay focused on the fundamentals and apply them rigorously and across the board, many problems become less likely.
    • Mostly, A-B-C and 1-2-3 helps prevent !@#.
    • I remember a story a friend of mine told me about his uncle Howard’s most memorable champion collegiate wrestler.  The guy won state collegiate wrestling championships even though he only knew three fundamental wrestling moves.  The wrestler was very strong and he knew those moves very well.  He won match after match when he performed each of the moves excellently every time his coach told him to do them.
  • FLEXIBILITY.  Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach to problem-solving.
    • Templates work within limits and they do not travel widely with the same effect.  Study each situation and make sure the solution custom-fits the problem.
    • It’s also wise to remember that f’r real, there is no such thing as a “foolproof” system.  (The creativity of fools is legendary.)
  • INNOVATION.  Just because something worked in the past does not mean it will work in the future. Kilts says, “Things change, nowadays, very quickly and fundamentally so beware that superficial similarities aren’t hiding some deep differences.”
    • For some reason, this one reminds me of that 1984 comedy-horror movie,  GREMLINS.  Those little furry mogwai guys were really sweet…until they got wet.
    • The movie was directed by Joe Dante and produced by Steven Spielberg.  Chris Columbus wrote the screenplay.  It was a huge commercial success and the critics loved it.  However, the film was heavily criticized for some its more violent bits.
    • Another very popular blockbuster adventure film that came out around the same time, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, also received similar complaints and Spielberg suggested that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) change its movie rating system so that concerned parents could be forewarned about a film’s more controversial content. The MPAA did change the rating system within two months of the film’s release.
  • TIMING.  Process is never a substitute for excellence of actions even though it is an important element for its success.
    • Process has its own requirements but an excellent action taken at the wrong time won’t work. A fancy, beautifully done flying kick is easily avoided by one well-timed step to the side.
    • One visitor to our Southern Style Preying Mantis class told us an amusing story.  He said that because his dad was a top-notch instructor in Tae Kwon Do he had been trained in it from an early age.  By the time he was a teenager our visitor had developed a big head about it all, strutting around with a major bad-ass attitude.   He said he was especially good at delivering powerful flying kicks and he terrorized his competition. His dad set up a sparring demonstration that featured the boy’s spectacular kicks.  Every time the boy tried the move, however, his father stepped to the side and everybody watched as the teenager went sailing past the master and earned another whack.  It was humiliating.  It also shrank the boy’s head considerably.
  • MEASURING.  Kilts says, “If you can’t measure it, it’s not real.”
    • This is an old and hoary piece of advice and it’s a good one.   Measuring a thing does indeed make it more real.
    • I always do wonder, however, what the measuring stick is.  With one action, you can save a child’s life.  With another action, you kill that child but you make a heck of a lot of money.
    • The question comes down to this:  What are you measuring for?  That thing you are measuring for is what illuminates and defines the meaning of any action, it seems to me.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON IT ALL

Re-purposing yourself is a big, long-term project, but if you’re feeling stuck, starting on making a change may help get you moving again.  Also, if the results you are currently getting are unsatisfying to you, re-purposing yourself can help you achieve more of what you really want in your life.

Either one might be the impetus you need to begin the process of de-stale-inizing your life.

Here’s a poem….


CAULDRON

You are sitting in the middle

Of the cauldron now,

The big one at

The very center of the Universe.

 

The perfume of your sacrifice

Rises all around you,

Reaching up towards Heaven

As you ripen, as you mellow.

 

Giving up the old,

Letting go, letting be.

 

Others crowd around you

Wanting, needing, demanding juicy bits,

Scraping, bowing flatteringly,

Trying to get you to notice

 

That they are there waiting

For you to pick them up and carry them.

After all, you are so very strong

And they need you, don’t you know?

 

But Heaven’s there, up above

That cauldron where you sit

Marinating in the juices of the world.

It opens wide to swallow you up, you know.

 

All you have to do is

Release this need you have

For being needed,

Being noticed.

 

There will be no thunder if you turn aside.

There will be no hallelujah chorus if you don’t.

 

The only thing that happens is,

Eventually, once you’ve steeped

As much as you can stand,

You’ll climb back out.

 

You’ll wander down

the eternal road again,

Maybe doubling back or maybe going on,

Dancing or drooping, weighed-down or floating.

 

The ripe scent of you wafts upward,

Tickling the nostrils of the ancients.

 

You are being helped,

Even though it feels as though

All that has been is in disarray, disordered,

It means little…

 

What is flying apart now will join

Again in splendid new arrangements.

 

Press on….

By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Sunrise Panorama by Peter Liu via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

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CLARITY AND ALL THAT

CLARITY AND ALL THAT

Prajna is one of those terms that holds a fascination for me.  It’s what Buddhists call the clarity that comes from seeing the way things are.  (If you can see what-is, it’s likely that you’ll be able to act more appropriately, they say.)  It is, I suppose, another way of Un-Seeing.

Prajna encompasses discernment and discrimination, insight, wisdom and enlightenment, all of which are very big words with lots of layers of meaning in them.  I’ve gnawed on it for a long time now, and am still trying to get a handle on it.  It’s an ongoing process.

Yeah, yeah…I know.  Slow learner.  But, for real, reaching for clarity has been a puzzlement for people wiser than me through the ages.

I’ll try breaking it down into the parts.  Maybe that’ll help.

STICKING ON THE LABELS

Discernment and discrimination are tools you use to separate things into various categories.  These help you define and label what’s in front of you.  They are really good for sorting things and sticking them in organized piles so you can think on them more easily.  They’re mostly good for labeling stuff.

I thought on that one for a while.  I even wrote a poem about it:


AN OLDER SORT OF BARCODE

 What you call yourself has power:

Word does manifest as real.

You’re the archer, you’re the arrow,

And the Word’s the bow you wield.

 

When you call yourself a victim,

you teach others you are prey.

When you call yourself a warrior,

others fight you all the way.

 

When you call yourself a businessman,

you’ll run busy all the time.

When you call yourself a poet,

all the world turns into rhyme.

 

When you call yourself a captain,

then the world hangs on your neck.

When you call yourself a seeker,

nothing true comes at your beck.

 

When you call yourself a pauper,

then your world is filled with lack.

When you call yourself a king,

spears and knives will seek your back.

 

When you call yourself a servant,

rules and regs fly ’round your head.

When you call yourself a debtor,

obligations make your bed.

 

It’s a funny thing to notice,

the strangest thing of all to see:

when you stop plastering on the labels,

you’ll just be whatever you be.

By Netta Kanoho

CHECKING OUT EVERY ANGLE

Insight is a gift that comes to you when you study a thing deeply, looking at it from every angle.

My favorite story of an art exercise that develops insight is the one where a student is given a fish and told to paint/draw the thing every single day for a month.  At the end of the month, the fish is a lot worse for wear and probably hard on the nose.  However, if the student practices this exercise properly (with mindfulness, focus, and concentration), the student will begin to understand what “fish” is…it says here.

Insights are supposed to be delivered via “Ah-Ha” moments…when all of a sudden all the different perspectives come together into one big oh-wow thought that’s supposed to put all the bits and pieces together.  Ah-Ha moments are supposed to be life-defining things.  It’s the finger that sets up the path to, well…meaning, mana and all that good stuff…maybe.

Here is a TEDx talk from a high school teacher at Clarkstown High School North, Jordan Turner, who puts a different spin on the wonderful “Ah-Ha” Moment that is supposed to signal some big insight or other.

According to Turner, the Ah-Ha clarity may be just one more step to more questions.

THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF CLARITY

Wisdom is another gift of time.  It seems to grow out of an accumulation of insights and is kind of like a catalog of thoughts based on previous experience that will probably work pretty well.

Enlightenment is apparently a level of insightfulness that encompasses everything that is in front of you, bringing the all of everything into clear focus.  It’s an ideal state of being, it says here.

It is also, according to Buddhists, the result of many, many lifetimes of concerted effort…two steps forward, one step back, one step forward, three steps back and so on and so forth.

The enlightenment all the wise guys seem to keep going on about is “freedom from delusion.”  It’s a tool — just as things like focusing on the abundance in the World, trusting the Creative to be untrammeled and limitless, learning to balance the energies of Heaven and Earth within your own self, making things pono (in right relationship to each other) and seeing what-is are all tools you use to work on becoming a high-vibe being in the World.

One of the best resource books for Seeker wanna-bes (as well as the more earthbound sorts who just want to live a better life) that I’ve ever found is one put together in 1984 by Rick Fields and three other editors of the New Age Journal.  The book, CHOP WOOD, CARRY WATER: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life, is full of ancient wisdoms that remain relevant today.  It is a down-to-earth guide for those who want to fly.

MY OWN THOUGHTS ON THIS

Many of the Seekers who look at these kinds of things may be a bit off, I am thinking.  They seem convinced that Enlightenment-with-the-Big-E is some kind of end-product and goal.  Enlightenment, to my mind, is just one more thing to clean the pot that is you.

The whole point for doing this dance, it seems to me, is about using that pot to cook up good nourishing things for the big party with the Creative and the World and the sentient beings in this life.  Now THAT is something I can get behind!

My own take on all this is that often what we call clarity is likely to reflect our own understandings of what is true and what we value.  We tend to see what we believe, I think.  Prajna goes beyond that.

What do you think?

Picture credit:  Lotus by M. G. N.  via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.

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UN-SEEING

UN-SEEING

Here’s an interesting concept:  UN-SEEING.  If you look at your habits of thought and what you expect to see when you look at a phenomena or situation, it’s quite likely that you will be able to see patterns of thinking that you just naturally fall into.  They’re old familiar ways you always dance.   Maybe they are ways you have been taught to look at things.  Maybe they are ways you’ve developed on your own.

Often, if you can let go of these old thinking patterns, you can free yourself to see more clearly what is really there in front of you, without all the extra baggage that you tend to add.

Theoretically, if you can see what is in front of you clearly, then you are more likely to be able to use what is around you to effect the kinds of changes in your way of reacting to things that might be more effective for dealing with the world.

THE WORLD AS YOU DO NOT SEE IT

A lot of Un-Seeing is about developing a different way of seeing your world.  One way to help yourself grow away from your habitual, same-old habits of thought is to expose yourself to the ridiculous, the radical, the unfamiliar and the surprising.  Any of these  can shake your set mind loose…you are more open to exploring when you are facing something for the first time.

In fact, this way of mind-bending has always been the classic argument for the value of traveling to new and different places.  When you’re a stranger in a strange land and you are looking at things you have never seen before, it’s likely that the strangeness will trigger in you other ways of thinking.

What’s harder is approaching the familiar as if you are looking at it for the first time, seeing the strange in the ordinary and the everyday, or seeing connections that are currently obscured by the assumptions you’ve already made or the ways you’ve already been taught to see things.

GETTING TO YOUR OWN VALUES

Perhaps Un-Seeing could even lead to developing your own thoughts about what has value for you.

Here’s a YouTube video by Akshita Agarwal explaining the paradox of value, as illustrated by animator Qa’ed Mai and scripted by Alex Gendler.  TED-Ed Original lessons are part of the TED youth and education initiative, an award-winning platform that presents ideas for teachers and young people.   People with ideas are encouraged to use it to make their own lessons.  (See the full lesson by clicking HERE.)

HUH?  WAS THAT ME?

If you will stop and look at your reactions to the various situations you encounter, it’s likely you’ll be able to see the emotions and the assumptions you hold that cause such reactions to occur.  Questions you  might like to ponder are these:

  1. Are these emotions and assumptions valid? Are they appropriate?
  2. Are the reactions they produce helpful or not?
  3. What other emotions and assumptions might be held instead?
  4. What reactions would those emotions and assumptions engender?

Questioning your default settings is a valuable exercise that may produce other, new-to-you ways of seeing.  In order to explore these new thoughts, however, you will have to let go of your old way of standing.

Challenging your habitual reactions to a situation can produce even more interesting ideas.  Question assumptions…. challenge knowledge…. challenge power…. challenge authority…. challenge motivation.  Deconstruct core beliefs and see what’s under there.

One great way to challenge the calcified old thought-patterns is to write out poems with your non-dominant hand.  (If you’re right-handed, use your left hand to write a poem about some thought pattern you are challenging.  If you’re left-handed, use your right hand.  If you’re ambidextrous, maybe you have to try doing mirror-writing like Leonardo da Vinci.)

The poems that result from using your non-dominant hand to write them out by pencil or pen can be surprisingly different from your everyday regular way of thinking.

CHECK IT OUT WITH A FRIEND

Another way to expand your repertoire of thought patternings is to talk it over with a friend.  Be curious.  Empathize.  Check out another person’s beliefs and viewpoints to see what’s under there.  Perhaps there will be viewpoints that make more sense to you than the thinks you usually think.

If nothing else, you will at least get a good conversation going with someone and, perhaps, make some sort of connection between you.

RUBBING TOGETHER TWO TRUTHS

Sometimes rubbing together two truths could produce a whole other way of seeing that might lead to new ways of thinking.  It’s sort of like rubbing two sticks together to make a fire.

One natural progression brought on by rubbing together two equal and opposite truths is this:

CONFLICT > PARADOX > REVELATION

Think about it.  It’s how new hypotheses are formed and how new business deals (and art and poetry and all kinds of gadgetry) are made when you can make a new construct that’s built on the tension between two or more very different ideas.

ANOTHER WAY OF MAKING

One iteration of this “Un-seeing” concept is a mindset that Dr. Simone Ahuja, the founder of Blood Orange, a marketing and strategy advisory consulting company with partners all over the world, developed.  In her YouTube video:  Scarcity Reframed is Abundance, Ahuja explains about jugaad, a Hindi –Punjab word that basically translates as “hack” — a cheap and flexible approach to innovation that has been used to good effect in developing countries like India, China, Russia, and Brazil where there’s a lack of funding and research-and-development resources and scarcity is the norm.

Ahuja, with her co-authors, Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu, wrote a number 1 best-selling book in 2012 about this fascinating mindset, JUGAAD INNOVATION:  Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth.

According to the authors, the six principles of jugaad are these:

  • Seek opportunity in adversity.
  • Do more with less.
  • Think and act flexibly
  • Keep it simple.
  • Include the margin.
  • Follow your heart.

Hmmm…following these principles sounds like a good blueprint for a do-it-yourself sort of life, it seems to me.

Here’s another poem….


OVERLOAD

 The World closes in again.

It always does when people dream dreams

And start making things go pop-pop-pop,

And one set of wishes and hopes

Bumps and thuds into another.

Fireworks shooting into

The night of becoming,

A cannonade of possibility,

Chaos is unleashed as you stand there

Wondering what’s going to blow up next.

 

Expectations form a circle

All around you, holding hands,

And you’ve got to break on through

To the other side without getting captured.

“Red Rover, Red Rover…come over!”

Feinting left, dodging right, bobbing up and down,

Making a run for it….

Slipping and sliding, squirming in, squeezing through.

 

So much effort,

When the only dream you have is

Floating down a lazy, wide river on

A barge made of recycled treasures

Nobody else seems to want…

Like, contentment, maybe, and a modicum of peace.

 

River rapids require vigilance,

I suppose.

By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Making a Fire by Matthew Stevens via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

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