These blogs have focused on “Sustainable Living,” which is independent of short-term events. However, the coronavirus pandemic presents an example of what happens when widespread fear, pessimism, discomfort surface. In the film, “Hit Man’s Bodyguard,” is a comedic phrase that actually has great meaning:
“When life gives you shit, you make Kool-Aid.”
When some great reward comes our way, it’s easy to be joyful. The challenge is being able to be genuinely joyful even in a down economy or amid a pandemic. Here are some book excerpts you may find helpful. I’ll add other thoughts afterwards.
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Why Beauty is Key to Everything
(P.24) If you cannot describe a new destination, you will never get there.
(P.30-1) We often ignore the importance of language: Its ability to uplift us, or to shape the way we see and therefore act in the world.
It is in truth that we can operate authentically. One might have the head of an engineer, but one must always quest with the heart of a poet.
(P.33) How can we prepare to learn to create depth to our creative vision, so that when the moment arrives we can both see and take action to realize its full potential, filling it with volumes of meaning, resonance, information and context?
We need to open our senses to all that surrounds us, to simply absorb new information, challenging ourselves to be able to arrive at a new way of looking at, seeing and then understanding the world. It could be an ideological worldview, a form of artistic practice. It is an observational practice. It is more importantly an intuitive practice: by removing the distance between subject and observer, empathy gifts us a huge depth of field. It allows us to create works of great truth and great beauty.
(P.34) To be and to remain deeply intensely curious about our world is vital to original thinking, whereas the incurious face a rather dim future. To have a hungry heart and mind determines what it is we create.
(P.39) How you pick up a tool will shape how you use it and what you make with it. Pick up a tool with truth and beauty in your heart, work with positive energy and optimism. Then observe the results.
(P.43) Great design is when you design for others to feel, to experience with their senses, perhaps even to be pleasantly surprised – a joyful experience. This joyfulness converts always into good will, warm memories and, if you are so inclined, cash. Some of the most successful recent businesses were founded by designers – adopting their practices could be the best thing you do for your business. We don’t think beauty – we feel it, we sense it, we know it.
(P.44) Ive and his team ask: “Why can’t we have glass, and glass this thin? Why not milled aluminum? Why can the back of an ipod or iphone be hand-polished? Why not a unibody? Why can’t the insides be as beautiful as the outside? Why is the tolerance acceptable? If you can’t make it – who can? In asking those types of questions, refusing the pat answers, Apple has become one of the richest companies in the world, delighting the owners of its products on a daily basis. As Emerson observed, great beauty is foundational.
(P.49) I always have a book on the go, and I often annotate, underline, pull out stuff that intrigues me, inspires me, resonates. This process of writing helps me see more. Making connections, creating meaning, adjusting my world view.
(P.50) Can you develop a short thesis about something? For example, what are the near-term trends that over the next five years will change my life, my industry? Or, identify what we believe is a “truth” about how the world works today and how that will work in the future. This I find is a very useful practice for oneself and for a group starting on a journey of discovery, whatever that may be.
I think it is important to recognize one’s own limiting beliefs and question them. They stop you seeing. We all carry the baggage of our history: parents, school, upbringing and so on. Be aware of their limiting power to create depth of field. Learn to let go. Acceptance is a powerful tool in learning to embrace new possibilities. It is when we resist – emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, because our expectations or beliefs are not met – that we break, and we do not learn. We have to learn to let go.
(P.52) Can you list all the things Amazon does that has enabled it to become the most powerful online retailer?
(P.66) If you believe that our best work is done when we are young, you create a grey future. Every day is the opportunity for the new, as yesterday has now gone. Drawing from a bitter well is not good for creativity.
Willie Nelson has made 250 albums, and is still touring in his 80s. He did not get a break until he was 40. The author Mary Wesley was not published until she was 70 – she ended up being one of Britain’s most successful novelists, selling three million copies of her books, including 10 best sellers in the last 20 years of her life.
You can beat yourself up about not getting there soon enough, believing opportunity has passed you by. If that is what you believe, it is true.
Or you can believe that when success arrives it is the right time, and all before has been your preparation.
(P.71) Watch people who love what they do. Feel their passion. Listen to how they describe their work.
Investing in loving what you do always costs time, money, and sometimes the odd scar and bruise. It repays that love with personal satisfaction, and in turn it inspires guides and nurtures the spirit in others.
If we invested in more things that give us a meaningful life, our world might feel a little different. And our work might even outlive us.
(P.75) On the other hand, it is the soft skill of listening openly, making time, helping, being honest, and creating moments of opportunity where the individual and collective hand, heart and mind can begin to build the new. And it just may be they are better at it collectively than you. Allowing people to arrive at their own conclusions of what needs to be done, and embracing what they create, is another form of wise leadership.
(P.76) People embrace what they create with love, with energy, with passion. They are prepared to go the extra mile. Their work becomes a labor of love – for we as people do not labor for monetary reward, we labor for meaning.
(P.83) If we want to thrive on this planet, we must see our world as an interconnected whole – we have to “save the lover’s body.” We need to understand that humanity is a living system too, deeply interconnected with nature’s systems. We all ride flows of matter, energy and information. So it is absurd to persist in refusing to see our world as being interconnected, attempting to describe it instead as a place to be managed like numbers on an Excel spreadsheet, devoid of meaning, context, community and history. This could be our downfall.
(P.84) The wise person is optimistic, prepared for the reality they will not get to the Utopian shore, but keeping its possibility in their sights. Working this way offers a joyful and more meaningful existence. It is a continual process and that is its enduring beauty.
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You may not be an artist in the way some book passages suggest, but … we are all artists of our life. Beauty isn’t just a “pretty picture on the wall.” So I asked D, the entity my wife channels, for some thoughts concerning why beauty is so vital to our ability to live the richest, most meaningful, and most joyous life we can live …
“Beauty changes one’s perspective by opening one to possibilities. It gives one hope. Without hope, one has no possibility for change. Beauty connects one to what is important to oneself, as an individual.
“Beauty gives presence to a new or different perspective. When one sees or experiences something that is beautiful, it feels as though everything slows down. Every cell of the body relaxes as it opens, and thoughts of new possibilities emerge. The possibilities are endless and, what’s important, they vary with the individual. However …
“If one only takes in beauty with one’s head, nothing changes. One becomes ‘stuck in one’s mind.’ When beauty permeates one’s body, it can change one’s perspective – which opens one to new possibilities. Beauty can lead one into experiences one might not otherwise have.
“Beauty opens one’s heart and allows it to sing. When humans sing, it creates a vibration that feeds positive energy to every cell of one’s body. It’s fuel for the soul.
“When one sees beauty in art, or hears beauty in music, it fills every cell with good feelings that resonate within.
“Beauty evokes emotions that become visceral – one feels it. And, if one allows it, one can feel it in every cell of one’s body. And that creates a positive flow of energy that is part of the human experience.
“Many humans carry a mask or armor or mantle or expectations of what others expect of them – or – a pain one feels a need to protect from one’s inner self – or – a fear of being who one really is. Beauty allows the soul in its purest sense to emerge and speak. Beauty cracks the armor and gives space for what is truly inside oneself to emerge.
“Beauty is magnificent at touching a very precious part of oneself in a manner that is disarming and unexpected.
“Beauty can contribute to joy. And joy allows one to see beauty in more places. Some sadly perceive that only certain things can be beautiful; beauty is in all things. The more we feel joy, the more we experience that beauty; and the more we experience beauty, the more we feel joy.
“Beauty expands the human spirit!”
In down times, we may need beauty even more.
I hope these thoughts help.