In this age where quotes abound as people endlessly trawl the internet, I am re-introducing myself to the rare pleasure of a few moments of stillness in an otherwise hustling and bustling London.
Sitting in a small courtyard in the Quaker House on Euston Road, the moment of calm is different to say the least. There are two other posters on the wall:-
Be open to new light
I had the pleasure of staying with the Quakers when studying Geography, a field trip to learn about the new towns, the industrial architecture and heritage of the Black Country sounded, at first, tedious but quickly enlivened with juxtaposing Ironbridge to Redditch, Quaker principles with youthful exuberance. No drink and a university professor who was dry in the lecture hall changed when the Black Country offered fresh light on knowing how we are what we are because of who we were. The professor became an animated guide when explaining historical geography. Real insights as to why society develops because of people working in places and the places influencing the people. What we will become is wholly dominated by how we are open to learning our history and heritage.
We thought we lived adventurously those years:
Challenging the rules set
as we stayed with the Bournville People. Told there was no alcohol permitted on the premises and this would be enforced, the manager would turn a blind eye and peg his nose to some imbibing at the local hostelry; particularly since it was the 21st birthday of a former Welsh junior front row rugby player.
Principles bend but do not break when faced with the realities of learning through experiencing.
This was formative years exuberance, risk taking in controlled circumstances not living adventurously to the benefit of our own mind, body and soul. But, perhaps, it was part of particular preparation for some of us to assist others to see new light and live adventurously?
But what does ‘live adventurously’ mean to you now? Seizing the moment? Being open for new experiences? Willing to take risks; however calculated and prepared for in the stillness of earlier moments?
The sense is the posters are to be interpreted.
Because of the Quaker links from all our pasts and influences on a number of landmark events shaping the World we know today, there are sublimally connotations. There is:-
- No one is in your head being prescriptive.
- No one is commanding your retina to filter the light and only see certain bandwidths.
- No one is having you register the sanitised colours of virtual reality streamed through commercial devices.
It is you, a quiet quadrangle, some 19th century brickwork and a cup of tea.
Perhaps the moment of stillness is for the reflection necessary to differentiate the endless use of words being applied without rigour, to market someone else’s perceptions into your own psyche. The smoke and mirrors of political intrigue and endless selling of things. We are in a consumer society; many of the foundations of which were laid in the Quaker entrepreneurship in the Black Country 150 plus years ago.
The questions are to be asked, quietly, of one’s self. Savour a moment of stillness; the inner calm is the preparation for performance. Listen to any top performing sportsperson; they will say once you reach a certain level, it is the mental calm where the extra performance is found.
To be a top performer, we all must live adventurously. Must challenge ourselves and ask the ‘what if?’ question of ourselves; press the bounds we set ourselves when comfort can easily become complacency and we become caricatures of all chuckled at when we were young. Push the bounds; it does not have to be hard, always press the bounds and ensure adventure is found in challenging inside your head and with your body. New soulful messages come with mind and body adventures to challenge comfort thinking.
The amazing thing is, with this type of posture, eyes and mind become open to new light.
Ask yourself what light?
New perspectives on old scenes? Look up from reading this and see people and places slightly differently and reflect back on what this means to you.
Be open to new light
– may be the same light without the filter of compliance. Swear at yourself and pledge to yourself to always blink and savour fresh perspectives through your own senses. Stuff virtual reality, get out and savour real reality.
Stillness can be moving
– if you want it to be, prepare and know your strengths and how to use these to best effect when there are areas to improve on. Achilles always learned to run faster, he just needed better direction
And, of course:
Those who never find ways to challenge do not deserve to be in your life
- This means challenging others as you set up to challenge yourself.
- Use all your talents
- Never accept limitations
- Do it