Individuality, Originality, Eclecticism, Truth

I do believe there is absolute truth. I do not believe that I comprehend all of it, but desire to process through all thoughts, ideas, programs, systems etc. that I may come across and check them against that which I believe to be true, have observed or experienced to be true.

I am thoughtful of wanting to give credit of any thought or process etc. with its point or person of origin, but I also find as I go on that I am a complex mix of all I have listened to, observed, learned from in some way. The older I get, the more difficult it is to say where thoughts and actions had their origins. Ecclesiastes in the Bible says that their is nothing new under the sun; we ALL are a mix of where we have been, what we have heard and observed, and our own individual stamp.

I’m enjoying a re-read of “Scribbling In The Sand” by Michael Card and wanted to share a quote from a letter he sought from Harold Best.

Your work will always be “out of” what you have somehow come across and “into” what others will eventually come across.

Thus dont’ be afraid to borrow the best and grow from the borrowing…The best artists begin by being influenced and end up influencing…

It is…finding others who themselves have found others who in turn have found still others, joining humbly and hungrily with this vast community, then seeing the difference that individuality has made all around you and praying that you will end up making enough difference to warrant your citizenship in the same community.

I want to borrow from you. I hope that you will borrow from me. I will endeavour to attribute to you what I have gleaned. I hope you will attribute to me that which you have “borrowed” from me.

I desire to be part of a humble, hungry, vast, community. Ubuntu from my African friends, grounded in Samvedna from my Indian friends.

VOLUNTEERS; GOD BLESS THEM

This is not original, it was on a newsletter but I didn’t know who the author was. But…I like it! (Perhaps DJ Harley)

 

Many will be shocked to find,

When the day of judgement nears,

That there’s a special place in heaven

Set aside for volunteers.

 

Furnished with big recliners,

Satin couches and foot stools;

Where there’s no committee chairmen,

No group leaders or car pools,

 

No eager team that needs a coach,

No bazaar and no bake sale.

There will be nothing to staple,

Not one thing to fold or mail.

 

Telephone lists will be outlawed,

But a finger snap will bring

Cool drinks and gourmet dinners

And treats fit for a king.

 

You ask, “Who’ll serve these privileged few

And work for all they’re worth?”

“Why, all those who reap the benefits

And not once volunteer on earth!”

Quoting

Betty Edwards – Drawing on the Artist Within

We have become accustomed to thinking of artistic ability as basically unteachable…Moreover, many…have shared the unspoken belief that artistic abilities are largely non-essential…

I propose that learning to see and draw is a very efficient way to train the visual system, just as learning to read and write can efficiently train the verbal system. That is not to say that the visual system is better, morally or otherwise, than the verbal system. But the two systems are different. And when trained as equal partners, one mode of thinking enhances the other, and together the two modes can release human creativity.

My claim is quite modest…Through learning to draw perceived objects or persons, you can learn new ways of seeing that guide strategies in creative thinking and problem solving just as, through learning to read, you acquire verbal knowledge and learn the strategies of logical, analytical thought…And you will have taken a giant step toward attaining a modern brain.

Victor Lowenfeld: via Betty Edwards – Drawing on the Artist Within

We have to regard it our sacred responsibility to unfold and develop each individual’s creative ability as dim as the spark may be and kindle it to whatever flame it may conceivably develop. (Basics of Creative Thinking – 1961)

Robyn Krowicky – singing/piano teacher

Music engages both sides of the brain.

My 17 year old daughter

Sight reading and singing at the same time engages both sides of the brain.

John Anderson – ‘Open House’ interview – paraphrase

Beliefs, values, behaviour, ethics, policy.

Unsure who it was I read or heard this from but…perhaps Dr Hugh Mackay

We tend to practice what is natural or what we know already rather than practicing what is unfamiliar to further develop it.

Mick and Ruby Duncan – Alongsiders

Work from your weaknesses.

Responding

So, be holistic! Practice holistically, attend to your whole being.

We were made in the image of The Creator.

If (as I have repeatedly heard in recent years) men are naturally drawn to the ‘visual’ and women to the ‘verbal’, which should we practice more?

Have we been re-creating lopsided monsters instead of holistic persons?

That is all.

Quoting and Responding

Community or Conformity?

For those in Christian circles, this may be a familiar theme. For others, maybe strange; perhaps ridiculous; novel…

My middle child (almost adult) was sharing a story from a friend/previous teacher concerning the desire of some people that they be ‘healed’ from their blindness. Someone pulled their car over to the side of the road to invite this friend and her companions to church, exclaiming that he had prayed for the healing of blind people in the past and they were ‘healed’. Her response was that she believes in and has seen God’s miraculous healing herself, and that receiving her sight was for God’s timing. Perhaps more importantly though, this passer-by came across as pushy and didn’t even address this friend directly but spoke about her to her companions (very common). My eldest has been stopped in the street by someone insisting on praying for his ‘healing’, which he was obliged to allow. Their father and I have repeatedly been asked (sometimes by the same person) to present our children at the front of the church building so that others can pray for their ‘healing’.

My daughter’s response?

 In relation to this subject, I haven’t been prayed for or have had this offer personally, but I know my parents have. I’m not sure how they responded in those situations, but I know from my perspective that I don’t consider myself sick. If I hadn’t been blind, there would be so many people I would not have met, people I wouldn’t have been able to share the gospel with and places I wouldn’t have been. I also think that if my sight were restored, I’d have all this vision and wouldn’t know what to do. I would have to learn to read and write again, and basically how to do basic every day things. Furthermore, I/we live in a developed country with services such as Vision Australia and Guide Dogs. In Jesus’ time when he healed blind people, they were “begging”. (No V A back then). So, while I have no sight I can live life, work, I have family and friends and a place in society. These people, because of their lack of sight, experienced absolute poverty: no food, money or social class in society. For Jesus to heal them was not only to heal their sight; but to restore (or rather allow) them a place in their communities. So basically, I’m happy the way I am. I will have my sight healed in one way or another (be it in this life or when I see Jesus in Heaven); but if God chooses to heal my sight while I am here on Earth so be it. If not, I’m feeling perfectly healthy and well and happy with my life at the moment.

My response? I’ll end with quoting myself from the Sympathy Versus Empathy post:

Sympathy alone would lend me to want to change another’s circumstances or person to suit me, make me feel better, achieve my goals, remove all that is a bother to me, include all that would make my life easier…A good beginning but a potentially disabling, judgemental, intrusive and ultimately self-seeking end. Not any of the things I associate with love, compassion or community. Empathy, on the other hand, and if an extension of the sympathy I first experience, would lend me to consider what would be in the best interests of the other. I might ask what their experience actually is, what their goals and frustrations are, what are their passions and hurts…the list could go on. I might then be able to feel and say, “I think I can see how you feel or why you would want that.”

Unity, inclusion, community, acceptance, respect, interdependence, individuality…cannot exist in conformity. I think we are sadly mistaken if we have imagined conformity to be the same as inclusive community.

Sympathy Versus Empathy

A well-intentioned statement in a conversation recently, reminded me of many others and the way we embrace the attitudes of sympathy or empathy and the subsequent out-working of those attitudes. I have been reading definitions of these two words from different dictionaries and psychologists and I have some musings of my own.

We often think that we know what would be best for someone or presume what their preferences would be, but our view is often born out of what we would prefer or consider best. My preferences and ‘best’ will not always, or hardly ever, be the same as another in similar circumstances. The fact that I was well-intentioned is almost irrelevant.

I think that it is perhaps better if sympathy is a step along the path to empathy out of which appropriate attitude and action can stem.

Sympathy is recognising that I agree with you about how you feel or view something, but it is my feeling or view that I experience and respond to. We need sympathy in order to consider how something would affect us, whether positively or negatively, and to then think about how we might react or take part in something.

Empathy is the ‘art’ or perhaps discipline of attempting to walk in someone else’s shoes. It implies to me an intentional effort of mind and soul to consider what someone else’s experience might be. I can do this through conversation and question of the other; through consideration of anything I already know of the other’s history and present; through observing the other’s outward expression of their experience – whether positive or negative, verbal or physical…

Sympathy alone would lend me to want to change another’s circumstances or person to suit me, make me feel better, achieve my goals, remove all that is a bother to me, include all that would make my life easier…A good beginning but a potentially disabling, judgemental, intrusive and ultimately self-seeking end. Not any of the things I associate with love, compassion or community. Empathy, on the other hand, and if an extension of the sympathy I first experience, would lend me to consider what would be in the best interests of the other. I might ask what their experience actually is, what their goals and frustrations are, what are their passions and hurts…the list could go on. I might then be able to feel and say, “I think I can see how you feel or why you would want that.”

Our Designer said that love is not self-seeking and that loving community involves each having the same love, and looking out for the interests of others as well as ourselves.

I’m reminded of a few quotes that have struck me in relation to empathy, community, met needs and contribution. The first from Edith Cavell, a World War I nurse on the day before her German execution – on patriotism (which I saw as a perceived ‘good intention’)

…standing as I do before God and eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.

The second is Kurt Fearnley – paralympian, Young Australian of the Year, OAM and much more

Without empathy and support from within my community I would have never found my way to the life I get to live now; a life that hinged on successful financial rationalisation, where a community found that the cost to support me was an investment into the lives of all of those who I have been able to interact with.

And my friend, Tom, posed the question this past weekend of what my biggest need is today following with

(Our Designer) doesn’t just pick you up, dust you off and send you on your way.

(He) picks us up and transforms us.

That’s what I want, transformation. That’s what I want for you too. Transformation is what I want for our communities.

I can suffer you sit by me while I live life. Or I can work with you, and you with me, so that we both live each of our lives with fulfilment, participation, community – but as interdependant individuals, not dominant/compliant carbon copies