We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
We know the place for the first time.
The exploration never ceases, even when we don’t know we are exploring the journey unfolds unexpectedly when ground beneath our feet falls away or perhaps when directions being followed don’t translate to the road on which we are travelling. Around every corner, in every nook and cranny, in the spaces between conversations there is one arrival after another. All we have to do is turn up. To be in the moment, to be fully present to the present and to do the next thing at hand.
I am the type of person who says: what do you mean there is nothing in the house to eat? I can invent ten different menus and feed ten people out of nearly empty cupboards. It is the first time every time.
This week I have topped up for my love affair with improv, connecting with Tapestry Playback in Singapore and taking applied improvisation training from Izzy Gessel and dramatic facilitation with Ajit Kamath. The sheer joy and power of connecting is always beautiful to witness, give and receive. There are invitations everywhere around us to say yes and. More importantly the lesson for me this week Biddy has been one of co-creation. I like making. I work from the proposition that we have everything we need and can make do with what we’ve got, being creative is nothing special.
I remember two natural disasters that were connected to my life in oblique ways – Hurricane Katrina and the Asian Tsunami. Immediately after the tsunami, literally within days, locals began rebuilding their homes, burying the dead, fishing and foraging for food. They knew their landscape and were part of the eco-system. Immediately after Katrina families were unable to feed themselves and food was being shipped in. For the first time in history the US was in receipt of overseas aid. Months later when I visited New Orleans it was like a deserted theme park the morning after a big party. Row after row of houses remained abandoned and the shipping containers home to prisoners an unwelcome reminder of the incarceration rate in that part of the world. From the skies a blanket of national emergency tarpaulins blanketed large parts of the city. The subsistence economy of Aceh preserved and enabled life to return to some kind of normal in a relatively short time. Not so for the people of Louisiana. I wonder why I am telling you this story Biddy? I think this tale of two cities calls me to be reliant and to keep connected to my own world and to pay attention to the forces of nature so that whatever gets hurled, I am ready to receive and not be seduced by relying on what I have gained or lost, but to be in the moment and to say yes and to what is within and alongside of me – not to look too far behind or too far ahead but to be in the moment, fully present to the present. And in doing that know the place for the first time.
Every time I meditate it is as if I have never done it before. Improv is the same, each offering a completely new and unique moment. Each moment never to be repeated and total gift – as David Whyte says : Everything is waiting for you … and indeed it is! The kettle is waiting to sing for me. The rubbish is waiting for me to mid-wife it to recycling. The blooms in the garden waiting to be admired. Arms waiting to hold me and all I have to do is turn up and be present. Each time is the first time.