My grandfather, Kevin Clear (aka JK), died when I was 9. An enigmatic man, he left behind him two of the most influential things in my life. The first being his family, the second this strange manuscript entitled Invitation to Ithaca.
My early attempts at writing came as a response to a deep internal struggle and existential crisis. I was a mess, confused, depressed, my own worst enemy. How could I survive in a complex world if I felt like this all the time?
After a long pause I return to pick up the thread of my enquiry and continue my journey in Search of Clarity. It is precisely 11 months since my last post and much has happened in the meantime. It appears I have needed that time out to regain a sense of clarity about my initial purpose. Besides, hindsight provides a much better lens to make sense of things, and so I return now with fresh insights and reflections on this process initiated a year ago.
In search of inspiration for this piece, I flicked back to the first page of one of my favourite notebooks — the one where I capture all sorts of inspiring thoughts and definitions on topics such as Brand Identity, Copywriting, Marketing, Information Architecture, User Experience Research & Design, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, etc.
I found a post-it note with some interesting questions scribbled and a little venn diagram. Continue reading Ikigai – Your Reason for Being Finding Meaningful Work
A New Year is upon us. Another fresh start. A time to kick-off those resolutions for all the great changes we will make in the coming year. I will keep my goals to myself for now, but briefly wanted to acknowledge the birth of a new year and touch upon some of the small things that have had a big impact on me.
This morning I found myself on a rocky, weather-beaten mountain side. The top was obscured by darkness and a thick cloud, but a rain soaked south westerly wind drove us steadily onwards. We joked as we trudged up the muddy boggy path to begin, but as the ascent transformed into hard jutting rocks, our journey became more silent and inward focused.
In response to a great deal of unease and a keen interest in finding a better way of being in this world, I have turned to creativity and in particular writing for some answers. Along the way a practice has emerged, out of something that is not entirely clear, which I like to call the Mindful Creative Enquiry. It starts with a simple question.
This question becomes a mantra as I start out on a new creative challenge. It is a device I purposely revisit because there is so much to unfold from that simple enquiry. It provides not only something to begin with but also something to return to, and this is very important.
In my last post I introduced the idea of asking an opening question (“Where do I start?”) to get things going. It’s a useful device for tackling blank canvas syndrome and initiating something that you’re struggling to get moving.
Sometimes, a response comes pretty quickly in the form of a statement. For instance, in the case of this very piece, the phrase “Start as you mean to go on”, came out of nowhere and plonked itself firmly on the page. I had vaguely intended to write about something else, but staying true to my process I decided to follow this line of enquiry instead.
Where do I start? This is a perennial question in the business of life. We have great dreams and visions and plans, but we often get stuck on where to start.
Maybe it’s an assignment for college we’re avoiding. Or it could be something bigger we set for ourselves — that business or blog we’ve always wanted to start. When we take a big step back, it might even be our lives that we are having the greatest difficulty starting. By that I mean, the purpose-filled life we know we could be living.
Where do I start?
When I sit down to write, that is the question at top of mind. Sometimes it’s just trying to figure out how to kick off a journal entry. Other times, it’s considering the best introduction to a greater work. Recently, it was trying to establish the first post to kick-off this new blog. There are so many beginnings and points of departure it’s hard to choose.