Adventure is out there…

I want to talk about three things today. Just three, but three really important parts of my life right now.

1. Devotion, 2. Friendship and 3. Adventure

1. On Devotion.

I have lived and studied in London for over 18 months. If you ask me what I appreciate most, it’s the people. My supervisor is an incredibly patient, caring and contemplative person. His work and my work have a lot in common and some stuff that’s different. He can see my passion, but always, he is asking me to think about reason. Yes, yes, reason. Said better, ‘how is this useful’? How is this useful? I have devoted my life to my life’s work. To which he often replies, that’s nice. But that’s not enough. If you genuinely want to do great work you must consider what you are talking about, why you want to talk about it and how you want to discuss it. These must be clear. Otherwise, we are passionate animals but we live in an age of reason. Not disconnected, not cold. Rather, reason is now an expectation when we discuss ideas which travel past an individual, into groups, and onto the planet. Devotion is grand. Love your work, that’s nice. But bring me something I could take to a coffee shop and speak about and people will understand. Then, you’ve done something special. This can feel heavy. My devotion can be weighty, but my friends, all of them, in so many shapes and forms, have given my path guidance, and, as is often best…just a chance to laugh and frolic and be Free. My devotion to my work is very important to me, but my friends remind me that there is more…always more…than just my work to enjoy in this life.

2. With Friendship

With friendship comes fun. Yesterday, as part of my London University Ambassador Program I had the privilege of learning about the origins and history of the London Tube. It is, was, and will likely be…AWESOME for a very long time. Sitting in the back of a small room at the top of main headquarters, (I was late to our preso, so of course, I’m at the back)…our historian (David) captures the interesting social, political, economic and cultural forces which interplay in how the Tube has developed over time. From a mash of private railways to a conglomerate of public transport. Awards and advances have been racked up over the years. Behind all of this, there is this incredible sense of connection. How a person and people connect to their city. How this connection creates a relationship between a person and their home. It’s astonishing to witness how time has shaped this transportation operation and how I take for granted the incredibly energy that has been and is required to keep it up, to permit me to stay ‘connected’.

Now, to the friendship part. I am a LOT of energy. Trust me. My friends have bared witness to this often and yesterday was no exception. From the moment ‘hi’ to the end of the day I am bringing brash and sassy. And it is amazing to have that space, to connect. What is a Tube good for except to connect people to one another so they may connect to each other? This, I will leave as an open quest. I study housing and how people create/co-create home. For me, there is an underpinning which is permissible because of incredible systems of human movement, individuals and in mass, which allows for friendship to be both possible and probable and powerfully purposeful. And life to have purpose, to have value for me, must have joy and Adventure…

Below, Jen and Edgar. This picture captures the essence of their Spirit of Selfie Awesomeness. And thank you: for having the Courage to walk through the park, arm in arm, for getting lost for 30 seconds when we went straight instead of right, for laughing all the way from 55 Broadway and for generally allowing me to be ridiculous without feeling ridicule. #selfiesof15

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3. Towards Adventure

Adventure. That is what I feel when all the barriers to being are off. It is this unwavering sense that you are exactly who you are, exactly where you are and doing exactly what you mean to do, always. Adventure is safe. Safe in knowing that things are turning out for the best, always. Safe in knowing that the sun rises and sets and you can do anything you’d like with today. So go. Go and play. Laugh as much as possible. Be a little random. Take the stairs instead of the lifts all the time. Stop in one of your favourite coffee shop on the way home for a second cup. Because one of the greatest lessons I have learned from my time in London is that adventure is around every corner. From the buildings, to the people, from the food to the drink. From the vibrant arts to the slow walks in Hyde Park. From the top of buildings to the seats of classrooms. From time to time, take a ‘time-out’ and Adventure. Perhaps, one day, you will find Adventure isn’t just out there…it’s within you. However far you’d like to Dream you can Do.

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My best, always,

Zach

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5 small reminders…to stay grounded…in a global city…at a global university.

I…

I want to write. I need to write. I am an academic. It’s what I am supposed to do. I’m supposed to write. I’m a student. I’m a PhD student, in the middle of a large university, in the centrality of a global city. Perfect. I know where I am at. I know some of the identities I get to make a claim on. I know I am here, and I know I am writing because I believe in words. I am a writer because I believe words have power, they have an energy. The power and energy of words is significant. Power and energy and the words which inscribe and express are like the people who use them, who leverage the written and the spoken, the contested and the debatable. I know the power and energy of words is significant because I have used words my whole life. I have used words my whole life to express, to explain, to explore, to understand. I want to write. I need to write. I am an academic. That’s what I am supposed to do.

I have been sitting a lot recently. I have been sitting at home, I have been sitting at coffee shops, the usual haunts. I have been sitting a lot, grappling with what has been swirling around me. I have been sitting, so I can try to find some stillness. I have been sitting a lot recently. I have been sitting at the window. I have been sitting at the gym. I have been sitting at the table, talking to my friends. And I have been listening. I have been sitting and I have been listening. I have been listening, not with my ears but with my heart. I have been sitting and I have been listening from a space in my soul. And I have been trying. I have been trying and I have been sitting and I have been listening.

And the words are a lot. When you are a writer, and you sit a lot, and you listen a lot, I think you start to feel a lot. And often when you feel a lot it can get kind of sort of difficult to know, sometimes, where you are sitting, and what you are listening to, and what you are hearing. And I have been listening a lot and I have been thinking a lot about what I have been hearing. And I have been hearing a lot and feeling a lot. It’s a lot. And I have been retreating a lot. I have been sitting a lot and writing a lot and reading a lot and thinking a lot and retreating a lot. I have been retreating and quieting a lot.

And I have come to 5 small reminders. These 5 small reminders are for a world which doesn’t need my ten-cents, my privilege, my aggrandising. These 5 reminders, in no particular order, are as much for me. I share them because I am permitted, for any number or reasons, to believe in my words. I am an academic. I am an educationalist. I am a writer. I am a thinker. I am one, of many, who have trust that what I offer I offer because it means something to me. That’s how I live, like life means something to me. Like the lives of others means something to them. And that we have only to write, to listen, to sit, to hear, to share, to be…

1. The world is a complex place, filled with complex space. Appreciate its beauty.

2. Spend your time as you would spend your fortune, for its expansion of experience. Appreciate your beauty.

3. Diversity of thought and opinion can lead to an unfolding that doesn’t have a predictable outcome. Appreciate the beauty of unfolding.

4. Care deeply, sit quietly, listen fully, and allow totally. Appreciate the allowing part…it’s important.

5. More than being right, than being first, than being an independent thinker, being here has taught me that I need a team…a group…a tribe…a family to keep calm and carry on through every day.

Appreciate that others will show up for you like you show up for them.

I want to write. I need to write. I am an academic. But mostly, I want to Live. I want to Live fully.

Live fully.

My very best, always

Zach

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