Friday, February 6, 2009

Equal Parts Inspiration & Experimentation

Having been completely inspired by the new book on handmade books called (wait for it)..."500 Handmade Books", I set out to experiment with various binding techniques and see what showed up in my hands.

At this same time President Obama takes office and my on-line conversations with fellow Inauguration Watchers turned to the wicked paradox of Hope and it's shadow Despair (Fear, Overwhelm...). Amazing author, activist, friend Meg Wheatley published a provocative paper just before the election, calling us to cast hope aside and instead live in the place beyond hope & fear. A place I've come to call the InBetween. And this journal - with more than two sides - was born. A container to hold our realities of two sides and write, sketch and doodle our way to a place beyond, and between. Meg gave me permission to use her article as I wished.

I wish to share some with you here....

"Perhaps in preparation for this time, I’ve spent years learning from those who have endured periods of darkness and destruction: Europeans who lived through WW II, Holocaust survivors, freedom fighters in South Africa, and those in the Third World who persevere through unending years of horror and loss. Their stories and wisdom describe a different place from which to do our work—the place beyond hope and fear.

Those of us raised in Western culture have a noteworthy relationship with hope. We can’t envision life without it. Hope of accomplishing is one of our primary motivators, what moves us into action. Hell, according to Dante, is the place devoid of hope; he told Christians condemned there to, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter herein.” The Hebrew prophets warned that without vision, the people perish. We’ve been taught to hope for a better world as the first step in creating one. Our bright visions bring the future into focus and cause it to be. We set a clear strategy, make a plan, and work hard. As long as we maintain our intention and work hard enough, our endeavors will create positive change. And we carefully and strategically choose to do only those things that will yield positive outcomes. How could our lives be meaningful, how could we do our work, if we had no hope that we’d succeed?

Here’s the problem with hope. It never enters a room without fear at its side. Hope and fear are intimate and ever-present companions. If I hope to accomplish something, I’m also afraid I’ll fail. And when confronted with the truth of failure, such as we are now, we become depressed and overwhelmed. Rather than inspiring and motivating us, hope becomes a weight made heavy with the fear of failure.
So we have to abandon hope, all of us, and learn how to enter the place “beyond hope and fear.”

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