Mud play days

    

Arm deep in sticky mud, they shape yummy cakes and scary castles. The bright yellow, red and green of the tiny plastic wheel barrow are being splattered in fresh mud. It only seems to be a matter of time before the amount of mud in the barrow will equal that on clothes, faces and bare fore arms.

Given simple raw materials, children will play. Their creativity unrestricted and unshaped by the need to colour in the lines. No need for each moment to be filled with the instance gratification of reward driven games.

I long for those days of innocence again. Wishing I could send my children back to that wonderful place where success is measured by clothes in the washing pile rather than new clothes failing to make them look like the air brushed model.

Life has become complicated and painful.

In the Industrial Age they believed that factory’s could mechanise work for good. But it simply robbed us of the satisfaction of hands on work and craftsmanship. In the fifties they thought the we would all have more leisure time as robots and machines served us. But they did not realise that we would just have to keep working harder and harder to afford those luxuries.

Progress always comes with a shadow.

The progress in this generation has been exponential. Yet still the shadows have surprised us. Our electronic communication allows us to connect instantly across the globe from a slither of tech in our pockets. But words in a email rarely transmit the subtle tones of human conversation. Social networks held the promise that we would never be alone. But living our lives on the back of other people’s newsfeeds, means we are more alone that ever. Passing likes are not a reflection of loving, lifegiving connections.

The dopamine fix means our phone twitch and even cause us to imagine the subtle vibrations on a latest notification. We are unknowing addicts on an intravenous drip loaded with the unremarkable glossed lives of other nobodies. 

Each day bombarded with news, gossip and images. We were suppose to care more, to connect more deeply and have our creativity fired up. But in reality we become numb to the hardships of others, fascinated by the failure of our neighbours and our imaginations manipulated by a thousand fake photos. Tomorrows fix will need to be stronger. 

I wish I had seen the shadow side of our always on age. I wish I had listened to my gut and protected my children from the tusunami of social information for longer. 

I long for those innocent, uncomplicated days of mud pie creations in multi colour wheel barrows. But we can’t go back. 

 
Over the last week one of the kids has been grounded and this has included an electronic grounding, no iPhone, Facebook or tumblr. Just space to think, read, converse and create. For tonight a request has even been put in for a campfire. The best bit… They love it and so do we.

Frozen or fruitful?

Alarm, tea, kids awake, breakfast, back to school, coffee, tidy up…
The long summer break over,
We are finally back on it.

Sitting ready.
Almost quite.
Lid open, fingers twitch…
Back on it, online.
Send and receive…

Like a tsunami they flood in.
Likes, comments, junk mail, post, statements, requests.
Topped off by my own internal conversation of all the could and should be done.
Then it comes.

Brain freeze!

Thoughts locked down.

Mind

Stopped

Silence

But this is the wrong sort of silence, the wrong sort of stopped.

Locked inside and out.

That sort of stopped.

There is a right sort, the beach, BBQ, the sunset sort.
Those happy, sacred days of rested nothingness.
In that place, the flow of the tsunami is reversed.
My mind the epicentre rather than the laid waste shoreline.

The silence of the frozen mind.
A facade for the uncomfortable truth.
Inside the waters rip and tear and at the fabric of my thinking.
Not the quiet exterior but the internal raging thought chaos of hundreds of unresolved mental loops.

We had the answers.
We created so we could always rest.
The reality is the we never leave the network.
We are addicted to this mass of nothingness and pointless likes that overwhelm and destroy our minds.

How quickly I forget the simple truth.

I was not made to be a coast ravaged by the weight of incoming water but was made to be fruitful and to produce fruit that will last.

Stand back.

Allow the wave to pass.

There is another wave coming, of greater magnitude.

Mind free.

It begins in me.

Facebook – I choose the terms

Image

So Facebook brought Instagram for a cool billion dollars. Some leave instagram in disgust and some people catch on and join.

Right now who knows what Facebook will do with their very young purchase. But one thing is for sure ,what’s coming is another thing to compete for my attention. No doubt it will be a great product but I am drawing a line in the virtual sand.

I choose to connect on my terms.

This means, long sentence…. that whatever the latest and greatest tool for communication there happens to be I will respond when I want to respond, not when you ping, notify, text, email, ring or any of the other myriad of ways that you will invent to distract me from what I have chosen to do.

I choose the terms, I choose to stay focused from the inside out.

Social Volume

There is so much noise.

Facebook, twitter, pinterest, bbc and then the latest youtube share. If you and a million others like it then it could change the world!

The social noise is loud and literally mind numbing. I am not wanting to socially disconnect, I just wonder how much of it I can really connect with authentically. Just because I don’t click “like” does not be I don’t care.

In leadership there is also a lot of noise. Everyone has an opinion and their is a need for their position to be “liked”. But what does the leader do when presented with a range of opinions?

Jesus somehow managed to cut through the noise and speak what’s needed. When the voices shouted loudly about the women caught in adultery, Jesus’ insight is, “he who is without sin should cast the first stone”.

Silence.

Then the thud of stones dropping to the ground and the pad of religious feet.

Jesus cuts through the noise and highlights her accusers sin but also challenges here to “go and sin no more”.

In all that is shared, knowing what’s important is the challenge. The same is true in leadership, the challenge is to know what’s really important in the midst of a lot of noise.