Sometimes it takes me awhile aka I can be a bit slow on the uptake.

I love inspirational quotes. Always have. I sprinkle them freely, widely in speeches, writing, daily life and blogs. And I am always genuinely surprised if people comment on said liberal sprinkling. This is I suspect because I think it is normal, completely unnoticeable (is this a phrase?) or uncommentable (is that a word?). Or maybe, I am shocked that anyone is actually listening. I certainly never countenance the suggestion that I could be overdoing it.

So, when my eldest son, who is of great insight and wit, commented about said sprinkling of quotes throughout my parenting technique and general life advice, I was stopped in my tracks.

So Mum, he said, how many quotes does it take to live a good life?

Brilliant line, I’ll give him that. Called me out and stopped me in my tracks. So there I was, left standing there (does a line from a song count as a quote?) without a good quote or quick witted response at hand. After much laugher, genuine on my behalf I might add, I didn’t know what to say. I can be very literal you see and was trying to work out a number in reply. 10, 100, 1000?

So, a decade later, and I have finally worked out the response – As many as you are open to, honey.

Phew. I can leave the numbers to him (numbers not being my top thing) and I can convey the general ontological underpinnings of my approach. Inspirational quotes from the four corners of the globe and from the past are wisdom bubbling up from our collective consciousness and it is not so much in the speaking of them as the openness to listening.

It is still a very good line of his and I use it now as ‘a quote from my clever son’. It also reminds me gently to be the change I want to see in the world (Gandhi).

Yesterday we went round in circles

During a recent course, we sat and explored circular conversations: a conversation in the round, five minutes each, any topic, no interrupting, no questions – just listening, then onto the next person for their turn. We went round our circle of ten, three times and dug deeper each time. It was no surprise that we found ‘under every deep, a lower deep opens’ (thank you again R.W. Emerson). That night, I wrote this.

Yesterday,  we went round in circles .. deliberately, deeply, intentionally, meaningfully, beautifully. Yesterday, we all gathered closely and together we wandered in thick and thin places.

We spoke of many things and in the speaking we found the willingness to go to the edges of conversation, a confidence to dive into places hitherto unknown. We did the thing we had spoken of, we lived the learning we longed for. Our words dissolved in their inadequacies and then returned as breath. Willingness the thin became willingness the thick, the brave. Became the air that held us together as our viscous, sticky words lingered and dribbled between souls open to listening, waiting and sharing in turn.  Yesterday we teetered on diving pool edges and then went over.

And so we talked. Talked being and doing and head and heart; we mused and raged against such dichotomies; found hope in dragons and acceptance; discovered faith in energy and struggle and a skepticism for power, security and balance. There was space for our background and our foreground and the providence of accidents and truth. We honoured the barefacedness of our learning and named ourselves as conscious and unconscious gardeners, mulching and harvesting words, thoughts, experiences. Then, as soulful archeologists we dug into emerging, blurring layers, giving names, smiles and sighs to the wonders within.

We were delightfully unsure of boundaries as we lay in our net and played with our uncertainties. It no longer mattered whose thoughts, words were whose as we found meaning making meaning and thus gave birth to that which was spawned from the hummus of our communing.