Telling Place: The Story Of Jack (And What The Story Tells Us About Ourselves)

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It seems we live in a world that has changed, and is changing faster in 2016 than ever before. Perhaps, never before was there a time to reach out to others in love, whether they are are of the same ‘tribe’ to us or another; a time to accept that we’re all different (and that’s what we have in common), and that despite our wonderful (and sometimes infuriating) differences, we can, if we really listen, hear That Which Is The Communion Of Us All calling our name and see ourselves as Family. I believe we need that sense of listening, deep listening.

And, here’s an old English story about someone who didn’t really listen:

Many, many years ago in a remote village, there was a boy whose named was Jack. He could have been a young Celt(ic Christian boy, or a young Druid, or a young pagan. He was so young he lived with his mother.

They were very poor, and his mother made her living by spinning, but Jack was so lazy that he would do nothing but sit by the corner of the room, and near the hearth in the winter-time. And, so they all called him Lazy Jack.

His mother couldn’t get him to do anything for her, and at last told him, that if he didn’t begin to work and contribute for his keep she would turn him out to get his living as he could.

This alarmed Jack, and he went out and hired himself for the next day, Tuesday, to a neighbouring farmer for a penny; but as he was coming home, never having had any money before, he lost it in passing over a brook. “You silly boy,” said his mother, “you should have put it in your pocket.”

“I’ll do so another time,” replied Jack.

On Wednesday, Jack went out again and hired himself out, but this time to a cow-keeper, who gave him a jar of milk for his day’s work. Jack took the jar and put it into the large pocket of his jacket, sadly, spilling it all, long before he got home. “Dear me!” said the old woman; “you should have carried it on your head.”

“I’ll do so another time,” said Jack.

So on Thursday, Jack hired himself again to a farmer, who agreed to give him a cream cheese for his services. In the evening Jack took the cheese, and went home with it on his head. But by the time he got home the cheese was all spoilt, part of it being lost, and part of it matted in his hair. “You silly boy,” said his mother, “you should have carried it very carefully in your hands.”

“I’ll do so another time,” replied Jack.

On Friday, Jack again went out, and hired himself, now, to a baker, who gave him nothing for his work but a large tom-cat. Jack took the cat, and began carrying it very carefully in his hands, but in a short time the cat scratched him so much that he was compelled to let it go. When he got home, his mother said to him, “You silly fellow, you should have tied it with a string, and dragged it along after you.”

“I’ll do so another time,” said Jack.

So on Saturday, Jack hired himself to a butcher, who rewarded him with a handsome present of a shoulder of mutton. Jack took the mutton, tied it to a string, and trailed it along after him in the dirt, so that by the time he had got home the meat was completely spoilt. His mother was this time quite out of patience with him, for the next day was Sunday, and she was obliged to make do with cabbage for her dinner. “You silly boy,” said she to her son; “you should have carried it on your shoulder.”

“I’ll do so another time,” replied Jack.

On the next Monday, Jack went once more, and hired himself to a cattle-keeper, who gave him a donkey for his trouble. Jack found it hard to hoist the donkey on his shoulders, but at last he did it, and began walking slowly and unsteadily home with his ever-so-heavy prize.

Ofcourse, one element needed by Jack was appropriate listening skills and commonsense, leading to adaptabilty as circumstances changed…something greatly required, in the main, today. And, perhaps we can, bit by bit in our daily lives reach out and really listen to people (whether we agree with them or not), and extend love.

However, maybe all things really do work out well in the end (to paraphrase the Lady Julian), for the story continued, still with poor listening and understanding skills by Jack, thus:

Now it happened that in the course of his journey, there lived a rich man with his only daughter, a beautiful girl, who was hearing-impaired and she couldn’t speak. She had never laughed in her life, and the doctors said she would never speak till somebody made her laugh.

This young lady happened at that precise time, to be looking out of her window when Jack was passing, unsteadily, with the donkey on his shoulders, with its legs sticking up in the air, and the sight was so comical and strange that she immediately burst out into a great fit of laughter, and immediately recovered her speech and hearing.

Her father was overjoyed, and fulfilled his promise by marrying her to  Jack, who was thus made a rich gentleman. They lived in a large house, and Jack’s mother came to live with them in great happiness.

I do believe that That Which Is The Communion Of Us All is calling our names to remind each one of us to see ourselves as Family and to extend love and understanding, if we have ears to hear.

Your Journey: Becoming An Edge-Walker

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I’m an avid reader of books, and I like to read from a wide genre and different styles, so that I can get a broader glimpse of the world through the eyes of others from all walks of life. I’ve just finished a book written by a man that walked the  Amazon.

‘You have to just dive over the edge. You haven’t got time to mess about’. Ralph Fiennes

And, I’ve also just finished re-reading a book by Cheryl Strayed about her hike of more than a thousand miles along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to Washington State in the USA. Great adventurers, arduous journeys, ‘highs’ and lows’ from people who had tough times, but who overcame obstacles, and thereby grew in many ways, and returned changed.

It got me thinking. In what ways do we – you and I – prosper when we leave our comfort zone and venture forth into the unknown, ‘to boldly go’, and move from the centre to the edge. The edge is where adventure and treasure can be found.

‘Only ever doing what feels comfortable is a form of suicide.’ Oli Anderson.

Our natural ‘default’ position is of being ‘centre settlers’, we enjoy our comfort zones, love the ‘comfrotable armchair’ of life, but unbeknown to us that armchair can be a most dreadful place, a place that’s so comfrotable that we’re lulled into a warm, cozy, false-sleep of complacency (if we spend all our time there) as the clock ticks on, and opportunity paases us by.

‘The most dangerous place is in your safety zone.’ Robin S Sharma

So, what’s the answer, fellow sojourner?

Caution: The following is to whet your appetite, and to encourage you to become an ‘edge-walker’, someone who doesn’t always stay within the confines of their safety zone, but ventures forth on an awesome adventure. Therefore, as you read this article and, maybe, proceed towards the edge, do so cautiously, ‘testing the waters’ as you go, using reason,  some logic, and lots of common-sense to ensure your safety, but don’t be timid about new experiences. Oh, and, yes, use lots of imagination, too. Great things happen at the edge, as you will find out….that is, if you leave your comfort zone.

‘Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.’ Haruki Murakami.

The Journey

So, what would a movement toward the edge, a journey into the unknown look like. There are a number of common stages, and these are:

1. The status quo: This is our home, where we are now! It’s where we are before we start out, it’s the ‘ordinary’ life, but a place where we experience the feeling of not quite fitting in. Do you feel that you don’t quite fit in?

2. The Call:  The comes a time when we receive a mysterious and/or unexpected invitation, message or challenge. It could come in the physical realm, or it could be an inner conviction, which calls us to something greater. It’s natural to query our capabilities, and some never get beyond this stage, sadly, because they seemingly disqualify themselves.

3. Meeting Your Mentor: As if by ‘magic’, someone who will equiip us with the nitial information to get us started, give us the necessary ‘tools’ for our journey to the edge, and give us great encouragement, will arrive. You may have heard the maxim, ‘When the student is ready, the teacher will appear’. Well, it’s true. And, maybe for you, this stage is happening right now, as you read this article.

‘Don’t assume, this journey to the edge is only a physical journey to some remote land. For you, it could be an inner journey of discovery, just as every bit as real as a trek through a jungle, a desert, or up a mountain.’

4. Departure: Now, we leave. Ofcourse, thoughts arise as to whether we’re doing the right thing. Family and friends may query the logic of what we’re doing – they have, maybe, the best will in the world, but they’re not you or I, and they haven’t received our calling. But, we’ve answered the Call (though some do turn back even at this point, sadly), and we leave the familiar. We move over the ‘city limits’ into the liminal zone – over the threshold into the unknown. We depart, and take the first real step towards our adventure towards the edge.

‘Our journey could be a physical one. It could be an imaginal one, a real imaginal one. As Pablo Picasso said, ‘Everything you can imagine is real.’

5. Adventure, Trials & Allies: As our adventure unfolds, there may be trials along the way. Tests of somekind, perhaps. But, don’t worry, help is at hand. We will find allies along the way, too, who will possess just the skills or infotmation we need, to assist us. In the physical realm we will be assisted by people, locals and those with specialist knowledge. But, what of the imaginal realm? Why, then you are limited only by your imagination. Perhaps, as in our night dreams, we will encounter and be assisted by companions, angels, elementals, animals.? Who knows? All ‘energies’ within our psyche.

6. The Cave: Here is a totally unknown land or experience. It requires boldness on our part, but we’ve come this far, and so we carry on. In one ancient story, Jonah found himself being tossed about by the sea (having been thrown overboard), and a big fish, maybe a whale, comes swimming along. That’s akin to a huge (animal) cave.

7. Crisis?: It might be, not always, that things come to a head. We face a crisis along our journey, in our life. It comes ‘out of the blue’ and ‘knocks us sideways’! It might be that we have to traverse a huge desert. Perhaps it is facing a, metaphorical, monster or challenge, something we have to overcome. For Jonah, it was being swallowed by the big fish. A form of ‘death’; certainly a massive ‘jolt’ to his system, and humbling.

8. The Reward, The Treasure: After traveling so far, our efforts are rewarded and we find what we’ve been looking for whether it is in the physical realm or imaginal realm: this could be information, wisdom, answers, guidance, healing, growth and transformation etc. Perhaps, we didn’t know what to expect, maybe we were looking for transformation, but it is at the edge that we discover it.

‘We live at the edge of the miraculous’, Henry Miller

Here at the very edge – where things are totally different to home, we discover what you’ve been seeking.

‘For some in imaginal realm sessions with Tadhg, some have come with questions, say, and in that inner, imaginal realm, have been directed by an ally or two to an imaginal landscape eg an inner library, only there to discover the answer to the question that has been troubling them. Like a night dream sequence this inner journey can yield great benefits,

9. Going Home: The journey is almost over, and now the journey home (easier than the outward journey) commences. But, we’re carrying treasure, now. But, there’s more.

10. Different!: There’s more. We’re not the same as when we embarked upon the journey. We’ve grown, matured, maybe, even transformed. Something has changed. We’ve moved up a spiritual stage. And, maybe we ‘wrestle’ with how we will use this treasure and transformation: for ourselves and/or for others? Maybe, there’s another ‘battle’ of a different sort here? Nevertheless we resolve it, maybe with the help of allies, or the mentor, and journey home

11. Back Home: This is the final stage of this particular quest. We’ve returned home to the ‘ordinary’ world. We’ve grown, got treasure or some sort, matured, been transformed, faced challenges and overcome them, and even more.

12: What Next? But, there’s even more. We know two (more) things. Firstly, the treasure we have and the experiences we’ve had have shown us that we need to share them, share our ministry, with others and not keep them to ourselves. Our horizons and outlook have broadened. Secondly, in coming home to the ‘ordinary’ world, the familiar, our ‘eyes have been opened’, and as we look around, we realise that this place, home, isn’t ‘ordinary’ at all, but it extraordinary, and always has been (but, formerly, we never knew it).

Ofcourse, this is but one adventure. There will be others, and they, too, may follow the abovementioned steps but the experiences and aims will be totally different.

The End, Or Is It?

‘Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.’ Albert Einstein

Right now, you can go on an inward, imaginal journey of power and potential. You can become an edge-walker. It’s a journey to find answers to questions you might have; a journey to discover treasure which may be wisdom, guidance or healing; to explore strange, new, inner worlds of the psyche where answers and treasure manifest themselves like symbols in our night dreams; and where you can encounter angels, archetypes, animal guides, companion(s), all metaphors of energies encountered in dream (but, here, done purposefully), all by booking a one-to-one creative-visualisation, imaginal session with Tadhg in person, or via Skype.

‘When you get to the end of all the light you know and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.’ Edward Teller

You can benefit from a physical journey to the edge, sure; but you can also (just as much) benefit from that inward journey of adventure and discovery. If you have questions about that inner, imaginal journey, of using creative imagination or this article, do contact me by email at: tadgh@tadhg.cymru or, in the next 7-10 days await for the announcement about Tadhg’s dedicated website, which will give much more information. Details of that website will follow within the next few days.