301: What I have Learned with this Blog

I have been searching my memory for the reasons I started this blog. October 20 2011.

The first months were a mix of articles, very much on the scientific side of things and I was still drawing. Since then I have began to learn guitar; its much more sociable. In the second month, much more on sustainability and beauty and drawing again; including Museworthy’s art show. (https://sustainabilityandbeauty.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/the-museworthy-art-show-%c2%ab-museworthy/). A wonderful beginning. I just think I needed somewhere to speak honestly and clearly about the things that matter to me. The blog is a sketch of me.

What I have found is that I enjoy blogging. It deepens my life because as I write I learn more. I’m trained as a teacher, blogging like this is reflective practice but pretty much every creative person I know is reflective. That includes the scientists. I remember my first lessons in reflections were, trying to work out what to do when my experiments went wrong. Science is as messy as art in that way.

I have learned to trust process; I have an app that lets me post pages from what whatever I am reading, (103 waiting now), and I make sure to write first drafts Saturday and Sunday mornings. Then with two or three set up, it is a matter of checking, proofreading, rewriting, and then publishing through the week. That works for me.

Comments from readers, and likes on Facebook are great, and the pleasure I receive makes this worthwhile. I feel heard. And, my daughter told me I write well!

The best thing is a feeling of openness – pleasure, a passion for this. And plan to speak more on music, drama, film and science as we move forward. I will actively learn how to do this.

Thanks, so much.

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300 Posts

I have posted 300 times since beginning in October 2011. Ive enjoyed doing this and will continue. Thanks to all of you who following. Over 800 now.

Here is the statement about my purpose here. In many ways my posts outline what is important to me; at least in the public space. In the bigger view these all aline with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). My answer to the question, “What should we do?”is that any action that moves us toward the SDGs moves us toward sustainable and beautiful ways of life. Here is my statement…

My real task; and the focus of this blog is: mentoring: science and opportunity; beauty and curiosity.

I am for:
I am for: planting trees, looking after forests and freshwater
I am for: our companions on this planet.

I am for: human rights
I am for: education
I am for: universal healthcare
I am for: universal social security; especially for the young, old and sick.

I am for: mindfulness
I am for: real measures of human well-being
I am for: efficient, well designed products that last.

I am for: technology that reduces human impacts; that encourages participation, that is human in scale and action
I am for: human and innovative institutions, and business leading these.

I am for: long term thinking; for children and their grandchildren
I am for: democracy; local, national and international participation
I am for: cooperative businesses

I am for transparency
I am for: considered evidence based values.

I am for: opportunity and entrepreneurship
I am for: beauty
I am for: expressions of beauty
I am for: honest feelings
I am for: integrity and honesty in words and deeds
I am for: truth, beauty and life.

From United Nations

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Finnish citizens given universal basic income report lower stress levels and greater incentive to work | The Independent

This is an interesting report on an Universal Basic Income programme in Finland. Initial results are promising, as the recipients can work part-time and start businesses without the disincentives of losing support often found with current social security benefits.

Interestingly, the major critic of the trial is a local union, who says that the programme will make lower paid jobs too expensive; presumably, because the businesses would have to pay at least matching salaries. I expected that argument from the business owners. To be honest, in my view, if you can’t pay a living wage you should not be in business and I think workers should take that view too.

I think this a great idea, especially for students and creative people; and entrepreneurs of every kind.

Read/listen to the article. This is becoming a worldwide discussion.

Source: Finnish citizens given universal basic income report lower stress levels and greater incentive to work | The Independent

Kujasaari Sunset: Finland

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In The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Teens Speak Up By Singing Out : Deceptive Cadence : NPR

A wonderful example of young adults learning and finding their voices. And a lesson in the power of the arts to transcend the usual barriers to connection: wealth, colour, location… And a story of vision and passion. But, of course, the barriers are enormous.

This is an example of what can be achieved and it is beautiful.

The group is celebrating its 25th anniversary by commissioning new pieces of contemporary classical music — and pushing the composers who write for the ensemble to broaden their own points of view.

Source: In The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Teens Speak Up By Singing Out : Deceptive Cadence : NPR

Photo from original article: Julienne Schaer

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7 mighty benefits of writing by hand : TreeHugger

Whenever I meet an actively creative person: like an author, poet, film-maker or musician, I ask about process; especially, if they use a physical or electronic notebook. The answers vary, although most tell me they use physical notebooks. The electronics are for the second and subsequent revisions. That makes sense to me but I was bought up with pen and paper.

I am in the generation right on the cusp of change. I wrote my Masters Thesis by hand and my PhD was written on a Mac+. I learned to write on paper. That explains my preference for paper but I am constantly surprised when digital natives start with paper like I do.

I have just remembered another point. I love the feeling of a pen in my hand. Mostly I use a fountain pen on good quality paper. I love the way the pen writes.

This article explores the benefits of writing and it does say writing helps thinking and writing, which is my experience. Have a look. It is a thoughtful article.

While pen and paper may seem poised on the edge of obscurity, writing by hand offers a bevy of brain-boosting perks that should not be lost to technology.

Source: 7 mighty benefits of writing by hand : TreeHugger

The photo is one of my notebooks.

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A Quiet Leader Is Still a Real Leader – Quiet Revolution

I have always preferred quiet, and disliked loud and exuberant but can quiet people lead? Certainly the answer is yes. In many cases, yes!

My experience is that often quiet leadership works well. Think of Toastmasters and Scouting and voluntary organizations, often the quiet leaders are the effective ones. So the answer is yes.

So my view is that, quiet leadership and is often (Pretty much always) more effective than “strong” leadership. After all who likes bullies!

So I was pleased to find this article exploring “Quiet” leadership. I recommend it to you.

Even introverts can buy into the notion they can’t be “real” leaders, as this introvert did. But an overwhelming feedback she received changed her mind.

Source: A Quiet Leader Is Still a Real Leader – Quiet Revolution

The graphic is from a random Tumblr page; I’m sorry I don’t have the link. (Please let me know so I can attribute correctly)

A Servant Leader

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Writing your story — The Story Collider

I am excited to see The Story Collider coming to New Zealand but two hours hours drive away from me!

Nevertheless, the training materials and Podcsts are excellent. I plan to spend many hours learning here.

If you live in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch check this out.

Source: Writing your story — The Story Collider

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300 Years Of Handel’s ‘Water Music,’ With A Splash Of Politics : Deceptive Cadence : NPR

This is a wonderful article, with links to a Water Music performance.

Please take time to enjoy this. Notice, even with the political competition, this is a wonderful example of creative and innovative cooperation.

Three hundred years ago, England’s embattled King George I decided to divert public attention from the country’s woes with a big musical party on the River Thames.

Source: 300 Years Of Handel’s ‘Water Music,’ With A Splash Of Politics : Deceptive Cadence : NPR

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Creative country: 98% of Australians engage with the arts

This is an encouraging piece of research: Almost all Australians “engage”with the arts. (I expect, similar figures would hold for New Zealanders)

When I first read the heading I was a little sceptical: OK so pretty much every one listens to music, watches film or video or reads; I can believe that. But what does this really mean. Then the author details the complicating factors: not so much interest in publicly funded “elite” arts, or attending live venues but more personal art making. That I find encouraging, although I find the authors findings that “young people” are engaged “using platforms such as Youtube, Instagram and Spotify.” a little off-centre. These are sharing platforms. To me the important point is the art making: music, drawing, photography and so forth. That is the point of engagement with the arts, not the platform for dissemination. Plenty of Australians are making art. There is much that is encouraging here.

So… here are the concluding comments. I encourage reading the whole article and the comments. The Conversation is worth a regular look too.

“The survey demonstrates the changing way that people now engage and participate in the arts. Researcher John Holden has talked at length about this with his framing of three forms of culture – publicly funded, homemade and commercial.

One of the survey researchers notes that the boundaries between art appreciation and art making are increasingly blurred. This is evidence of greater engagement in art making, especially by young people, using platforms such as Youtube, Instagram and Spotify.

Technology has been a democratising force in encouraging and enabling more people to both appreciate and participate in all forms of arts practice. It is likely this will continue and that is good for both arts engagement and how we value arts practices.”

Source: Creative country: 98% of Australians engage with the arts

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Organizing for Creative People: How to Channel the Chaos of Creativity into Career Success. Sheila Chandra

I was taken by the Guardian Review of this book, bought the book and it is great.

Sheila Chandra an international level singer writes on organizing for creative success. She clearly introduces her approach to managing a successful creative life. It is a great read and I plan to pass my copy onto my daughter and son, both are looking toward creative entrepreneurial careers. There is plenty here of use: Lets start.

“Good artists are smart and hardworking. Its going to take some serious strategy, good infrastructure and copious amounts of hard work for you to win those elusive moments of creative and public glory.”

What I like with this book is how clear and practical it is. Start by organizing your space, then your head, and then onto the world. Moreover, this is clear – look after yourself, don’t make decisions when, “Tired, hungry and cold.” Have fun, write-it-down; task-map, prioritize and plan. All standard advice but absolutely useful and clearly developed.

Buy this book – use it.

Art doesn’t have to come out of chaos, as it did for Van Gogh. Former Monsoon star Sheila Chandra and Stik explain how they learned to defeat disorder

Source: Singer Sheila Chandra and graffiti artist Stik on why ‘the dysfunctional genius trope’ is a myth | Books | The Guardian

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