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December 2016




An End and a Beginning

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”

... T.S. Eliot


My wonderful daughter turned 20 this year. Recently, I was reflecting on her part in my life and it occurred to me that I have been writing a regular newsletter for longer than she has been alive! It also struck me that this was rather a long time.

I was very new to the world of coaching and the ontological approach when I first started writing newsletters. It was the age when e-mail was in its infancy and so we began with an A4 double-sided printed newsletter that we printed and stuffed in an envelope every three months. In 1999, I began to produce a monthly electronic newsletter that I have continued up until now. It began with two main objectives. Firstly, it was a business strategy to keep us and our ideas in front of our past, present and, hopefully, future clients. It was also sent in the spirit of sharing the ontological work with others. However, it was not long before the first reason was well and truly subsumed by the second and to this day I have aimed to share ideas to give the reader a different perspective about the human way of being, our relationships and organisational life.

However, for some time now, I have been feeling that the format has become somewhat stale or maybe it is just me that has become a bit stale. Either way it seems time for a change.

With that in mind, this will be the final edition of Talking About, certainly for the time being, and maybe forever. I have decided to take some time to reflect on what I want to do next with my writing and my work in general, although I will certainly maintain my coaching practice. (All referrals and enquiries are welcome!) Those reflections may lead to something similar, something different or maybe nothing at all. If you have any thoughts about how I could make a difference in your world or the world at large that you think might be of help, then those thoughts would be most appreciated!

I will be keeping the Talking About list open for the moment and will share with you what I intend to do next when I work it out.

As I am creating some space in which to gain perspective, I have decided to offer you a similar opportunity and, with that in mind, I invite you to read and reflect about the 'blue dot'.

The Blue Dot

The Voyager 1 spacecraft left Earth on the 5th September 1977 and since then it has visited the outermost planets of our solar system and continues to this day to fly into the unknown. In 1980 the renowned Carl Sagan, of Cosmos fame, suggested that spacecraft take one last photo of the Earth to help us understand our place in the universe. The photo was taken on 14th February 1990 from a distance of 6 billion kilometres from Earth.

In the image the Earth appears as a single light blue pixel against black space.

In a public lecture in 1994, Carl Sagan then shared the picture and his reflections on the deeper meaning behind the image. I now share his thoughts with you and I invite you to reflect on their meaning for you.

"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar', every 'supreme leader', every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

“I think the term poet is a very exalted term and should be applied to a man at the end of his work. When he looks back over the body of his work and he's written poetry then let the verdict be that he's a poet.”

... Leonard Cohen (1934 - 2016) Canadian Poet, Singer and Songwriter

And Finally...

Carl Sagan's thoughts were largely about perspective and how humankind sees ourselves and those around us.

The end of the year is also a time for many to reflect on what the year has brought and what the next might bring. I invite you to reflect on the past year and what it has held. The achievements, the failures, the joys and the sorrows. Seek perspective and take that into the new year..

Jacqui and I would like to wish you all a very joy-filled holiday season. We hope that you had a year to remember in a good light and wish you a coming year full of joy, wonderful relationships and achievement.

Until next we speak, enjoy life and should we ever meet, smile! It will make us both feel better.


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