Take A Step [Seer Crawl day 13]

SharedFatherhood2 copy
this painting is called Shared Fatherhood 2. what’s in a word?

a slow read through THE SEER. day 10. [all material from the book will appear in italics]:

The First Recognition is: You Don’t Have A Problem. You Have A Pattern. Today’s excerpt comes from the beginning of The Second Recognition: Your Words Matter. Pattern/Problem distinction is essentially an acknowledgement of the power of word choice to shape perception. So, the next step is to dive deeper into the power of words.


It’s a common characteristic of stories that the main character tries again and again to solve a new problem but he doesn’t recognize that he is operating from old information. And then, one day, he finally sees that the old information is not useful. He has to stop and admit to himself that he doesn’t know what to do. All that he knows for certain is that he doesn’t know what to do. It’s a paradox. This is a powerful and necessary step in the progress of the story. It’s the point in every story and every life when the real seeking begins. It is the point that seeing becomes possible.

Once, years ago, when I was in college I did some work in alternative schools. These “alternative schools” were safety nets for kids who had dropped out, the schools for kids who the system had failed. What I appreciated most about the alternative schools was that the teachers would try anything to reignite the flame of curiosity in a student. The traditional path had snuffed the kid’s curiosity. The kids equated learning with pain. The teachers in the alternative schools never knew where they were going. They never had an answer. They knew that the traditional path didn’t work; they were certain that they didn’t know what to do. In the absence of a path, they would try anything. I admired them. More than once I was astounded by their ingenuity.

I’d completely forgotten about my experiences in the alternative schools until Virgil asked me to practice “not knowing.” After our initial chat I was confused and felt he was being purposefully obscure. What does it mean to practice “not knowing?” It seemed crazy. And then he suggested that practicing curiosity was the same thing as “not knowing.” The light bulb turned on.

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