Courage

I’m good at some things.

Dear Self,

I’m good at some things.

I can feel it when I do those things.

People appreciate what I do, they get joy, or clarity, or feel moved, or are able to move forward, or deepen their understanding, or…

It’s good to know this. Good to acknowledge it.

I can spend a lot of time reflecting on how I could be better at things I’m not good at.

Ok. Sure. That’s fine.

But it can’t be the whole story…that would be just exhausting.

So, there are some things that I’m good at.

Great.

Let’s build from there.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,353

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Older.

Older. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Older. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I’m noticing myself getting older.

I keep seeing a metaphor of an old chipped tea pot.

Well loved, functional, stained full of memories, comforting.

There is no getting around time.

I’m not sure if I ever thought there was.

As I get older it becomes clearer that enjoying the spoils of lived life…well what other choice do I have?

To fight is futile. Isn’t it?

The risk of all this “acceptance” is that I subconsciously begin to accept other people’s ideas about what getting older means.

The world has a lot of ideas about all of this that hold no interest for me. But it is easy to start thinking in those frames when they are communicated so clearly and with such strength.

(I know I’m not ‘old’, I know I’m ‘in the middle’, I’m saying older…we all get older every day)

The remedy to all of this is being in this moment.

I am this being, right here, right now.

I can do and say and think the things I can do and say and think right now.

That’s it.

That’s all of it.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,346

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Beautiful but damaged.

Beautiful but damaged. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Beautiful but damaged. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I had a bad dream last night.

A house that was haunted, but beautiful, but damaged.

We wanted to live in it.

Reimagine it.

Reinvent.

Restore it.

I felt frightened that the house was too damaged to regenerate.

But moved into it anyway.

When I woke up, I could feel the house was me.

That the haunted, damaged past was part of the beauty.

I could see that ghosts of events that happened through me are not me.

A kind piano to play,

in the corner,

sings the darkness away.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,345

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The dread worm.

The dread worm. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The dread worm. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am holding in my left hand, which is thrust deeply into my left pocket, a sense of something. Weighty and foreboding.

I find that I can, occasionally, open my palm and take my hand out of my pocket and do what needs to be done. But this sense of heaviness remains stagnant in my pocket, nonetheless.

Randomly, more often, I take my hand out of my pocket and look at it. I sense the gross, dull life form squirming inside my clutched fingers. But I don’t seem to be able to will myself to unfurl my fingers and look at it directly.

Not yet.

Generally, it appears about 24 hours before I am able to look at it.

And so, for a day or so, I live with it.

For about a day, or a bit longer, or a bit shorter depending on the circumstances.

Uncomfortable and awkward and uncertain and icky.

When the time has passed, I take my hand from my pocket and stare for a moment at my fingers and then, like a dive into cold water, open them and place the thing on the table in front of me.

A grey, fleshy, smooth skinned worm squirms upon the table.

I can still feel the dread that it emanates seep into my now empty palm, into my pocket, through my bowels and up into my chest and back of throat.

It’s the dread worm.

And I don’t like it.

It wriggles benignly on the table and I look at. Eventually I do what I know needs to be done and I reach out and touch it.

In what is always a surprise, which means it should never be one, I’m taken aback by its response.

This time the surface where I touched it changes from its morbid grey into a late day sunlight orange.

As I continue to touch and get to know it a little better it starts to morph and change shape. It becomes playful. Joyful.

This transformation is rapid.

And accelerates, almost without me noticing.

Soon it has transfigured itself into an entirely different animal.

A new one every time.

In this process there are awkward moments, painful ones even, but also funny and light hearted and inspiring ones.

And soon enough it has run off and become a thing in the world that has little to do with me anymore.

Mostly it’s a good experience, mostly.

And then I wonder, as I watch it run away, I wonder…why don’t I remember this feeling of lightness and relief when the worm first appears clutched inside my hand thrust into my pocket?

How come I can only feel the dread at that moment?

What I would like is to be able to feel the dread worm appear and know, inside my bones, that this too will turn out ok, even if some bits of the experience are less than ideal, in the end I’ll probably have a reasonably good time.

That.

Next time.

I’ll work on that.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,332

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Doing the thing.

Doing the thing. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Doing the thing. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Just doing what needs to be done.

No more.

Just lifting the weight that is in front of me.

Not telling myself how heavy it is.

Not worrying I can’t make it.

Not talking myself out of being able to do it.

Just looking at the thing and doing the thing that needs to be done.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,309

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A moment amongst moments.

A moment amongst moments. Drawing Luke Hockley.

A moment amongst moments. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

This is just a moment amongst all of the moments.

Don’t make it heavier lifting than it need be.

Do the work that has to be done.

Do it generously and with clarity.

Just do that and then keep moving to the next moment.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,285

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Grab the baton and run.

Grab the baton and run. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Grab the baton and run. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I remember running relays when I was a kid.

I don’t think I was particularly good at it or anything…but I really liked that feeling of someone running towards me with the baton, my only job was to be ready to grab the baton, run and then cleanly hand that baton on to the next person.

Any double guessing or mucking around at the moment the baton was coming towards me was futile and, quite possibly, a dangerous distraction.

Just be ready, run in rhythm with the person carrying the baton, reach back and grab that baton and run.

Right now, I think I might benefit from this approach in my life.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,284

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Looking at now.

Looking at now. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Looking at now. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

When things don't work out the way I had imagined it is easy to know what I should have done but not so easy to imagine what I should do next.

I think it is profoundly unhelpful to churn over all the pieces for the sake of churning over all the pieces…but what to do with all that stuff?

Is looking forward even helpful?

Maybe it’s about looking at now?

Maybe that’s all I can do with all that I have done?

Love

Luke

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Day 1,282

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Frightened of buttonholes.

Frightened of buttonholes. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Frightened of buttonholes. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I’m frightened of doing the buttonholes on the shirt I am making.

They are kind of irreversible.

Once the fabric is cut (which you do as you start making them) then there is no going back.

It feels like I could really stuff this up.

What if I get it wrong and all the hours of sewing this shirt are for nothing?

Ah, that’s interesting.

I’m worried about the outcome…which is the opposite of how I approach making a shirt.

When I make a shirt I’m most interested in the process. I encourage myself to let go of the time it takes me to do make it and how the shirt will look in the end…and just do this step, now.

I find making shirts such an interesting metaphor for my life. I avoid getting things wrong, which means I find finishing things I really care about can be difficult. It’s ok to get things wrong.

Ok, it’s time to make the buttonholes. 

If they don’t work, they don’t work.

At least I will be moving forwards.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,281

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Sometimes it hurts.

Sometimes it hurts. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Sometimes it hurts. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Sometimes I wonder if I am up for managing the breadth and intensity of the ideas I have for changing the world.

I feel a bit like a ghostbuster who is trying to control one of those big streams of light without crossing the stream with anyone else.

I see what needs to be changed, I have a sense of what that might look like, I imagine a way that could happen, I throw it out into the world…and I try and manage the chaos of that as best I can, doing as little damage to myself and those around me.

But I don’t always succeed.

Sometimes it hurts.

Which makes me feel like pulling back and hiding.

And I don’t know what to do with all that.

Love

Luke  

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Day 1,274

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.