Failure

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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Not on my feet.

Not on my feet. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Not on my feet. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am not on my feet.

I feel all disoriented, discombobulated.

I don’t understand how all the bits fit together.

I don’t get how to make sense of it all.

I just don’t get it.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,275

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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.

The thing I think I need to look at.

The thing I think I need to look at. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The thing I think I need to look at. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

The thing I think I need to look at is not necessarily the thing I need to look at.

Because sometimes looking very hard at the thing I think I need to look at is just a way for me to get better at worrying about the thing I think I need to look at.

At these times, I’ve learnt, the healthiest thing to do is to look at something else. Almost anything else will do.

Then the thing I think I need to look at can have a bit of time outside the spotlight to sort itself out and work out whether it really, actually, needs to be looked at.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,271

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Democracy.

Democracy. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Democracy. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I really care about democracy.

It has snuck up on me how much it matters to me.

I want to understand how it works. And I’d like to live in a country where people are proud of their politicians and political system.

I’m most worried about how the way we consumer information impacts upon how we all feel about politics and politicians.

There is something heartbreaking to me about how effective spin and polarisation are in terms of winning the popular opinion.

I’m concerned that, because of how we interact with information now, fear is becoming easier to use to rally people to act against their own interests.

How can we have a healthy democracy at this particular moment of history?

I really care about democracy…because, when it is done properly, it gives almost everyone living in a society a voice.

And that’s fair, that’s how it should be.

Democracy really matters.

At any election it is most important that democracy wins.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,259

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The Rebel and the CEO.

The Rebel and the CEO. Drawing Luke Hockley

The Rebel and the CEO. Drawing Luke Hockley

Dear Self,

I am both a Rebel and a CEO.

I’ve got these two contradictory characteristics that can take me by surprise and, if not well managed, can derail me and the thing I’m working on.

The Rebel in me does not like being told what to do, or rather doesn't really like following someone else’s vision for how things might be done. I dig my heels in and find ways to resist the simplest request or most obvious instruction.

When I hit the CEO mode hard…well I become like an immovable object. I want this thing done and I want it done now. I might be prepared to negotiate how it’s done…but only for a very short amount of time, then I just want it done my way.

At my best these two-character flaws don't really get much air time. Up until now I haven’t had a name for them, but I’ve known them, or have been getting to know them. I’ve learnt how to set things up so that I feel heard and safe, I’ve learnt to make really clear choices about whether I am in a leader of a follower role and that seems to help keep me on the straight and narrow.

But when I’m tired, or hurt, or sad, or out of sorts for whatever reason…that's when things can get messy.

There are two extra, interesting things I have just realised.

My Rebel and my CEO are actually the same qualities in me acting out in different situations. My CEO is me when I am in charge, stressed and trying to get things done the way “I know” they need to be done, my Rebel is exactly the same thing…only I’m not in charge – I’m in a position of supporting someone else or there is grey around who exactly is in charge.

Also, I have realised that the Rebel and the CEO are reflections of excellent qualities that I have…at the wrong volume for the situation that I am in. They are both examples of my ability to see problems for what they are and imagine solutions that will cut through and get a result.

I really like that I’m able to do that. I really, really like it. Sometimes I’m doing it at the expense of myself and the people around me.

I like that a lot less.

A lot less.

I’m learning how to lead with kindness and how to trust the leader I’ve chosen to follow so that I can respond in a more balanced way.

The Rebel and the CEO are both outstanding characters…I just need to get better and calling on them at the right time and place.

That's all.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,247

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I can’t be bothered knowing myself today.

I can’t be bothered knowing myself today. Drawing Luke Hockley

I can’t be bothered knowing myself today. Drawing Luke Hockley

Dear Self,

I can’t be bothered knowing myself today.

It’s a bit of a theme at the moment.

When I can’t be bothered with myself like this it usually means I am avoiding something.

But what…?

Maybe it just means that I’m tired and fighting off a cold.

Yeah, let’s take that road instead.

I’ll do the real digging some other day.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,236

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Don’t throw the buttonhole out.

Don’t throw the buttonhole out. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Don’t throw the buttonhole out. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I’m learning how to sew a buttonhole.

Or, rather, I’m learning a new way to sew a buttonhole.

Originally, I kind of made it up…I did a hand version of what I had seen a sewing machine do.

It was ok…but clumsy, or I thought there must be a better way or something like that. So, I found some instructions in a needle craft book of Mum’s on how to sew a button hole.

So far it is incredibly clumsy, and I don’t like it at all.

But I think I need to persist a bit longer.

I feel like a bit of repetition will help me see if I don’t like it because I’m not familiar and skilled enough or because it is actually awkward.

Let’s not throw the buttonhole out before it’s had a chance.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,219

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The metronome.

The metronome. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The metronome. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

When my world view is most mushy and my perspective is skewed towards the negative it is valuable for me to keep doing the things that I usually do to keep the ship afloat.  

Writing this daily letter, moving everyday, going to the gym, connecting with other humans, doing the dishes, tidying up, singing and playing music... 

But, at these very moments, I don’t want to. 

I will do anything to avoid the very things that refill me.  

Why!? 

What on earth is going on here?  

During these times I like to think of my self care activities as a metronome. I just do them. Regardless of how it feels or if I feel like it. I do one thing and then just do the next thing and then the next thing. 

Eventually I look up and fee the joy of it all again. 

Eventually.  

Love  

Luke.  

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Day 1,197

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.

My body is a koan.

My body is a koan. Drawing Luke Hockley.

My body is a koan. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

My body is a koan, a puzzle, a riddle.

It’s a question that presents many possible solutions, some of which are helpful, some are self-limiting and some…well, their outcome is a mystery.

Returning to the koan every day with the intention that it is the asking of the question and the wondering about the solution that is as useful to me as solving the riddle.

Solving the riddle is great, but we don’t always get that luxury, or it can take quite some time.

So being in the question that I am in. Curious. Kind. Playful and tenacious.

That’s what it’s all about.

Which is easy to remember when I’ve solved a puzzle and very challenging to keep in focus when I haven’t!

Love

Luke

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Day 1,169

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.