Forgiveness

Mean and funny v’s good and generous.

Mean and funny v’s good and generous. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Mean and funny v’s good and generous. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I have a reasonably quick wit.

When I was younger it would get me into a bit of trouble at times.

Because, for whatever reason, the ‘immediately funny’ view of a situation can often be the mean view of the situation.

So, I’ve learnt to forgo the laugh in order to remain true to my belief that seeing the good, the possible…the generous view of a situation is the kinder, more productive and more appropriate approach to just about everything.

Occasionally I fail at this. Mean and funny out competes good and generous.

Damn it.

I’m sorry about that. I really am.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,310

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.

I lack perfection.

I lack perfection. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I lack perfection. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I lack perfection.

I don’t know why this comes as a surprise to me.

Over and over again.

I’ve always lacked perfection.

It’s never been any different.

Would I even like how perfection felt if I did, miraculously, achieve it?

I don’t think I am actually in pursuit of ‘perfection’.

I hand sew things because I love the imperfection of it…but I do try and sew as perfectly as I can…whilst choosing contrasting fabrics and cotton that highlight any imperfections that exist.

Hmmm.

It’s imperfections in my personality that I find the hardest to manage.

I appreciate how my hand sewn imperfections can be endearing…but my quirks of personality?

I find those much harder to highlight and embrace.

Could I, possibly, highlight and embrace all the things that make me imperfect?

It sounds good in theory, but the reality…

I wonder.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,301

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.

Nebulous and sharp.

Nebulous and sharp. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Nebulous and sharp. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Life is fleeting.

The edges and shape of it are blurry and ill defined.

It is painful and joyful.

All at once.

Generous and selfish.

At the same time.

A moment crystallises and then evaporates.

Nebulous and sharp.

What next, then.

What next?

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,260

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.

Irrational and unreasonable.

Irrational and unreasonable. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Irrational and unreasonable. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

My response to the things that happen around me can sometimes be irrational and unreasonable.

But sometimes I am, quite reasonably, disappointed with things that happen.

But which of these two responses am I having?

How would I know the difference?

I can’t work it out.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,222

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.

Truly, madly, deeply.

Truly, madly, deeply. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Truly, madly, deeply. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Once upon a time I hung out with a group of friends and, even though we were all well out of high school at the time (like, well out of high school), we felt compelled to act like joyful children and create a lip-sync-dance performance to Savage Garden’s song Truly, madly, deeply.

For all involved this was a truly remarkable thing.

I’m sure it was also as life changing for the audience as it was for us, the creators.

To feel this sense of playfulness with a group of adults is a special thing indeed.

We had this opportunity because we were all working together to deliver a program called the Future Makers Fellowship. Which was run by the Centre for Sustainability Leadership, affectionately known as CSL.

CSL has all but closed in its current form. Today we gathered to say goodbye.

We came together to do some of the most important work that I have been involved in. Helping people navigate their inner worlds so that they can grasp their full potential and apply it to the most significant challenges we face as a species.

The fact that, whilst we did this deep and meaningful work, we also laughed and played and carried joy in our hearts, well that fact is proof that what we were doing was really as good as we all had hoped it might be.

Farewell CSL.

I’m so pleased you helped us all find each other.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,090

Stamp Money.
from 1.00

Buying some stamp money is a way to say thanks. A way to show your love and appreciation for the things I make and share.

How much?:
Quantity:
Stamp Money
 

Epic.

Epic. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Epic. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I saw a dance piece last night called Colossus. Choreographed by Stephanie Lake as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival at The Arts Centre.

It was epic.

50 dancers on stage. Pulsing, throbbing, flocking. Unison and chaos.

En masse like that, the human form transforms itself. It suddenly becomes alien, or rather, it reveals itself as animal.

The work is a beautiful reflection of this moment. The joy and terrifying power of humans forming and breaking apart and reforming in tribes. Both live and virtually.

Most of the work reflected the magic that people create through intense cooperation. At one moment the group turns on one of its own. Singles them out.

Victim and hoard.

It was chilling. Frighteningly real. It triggered my experiences of having groups of people turn on me. It reminded me of how vulnerable I am to being abandoned by my village. How the invisible threads of support and trust keep each of us safe. For a moment I was that isolated human under attack. It was extremely uncomfortable.

Eventually this lone figure is delicately folded back into the group. This confused me. I accepted it, it seemed real…but is that it? Is there no retribution for the mass hysteria? No self-reflection from the group on its irrational seething anger? Why is their violence unpunished?

It was like the fog of irrational hatred cleared and it never happened.

It’s not right. How can they get away with this?

It may not be right...but it is sadly accurate. The victim gets chewed up and spat out on our social platforms…and then rapidly forgotten. We don’t see our own behaviour, our own hysteria, as part of the problem. It just happens for a moment and then it is gone. Like it never happened. The entertainment of it all finished so we move on, absolved of any responsibility for it all. The victim lucky if they are embraced back into the community.

These reflections are intensely uncomfortable. I don’t like how they make me feel. Don’t like that I see that I am a part of all that.

I much prefer the feeling I had when I watched the group in complex and profound cooperation. Which is where they were for the majority of the performance.

It was like watching a scene from a nature documentary. Calming. The natural world in harmony.

Colossus did that thing where performance morphs beyond entertainment into sense making. It helped me see something about myself and the worlds I inhabit.

Even though I was unsettled by some of what it had to say I am pleased that I live in a culture that gave space for this voice.

I feel richer this morning for that experience.

Filled.

Love.

Luke.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,026

Stamp Money.
from 1.00

Buying some stamp money is a way to say thanks. A way to show your love and appreciation for the things I make and share.

How much?:
Quantity:
Stamp Money
 

Too much.

Too much. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Too much. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Sometimes being a human is too much.

There is too much darkness. Too much shame and hurt.

Too much damage done.

Too much injustice and abuse.

I don’t know what to do with it all.

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 1,024

A man can’t possibly settle a crying baby.

A man can't possibly settle a crying baby. Drawing Luke Hockley.

A man can't possibly settle a crying baby. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

The other day I was having dinner with lots of people and I looked up and noticed that a friend of mine was sitting at a table with a plate full of food, completely untouched…because she was holding her baby. She was waiting for her partner to finish eating so they could do a hand over.

I’d just finished eating so went over and offered to help out.

My friends were so grateful.

The little one was grizzly and grumpy (which is why they were being held in the first place), but we knew each other reasonably well. So, I hung out within arm’s reach of Mum and Dad and did my best to keep things on the down low.

The room was too noisy for really getting settled, and I was a poor substitute for Mum or Dad…but we struggled along as the parents gratefully shovelled food, coaching me all the while on how to move the baby closer to sleeping or at least resting quietly.

I really needed to go out into the hall into the quiet, I knew that, but didn’t quite have the confidence, didn’t think it was the right move to leave the parent’s side…

Then, out of nowhere, a woman came over and offered to take the baby and settle her. I was very taken aback, and, after a quick check with the parents (that they were ok with the hand over) did as I was bade and handed the baby over and left.

I was very put out by this.

Very, very put out.

This woman, unlike me, hardly knew these parents or this baby.

I don’t know what it is like to be female and have a man ‘assume’ I don’t know anything about an engine or mathematics or politics or money or…like, whatever, but I am guessing the feelings I had fall into the same category.

It seemed to me that this woman saw me as a man who was incapable of settling a baby…because I was a man.

As far as I was concerned I was failing gloriously. I’ve had quite a bit of experience nursing babies, I had both parents at hand and there was no danger for the baby. nI was learning how to have a conversation with an infant, listening to their needs and trying to work out how to meet them.

It felt uncomfortable, beautiful, awkward and deeply selfless. It felt like an opportunity to learn about being a human…one that was lost to me because someone decided that I couldn’t possibly work this puzzle out.

Now, for the caveats.

I have no idea what motivated this woman to want to take over.

I suspect she had no thoughts whatsoever about my gender, perhaps she was missing her own children (if she had them) or maybe she wanted children (if she didn’t), or maybe she was a professional child carer, or maybe she thought I wanted to be ‘saved’ (which I didn’t) or maybe a million other things…but it doesn’t really matter, my experience was that of being undermined because of my gender – and I didn’t like it one bit!

And it is certainly a stereotype that ‘men’ aren’t the ones who ‘care for babies’. So, on some level this idea was likely to be influencing the situation in some way.

What’s really remarkable about this is just how rare it is for me to feel like this. I can count on one hand the number of times I feel that someone has assumed I am unable to do something because of my gender (like the time my year 10 sewing teacher accused me of getting my mum to make a pair of shorts and a t-shirt that I had made, because I couldn’t possibly be able to sew such a complex thing from scratch when everyone else was trying to sew a straight line and get their sewing machine licence!).

Which goes to show how much of an ‘easy ride’ we men are having every day. And most men aren’t doing things that challenge the gender norms they are bought up with, so they are even less likely to experience this feeling.

My female friends tell me this experience is far from rare for them. If anything, it is what happens to them every day.

Every. Single. Day.

Possibly many times a day.

What!

This is completely unacceptable.

Totally. Outrageous.

It makes me feel angry and frustrated and all messed up.

So, what do I do with all this…feeling?

I know that I want to avoid feeling like ‘I’m not good enough’ to do something.

Which means I’m likely to avoid putting myself in situations where I am publicly doing something that isn’t considered ‘normal’ for my gender.

Which means…I’m actually going to seek out opportunities to do exactly the opposite.

And then, if and when I have this feeling again, I’m going to do my best to kindly and generously hold my ground and do the thing anyhow.

And then, afterwards I’m going to sit with this feeling. This outrage and injustice. This sense of inequity. I’m going to hold it, be uncomfortable and know that people who identify as female are experiencing this feeling all the time which is simply not good enough.

And then I’m going to look for as many situations as I can to catch when I, or the men around me, say or do something that limits a person’s experience of the world based on their gender.

And then I will say something. I’ll apologise for my lack of self-awareness and insensitivity...or I’ll point out to someone else what they have just done, let them know that it’s an easy mistake to make and an even easier one to fix…

And I’ll assume that they, like me, want to fix it.

And I’ll expect them to fix it.

Because it is damaging to us all when we enforce these ridiculous gender stereotypes.

I’ll expect them to fix it because the baby I was holding was a little girl and I want her to be to grow up in a world that has sorted this stuff out.

I don’t want her to watch the news and not see any women playing sport, I don’t want her to buy her first car and have some guy talk to her like she is an idiot, I don’t want her to be paid less or have less opportunities or feel in any way less entitled purely because of her gender.

And I certainly don’t want her thinking that a man couldn’t possibly settle a crying baby.

I feel sad to know that I am probably reinforcing gender stereotypes without even knowing that I am.

Change is always a bit uncomfortable.

A bit of discomfort is much better than things staying the way they are.

The ‘way things are’ isn’t ‘uncomfortable’, it’s damaging.

Damaging each other is way worse than being uncomfortable.

Way worse.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 917

Stamp Money.
from 1.00

Buying some stamp money is a way to say thanks. A way to show your love and appreciation for the things I make and share.

How much?:
Quantity:
Stamp Money
 

The future is unwritten.

The future is unwritten. Drawing Luke Hockley.

The future is unwritten. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Here I am, once again, on the other side of the Future Makers communication retreat.

I’ve got all the things. I’ve got a deep well of belonging, I’ve got a cold (only a very, very small light handed one – which I’m totally calling a successful outcome given that previously I have barely been able to make it from the car to my bed at the end of previous retreats), I’ve got joy and hope for the future, I’ve got new ideas and ways of seeing things, I’ve got a bunch of beautiful photos and memories and I’ve gathered another group of friends and future makers that will be with me on this very uncertain journey into the unknown.

This year something is different.

I also have sadness.

An unspeakable sadness.

This retreat was the last ever communications retreat that will be run by the Centre for Sustainable Leadership. The organisation has decided to close down. This year will be the last Future Makers Fellowship.

It has been difficult to keep this organisation afloat.

I’ve seen the struggle, the hours of unpaid labour, the passion and commitment to make it work.

And it’s sad because it’s not like we don’t need the program, not like we don’t need leadership, not like we don’t need those leaders to help us to write the future of our species on this planet for the sake of all living things…

The need is greater than ever.

Philanthropists and governments and businesses used to agree that investing in this collective action was worth it. So, they would subsidise the cost of doing the course by giving the organisation money.

Then something changed.

A new expectation emerged that everything should be able to run as a social enterprise, everything should be able to fund itself…

This sounds reasonable on the surface.

I can’t quite put my finger on it…but something about expecting a capitalist model to fix the devastation and destruction that capitalism has reaped upon our ecosystem…it feels like the virus trying to heal the body.

I suppose I feel sad that we had a moment where the zeitgeist was “We need to collectively address these issues” and so we all, individuals, governments and businesses, invested in something that truly changed the story (just look at the 700 plus alumni who are now leading themselves, their communities and their organisations towards healthier relationships with each other, the economy and the planet that sustains us)… and now we don’t seem to have that collective agreement anymore.

Now we are saying “Well if you want to change the world you can pay for it yourself”. Which seems mean, and naïve, and foolhardy and like the true embodiment of cutting your nose off to spite your face.

But that’s where we are.

My experience with grief is that it is long and slow and complex and unexpected. That it will play out in many ways over the coming months and years.

I’ve had some time to sit with all of this. Enough time to accept, in some way, that the Centre for Sustainability Leadership is ready to let go. To appreciate and love the people who nurtured and cared for it, who fought for it in a system that didn’t want to listen.

Enough time to understand that its time has come. That this magic, beautiful thing, as we know it, is over.

But time is an interesting thing.

Because I’ve also had enough time to know that it’s not over yet.

Maybe my beloved CSL’s job was to launch the first wave of change makers into the world. To give them confidence and certainty, passion and compassion, clarity and voice, skills and knowledge.

To give them each other.

To weave them deeply into the fabric of the system they are going to change and then give them a clean slate to invent the next chapter.

Whenever I am truly lost I always check in with my mate Matt Wicking. At some point when we were talking about all this he said Luke…

“The future is unwritten. So, let’s go and write it.”

I’ll take my time to be sad. To feel the loss of this. Those feelings can’t be rushed.

Then, when I’m ready, I’m going to call my mates and start writing the next chapter.

Love.

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Day 905

Stamp Money.
from 1.00

Buying some stamp money is a way to say thanks. A way to show your love and appreciation for the things I make and share.

How much?:
Quantity:
Stamp Money
 

Mean.

Mean. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Mean. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Yesterday someone was mean to me.

Just your garden variety, high school, not very inventive or full of imagination, mean.

It was a ‘get back in your box, don’t think you’re so special, you can stop showing off now…’ snarky comment.

Two things about this have upset me.

For one thing, it worked.

I pulled my head in. I shrunk a little. I started questioning myself, doubting the things I have been doing this week. I’ve been thinking about my behaviour trawling over things I have said and done, wishing I hadn’t. Feeling like I don’t belong.

And that’s fucked.

Because I know it’s not true. I’m away on a residential with a big group of amazing people who have continually thanked me for everything I have done and bought to the group. It’s just that this teenage wound of being bullied is so deep that it doesn’t take much to open it and get me acting like a teenager again…

…and that’s the other thing. I’ve started thinking like a teenager again, I want to be mean. I want to take the person down. I have day dreamed about doing this one on one with them, delivering a withering line that will make them realise just how mean and small they have been…or with saying something to the whole group that would be a coded message for them…

But that’s not me.

I’m not mean.

So, what do I do with this hurt?

How do I respond in a way that reflects my values, not their hurt?

I suppose that’s a start. Seeing that their meanness is a reflection of a sadness or hurt that they are carrying. I’m pretty sure for them to act like that towards me that at some stage someone was mean to them.

Maybe I could choose to hear their meanness as a sharing of their sadness.

That feels better.

It doesn’t fix it…but it gives me something to do with it. I’d rather feel empathy than anger, hurt and meanness.

That might be all I can do for now.

Love

Luke

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Stamp Money.
from 1.00

Buying some stamp money is a way to say thanks. A way to show your love and appreciation for the things I make and share.

How much?:
Quantity:
Stamp Money