Listening

An intangible gift.

An intangible gift. Drawing Luke Hockley.

An intangible gift. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

My fear is that I sit just outside of really talented at anything.

That I’m ok.

Adequate.

While others are gifted and inspiring.

I am afraid that I am destined for a life of mediocre.

I’d really like to be able to see through this. To see this for what it is…

But what is it?

It is a desire to have a natural, technical gift and to have honed that gift to a point of excellence.

What would having this kind of gift mean? What do I think it would give me?

I want to say ‘recognition’, I want to put this desire down to a need to be liked, a need to be celebrated by others…validated, but that’s not it. That’s not what I feel when I think of having this kind of gift.

I feel ‘freedom’. I am searching for the ability to use this ‘gift’ to make things.

At the moment I have music in my head. The ability to create music. To sit at the piano and play and sing, to create something from nothing.

I think I do have a gift. It’s just not so tangible. Which confuses me, I think.

Insight.

I think I have an ability to look at something and see the fabric of beliefs and ideas and history and story that is making that thing be the way that it is.

Then, I respond to that fabric.

I draw on my creative skills, as they are, to question, to challenge, to reflect…to imagine something new in the hope that we can see the fabric and choose how we want it to look in the future.

It seems like such an intangible gift.

I don’t think that makes it less valuable.

There’s something else.

I’m a dedicated craftsperson. I love learning. I have an ability to hone my skills. Then, when I respond creatively to some insight I’ve had, I have the tools at the ready to create.

The other day, at the gym, a friend said to me they wished they had lean muscle, rather than the bulky kind. I laughed…because they have the kind of body that most people at the gym are desperately looking to have.

I laughed because humans tend to do this. Or, at least, I certainly do this.

I look at the world and find the opposite of what I have and decide that that, that thing that I am not, is the most desirable thing to be in the world.

That if I only had that, then I would be happier and more creative and more special and unique and…everything, you know?

This is crap, though.

Really, it is crap.

The people I admire become distinct and interesting and beautiful because they take exactly what they have and amplify that.

Spending energy on a desire to be something else is a way of avoiding doing the work it takes to amplify what I’ve got.

It may also be a way of avoiding taking the risk of being seen, really seen, for what I am.

This is where it comes back to external validation.

My experience is that people living in their ‘gift’, whatever that may be, are not liked by everyone. Being liked by everyone is impossible and unlikely. The pursuit of this dubious goals is also likely to induce a kind of ‘mediocre’ that stifles things.

The unconscious goal of being liked by everyone is incredibly unhelpful to me.

Accepting…no, embracing, that the stuff I make will appeal to the people it is meant to appeal to, that’s where the gold is.

It frees me up.

To use my gifts.

To do something.

Right.

Thanks.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,379

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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

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support

Allowed to…

Allowed to. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Allowed to. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Today I am a sleeping bear.

Tired heavy contented eyes.

Walking between time.

From object to object.

Allowed to do very, very little.

Enjoying a momentary breath in and out.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,335

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Driving for hours.

Driving for hours. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Driving for hours. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Does driving 1,000 kilometres change things?

I suppose it does.

Driving for hours on end gives me time to think and think and think…with-out really thinking, if you know what I mean.

I’ll let all the things move into the background.

And see what I come up with.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,319

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Nothing left to give…?

Nothing left to give…? Drawing Luke Hockley.

Nothing left to give…? Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

One day, quite a few years ago, I was sitting on the step to our bungalow in our falling apart rental in Northcote enjoying a bit of sun when our cat, Mamma - who died a few years ago, came up and started rubbing against my legs.

My endless jar of honey had trained her to be brushed at the back step with a special brush…and she loved it. So, she was pretty insistent.

I was very frustrated.

I couldn’t be bothered.

I was tired and a bit over it and just wanted to sit in the sun and recharge.

Later that day, when my endless jar of honey arrived home, I complained to him about all this…

“She just kept insisting that I pat her…and I just couldn’t. I just didn’t have anything to give her!”

He looked at me, patiently and said…

“Maybe it’s not about what you’ve got to give her…”

Ahhh….of course.

This lesson, that I am deeply energised by giving what I have to other living things, comes back to me again and again.

One more reason to be grateful for the endless jar of honey in my life.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,305

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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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A little slower.

A little slower. Drawing Luke Hockley.

A little slower. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I’d like to look forward and plan my next few months a little better.

Specifically, I’d like to look at the time that I have more control over and make some choices about what I want to do with that time.

I have this picture of sitting and sewing as I listen to stories.

Simple really.

I think it requires me to take the foot of the accelerator a little though to make it happen.

It’s been a big start to the year.

I think taking things a little slower would be nice right now.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,277

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Chosen family.

Chosen family. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Chosen family. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I spoke to my beautiful friend Billie last night.

We’d been trying to connect for weeks, without success, and then finally the stars aligned.

It’s comforting to be back with someone who knows me so well. Who loves me so deeply.

Her little boy asked if “Luke was our family?” 

“Why, yes…he is”

We are a part of each other’s chosen family.

Which is an honour for me.

A real honour.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,267

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Some simple things.

Some simple things. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Some simple things. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Some simple things.

The condensation on the inside of the kitchen window.

Putting a log of wood into the fire.

The sound of the heater.

Thick socks on a cold morning.

A stack of clean dishes waiting to be put away.

This week’s food cooked in a day.

Doing the next thing on the list.

Writing my daily letter.

Some simple things.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,266

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A walk along the creek.

A walk along the creek. Drawing Luke Hockley

A walk along the creek. Drawing Luke Hockley

Dear Self,

I went for a walk yesterday along Merri creek with a dear friend of mine.

We had some things to talk about, which we did.

There was a moment where we stood under a bridge and played with how the sound reverberated off the massive bluestone arch.

This incidental, childlike playfulness is the stuff of magic.

When these experiences are missing, when a friendship becomes purely about some project or outcome or a working relationship…or much worse when it becomes just about working out conflict or having difficult conversations, then the relationship lacks the reserves to keep itself going.

I find it can be so easy to let these things slip, or not make the time and space for them to happen. They seem like ‘nothing time’, finding time to be bored together so that something light and curious emerges.

In my experience these spaces are where friendship is built.

Which is the most important time of all.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,261

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.