Resolve: The Sound of One Foot Slapping or The Dance of the Dominoes

Back in 2011 I did a couple of writing courses with a friend at the WEA (adult education provider) in Newcastle in an attempt to get myself writing. It worked a charm for a while and I must have been doing morning pages (I mean actually getting up early in the morning and writing whatever came to mind for 20 minutes) as I’ve found this note from July of that year:

 “Today’s morning pages…aka What’s fallen out of my brain while I’ve had a pen in my hand for two minutes

There are bits of me all over the place, in various work books, on a receipt in my glasses case and spilling out behind me – I’m not sure if that’s like Hansel and Gretel’s crumbs and I’ll be able to scoop myself back together, or whether in fact it’s more of a pied piper feat and I’m rounding up stray bits of others?

I’m loath at this point to try and juggle those facial expressions, personalities, many hued natures and tales that range from woe to happy self-actualisation. It would require me to take responsibility for the telling and to play God about the endings.”

I like it. The idea that the subject, an author, not only finds them self scrawled on scraps and in pieces that may re-knit, but also that they recognise an accountability for others -even if in the case of this piece of writing the others are characters and their stories are yet to be determined and told by the author. Of course it is possible I was the author in this piece of morning rambling, in which case I did not have the resolve to tell those tales, they remain simmering in the fry pan of great potential, quite unresolved.

Whether you’re a pied piper or a mere mortal in the resolving story that is your daily life, one foot in front of the other can be an enormously useful strategy, magic pipe in mouth or not. So can finding a domino and setting it dancing.

I was discussing a video clip on Facebook with a friend earlier today. It has been a joy to reconnect with Dianne after we ran into each other a couple of times in Canberra in 2013. She taught me to play the guitar when I was a kid and it’s been such a gift that I don’t return to nearly enough. The video we had watched showed how one tiny domino can set things in motion. I felt like I needed a stirring within to get me going today, maybe even a great conflagration. We both felt like we could use the dominoes as a strategy and do one small thing to get a bit of a roll on.

It worked for me. I finished my coffee, stood up and took a stride like a falling domino, knocked over the dishes and swiftly got the home-based chores done and with a clack-clacking, domino falling swagger I hopped in the car (I mean fell in).

I was driving in search of a new laptop cord and I got the strongest urge to write. I started noticing things I hadn’t before (that’s been happening a bit in the past few weeks…I’m not complaining, it’s definitely interesting, that it’s happening and what I’m noticing) to the point that I thought I was lost! I ended up pulling over and writing into the mobile phone. My memory won’t hold the words for long.

I was thinking about resolve. How the domino thing had helped me tap into my own resolve to get up and get on with some tasks. And how completing those tasks would resolve something…like a laptop that I can’t turn on. It didn’t work, but the comatose laptop, well that’s another story to be written next week when the apple shop is open and sheds light on that particular plot…

So I was thinking about resolve. How sometimes it’s hard to have it. How sometimes we can borrow it from someone else. How it’s a resource behind so much that happens in our lives and in the lives of our families and communities when we can harness it and play it out.

There was another thought trailing resolve. The sound of one hand clapping. Curious. But I think my mind was toying with ideas of the resolve that happens quietly. And notions of how much can go unnoticed that’s important in terms of the generosity people afford one another sometimes. It’s like the tree falling in the forest. If no one noticed and there was no fanfare, did it happen? Sure did.

If you ask the interwebs about the sound of one hand clapping there are numerous interpretations of the point of the question and suggested appropriate responses. For some it is a zen question designed to encourage the accomplishment of perceived impossibilities. You’re supposed to be able to look at situations from all possible points of view, including the point of view that isn’t there. For others it’s a simple everyday principle about the most obvious things being overlooked. We are steered back to the obvious. For yet other people it’s about the meeting of opposite forces, yin and yang, in order to gain consciousness of anything new.

My thought was that the sound of one hand clapping is silence. Is it also absence? I get curious about the implication that something has happened…so what is it that has happened in the silence?

For Matt, the pathfinder behind the citizen led initiative Building Bridges, who has the resolve to face up to the impossible and even make it possible, it’s not the sound of clapping he’s generating, though he deserves much applause. It’s the sound of two feet slapping and he has continued to put one foot in front of the other so very many times during the 10 City Bridge Run where he ran a running stunt involving 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km in 10 cities across 10 countries as an epic quest to open a conversation asking “how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?”

This is big resolve – to keep going when it’s tough, and the resolve to allow people to come together to make a difference to the delivery of child survival. The sharing of resolve here is really important to get some resolution to the issues.

And there’s a really interesting part of this story starting to emerge. In law, resolution is a written motion adopted by a deliberative body…

“In Building Bridges, resolution is taking action for outcomes. It’s the sound of two feet slapping, amplified in the next steps through networking, creativity and engagement.”

We ask you to be part of our deliberative and deliberately doing body of diverse but like-minded people, to contribute by offering ideas and skills, by learning and acting, or by donating.

Resolve…have you got it or can you get it? Bring it. We need it to make something happen that’s bigger than you or I but is about us as global citizens setting the dominoes dancing.

Click here to find out more about Building Bridges and how you can be involved and can become a designer and design with us.


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