“The expression of the face balks account,
But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists,
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees, dress does not hide him,
The strong sweet quality he has strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more,
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side.”
(Excerpt from Walt Whitman’s I Sing the Body Electric)
Oh that verse makes me ache! And I love the title, I love saying “I sing the body electric” (and I love saying Walt Whitman, imaging I am the fabulous Susan Sarandon in the movie Bull Durham). Don’t get me wrong, this is not a love affair with the body per say. It’s character expressed that moves me. It’s the expression of the man. Lived out as a testament to that character and providing a glimpse of the soul.
“The flush of the known universe is in him”
Walt shows us the physical, but he also invites us to see the spirit. Marry them with the intellect and the intent. These all make for formidable tools if we choose to wield them as such.
From our electric bodies what is it that we know that we can extract and plant in our smaller universes? How is it that we can abide universally as citizens of a globe, leap the monsters on the map, be in all places and yet be at home in this vastness of difference and need and humanity? How can we sing the body electric in a universal chorus?
In geometry the face means each of the surfaces of a solid. Show your face, dial in, be a facet of a collective venture. Sure it might mean increasing mutual vulnerability, but it’s also knitting mutual support for a stronger response that sits on those solid surfaces combined.
At church the other day our charismatic pastor waxed lyrical about maximising. Here’s a bit of a road map…there are three parts to this journey. First willingness, which is best used to drive the journey, good for initiating travel but do take it with you too of course. Willingness likes the company of courage if you have some of that too. Secondly you need to act. Toc must follow tic. Move towards the destination, bridge the gaps using collective knowledge and skills, share your resources, redesign the map together, trust and try. Toc must follow tic. And thirdly, if you’re willing and you act you get to fulfill. It’s not about personal fulfillment; it’s the fulfillment of the purpose. So, set a course, if you’re lost or tired or stuck or afraid don’t see it as over, try a different perspective, choose a life of learning, practice and progress. Surely maximising comes easier when we do it together. Just bring your best self. And if you’re not feeling at your best, come anyway, there will be enough of us to carry you, you’ll still have something worth tendering.
“You are more than enough just as you are.”
Don’t those words just make your day? Those words are golden. They are a gift. A reminder that you’ve got what it takes. And imagine if we can pool all that we are to create a togetherness that will take us somewhere new!
Last month Matt completed 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?” The conversation is happening, the next stage of the journey is in train.
“A nine month journey will begin shortly. It will be uncertain, full of expectation, and at the end of which there will be the emerging of something which at the time of writing this post was only a glimmer in my eye.
It is a journey that starts with an intimate partnership of sorts. That part, the union with others, is unavoidable. It will be messy, fun, maybe full of passion. But for the nine month journey to be successful at the conclusion, at the beginning something must be created.
During this process, a new entity will be woven together, in a process that creates new life. It is an astounding feat, many would describe as a miracle.
Yes, we are birthing an idea. And I want you to be more than just a casual observer. Coyly, I’m asking you to help conceive this with me. Would you….?”
Ultimately it will be about how we can combine, the electricity we can share that is the best in each of us, the force for good, the way we can give to this journey and to one another. I sing the body electric and you can be part of this body of people who are willing, will act and will fulfill. The dial is the face of a clock and it’s time. Dial in, dial up, be here now, show us your face, toc must follow tic.
Click here for to find out more about how you can be a part of this initiative.
What can you show there? What are you telling? Time. Travel. Weariness. Constancy.
My attention perches on small mountains, that change shape, tip me into the furrows as you trace the tale and I tag along, sliding down past the pools, falling from the bridge to sit with your words for a while.
I can feel you if I lay my hand there. Connected. Or my cheek. Or my lips. Gently pressing, for a while.