(Artwork above – A portal to my heart, by Jalbenn)
If you like to be a part of Facebook land you may have seen the What is Your Star Wars Personality Type quiz which is doing the rounds at the moment. I admit I sometimes do these quizzes on Facebook, I may not take them seriously, but they can be a source of humour for laughing at myself (or at the absurdity of the quiz). I do like Star Wars and yes I’m guilty of being one of the .37% of Australians who declared themselves members of the Jedi Order in the 2001 census. I really like the Star Wars characters, so regardless of its credibility, I was sucked into wanting to know through this quiz who am I? Am I Obi-Wan Kenobi or Yoda? ‘Cause surely I’m wise with a cool name and some eccentricity right?! Turns out I’m the dreamer, Luke Skywalker.
The Dreamer: INFP (Luke Skywalker)
Defining Attributes: Creative, Private, Introspective, Highly Idealistic
Driven by your values, as an INFP you are interested in helping people and serving humanity as a whole. An easy going individual, you are unusually adaptable and laid-back unless a strongly-held value of yours is threatened. “Idealists” are characterized by their ability to be present with another individual on a deep level, and are usually imaginative and often talented in language and writing.
I managed to miss Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessments twice at university and once in a work place, never deliberately, so it’s not that I’m opposed to it, I’ve just never actually used this tool to (let’s not classify let’s just) explore my personality. Thanks Star Wars for more than the excellent story lines, characters and cinematography!
So I googled and looked up INFP (Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving) and I had to laugh, it seems embarrassingly true for the main part (click here for one of the pages I read). Apparently I’m in good company – Shakespeare, Huxley, Orwell, Poe, Kafka, Blake, Woolf, Van Gogh, Henson and Hepburn among others.
I sat with this information for a while. It felt a bit like a revelation, like lose threads had been tied up together. And I decided that actually I don’t feel embarrassed. I may have ideals and be a perfectionist, but I don’t feel I need to be perfect (most of the time).
I’m more than enough just as I am and my flawed humanness gifts me the opportunity to bring compassion to myself and to others. Even on the days when the wind blows through the holes in me. It can be a little haunting or chill, a crisis of confidence, an unsurety of self. But truly, it’s good because that just invites faith. These holes are entry points and exits to somewhere. They let you peer in and through. You can see in there through the portals to the core. You can see what is written on my heart.
Today I did something I love to do but haven’t done for simply ages. I read the dictionary. My beautiful leather bound, two volume Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. It’s weight lifting for my arms and my mind! I would love the full set of 20 volumes, but they wouldn’t sit in the space so well on the desk or on my bed, I might be bruised by and drowned in words – okay so that actually sounds like a kind of neat experience to me! I came across the word shallop. It means a large, heavy boat fitted with one or more masts and carrying fore-and-aft or lug sails and sometimes equipped with guns. It can also mean a boat for use in shallow waters, a dinghy.
I’m not a ship or a liner, I think I’m just a dinghy. And my heart is an open portal and my hands are my weapons of choice. Expectation and belief are my oars. Trust steers me into the slipstream. Grittiness anchors when needed. Up periscope when I need to see beyond the line of my own sight, and over the edge to water for reflection when I need to look within.
The word on my heart is love. The gate is open. Do you have a gateway? What’s the word on your heart? How do you step through? Or do you too voyage so that word is out in the world?
When my eldest niece Gemma was born it felt to me like she was an extension of my brothers and sisters more so than the beginning of the next generation. I think that sense of connection and extension reflects the nature of my family, 8 children across 15 years, plus in laws, my extra brothers and sisters who mean as much to me as those I’m connected to by birth. It also speaks to the nature of each of us individually and our relationships as siblings. We’re all very different, but we’re very close…add another individual on the end and we’ll embrace them too.
I was in Canberra recently to hang out with Gem (one does not babysit a 14 year old, let’s be clear about that!) and her younger brother Gabe and babysit their visiting cousin, my goddaughter, our “baby magpie” Maggie. I was making breakfast with Gabe and I noticed his hands. I told him he has hands like some of his aunts and uncles. He liked that. And I liked that.
I don’t have hands like that. Occasionally I’ll look at a finger or two and think they look like the fingers of some of my siblings in the moment. It’s kind of nice. But regardless of their appearance our hands are our own to do with.
And here is the thing. Connect the words on your heart with your doing hands. Cultivate the wise relationship between the two. What’s written on my heart is wisdom for my hands. It’s liberation.
My doing hands are having a bit of fun at the moment, surprising me with some learning and creativity to try and use social media for engagement and action. It’s a part of my contribution as a part of a collaboration of people who are a part of the Building Bridges citizen led initiative. Tomorrow kicks off a new phase as we seek to build bridges to a better future and make a difference to child mortality. You don’t need to be special to be a part of this, you just need your heart and your doing hands.
The Design Forum is an extended conversation across nine months, knitting together a series of 10 key events occurring in each of the cities where the 10 City Bridge Run wove a path. It begins with the first of these Design Forum in Osaka commencing on 9 February 2015. The Design Forum, much like any conversation, draws upon the alchemy between people to build a bridge.
The conversation starts tomorrow, in Osaka and online. If you’d like to be a part and join in click here and feel welcome.