Walking it out


Do you ever work from home? The idea’s quite attractive, isn’t it? Take this week, it’s minus 13 outside and I’ve fallen over twice this year on the ice, though the ice is now buried under a foot of snow. It’s dangerous outside, so I’ve been inside, and trying to get on with my work. Seems like the perfect conditions, it’s quiet, it’s warm, it’s comfortable. Perfect for a nap, I hear you wondering? Maybe more perfect for napping than working.

Getting unstuck 

Don’t get me wrong, I can get things done, up to a point. Then I just seem to get stuck. It happened the other day. I was thinking about the Red Ladder courses, who, exactly, are they for? Every guide to online business tells you you’ve got to know precisely who it is that needs what you have to offer? What is the problem they have that you are going to help them solve?

I tend to think clarity is one of my strengths. But one of my weaknesses is that I hate to narrow down my options, I want to do everything, and be open to anything!
These two were cancelling each other out.

It was minus 5 outside but we were down to the last 3 aeropress filters so I was going to have to venture out. I got togged up and decided to walk the long way, 

As I’m walking, not even thinking about work, all kinds of thoughts and ideas seem to rearrange themselves in my mind. My mind becomes unstuck. New patterns form. Answers appear.

It becomes clear that the courses are for people who want to see things differently. Maybe you are in a rut, you want to awaken your curiosity? I had mentioned this before, but as part of a long list of everything that Red Ladder could be. But no, this is what Red Ladder does.

So far there are 2 courses, and another in the pipeline.

We started with ‘Life of Objects’. Essentially playing with the whole idea that objects could have a life of their own, from their own side. That our whole relationship with ‘things’ could be brought to life. Each week we went off with a different playful assignment, exploring the things in our world.

Then came ‘Meditation for Artists’. How do you introduce meditation to people who already have an art practice? What will they discover in meditation that will be immediately relevant in their art, and what of meditation will they have already discovered in their art practice? We touched on awareness, empathy, compassion, direct experience and nothingness.

In the pipeline is a course called 'Doorways to Freedom'. On this course we dig down into some of the real insights that the Dharma offers. Radically new ways of seeing that free up our ideas of ‘self’ and ‘world’. Following what Buddhism calls the teachings on the '3 Laksanas' we investigate three realms: time, space and sensitivity.

As I walked, the purpose of Red Ladder just clarified with no special effort on my part. That’s a kind of magic.

Capturing the flow of ideas

Does it happen to you? You start walking and ideas start flowing? How do you capture them? It was too cold to stop and get out a pen and paper so made some audio notes on my phone, then had to write them down in the café. Not super convenient.

But did you know that you can do speech to text notes in Evernote, which maybe you already have, or even just in apple notes, or whatever text app you have on your phone. Act as if you are going to write something but when the regular key pad comes up hit the dictation button and speak instead.

I have to keep reminding myself about the walking. A couple of weeks ago I'd spent the day working, except I’d spent rather a lot of it walking, from one café to another. I was starting to feel that this wasn’t so efficient when I realised that the walking was the working, those were the most ‘productive’ parts of the day.

Apparently, it’s not just me, here’s a whole Stanford study showing that people have more creative ideas when walking. It says we also need to be still for the more focussed sessions, which is where the café comes in. Now I need to find a study on how good coffee is for the mind.

Rachel FullerComment