Since 1977, I have been sending out a newsletter called LEARNINGS. Here is how I began the first issue:
This newsletter—LEARNINGS—is my way of sharing with you what I am learning. Often I learn something with one client that would have been useful with another client the day before. In order to bridge that gap of time and also to bridge the gap of space that separates me from clients and other friends outside Cleveland, I will share my learnings with you regularly in this newsletter.
That statement feels amazingly accurate more than 35 years later. The only real change is that I moved from Cleveland to London and then on to the Crook of Devon in Scotland.
In the earlier newsletters, I shared one or two learnings each time. Then I read a wonderful book by Michael Phillips called The Seven Laws of Money. He describes the Taoist approach to creating Seven Laws about anything.
I like that approach except that instead of announcing Laws, I prefer to share Learnings. I’ve now discovered Seven Learnings about all sorts of things, including Journaling, Love, Retreat, and Diversity. The latest Learnings starts here; the rest are in the Learnings Archive.
LEARNING: I can move slowly and step by step into a new way of living.
During the life planning workshop that I led with Herb Shepard last October I put together one of his ideas with the Gestalt concept of an awareness-contact cycle. In Gestalt terms the stages are awareness, excitement, action, contact, and withdrawal. Herb suggests that trying out something new – like running or keeping a journal – can be done step by step instead of all at once. First I experiment or explore by running around the block or writing a paragraph about my day. If that gets me excited I may make a policy for a few weeks of running every day or writing a paragraph every night. Then I may decide on a project: training for a race or buying a journal to keep for a year. When I complete the project I either finish the race or the journal and forget it or I finish it in another way by absorbing it into my life – one of the things that is now part of me is running or keeping a journal. I can - and I will – stop myself at any stage if I am no longer interested and so allow my awareness to explore new possibilities.
A WORKSHOP ON CAREER COUNSELING
Those of you who are professionally involved in counselling youth on career planning will be interested in the workshop that I am doing on 2 February with Bill Hubiak. Bill is particularly skilled in using videotape to assist people in developing job-seeking skills.
LEARNING: Not everyone dislikes my answering machine; some people hate it.
My apologies to those of you who get only the machine. My work does keep me away quite a bit, but I will get back to you. I do still see individual clients when I am in town.
WINTER WRITING WORKSHOP
Ten people have already expressed interest in this workshop based on the announcement in the last issue of LEARNINGS. Here are the answers to your questions about the workshop.
What is it?
This will be a three-day retreat workshop focused on inward and outward writing, with time for writing, presentations, exercises, journal-keeping and feedback sessions.
Why should I come?
You should come if you want to:
Improve your writing skills
Overcome your blocks to writing
Articulate and unfold your ideas in writing
Experience to the power of writing as a vehicle for personal growth
Get useful feedback on your writing
Expand the ways in which you can use your journal
Work on your writing with other writers
Who else is coming?
We have already heard from people who are working on poetry, technical writing, journal writing, academic writing, business writing, and journalistic writing. At least two people are planning to come with a friend. George’s next book will focus on the use of journals in a business environment so we are hoping to get several more people from that world. It sounds like an exciting mix.
Who will lead it?
George F. Simons and I have been designing this workshop ever since we first took each other’s workshops on journal-keeping and writing. George recently published his third book on journals, Keeping Your Personal Journal, and is at work on his fourth. He is now based in California and does most of his workshops there but he is bravely flying into Cleveland in February to be with us. I have been teaching writing for more than ten years and have designed writing programs for a number of institutions. Since this is a residential workshop, both George and I will be available all during the weekend.