A new direction

The old paths are closed
So today we turn
In a new direction

We follow an unfamiliar path
through a darkened wood
We may not see the way forward
but we know the path is there

We seek a private place
To welcome the dawn

As we walk we catch glimpses
of sunlight through trees

observe a fractured light

sense the gathering mist
and feel the pinch
of the season’s first frost

There’s comfort in the familiar
but to reach any new place we must walk
through unfamiliar territory

The mist is clearing now
the way forward is clearing
but the day is just beginning
and there’s plenty still to do.

Often the most profound changes are simple ones that stem from a single realisation.  Well recently I’ve realised, to my surprise, that there is something I want to do. I’ve discovered that I want to walk more – to walk longer distances and spend more time outside – and I want to write about the experience, not because I think I have something to say, but simply because I want to write (for me, writing and walking are in service of each other – a walk only feels complete when I’ve had time to reflect on and write about it).
That probably doesn’t sound like a change, but what is different is that I’ve finally found (in my 60th year!) something I want to do – or more particularly someone I want to be.  I want to be someone who walks and writes (about walking in development) and, of course, I want to be the person you ask to walk alongside you. 
This may be a subtle change but my choosing to adopt a more proactive attitude means that I can finally begin to walk the walk. Like many of us I’ve been acting on the principle that you should work out where you are going (and how to get there) before you set out. However, we’re never going to find out where we want to go unless we set off. So, for my new direction let’s will adopt a different maxim: “We make the road by walking’.
I hope to be walking and writing much more often in future  and to do so, I’ll be looking for new paths to take and new people to walk alongside. 
Perhaps you’d like to walk alongside me? After all, we live parallel lives and are probably walking parallel paths.
I can’t tell you where it will take us – Somewhere new I hope!

Life is an incredibly rich experience

We set off in the dark. As on Monday, a buzzard mews as we arrive and again the land is still hinting at greens, purples and blues.

We can just pick out the deer as shadows in the park with the stags, merely a darker shade. As, is often the case there are a few young deer standing on the crest of a rise, next to the wood. They are picked out in sharp contrast with the first of the light. However today they are less comfortable in the half-light and bark out their alarm.

So we are sucked into the now familiar, welcoming wood. A wood still awakening. Stags bawl in the distance – a sound that seems to come from the bowels of the earth, as if the land itself is waking from a pleasant dream and grudgingly getting up. We walk through the wood as the lightening sets in. There’s a beautiful moment as a single deer emerges from the shadows and stands in a gap between the trees.

We stand and wait again for another moment that we can feel coming. But today it is the expectation that makes the moment as we enjoy the company of a pine tree. These are the tallest trees in the wood but their presence at ground level is always a surprise. Their trunks are thinner than we’d expected, but warmer, with a comforting roughness to the touch. It is a joy to wait with them and today that waiting is enough.

There’s been wind and rain lately and the Autumn leaves are now starting to cover the paths. Ash mostly, then, by the boundary wall, a lime that arches a protective branch over us. Then there are the pine needles that remind us to look up. Their smell is also welcome and draws our attention into the warmth and dampness of the undergrowth. When we emerge from the wood we walk first under a beech. On a dry day the fallen beech nuts give out a satisfying crunch underfoot and a glorious smell. Today we’ll be content with the quiet the soft earth allows.

The first thing we notice as we emerge into the open is the light. The greens, on mornings like this are reminiscent of Spring, a reminder that comings and goings have much in common (beginnings and endings are also twins). There are mushrooms too, springing up unexpectedly, a surprise gift from the earth.

The deer block the path ahead and stand their ground. There is no way we’d win a staring contest so we turn back and take in a different view. Today, as any day, could be a turning point. What will we turn back from? What will we choose to turn towards?

We reach our writing bench just as the day gives us our first sight of the sun. Like an official blessing on the day. Soon the land is translucent under its warming gaze. This is the last magic of the dawn. As the sun rises into the last bank of cloud it sends a warm, translucent light that reveals an almost mystical landscape. Layers upon layers of unknowable, unreachable lands.

Life is such an incredibly rich experience. This shifting of the light is a treasure beyond measure – This last photo was taken from the same spot barely an hour later than the first (above) – yet they are so different and so much has happened in between!

How can we learn from so much experience?

When so much happens in the course of an hour? We hope that by focussing on something as simple as going for a walk may help us focus on what nature has to teach us. Maybe if we concentrate hard enough we can see things more slowly and learn more consciously? Truth be told though, it seems that the slower we go the more we can only marvel at its richness!


Sometimes we all need someone to walk alongside us.
I’d like invite you to walk alongside us as we embark on a journey to explore the links between walking and creative development.
We all have our paths to tread.
We hope that following this path will help us find out way forward.
Together.

If you’d like to support our journey, please consider becoming a Patron

A moment of realisation

I love working with ambitious and creative people who are full of ideas and I hope I have played a small part in helping some people realise their dreams. However, I’ve never really had an ambition for myself. That all changed recently when I surprised myself by discovering that there is something I really want to do…

Those who know me might be even more surprised to learn that I have never done a long walk! It is true that walking has always been a big part of who I am and that I’ve always been fascinated by the process of walking but I’ve never experienced walking in its longer form. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to walk for day after day, yet I’ve never really thought seriously about doing it myself – until now! I do realise that, at my age (60 next year), I don’t really know what I can physically manage, but I think it is time to find out – I suppose this is an ‘if not now, when?’ moment!

Autumn sunrise over Bristol

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to break any records and I’m not particularly interested in how far, or how high, I can walk. I just want to take walking more seriously and experience it in a longer, more concentrated way and to share what I learn – writing is as important to me as walking. I hope this change in focus will enrich my practice, improve the quality of support I offer to people and help us build more creative development resources.

My intention is to build up slowly, walking and writing as often as possible, trying out different walks and methods, and sharing our progress, so we can find out more about walking as a creative development resource and plan more adventurous ‘Walks in Development’ with different people, in different places.

I will walk in as open a way as I can – people will be able to follow me every step of the way and there’ll be plenty of opportunities to get involved, to give and receive advice, suggestions and insights that can help us build our resources together.

Sometimes we all need someone to walk alongside us – myself included – so please consider walking alongside me in any way you can – whether physically, metaphorically or financially – you can become a Patron for as little as £1 a month – it would make a profound difference to me personally and make it much easier for me to walk alongside others. 

THANK YOU,
David 

Our Development Programme

We may be bursting with creative ideas but many of us struggle to sustain our creative development. It is hard to stay positive in a world that goes against our true nature. We have been so accustomed to competitive, disconnected ways of living that it is easy to forget that it is creative development that brings meaning, purpose and quality to our lives.

Walks in Development is a natural and sustainable way of engaging with our creative development. We are by nature a creative, a collaborative and a social species. Just as a shark needs to keep swimming to stay alive, so we need to keep creating, collaborating and contributing to something bigger than ourselves. Walks in Development help us focus and align these three areas so we can make steady progress on every aspect of our development.

Our programme helps us understand creative development as an ongoing process that applies to every aspect of our creative development. It helps us build resources that we can keep drawing on and adding to so we can sustain our practice and become increasingly effective over time.

Here’s how it works:

To get started:

  • Book a Walk in Development with me and we’ll start building your resource
  • Then you can book a regular check-in phone call to maintain your development and identify your next steps 
  • You can also join a Creative Development forum where we support each other to stay ‘in development’

Creative development

Creative development is a distinct paradigm with its own set of values, concepts and processes. There is nothing new about creative development, it is a natural and intuitive process, unlike much of modern society. Creative development is about the quality of our lives and the moments we experience (not just the quantity of our material possessions). In contrast to certainty, competition and disposability, creative development focusses on creativity, collaboration and connection.

Creative is about what we don’t know. Our fortunes are entwined, it is impossible to isolate any one of us from each other or from the society that shapes us – and that we all help to shape. Creative development invites us to engage with uncertainty and be open to each other, open to question and learn, open to change and possibility.

Creative development is a collaborative process. It is not achieved at the expense of others. Rather than compete for scarce resources, we seek the positive mutual development in which we all benefit from each other’s creative development. Only this positive, mutual development can break the cycle of poverty, inequality, injustice and dependence.

Creative development is a strategic paradigm, it values our connection and seeks to enhance our resources rather than exhaust them. It is impossible to isolate any one of us from each other or from the society that shapes us – and that we all help to shape. Unfortunately, like the plastics we throw away, many of our social interactions are short-term and disconnected. In contrast, with creative development every moment takes place in the context of our long-term development.

Creative development is the art of being ourselves and seeking the quality that emerges from our alignment with each other and the wider world. It is an invitation to explore together fundamental questions like who do we want to be? and what kind of world do we want to live in?

This is our moment to re-shape the public’s relationship with the arts.

COVID-19 has shattered a relationship that was already distinctly uncomfortable. However, the current crisis could also be an opportunity to create something better. Perhaps this is our moment to re-shape the public’s relationship with the arts?

When a relationship falls apart communication becomes increasingly difficult. Unfortunately, the public’s relationship with the arts has been on rocky ground for a very long time.  However, now that circumstances beyond our control have caused  this relationship to break down completely, we have an opportunity not just to re-forge it but to re-shape it. 

If we want to rebuild this relationship, we will need to find a shared language. It would help if we stopped using words that explain our relationships from one side only – words like access, participation and engagement. We could also stop asking how to get ‘into’ the arts. Instead, let’s explore what we can achieve when we come out to play together in a level playing field. After all, one thing that COVID-19 has clearly shown is that our fortunes are entwined.

We may need a different language, but it doesn’t have to be a new one, isn’t it time to rediscover the language of creative development? Isn’t it time for a common language that focuses on the quality of our lives, moments and relationships and not on numbers and markets and transactions?

Creative development is the simple, natural, universal process that we are all engaged in. It does not seek to avoid the uncertainty that arises from our interconnection but invites us to engage with it and to seek a creative alignment with each other and the wider world.  How we do this will require us to face some significant challenges, but surely it is better if we face them together? 

I’m currently working on an open programme of creative development that can be tailored to the needs of any individual, group or community.  We are all looking to find new ways of creating, collaborating and contributing together.  Please see this as an open invitation to join us – drop me a line if you’d like to know more.

What will we explore?

Research helps to to keep us open and in development, it helps us guide and organise our creative development.

We can use the natural flow of a walk to consider ‘what do we want to explore?’ in three phases:

  • Phase one: Research: Who are we?
  • Phase two: Practice: How will we interact?
  • Phase three: Plan: What impact will we have?

Along the way we explore what it means to be in development, how we build research into our practice and how we can organise ourselves (or our group) so that we can keep going.

This helps us create a research book with three parts: a notepad, development guide and our organisation.

Our Next Steps:

  • Start collecting the things that make us who we are
  • Reflect on how we can learn from our experience
  • Make notes on how we can organise and share our learning

#ThisIsOurMoment #OurResource #OurResearchBook

Our resources

Creative development resources are the things that we can draw on to aid our development. They include anything that impacts on our development in a positive way. 

Resources are both an indicator of the impact of our activities and a mechanism for creative development. We can analyse all our activities in terms of the degree to which they build, or restrict, our resources. They help us see whether we are making it easier for us all to be who we want to be. 

Resources are acquired through practice and improve with use.

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

(Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics)

Focusing on building resources together helps us work towards a society where every one of us has the resources we need to fulfil our potential.

Next steps:

• Reflect on the resources we have and those that would like to acquire. 
• Consider how we can support each other to build our resources.
• Design a strategy to build the resources we need to be our true creative selves.

#ThisIsOurMoment #OurResource Subscribe @Patreon.com/walks

Quality

Creative development is a distinct paradigm with its own set of values, concepts and processes that are often at odds with modern social norms. 

There is nothing new about creative development,  it is a natural and intuitive process, however it does question many popular assumptions about what we value and how we interact with each other. 

At its heart, creative development is about the quality of our lives and the moments we experience (rather than the quantity of our material possessions). In contrast to certainty, competition and disposability, creative development focusses on creativity, collaboration and sustainability.

Creative development  operates on the understanding that our fortunes are entwined, that it is impossible to isolate any one of us from each other or from the society that shapes us – and that we all help to shape. 

Creative development does not seek to avoid the uncertainty that is an inevitable consequence of our interconnection  but invites us to engage with uncertainty – to question, listen, explore – and be open to what follows. 

Creativity is about what we don’t know. Surely, the cost of man’s arrogance can no longer be tolerated? Now is the time for those who don’t know. This is our moment to be in development and adopt more creative, collaborative and sustainable approaches.  

Creative development is a universal and collaborative process. It is not achieved at the expense of others.  We do not compete for scarce resources rather we seek the positive mutual development in which we all benefit from each other’s creative development.  I suggest that it is only this positive, mutual development that can ultimately break the ongoing cycle of poverty, inequality, injustice and dependence.

Creative development is a strategic paradigm, it is about making the best use of all our resources to achieve our long term goals. It’s not just plastics we throw away, unfortunately, too many of our social interactions – our projects, events, courses and programmes – are arranged without sufficient regard for diversity and sustainability.  In contrast, strategic approaches to creative development ensure that everything we do takes place in the context of our long-term development as individuals, groups and communities.

Creative development is a robust and coherent paradigm in which all our motives and actions are derived from the same source – a shared recognition that the quality in our lives emerges from a creative alignment with each other and the wider world. 

Creative development invites us not to take things for granted but to engage with and explore fundamental questions like who do we want to be?  and ‘what do we want to achieve?’ 

#ThisIsOurMoment #OurResource Subscribe at Patreon.com/walks

Next Steps:

  • Take a moment to stop, open up and notice our connection with each other and the wider world
  • Reflect on when we feel most ourselves and how we can allow creative development to occur..
  • Consider how we can interact with others so we can all be ourselves.
  • Analyse how our development can benefit others and the wider world. 

Every moment matters

Every moment brings
a seed of development, 
an invitation to collaborate and an opportunity to build a better world. 

Arts in development

Moments are the medium, the method and the goal of creative development.  

All our experience is made of moments. All development occurs in a moment. We experience the richness and quality of life through moments. Every moment carries echoes of the past and intimations of the future.

 Moments are the fundamental resources we need to be our selves. They are the building blocks of all creative development. They remind us who we want to be and help us find meaning in our lives and connection – with others and the wider world.

Understanding the moments we experience can make it more likely that we will have high quality moments in the future. 

We build our resource by recalling and sharing significant moments. (It is, for example, much more productive and helpful to share moments from a meeting or conversation than detailed minutes).

The goal of all creative development is to facilitate moments of quality (make them more not less likely to occur).

Next steps:

  • Start building our resource by recalling significant moments in the past and continue by noticing and recording moments as they occur.
  • Look out for moments that matter to the people around us and share reminders.
  • Consider how we can make it easier for people to experience more moments of quality.