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Portals, Panes and Intentionality

Reflections on some of life's important stuff

· Portals,Intentionality,Action research,Reflective learning

We are surrounded by the numinous. Enfolded, embraced.

Our existence is a vast mystery, unfathomable, enthralling,

We are all connected; we are all unique, and everything matters. We all have a voice.

This morning I listened to a man on the other side of the world deliver a message from ‘The Titans’, a stand of Redwood trees. Part of the message was about portals. The Redwoods have a voice; they have created a portal that we can choose to enter.

We speak in metaphors.

I passed through a portal earlier this week when I watched the movie, Dogman. My world expanded. I entered more deeply into a fractal of chaos and structure, of beauty and farce, hope and despair; a world separate from my own day-to-day experience, unique yet connected, where how all the parts mattered took an uncomfortable, unfamiliar yet all too familiar hue. I was tempted at times to leave the cinema, yet compelled to follow each new unfolding of the story.

Today, as I listened to a message about portals, I was caught by the similarity in sound between ‘portal’ and ‘port hole’, visualising gazing from the comfort of a familiar enclosed room through a round aperture on to the strangeness of a vast expanse of deep, deep water, stretching out in all directions.

A port hole embodies a sturdy PANE of glass. PANE, according to my friend, Dr Lesley Taylor, is an acronym that goes to the heart of Action-Researched Learning. With P, we Pick a Project - any project - bit to make it work, our project must hold intrinsic interest for us, enough to sustain our motivation to investigate it more closely. With A, we take Action - we may not be really clear at this stage what action will work most effectively because we ‘see through a glass darkly’, our project has a strong hold on our imagination, yet the details and articulation are still in the future - but by having the courage to take Action we embody ourselves in the world and Affirm our connection with our ground of being. With N, we notice change - awareness is the beginning of change - and Reflect on what we notice. The process of learning as begun. With E, we Evaluate, we Engage, we Embrace - to the best of our ability in that moment of time - what we are starting to become more aware of, what we are step by step integrating into our lived experience. We Expand ourselves. We understand our Project at a deeper level. We recycle through PANE, pick a more nuanced set of questions to be curious about and our learning spirals to deeper levels.

Today, more than ever, the world needs people who live in the spirit of intentionality; people who have committed to the ongoing practice of becoming more aware of their own unique selves and to acting from this awareness; people who have committed to ongoing exploration of the spider-like web of life that connects everything and holds us - if we are willing - together. (Some call this God, the Creator, the Infinite but while labels are helpful, there is always more to be said.) Our world needs people who have committed to living with the acknowledgement that everything matters - so they are willing to just be curious for much of the time - and people who recognise their own voice AND are curious to hear the voices of others and what these voices have to say.


I am grateful to Functional Nutritionist, Dr Andrea Nakayama for her articulation of the three principles that we are all unique, that we are all connected and that everything matters; to David Sun Todd, Spiritual Teacher, for introducing me to the Redwoods and making me aware of their voices and the portals they are opening; and to my Friend, Dr Lesley Taylor, Influencer, Coach and Leader, for reminding me of the importance of Reflective Learning through Action Research and for inventing the acronym, PANE, to make this easier to put into practice.