Living with Open Hands — a review from England

Posted on February 18, 2013

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Thank you for the affirmation, Max

Posted by Max Neill from Preston, Lancashire, England

http://peoplethinkingaction.blogspot.com

Living With Open Hands

Every so often I’m going to use this space to highlight a blog that I think has something special about it.

The first blog I’ve chosen to share is ‘Living With Open Hands’, a blog by Ron Irvine.The reason I’ve chosen  this blog is because every single post contains something that forces you to think. Ron chooses to live under the rising, rather than the setting sun, and therefore he sees possibilities where others see problems, sees human capacities where others see deficits, sees people as mysteries to be explored where others see problems to be cured.

Some recent posts I’d like to point you toward are: Being Human; A Profound Paradox I don’t know whether you could call it a religious post, but it is a deeply spiritual one, challenging us to explore who we are, and who the people are around us.

Ron’s post A Meaningful Life contains resources that help us name and claim our own gifts, then use them to contribute to the others around us. It contains a chart on capacity thinking that I try to look at as often as I can:

The place to take and share our gifts is the community. Ron has collected together a wealth of thinking and resources around community building, including a whole set of videos of John McKnight explaining his ideas: On Community
His thoughts on how we marginalise other humans are also very powerful. The question of marginalisation, how we separate ourselves and our species, how we weaken and divide ourselves by excluding ‘the other’ is one of the questions we need to answer. Ron stands on the side of the marginalised, downtrodden, excluded, invisible, forgotten, despised, reviled and paradoxically gains his strength from this. We have unbalanced our society, and it must sooner or later come back into balance.
Overall I think Ron’s message is that any work we begin, begins with ourselves. We need to begin every change we wish to see in the world by trying to create it internally, and on our own doorstep. I don’t think this however leads to self-indulgent introspection. Ron’s thought is intensely practical and focussed on real people and real world issues. For Ron, doing arises out of being. So what we do and what we are must reflect each other.
Once you’ve found Living With Open Hands, you will wait with great anticipation for every next post.
I won’t speculate on why Ron writes. Luckily I don’t need to. He explains why in his post The Sacred and the Boundless:

For me, writing has become a way for me to find my voice
and to give voice to my questions;
a journey
from dogmatism and certainty to inquiry and dialogue,
from living with clenched fists to living with open hands.

Because thinking begins with a question, and ends with an answer, we need more writers like Ron who ask questions that never quite get answered, so that we’re always driven to keep thinking and exploring.

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