What I like about labyrinths

Today I’ve been designing a labyrinth. (I’m talking now about a spiral path that you can walk along as a contemplative exercise – but if you’re interested in the Melbourne Labyrinth experience, we are running a City Hack in Melbourne soon.)
One of the things about walking a labyrinth with other people is that it requires discipline, carefulness, sharing and negotiation. Often when you are on the way in you will come face to face with someone else on their way out, and you need to work out (probably silently) how you will negotiate the passing. Once you’vew reached the centre and started journeying back out, the odds are you’ll come face to face with another fellow sojourner, travelling inwards – the same direction you were headed just a moment agao.
I think this kind of experience might have something to teach us for when we are trying to coexist with folks who are headed in directions different to ours. It might be helpful to keep in mind that however much we disagree, it could be that we were once headed in the direction that they are currently pursuing. It might be helpful to keep in mind that we may change our own directions in future.

Pondering garlic that was found growing in the washing machine

Today I’ve been at home, cleaning and fixing things, and as I was cleaning the washing machine I found something unexpected:

A clove of garlic was growing in the rubber lining of the washing machine.

It struck me that this was a kind of parable. I don’t mean that there was somekind of magical or supernatural message to be read out of it, but that it might be worth reflecting on.

A lot of the parables that we might be familiar with are about ordinary everyday things like cleaning, farming, processing food. In a sense there is nothing magical or supernatural about these things, but reflcting on them can be transformative.

When I found some garlic growing in the washing machine I was amazed that something could be alive and growing in such a place. 

Have you ever come across something growing in a strange place?

Everyone in my newsfeed is saying the same thing*


It often seems as though everyone in my newsfeed is saying the same thing.
Sometimes it is almost word-for-word.
Since the United States election last week it seems like everyone in my news feed has been saying the same things. I wouldn’t have been surprised if everyone in my news feed was anti-Trump. But it concerns me that everyone in my news feed seems to have the same opinions within the vast possibilities of anti-Trump opinions (eg. that it’s wrong to have a problem with Clinton, that it’s wrong to ‘empathise’ with ‘white’ working class people, even that it’s wrong to wear a safety pin to try and saying that you’re a ‘safe’ person). Does that mean that there are people with other kinds of anti-Trump opinions but I’m not seeing them, or that they feel like they can’t say them without upsetting others? (I know that’s one of my concerns, particularly as someone in another country who won’t have to deal with the immediate consequences of a Trump presidency.)
I suppose that what I am wondering about is whether in the political circles that are often labelled ‘progressive’ or ‘leftist’ we may losing our ability to disagree with each other. That makes me wonder what hope we have of being able to invite others in. Tight boundaries of doctrine make it difficult to invite others in. I think I understand why so many people in my news feed are upset to hear anyone say they should be empathising with the ‘white’ working class. However, I do think that something is wrong if a ‘progressive’ or ‘leftist’ movement is not attractive to the working class (whatever their race) or is not seeking to invite the working class in (whatever their colour). I think that if we’re not able to invite all kinds of people in to join us we will see more people getting being extreme right wing politicians like our Pauline Hanson and the United States’ Donald Trump.


*This is an exaggeration.