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Ralph Pettingill - 13 Mar 2018


How do you keep, find, nurture your perspective ? How do you maintain and nurture your sense of possibility, agency, hope..?

Nearly every day I take some time trying to re-orientate myself. I don't know about you, but I find that, on waking, I don't exactly spring out of bed, clear headed, zestfully launching into my day... Yes, there are times when I wake relaxed, well rested, calmly alert, ready to move into a well planned schedule (but it's rare). Usually it feels as if I'm faced with the residue of dreams, of unresolved problems, niggles, tiredness itself. So I need to regain my perspective. I'm interested in how all of us do this, how we think about it- strategies, tactics, useful habits. I know I'm greatly influenced by living on my own- so I have got into the habit of a regular early morning phone or Skype call. We share time with each other, a space to offload any feelings, irritations tensions. A space to plan, think, have a  laugh and then get on with the day. I'm collecting ideas, sources, practices which help me with this process. In recent times I've been struck by the significance and benefit of creativity, art, nature. So I might collect poems, images, quotes which get me thinking. It always seems to help to get out into nature in some way. Though I live in the city, I'm close to a lovely long group of parks, strung along a winding stream.

This interest has lead me to searching out other people's perspectives. I have a friend and trusted ally who likes to put human history and experience into the biggest possible perspective, the perspective of Big History, the whole span of time and existence. I was pleased to find the images and links here- unsurprising that thinker Brian Eno also works on regaining a wider human perspective; that art, creativity and human progress find friends with understanding of NASA scientists. 

How do you keep, find, nurture your perspective ? How do you maintain and nurture your sense of possibility, agency, hope..? I'd love to us to share our ideas.



Adrian Legg

Music, but old. It cuts out the doubt. I go back to Bach, the Cothen period particularly, and the violin concertos. Specifics would be Rachel Podger & Andrew Manze's double violin cto., Viktoria Mullova's unaccompanied violin sonatas & partitas, Angela Hewitt's Goldberg variations, but there are many more. There is truth in vocal tone too; Pavarotti had it, Joyce Didonato has it, Cecelia Bartoli has it, we know it when it turns on all the lights without a single dead bulb, it engenders an emotional completeness that comes with nothing else. There's something special about a form that demands absolute commitment to its flawless execution, and we see and hear what pure good people can do. In it we know that whatever else they completely screw up, human beings can blossom.

More From Ralph Pettingill

Let The Music Play Pete Lawrence
The ego of activism Pete Lawrence
Meditations Bruce Bickerton
The power of the heart Scilla Elworthy
Let yourself rest Jeff Foster