Blackheath Chronicles 4

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This week collaboration came up repeatedly. I did a little talk at an inaugural network gathering which was focussed on collaboration. A few days later, Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak dropped the intro and first single of the Silk Sonic collaboration we knew nothing about. They kept it under wraps and surprised millions of fans this week.

 Lived Values

Collaboration is based on the lived values of generosity, trust and respect. It’s not something you can pay lip-service too, nor something you can manufacture, it’s organic. Watch that lovely Apple TV YouTube episode featuring Paak and Mars where they talk about their collaboration. Both these artists have collaborated with others in the past but you can see and feel how deep, true and fun this collaboration was. 

 Unlocking Each Other’s Gifts

Collaboration puts the spotlight on the unique gifts each person brings to the party and it reveals the brilliance and heart of that particular gift. Like Mars says, it lifts everyone’s game. Gifts can shine by themselves but it is in collaboration where they are often raised to levels not seen before. I know this is true for me. I shine more brightly when others hold a space where I’m seen, respected, appreciated and where I can make a contribution that is uniquely mine to make.

The Process

The best collaborations are a natural flow which starts with meaningful connection and/or friendship. You need to spend time together, working, eating and playing. It – the collaboration – needs space to breath and develop.

Keeping it secret or not? I think some collaborations do better when it’s done away from the public gaze and consequent high expectations. The Paak-Mars Silk Sonic collaboration seems to have benefited from privacy. Others are fun to be a part of from the get-go. The recent Lee Minho x Lee Seunggi collaboration was one of those. The first episode just pulled you in and fans were happy with how it unfolded. I was one of those satisfied fans although I had a different expectation of what the outcome would be. It was good to see the process of the latter because of the bond between the two and the feeling of being included in something that’s unfolding.

It’s difficult to create magic by yourself and it is nigh impossible to accomplish great things alone. Collaboration is the key that unlocks the gate to the kingdom of magic. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the magic that is Silk Sonic. 


A Deep Breath

Miles living his best life

Friends, associates, fellow-travellers, relations, citizens. How is everyone doing today? In addition to the advice from authorities about ways to avoid infection and to deal with infections I am throwing in my 10 cents here.

Can we all take a deep breath?

There is research that shows a human brain or mind (which is what I prefer because it is all of you – not just your brain) is incapable of good thinking and good choices when it is under attack or under the wrong kind of stress. I forgot where that research is located in the www but trust me it’s there. If you want to run a test just ask someone to experiment with you – shout at them asking them to fix something or come up with something and see what happens – then reverse and let them do the same to you. How did that feel? I’m sure this has happened to you at work or someplace else and it was only afterwards you thought; “If only I would have said this or that at the time”. The reason why you couldn’t come up with the right retort, reply or come-back line is that your hormones – fight or flight – were in control and the prefrontal cortex was basically disabled. Forgive yourself for all the times you couldn’t come up with the right words. Also, to go off on a tangent, never argue with someone who has a damaged prefrontal cortex – it isn’t worth it.

Then do something different. Sit together, breathe together, take turns to ask each other the good questions. Listen deeply, don’t interrupt, listen generatively without thinking of what you want to say, pay attention. How does this make you feel? Good right? If you are a Thinking Environment practitioner, I know you are high-fiving me right now. Another tangent – don’t do this with people who have attention deficit and similar disorders or those who only like to hear their own voices and only interested in their own thinking – it isn’t worth it. 

Checking the internet every hour – or the radio in my case – for Covid-19 updates may not be the best thing to do but it’s hard right – FOMO is a real thing. So, once you’ve done that, some more breathing and then go do something that will support your well-being. 

Support your well-being

I can’t tell you what this would be for you. I can only share what works for me. 

  • Hanging out with my dogs and my tribe
  • Morning walks
  • Watching my favourite you-tubers like Minnie Small, Haegreendal, Kelly Hogan – My zero carb life, The Daily Show, Evelyn from the Internets, Mimi-G, I Sew A Lot, Jimmy Kimmel, Katie Green, KenDBerry, Lasizwe Dambuza – I miss those Dirkie episodes, Northern Heart, NPR Music and a few more
  • Putting on some Stevie Wonder, Drake, Rihanna, Cardi B, Khalid, Bruno Mars, ColdPlay, Bee Gees, Ariana etc. and getting my groove on
  • Sewing -Machine or Hand Stitching – it’s a growing obsession which is becoming serious
  • Learning to code (front-end) – it’s a growing obsession which is becoming serious
  • Reading – I have a serious committed relationship with books
  • Documenting life – in a variety of ways – writing, doodling, photography etc
  • Netflix, Showmax etc. – when we are not loadshedding
  • Spending time outdoors – in my garden, someone else’s garden, local parks, national parks, getting some sunshine on a porch/stoep/balcony

Covid-19 is not our first crisis and will not be our last. It is not the apocalypse but I can’t be one hundred percent sure. The death rate is low compared to other illnesses. However, if it is the apocalypse, the end of times, our last days and months on earth I want you to remember what people did in their last minutes before those planes went down on 9/11. They called home, they reached out to loved ones, they hugged. I’m sure there was screaming and terror but Covid-19 will give us time to decide how to act when the end comes, if it comes.

So, do what my dog Miles does, live your best life now.