When I was getting ready to start this blog – my dad said to me, “What for? Aren’t there enough blogs already?”
I laughed and replied (defensively, to be honest), “Sure, there are. But that could be said about almost anything. Aren’t there enough people in the world already? Enough cars? Enough books? Enough art? Enough music? Enough movies?”
And, we could add, enough mission statements and tag lines and articles written about how to raise money for a cause.
How many times do we need to repeat something?
Some of our favorites: “Love your neighbor as yourself” or “Let justice roll down like water” or “All we need is Love.”
And of course we can’t forget the guy we quote endlessly in an automatic fashion for everything, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
Yet even as we say, “There’s nothing new under the sun” we keep creating art, stories, music, and babies. We keep thinking, we keep watching, listening, talking, writing and reading, we keep working over and over again the same ideas, the same themes, repeating the same patterns.
I’ve been fascinated with this the past few months, picking up “old” books and reading through them to see how, or if, our ideas have changed or “evolved.”
Cleaning out my office before I left my last job I sifted through all of the articles I had saved, the notes from various fundraising conferences and trainings I’d attended over the years.
Of course I also had that ever-present stack of more recent, unread pubs and had to sort through that as well. The comparison of these – the incoming information with the saved information – produced one of those “aha moments.”
Reading through my old notes I could see that it was all there – all that I needed to know the very first time I heard it or read it.
But I needed the repetition, to take what I was learning into my own lived experience.
Like picking up a book you’ve read before, watching a movie again or talking with a friend about a subject you’ve previously hashed out and in this re-visiting, seeing or understanding something that you missed the first time (or the second time, or the third time, etc.)
What has changed? Something in you. Your perspective has shifted.
That is what matters. The movement inside yourself.
It doesn’t matter what someone else said or did or when they said it or did it (e.g., can you love your neighbor?)
Where are you now? What are you learning now?
Keep repeating, keep going until you don’t need to anymore. Until you’ve absorbed what you need to absorb and learned what you need to learn.
“Live your way into the answer.” (Rilke)