Tag Archives: Writing

Guest Blog Post for Schumacher College

Below is a guest post that I wrote for the Schumacher College blog. To view the original click here.

‘First Steps to Seeing’ a new book by Emma Kidd

Submitted by mark.wallace on Tue, 23/06/2015 – 16:18

During the MSc in Holistic Science I was led towards, and able to experience, what was no less than a different way of being human. This way of being involved bringing a new quality of attention to the world, and to everything in it. In the first module of the MSc, we learnt to give life, and the life of our senses, our full attention; and were encouraged to notice the ways in which our minds constantly try to organise and define the world we see. By putting both of these techniques into practise I was able to alter my way of being in such a way that everything I rested my gaze upon suddenly seemed to burst to life. And then, with sustained effort and study, over time I realised that – by using practices taught on the MSc, such as Goethean Science and Phenomenology – I was able to see and to wholly understand the life of the world on its own terms, as though it were speaking directly to me.

Discovering, and experiencing, this new way of being for myself completely turned my world upside down. Up until starting the MSc, nobody had ever told me that there was more to seeing than meets the eye! Nor that, with sustained effort and focus, I could learn directly from the world itself, without turning to text-books or expert opinions; and that in doing so I could experience the world as being far more alive, full of meaning and character than is possible through absorbing abstract information, facts and theories alone.

This new way of being, seeing, and knowing – which the MSc in Holistic Science led me towards – has transformed my life to such an extent that I have dedicated the past two years of my life to writing a book about it. ‘First Steps to Seeing: A Path Towards Living Attentively‘ is down-to-earth and practical by nature, aiming to lead the reader directly into experiencing this way of being from the very start. The introduction opens with an exercise in sensory perception, and an invitation to slow down from the hectic pace of everyday life. On the MSc, Henri Bortoft used to say that perception can only begin when we slow down, and slowness is a theme that is carried throughout the book.

Reflecting the nature of myself, the book is very eclectic, in style and in content – partly academic, part personal development work-book, and partly biographical; and chapters are independently dedicated to setting the content in a personal, an interpersonal and a professional context. Therefore, it makes for a rich and interesting read whether you are looking to develop your own way of seeing; to explore the way you relate to other people; or to examine the way you see at work

 First Steps to Seeing is now available to purchase online as a paperback and an e-book.

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The Discipline of Language – A newsletter from the Royal Bank of Canada, 1964

“Confucius summed up the need for right choice when he said: “If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what ought to be done remains undone” and as a consequence morals, art, justice and the business of life deteriorate, and “the people will stand about in helpless confusion.”

I was recently fortunate enough to have been sent a link to an excellent piece of writing, one which discusses the virtues and dangers associated with the act of saying – in thought, pen or word – exactly what it is that one means to say. 

This very astute piece of writing takes a rather unlikely form – it is a newsletter from the Royal Bank of Canada, written in 1964. The newsletter begins as follows:

“THERE IS MAGIC in words properly used, and to give them this magic is the purpose of discipline of language.”

Whilst I was writing First Steps to Seeing I felt it an obligation, to myself, to my teachers, and to the reader to spend a great deal of effort on making sure that I was being as clear as I possibly could, both in my choice, and use, of words. I attempted to say what was meant, and to mean what was said. Therefore, this beautifully written and wonderfully clear demonstration of ‘saying what one means’ resonated with me deeply. If followed carefully, I believe that it might well serve as practical guide for those who wish to write, or speak, more clearly.

The newsletter can be accessed via the website of the Royal Bank of Canada RBC Newsletter 1964.