All posts by Lloyd Davis

Listening within as well as without

While listening to Desert Island Discs

Listen within, listen within.
Practice it on the outside then take it closer and then deep within you.
Bring it into your heart.

There’s a lot of talk about listening at the moment. I think a lot of people here got hit with it over Brexit, we realised that there was a whole bunch of people in this country who don’t feel listened to, and they’re angry about it. One hears similar things from the Trump supporters in the USA. My friend Maggie Sawkins is developing work out of her long experience of listening in the mediation process, Sofia Bustamente is holding a number of “Listening Cafés” (I went to one, it was great, you should too if you can find one near you). There’s also a bit in my walking in the woods video about active listening, listening as a meditation. It’s all part of the same thing.

The insight I’ve had lately is that some people need to be helped to move beyond listening as transmission or rather reception of information and towards something about being human and being one with each other. That’s the sort of beautiful awakening that starts when you work with someone on this or they walk into a Listening Café. They realise there’s more to this activity than receiving information, there’s a whole physical experience that we’re used to denying and missing out on and only doing on the surface. We get to listen to someone else deeply and realise we could be doing this more, maybe not all the time, but that it’s a thing you can do and it would have value if only because it feels really good and connects you to something that you heartily miss.

The next level is starting to realise that you don’t need someone else in the room. That actually you can start practicing this with yourself because there are plenty of unlistened to, unheard voices within you, all clamouring for attention because they’ve been ignored for many decades. Day in, day out, they just chat away but you’ve learned to put the outside world first. Even though they’re singing beautiful little songs or imagining that cloud is a spacecow with wings, or telling you that you’re lovely and much loved, they’re inside and we’ve told ourselves that that means “not real” and so not to be listened to.

What if they were the most real? What if they were your connection to what is most real and true about you? Yes, silly sometimes, childish and childlike, fantasy spinning and extravagant but also innocent, trusting, loving, simple and true.

So then what happens when you start actively listening to them? Listening to the silence before they speak. Listening by feeling something in your heart softening and peeking out from beneath that boulder that you thought you’d squished them under. What do they say today? Listen, listen to every word until they’re finished. Write it down if you need to. After all, that’s exactly what I’m doing right now and thank you for listening this far.

A big, grown-up and slightly cross and frustrated part of me is afraid of all this. This part is habitually afraid. He says “Yes yes, I heard you, you are completely safe, your fears are all lies, yes I get that”. He does get it, but there is a but… “But today we need to earn at least £100 and the same tomorrow and tomorrow. That’s an agreement we’ve made with the world to keep going and bring in money in order for us to live here in the way that we’ve chosen.”

Yes. That’s true, we do have an agreement and we will keep to it the best we can but we have other agreements in place that also need to be honoured. The mistake is to put either of these voices in complete charge. My role listening within is just like the one I play in the outside world (that place where you see me “facilitating group processes” or “making social art”). It means listening to everyone and orchestrating the different abilities and needs for an outcome. That way we can satisfy everyone’s needs for expression and to be heard and to be part of the whole group. So today when I hear the money voice, I call him my Finance Director in loving tribute to all those accountants behind whose backs I’ve cursed bitterly. I love and accept the Finance Director as a part of my team, I don’t hush him, I don’t push him away, I just listen and hear and accept what he has to say. And I call on all of me to see what we can do together. Not because the finance is the most important thing, but because it’s an important thing among many others.

Anyway, this is my thing. This is what I do for myself and I can help you do it for yourself too. If you like it you can just take it and enjoy for itself, but it may also be a signpost to something in you that needs attention, something that I can help with and something that you might so appreciate that you would reward me with tokens of that inner appreciation you feel. The sorts of tokens, in case it’s not clear, that are also appreciated widely in banks and stores and government offices. Something like that would be peachy.

Twelve Years A Blogger

It’s blogiversary time again.  It’s now twelve years since I started writing here.  Back in 2004 it seemed really important to have my own place to write.  That was because the whole idea of writing on the internet or through the internet was still quite new to me.  I’d been corporatized for quite a while and had to ask for permission to do so much and now here I was able to not only own my own domain, but set up some software on it and use it to publish my own writing without anyone’s permission but my own.  I was also approaching 40.  I’ve seen a few people lately turn 40 themselves and have been glad to be able to truthfully say “pretty much everything you know me for, I did after I was 40″

Now of course, I can do this everywhere and so can you.  There’s lots of places you can read me and lots of places I can put my stuff, but I think it’s important to recognise and be grateful for the very fact that we can do this so easily and have it presented here as it’s intended, not as some algorithm would have it arranged.

It all took off very quickly, within weeks I was out meeting other bloggers, becoming part of the scene, and within a few months, I was beginning to podcast too.  It’s seems very odd to me now that there was a time when the very act of doing it, of writing about my odd little life and talking into a recording machine while I wandered around London, was so novel that it got me paid work.

There have been times when I’ve written every day and there have been times when it’s been sparser but I’ve always felt I had this place to come back to and it’s really great to be able to see twelve years of archives built up.  Well OK, there are also some squee-making embarrassing bits but mostly I love what I’ve made here and the affordances it has allowed me.  Thanks for being around.

Photo: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Podcaster

Come Steem with me!

I’ve been playing for the last few days with a new-ish blogging, social-networking, blockchain platform called Steemit.

Go ahead, join up (you can use your FB credentials) and right now, it looks like you get $8 worth of Steem Power (and I only got $3 when I joined!)

If you do, please follow me, upvote on my pictures post and leave a comment!

It’s not the complete future of blogging and social networking.  And it’s not even the complete future of blockchain incentivised micropayments either.  But it’s interesting to see (and speculate on) how a tipping incentive associated with posting, upvoting and commenting can work – both in terms of the actual payments made (very small!) and the effect that has on you to keep going, or not.

Of course, there’s a white paper but yeah, the currency and its derivatives are complex – I’ve given up for now on completely understanding how everything relates, what the numbers actually mean and just seeing what happens if I keep playing the game.  Cos you can just use it as a blog where most of the other users are libertarian, crypto-anarchist/capitalists with a few cosplayers and furries mixed in.

See you there, Steem-mates!

My week in pictures (with words)

I can only eat eggs if they don’t look like eggs. So boiled, poached, fried don’t work for me – the sight of Eggs Benedict is enough to make me hurl. But I can stomach omelettes and scrambled eggs just fine. Especially if I’m making it myself with the perfect blend of mushrooms and bird’s eye chilis.


This is what can happen if you leave your bike for too long in the wrong part of London. Once one bit goes, people feel more entitled to pinch another. This one was near a bus stop – I expect a few bits went missing to people who were just waiting to ride home. Except that pedal.


I’ve never noticed this before, but it’s part of a wall next to Lambeth North Tube Station – a way to add some distinctive decoration when all you’ve got is these brown glazed brick tiles. It’s the sort of thing you’d get post-war when materials were scarce but we didn’t want everything to look boring.

When tilers get bored

Morning walking before the bin men come and clean up. Someone had a late-night chicken and chips that they couldn’t quite finish and a Daily Mirror that they couldn’t bring themselves to begin. I wonder how Angela Lansbury imagined her picture on the front page being seen in London when she did the deal?

Tomorrow's Chip Paper

This truck was too big to go round the corner at Fulham Broadway at any speed so I had time to think “oh take a picture” and get my phone out. There’s some sort of super-drain project going on at the river, on the Fulham side of Wandsworth Bridge. I expect that’s where these mega-poop-conduits were headed.

Big Pipes

The roof of Earl’s Court Station – I included the top of my head for scale and identification – anyone could take a picture of that roof, but only mine has my cropped dome peeking in at the bottom. I was waiting for a train to Paddington on the Edgware Road Branch. Once we got on, as usual, it was clear that one family had mistaken this for a City/Victoria train. I wonder whether any train leaves Earls Court eastbound without someone having made a mistake about which branch they were getting on.


Tuttle After Dark* #1

Yep! Last Minute Event!

6pm-8pm (drop in anytime)
Friday 19th August 2016

The Concrete Basement
42-43 Lower Marsh (entrance in Tansell St)

The first of a series of regular (monthly) evening doo-dahs for you to meet other interesting people and maybe show off some creative work you’ve been doing or your favourite party-pieces – sing a song, read your poetry, tell us a story through interpretive dance. Or sit at the side and enjoy.

How to find us
We’re under the hardware shop next to Cafe del Marsh. Come to the Red Door in Tansell St and if the door ain’t open, press the bottom buzzer marked “Inside the Edit” – when you hear the door unlock, come down to the basement.

What you should think about bringing:
A friend
Two friends!
Your (acoustic) party piece(s)
Alcohol if you need/want it (there will be soft drinks too)
Food if you need something substantial between 6 and 8 or you just like sharing. (there will be nibbles too)
Cash for the pot (see below)

What will be there?
There will be ukulele!
There is a projector so if you want to show something media-ish (*short films, holiday snaps from Bognor) – let me know beforehand
No big boomy sound system but we’ll shush people if you need to be heard during a performance

Suggested donation £5 per person
To support the Tuttle vision, please pay what you can afford
If you can’t contribute financially today, please still come, remember I love you much more than I love your money
If you can’t come along, do think about throwing some money in the pot to keep the Tuttle flag flying.

OK, so the sun actually sets at 8.15pm in London that evening so it won’t be dark dark until after you leave, but we’re in a basement with only the smallest window and we’ll have low lighting so it will *feel dark – and this is just the first – until December, things can only get darker!


Pale, Male and Stale

Oh dear!

It’s hard isn’t it?

You’re stuck. Nothing seems to work any more. All the things you’ve been working for seem pointless. The successes you’ve achieved haven’t given you the security you craved. You’re worried that you put your ladder up against the wrong wall. Maybe it’s too late. What’s happening? Why can’t you get anything done any more? What really matters? Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe if you go somewhere else, get a new job, start fresh! But how?

I can help. I’ve thought all of these things. I’ve felt all of the feelings that go with them. I have recovered a sense of purpose and achievement.  I haven’t completely overcome all of it, but I’m a long way down the road – I get up in the morning and most days and get useful stuff done, most evenings I’m pleased with what I’ve got done. While the outsides might not look that different, I have inner peace. You can too.

I’m opening up some of my time to helping people on a one-to-one basis. Call it coaching or mentoring or guidance if you like (especially if it helps someone else pay for my time!) –  I prefer to avoid terms that might keep you from working on what’s wrong: you might not need a coach or a mentor or guidance but you might still need some help.

We can work face-to-face if you’re in London, but Skype and phonecalls do just as well (sometimes even better).

Let’s have a 30-minute chat to start (for the price of a coffee) and see whether there’s scope to work together.  You can message me in total confidence via any of the usual channels.

PS the title of this post is not meant to exclude anyone who doesn’t identify as pale or male. It’s the staleness that really needs to be dealt with.

“Why can’t you just… be a better person?”

This was an old joke between my first wife and me, when a discussion or argument that had reached the point where one person wanted to shout “Why can’t you just do what I’m telling you to do?” – the other would pull out this line and defuse the situation (obviously not foolproof as you may infer from my use of the phrase ‘first wife’).

But it’s a good question, why can’t you just be a better person? Why is personal growth so hard?

Why do we have to grow at all? Can’t we just carry on where we are? Well, no it appears not. Even the most stagnant relationships and work situations don’t last forever. We end up having to change in one way or another and we can either do it consciously or unconsciously. No scrap that, it’s not either/or, it’s a matter of degree of consciousness – my experience has been that for every epiphany as a result of conscious work on myself there are a hundred little growth spurts that I don’t recognise as such until much later on.

So what is this conscious work? It’s a kind of growing up, it’s a way of building good character, it’s dealing with the unconscious triggers that result in disturbance (/me being a dick). Most spiritual traditions and teachers have a way of doing this and for me it boils down to a few steps:

    • Admit that the disturbance is in me. Not that the outside world is perfect and I’m wrong, but that the thing causing me the most pain is not outside of me, it’s within.
    • Accepting the thing I’m doing is part of me and likely has been around for a while (ie it’s not just a product of this situation). This is tough. Who wants to admit that they’re habitually self-centred, self-righteous or dishonest?
    • Remembering that just because it’s a (perhaps quite old) habit doesn’t mean that it’s the ultimate truth about me. I am fundamentally honest and I’m mostly capable of enacting that but there are times, when I feel under pressure, that I say things that aren’t true.
    • Forgiving myself for doing it one more time and forgiving those that I’d associated with my disturbance.
    • Doing something to express that forgiveness to anyone I’ve harmed through the disturbance – this requires a couple of careful steps, one is assessing who has been harmed (it might only be me!) and the other is how to do something about it without compounding the original harm.  Finding someone else who can help you see the right path through this bit is invaluable.
    • Get on with doing something helpful and useful for someone else.
    • Rinse and repeat as required.

I’m not done, by the way, I have no illusion of my own perfection, but it helps, it really does.