drive the ‘ki’

Another week, a second blog post. My goal, since January 2016, has been to post twice a week. I’m not consistently hitting the mark, and I can’t really put my finger on why, except for the obvious – I’m just not turning up to do the work.


my work space, ample for computing, workshop planning and doing art

I was telling a friend about this quandary. The joy and satisfaction with my new home, both the city of Valencia and our flat, the beautiful work space and invitations and opportunities for new work and projects, yet I feel stuck. I need more get up and go and less sit and read. I have some momentum, but on Sundays when I look back over my week, and make my plan for the coming week, I see sloth and ineffective use of time. I could be doing more if I only organised myself better.


in times of change, drive the ‘ki’

This friend suggested (unlike the other one who told me to take my time) that I notice the ‘ki‘ and that during a period of change, I need to drive the ‘ki’ and not let the ‘ki’ drive me.

Ki‘ is a Japanese concept meaning ‘life force’ or ‘energy flow’. Click here for more about ‘ki’ and how it manifests itself in other cultures.

being busy, planning for it, juggling it

I can understand this friend’s advice, putting it into practice is a struggle, and I’m starting to think at the root of my sloth is simply not being busy enough.

I’ve always done consultancy work alongside my paid work. In Japan that took the form of community education classes and preparing young people for study abroad, while also doing my ‘real’ job of teaching and research. In Mexico, for a while I made a living through consultancy work, but that was after living there for three years and moving from full-time NGO work, to doing more of the same, but in the form of projects. The ‘ki‘ of being busy, planning for it, and juggling it was driving me, and it worked. In the London the pattern looked more like Japan, consultancy work alongside formal employment.


being busy, in the past, has helped me manage my time

The busyness in London, while overwhelming at times, also meant I had to be careful with my time. I had to plan and juggle how to do it all. It was hard, there were times when I felt like I was nearing burn-out. But then a good thing came out of that too – finding the Sustaining Resistance, Empowering Renewal course at Ecodharma Centre here in Spain, which has led to collaborating with them on a new project for Iberian grassroots organisers.


changing self-concepts

I’m also starting to think that accepting my sloth is also the way of out of this situation.

I have this self-concept of myself as someone organised, self-starter, and competent and creative with a heavy work/life load. Each week I feel defeated and deflated when I see how little on my to do list I’ve accomplished, and it’s not because I’m too busy!

This week, and that’s partly about what this post is about, I am going to accept my sloth and build in more structure and busyness to my life and see what the results are.


I am both sloth and energy, it’s a fact, I’ve lived it!

Sloth is my shadow side and I need to feel OK about having had a few lazy months in order to move beyond this phase and establish my new routine. I need to drive the ‘ki’ to re-create myself as the organised, self-starter, competent and creative person I believe I am. I have lost the structure of my former life, or to put it more simply – I’ve left my job, moved house and country and am now re-establishing myself. I needed to rest and embrace the reality of no looming deadlines. Yet now is the time to create my own structures and deadlines, instead of looking out over the horizon of new projects with no tight time lines and change all that.

Rather than relying on the structure and pressure of formal work to help me fit in the other things I do that are important to me, I need to depend on me, and I need to drive the ‘ki’.




do different

What I need to do is act, believe, change and do different. Tomorrow when I make my weekly list of tasks, I am going to, one, list fewer items, then put specific times next to each item. Set SMART goals. I am going to accept that I have not been performing as I would like, and be clear with myself, what would I like? What will be different by the end of the week, for me and for my new life here?


I’ve got my projects in hand, now add in the plan

Specifically one thing that has languishing on the side is getting involved with a Western Sahara solidarity group, and that is one thing that will different next week. Another thing is keeping up connections with friends in other places, while also trying to make connections here with new ones. Related to this is a ‘daruma doll‘ painting series, as my creativity practice has also been a bit hit or miss the last weeks too. Watch your post boxes, friends of my comic family, one will be with you soon.

More about all this next week. I hope. Most important though I hope AND I have a plan, which are essential elements to making change happen.


I’m going to drive the ‘ki’ and come your way!


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