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Dean Whitbread 2013

Dean Whitbread 2020

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Written on December 12, 2009, and categorized as Art, Living, Secret and Invisible, Work.
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LeWeb, Paris, Day One:

LeWeb, Paris, Day Two:

The conversations I had on the two days were so completely different. Both costumes gave me advantages.

On day one, I was part of a large majority – a commercial, technocentric, white male. My smart business suit enabled me to hold the same kind of authority as the other businessmen in the event. I spent time focusing on making business contacts in the areas I intend to develop work.

On day two, I was in a minority of one. I wore the simplest of indicators, a black shirt and clerical collar. I met and conversed with a wonderfully mixed bunch of characters, all of whom I was able to connect with freely and naturally. I had frequently surprising, deep, warm conversations of great sensitivity and integrity.

Some friends assumed on day two that I was dressing in ‘religious’ garments as some kind of joke (it was completely serious). Others assumed that I had either recently become or always been a cleric. Some didn’t actually notice the change from day one to day two. Others noticed but didn’t mention it, which just goes to show how polite many people are.

In answer to the questions about faith and religion, I spoke sincerely about my beliefs, my non-conformist heritage, working with refugees for my local church, and my spiritual evolution over the past decade, including prayer, meditation, worship, celebration, healing, the need to be without prejudice, and moral development.

After day two was done, I went to the hotel, and took off my costume, and shaved.

With this ritual complete, I stepped out from under the shadow caused by the events of this year, my father’s death in particular. I can’t adequately express the happiness and contentment I felt and still feel.

I went out to the Microsoft party and relaxed. Cyrille, who more than most had a good idea about what I was doing, asked me how I had behaved as a priest. I explained I had been careful not to shock or threaten people’s faith, that I had endeavoured to find out where they were coming from before answering questions and that I had not contradicted them. This was not about tricking people or being clever. I was not just testing reactions. “Never break the dream,” he replied.

Irina seemed astonished at my boldness, and I found myself explaining to her about the Book of Things.

Everyone has a Book of Things which lists what they are allowed to do, have or be. When people ask themselves, “can I do this?” “am I allowed to have this?” I refer them to the Book of Things. Everyone’s book is different.

In my Book of Things, page one, it says that I can be who I want, whenever I want. It says I can have any kind of authority that is within my reach. There’s a side note that reminds me to be careful.

Look in your own Book of Things. You too can be whoever you want to be. You can assume any role, be any person you wish, be humble, powerful, modest, or unmistakably visible. You may possess any kind of authority; but bear in mind, some people will want to confess, and others may hate you, so whatever you decide to be, you’d better take it seriously.


Dean Whitbread

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