Crafting Gentleness

Sunday, July 22, 2007

In happier times

Sometimes I think wistfully that there are people out there who I wish had known me as the happier person I think I am now.

So much of how I am with people depends on what I'm going through at the time, and likewise for them, I suppose.

I suppose understanding that is what leads to the wisdom of second chances should chances for second chances emerge?


  • There are no second chances... Only new beginnings.

    If one loves a river one is fooled. The river is not the same river from moment to moment, let alone from day to day...

    The choice is to get caught in the rapids, endlessly churning against the same rock, the same eddy..., or gracefully accept and surrender that the greatest force in the universe, apart from love, is motion... Nothing is still,... still nothing stays the same.

    So, adjust your lenzes, enjoy meeting that new river each day, the one you 'love'...

    Dancing life implies movement. Living life implies dancing. Longing for a dance long gone implies a small death... 'move it or lose it'...

    A wise prophet once said ..

    "If god is a DJ, life is the dancefloor, love is the rhythm, you are the music."

    To long for a song long ago is like looking at a picture of a river, tattered and faded, black and mouldy with age, whilst the river flows before you inviting you to take a dip....

    By Blogger Soooz, at Monday, 23 July, 2007  

  • That doesn't work for me, Soooz. I'm fine with acceptance of constant changing, but it is also constant and variable changing - for me there tends to be a quality to the changing (the happening), and often a consistent quality. Stuart wrote in an earlier post that "everyone is always doing the best they can, given their potential, past experience & present context". To reduce our experience of a river to the flow is for me to potentially reduce it to only its present context, and to erase the other aspects.

    As people in England are finding out to their distress, there is more to a river than flow. If the river breaks its bounds and floods your house, you might wish for a 'second chance' to rebuild a home. For me, I live with effects and consequences, not just flow. Power for me is about the play of influences in the happening that happens, the differences that happen and how the differences happen. If there is only flow then there is little room for me to understand how the differences happen, how I position myself as a mover in and through those differences.

    As you know, helpful dancing tends to be about a lot more than flow; positioning, listening, waiting appropriately, listening, skill, listening, training, listening, hurting, listening, tripping up, listening, flying, listening, exaltation, listening, being with, listening, acknowledgement ...

    To stay with the river metaphor, there is for me an ever-changing quality of the particular riverness of a particular river, but not an essence, a quality that I can understand from my past experience of that river. The river Faughan in Claudy doesn't tend to flood. The river Boyne in County Meath does. Depends on the context. If I divorce change from context I don't find much guidance.

    I don't see our experience of any circumstance as a choice between poles of endless repetition or surrender to a flow. Life's far more interesting to me than that. I think it's way too easy to go from saying that 'nothing is still' to 'everything is different' in one easy move. For me, much remains stable, even while changing happens. I try to make sense of my life, and of other people's lives, on the basis of accumulated expectations, memories, that I have earned through experience. The chair beneath my bum will likely still be able to carry my weight in a couple of seconds. I know it to be a solid chair. I know that if I sit in it in a particular way I get a backache, but that's not the chair's responsibility. I know I prefer this chair for sitting on to the one over there. I prefer the other chair for standing on.

    For me, acknowledgement of the possibility of emergence and 'second chances' isn't at all 'to long for a song long ago', but to celebrate the possibilities of assuming that things don't have to be the way they are, even as they happen, to celebrate the possibilities of happening even while I acknowledge happening. If my chair breaks beneath me then the breaking of that chair becomes something for me to respond to, it becomes an opportunity to work out what has happened, and to work out how to proceed. If the river stagnates and I need a source of fresh water, then I have an opportunity to consider how to proceed.

    Just to labour the metaphor into literalness, I love many (actual) rivers. I do not think myself a fool for loving those rivers, not at all. Change happens. Go figure. I can still love those rivers without assuming that they are the 'same' rivers every day. The possibilities of my being loving have, for me, little to do with the quality of the river.

    As for God and DJs, I just don't work with the god stuff, and it's a little too close to a puppet master metaphor for me to go with it :)

    I like to assume there are second chances, and third chances, and so on. When I mess up, I am glad when someone has the grace to say to me, 'hey, you messed up, it's okay. Give it another go'. Second chances are for me little ritual invitations to keep going. For me, that's one of the core aspects of crafting, that we can get other turns at the wheel. I bring my experience to the wheel again, I bring my memories, I bring my expectations, I bring my increased awareness of how I might proceed differently this time. For me it's not about new beginnings - I don't think we get many of those, maybe one on our birth day and one on the day we pass on?

    That doesn't mean that I don't work to celebrate the differences of each day. I give it a go. But for me that's not a challenge that comes with new beginnings, but a challenge that comes in the company of relationships, histories, memories, expectations, and for me it's a challenge that doesn't tend to go away.

    My wistfulness had a very wide sweep, and it spoke to me of the possibilities of helpfulness and the possibilities that things don't have to get worse. It wasn't about clambering for a past, but about possibilities of what might yet happen. Balancing possibilities of the yet to happen and the half-remembered with being present now is always a delicate operation, but I think we get to do that if we're up for it.

    By Blogger Anthony, at Tuesday, 24 July, 2007  

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