Our convergent and divergent life

I am continually astounded in life, as well as in my practice (which of course is a reflection of life), by the rich diversity and simultaneous commonality shared by all of us. It has led me to think again about the unique voices that are integral to our identity and how these in themselves are similar in all of us, whilst being forged specifically related to our experiences.

There are so many avenues and routes through which we navigate life and we are often, even slightly, different after each experience we have. It’s akin to adding further texture and detail to a rich tapestry that is continually evolving. This is why the living of life is so creative and ever intriguing.

The common threads of living are recognisable to us all. Like the tolling of the bell there is an essence of humanity that is shared among all of us. To put is very starkly we are all born and we all die. Of course there is such a greater depth related to living and a wondrous complexity to living. Between these bookends of birth and death, there is love and loss, joy and pain, excitement and fear. We can all experience these powerful emotions; where we deviate is how we interpret them as this is informed by the lens through we which we view life.

Are we primed to believe that life is hard, is a struggle? Or do we believe that in general, life is beneficent and kind? These core beliefs are formed in our development though childhood and the encounters we experience; how we are nurtured and how those experiences were supported or not, when they happened. These form the varying nuances to the underlying familiarities shared by all of us.

I find it reassuring and like I said earlier astounding that this is the richness of life, it allows me to consider how broad and all encompassing life can be and how, at times, while we may feel confined by what we believe to be restricted or little choice, that there is an essence of humanity that is available to all of us, if we are able to see and embrace it. To know that we are not alone in times when we may feel very isolated can be truly transformative.

Artists and philosophers have been engaged in this idea since writing began. The question of ‘what is a (wo)man’ is fed by this seeming conundrum. How could any one of us answer that question directly? For me poets offer an ethereal and partly elusive answer to question that is shared and convergent simultaneously:

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver, Wild Geese.

 
My next piece will broaden this concept our further into how we are plugged into the greater world and that this interdependence can greatly nourish and need tending to.

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