Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Am One of the Dots: An Ecological Perspective of Self

Wednesday July 18, 2012 5:40 am

How am I myself plus my circumstance?  If this plus were literally a plus I would not have comprehended the math, for it, I, the essence of I, am not only who is centered in me, but also the ever shifting, gliding, and complex entity with all the delightful, scary and horrifying possibilities and realizings with whom I am or have been bringing, or might in the future, meet and bring to life inside my being. 

How bring what to life? There is a brick in the wall outside our back door.  I am connecting that brick with an actual person who put that brick there and secured it with mortar, many years ago. His having put the brick there is the extent of my knowing the big Who of him, but I do indeed know some other facts about him.  Or was she a Her?  Probably a he, because women didn’t do that kind of work many years ago, and Joy and I haven’t even had women do any work on the outsides of the house. I know that the person was breathing, was beating his heart, pumping his blood with it, and he was filtering his blood with his kidneys, helping to clean his blood.  I could go on and on about what is true and what could come to mind about him.  He was once a baby thumping inside his mother.  I know that he and I have this in common. I could even make up a fictional story about him, having to do with his philosophy of life at age five. And I am standing on the grass that is growing beneath my feet.  Grass that some actual person planted there.  These knowings are developing in me, curious in more ways than one. I am creating and sharing with you these limited but expansible bits of connecting with my mind and its searching spirit.  And I find myself asking how many put how many bricks where, and did they know that I would be sitting here imagining, in a limited way, that years after the fact I would have them in my heart, appreciating and enjoying imagining that they were doing it for me?  That is just one brick that didn’t just shazam appear in the mason’s hand.  Someone made the brick from what ever bricks are made.  How many of the neighboring bricks were made by how many people? Are some of them still living?  My point is that there is life and its spirit in these imaginings. There is life and spirit in that brick and all the others, from countless angles! They are particular examples, possibly boring to some, appreciated and enjoyed by others, that I am happening upon through what I am sharing with you, and incidentally, with myself!

I don’t stop with my skin.  That is my main point. And what is my meta-point, the point of my point? What is the big deal about my I and my me not stopping with my skin? There is life in the connections I make. Even the ones I just imagine. They are, to say the least, a rehearsing for making actual ongoing and more deeply nurturing, healthy connections with you, and my family, including ancestors and strangers and a praying mantis clinging to our outside rear view mirror. And the family of armadillos that saunter across the street in the pre-dawn, dead set on fishing for grubs in the pine straw bordering the grass in our back yard. And the Tom Hanks character making do with Wilson: Is that a healthy connection he is making with the bloody He and the Him of that volleyball?

When I realize the possibilities that open up to me with making my circumstance come alive, in how it and I interact and reverberate, I have no longer any need to imagine myself better or worse than anyone else. I don’t need to rise in a hierarchy. I don’t have to achieve anything in order to be acceptable to myself.  When I interact with you my essential sense of who I am is not at stake. If our connecting is healthy, then both of us are nurtured by it. Neither of us is cast away.

Moreover, we might be the little boy who was the first to share his loaf and fish, use our music to breech and help take down the walls of hatred of Jericho, bring the Lazarus back to life in our healthy dialogue of shared memories, and not have to worry about the wine running low at the wedding feast.