Thursday, September 01, 2005


Any horizontal surface in our house is fair game for depositing anything that happens to be in your hand at the time – contents of pockets and bags, empty coffee mugs, car keys – you name it, it’ll get put down and left. Giving one such dumping ground it’s quarterly tidy-up the other day, I came across a folded sheet of paper – an embryonic blog post begun several months ago but abandoned. I’ve picked it up and put it down again several times since; I know at the time I scribbled something down, the thought I was trying (and failing) to capture felt like a Minor Truth (that's a distant relation to a Major Truth, like a second cousin twice removed) revealing itself. Then the insight faded into the background and I forgot it.

But reading Jean’s post from Tuesday reminded me, so I had another go.

The only way I could record what was in my mind was in pictures; the thoughts hadn’t yet made it into the realms of words.

This represents me and my world. A blob (or is it a potato half-buried in the earth?)

This blob occupies a world of two different, seemingly mutually exclusive mediums, like air and water. An external one where the vast majority of the human interplay of everyday life takes place, - a world of facts and actions and small-talk, and an internal, hidden one - the realm perhaps where heart and soul reside, although I’m not sure the distinction I felt was quite as simple as saying that mind occupies the outer world and heart and soul the inner. What distinguishes these two parts of the blob, the outer and inner, is simply the very fact that one comprises all of those things that present themselves in the external world, and the other is all of those things that stay largely within the inner world. I spend a lot of time “in my head” – too much, perhaps – so this inner part often feels to me the more significant part, the nine-tenths of the iceberg below the surface. I’m conscious though that this might be a risky state of affairs when the great majority of life is lived out in the external world of work and relationships

But I get frustrated with a world where human interaction seems to operate on an inverted-iceberg model. All the action takes place in the external world – the so-called ‘real’ world - and the inner world of the individual takes second place, becoming a place of phantoms, of unreality, and any part of us that resides there is in danger of being shut away, isolated and lonely. Imprisoned, even – if people only want to make connections in that outer world, if people shy away from making those deeper connections then the inner world might just as well have bars around it.

(For the purposes of illustration, I've mutated from a blob to a triangle, and been joined by a couple more mutant blobs). This external world was the place in which I lived for a very long time. Indeed, I knew no other – it just didn’t occur to me that the inner world was anything other than a secret, hidden place known only to each of us individually, and that the only path for communication we could have was through the outer world, distorted by its filters and translations.

But thankfully along the way I discovered to my delight that is was possible to build bridges between each others’ inner worlds. And although the bridge may be built using the tools of the external world – mostly words, but aided too when the eyes fulfil their part as the window onto the soul - the connections that are made seem strongest beneath the surface. Invisible, unspoken for the most part except in reflection (much like that quote from Richard Bach in my sidebar), yet a source of sustenance, of power and energy, of life.

At this point, words run out of usefulness. Words may be mediators through which connections are created, but the connection itself exists and is sustained without them. Or that, I think, was what was in my mind when I drew this alternative view:

I think what I wanted to capture was the strength and importance of those inner –world connections, and how outer-world connections aren’t really connections at all. But as I say, the words fizzle out now. That’s why I didn’t try writing this down before; it wasn’t headed towards a Great Conclusion, or even a snappy punch-line. But I didn’t want to throw that scrap of paper away until I’d done something with it. I guess at least now I can say I’ve finished clearing up that chest of drawers.

Later edit:
Doh!! I forgot the most important part, the realisation from months back that had me scribbling diagrams on scraps of paper in the first place: we are all connected at that inner level, whether we recognise it or not. The real magic comes when we acknowledge that inner connection and allow it to flow through into the external world of our daily lives, or equally when we allow ourselves to receive that flow from another.

And by chance, I find that Christy is saying something very similar over at Ashley's:
"sometimes it has taken years (years, i tell you!) of knowing someone superficially to suddenly realize that the normal polite walls and doors between me, and that person, were just veils. not even veils, just fog in my eyes. that realization does seem to happen faster these days--always i think about our friend anne stadler's statement: "we have to develop the capacity for instant connection""
Thanks, Christy, and Ashley.

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