Throughout August, the title line haunted me. Too many people around me (not everyone, a generalization best left outside this writing), were talking about continuity. How to start it, how to keep it, what made it possible.
Throughout their conversations, I started to see this written line: “Continuity is…” I had assumed, when I first started hearing these conversations, that continuity would be linear. A continuous line moving everything (people, situations, society, companies, etc.) forward. And I realized, as I listened more and more, that all these conversations brought me back to each other, and eventually brought themselves back to a similar starting point. As much as everyone wished continuity would move forward, in a sharp and straight line, continuity is a…circle.
Whether it is about the repetition of continuity or the tweaking of a behavior to strengthen a continuous process, the circle is what makes continuity, well, continuity. It can be a small circle, involving just one person or one situation. It can be a much bigger and broader circle, involving communities, heritages, the world. It can be an intermingling of circles, each adding context to the overall scenario (whether to create tension and conflict, or add insight and clarity).
Continuity is the circle of our own lives. And just as circles don’t have true beginnings and ends, so do our lives. Our experiences and conversations and memories ensure that the circles of others, their lives, are also part of our continuous circle. And after generations of history, whether personal or societal, these circles are now huge.
What is the point of all this? Well, first I had to get that sentence out of my head. It begged to be shared…not as an explanation, but as a statement. It also started me – no, correction: brought me back – into my own circle.
The point is that as much as we try to change, to become something else or someone else, we always snap back into our own circle – who we truly are. There is nothing wrong with change – yet the word itself signifies and implies that something was thoroughly wrong to begin with.
Look at yourself in the mirror today and ask: “Am I really, really, all that bad that I must change everything about me?”
I hope that what you come away with is something like this (replace with your own words where you see fit):
“I am a stubborn, short woman, who insists on sprinting out of the gate without hesitation, knowing full well that I will die out within 1 minute. I am stern and unapproachable 95% of the time, with the frowns and grunts to prove it. But show me that you love life, that you love learning, that you are willing to try anything, and that 5% of me that is giddy, jolly, and happy, will sprinkle you with a love so strong that it will literally topple you over – mainly out of shock, but also because there is so much power in my actions. I am a creative, in any shape or form – put me in a situation where I am merely doing the status quo and I will go stir crazy. Yet enable me to be creative with people, or a business situation, or a societal problem, and I go full steam ahead.”
I can’t change being short (unless I wear heels all the time, and while pretty, it gets painful after a while). I know the drawbacks of sprinting, especially when life takes an average of 70 years to play out. But I love it. My body doesn’t know any other speed. And even when I’ve trained myself to run 6 miles, I had to do it fast. I’ve tried to be a happy and smiling person for that 95% of the time and just found it exhausting. I’ve tried to be in jobs that were mainly about repetition and no thinking – and I have sprinted out of there (and told my husband that I had quit, after the fact – you did read that I sprint, right?)
The circle of our own lives is beautiful. The point of this long statement is this:
“When we acknowledge our inner circle, our continuous patterns and realities, we finally enable our circle to get bigger.”
My body and mind will always sprint (isn’t being stubborn sprinting into a position?) – yet I now know what to sprint towards: CREATIVITY – not just as an art but as a lifestyle, helping shape it, learn about it, and enact it.
The question is: If continuity is a circle, how big do you want to make yours?