Continuity is a…Circle

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?


Bits and pieces

You know the saying that what you put out there always seems to come back to you? It’s as if by stating it, thinking it, you give it strength and power and suddenly all you can see is that thought, that idea, everywhere.

Since writing about bits a couple of posts ago, it seems as if the majority of my daily waking life is about bits. Bits that don’t quite go together. Bits in which I see total clarity and bits that just demonstrate a rawness, an anger that I don’t really want to be a part of. Bits in which I find myself doubting possibilities, possibilities that I have been thinking of for years. Bits in which a lost dog finds me screaming bloody murder because it’s owner (nowhere to be seen) needs to know that there is a leash law around.  Bits in which I can walk calmly by unleashed dogs (again with owners nowhere to be seen) on a foggy beachfront and both of us can silently agree to let each other by. Bits in which I find myself driving great distances rolling through names of people that I can call upon to dump on, because I seriously need to cry. Bits in which I find myself, jeans and flats, running down a deserted beach, hearing myself say “see, you are a stubborn beast, and you’ll push yourself to exhaustion even to prove to yourself that you can do something.”

There is no consistency, no calm, no clarity.

Yet perhaps the only bit, today, that I can pull at, is that last sentence a couple paragraphs up. Pushing myself even to prove to myself that I can. Seriously, do I need to compete with myself? Is the inner me just as stubborn as the outer me? And why are the two battling themselves out?

As much as I want to believe that I can accept God’s will and utter command, I don’t think I’m 100% there yet. The story with the dog today kind of proves it – I’ve always seen lost dogs in times when I have been in utter distress myself, or when I needed to focus and stop spinning a 1,000 plates at once. Seeing a lost dog brought me out of myself and focused me on someone else way better than caring selfishly for a child.

But today, when this beautiful, young, chocolate brown retriever ran up behind me, I shrieked and swore blindly in my mind. I was upset at the fact that I was taken away from my petty thoughts. I was upset at the fact that someone would just let this beautiful creature on a street. I was upset that someone was not following the rules.  I was upset that there wasn’t someone there for me to scream at.

What I realized, hours after the fact, was that I wanted this beautiful dog to be leashed up, controlled, and held distantly away from me, because I just didn’t have the time to be nice to it. What I realized, in a small bit of time, is that I was so absorbed in being in control that I was loosing out on all the beauty that was begging for my attention. Beauty, by the way, that was whole, all encompassing, everywhere I turned. There were no bits and pieces there.