Pulling out the Threads

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What is it that renders one moment 

different to the one it trails? 

The sun has barely inched across the 

vast acquamarine expanse

but there is a quality of 

luminous extravagance, enchanted expectancy

that was absent a stroke ago.

Why is it that I am all patience and 

ragged deep breaths one minute

then pouring forth in molten lava

the next?

Are we all so mysterious to ourselves,

to each other?

Where is the hidden cauldron beneath it all? 

The bubbling formula that predicts such 

uncertainty?

If I reach deeply into the arching, shimmering

threads of the rainbow

will I pull out

turquoise?

There is so much that intrigues me at present. I’ve been listening to The Liturgist’s podcast on spiral dynamics which has painted my vision so vividly that I can only see in colours now.

For the uninitiated, spiral dynamics is a theory that attempts to explain how humans collectively view the world, then adapt and react to the changes around them. It is a theory encompassing civilisation from its origins, following the paths of enlightenment and organisation to propose why humans respond in such different ways to what seems to be the same or similar information or cultural pretext. If this spins your mind in multiple directions and gives you a splitting headache, that is probably completely natural.

I won’t do the theory a disservice by attempting to explain it any further, Science Mike and Michael Gungor do a perfectly admirable job in the podcast of breaking it down. But suffice to say, the theory has infiltrated my being and illuminated so much.

Particularly, why is it that after rejecting a considerably spiritual or enchanted view of the world, so many seem to circle back to a mystical mentality after embracing the purely logical scientific mindset? Is it a regression or an advancement in view? What is it about the mystical that I find so compelling, transcending even the bounds of opposing religions, such as the sensual and evocative poetry of Rumi?

Why is it that the supposedly enlightened, those who are accepting of all stories and embracing of humanity in all its messy glory seem to be the worst at ‘getting things done’?

Why do we view the backgrounds and traditions from which we have ‘graduated’ with such contempt and disdain? Reflecting on those still ‘caught’ as casualties or in need of saving from themselves?

Spiral dynamics has a compelling answer for each of these conundrums, as well as a narrative for the progression of humanity through the ages. I’m finding it completely fascinating.

Yet on a more individual level, I wonder what is it within myself that makes me respond so differently on days that seem, on the face of it, to be similar? Last Tuesday I was convinced that I was among the worst of mothers – pushed to extremes of responses by frustration and the constant pull of different, competing needs. Yesterday, Dave was absent in Sydney all day, in theory contributing far more stress than the previous week, but we all managed to enjoy the day, speaking with warmth and energy rather than disdain. Is it merely willpower? Intention? Deep breaths? If I knew, I have no doubt that I would be tempted to bottle it and spruik the wares for profit.

I reflect on my thoughts towards motherhood, and how much they may be influenced by the model shown to me. My mother always spoke warmly about her choice to take care of us at home, giving up her career for a worthy goal – our security and development. My own choice to stay home during these formative years must be shaped by that, helping me (even on days of woe) to see the value in what I’m doing… even if it may not be respected or held as triumph by a society governed by capital considerations. I am thankful for that gift, one that I was not even aware of until now.

I am becoming more and more convinced that we are not, as we hope to think, blank slates. We are informed by a myriad of influences, stories, decisions and exist within a press of family, culture and society that cannot help but shape us. I feel like ‘doing our work’ requires us to delve deeply into this bubbling pot and figure out where our own essence begins and joins with the cacophony of beauty around us.

What an amazing, complicated world we are privileged to exist in. That we can even formulate any of these questions about our own stories and histories confounds me. I am enjoying even the process of pulling out threads, examining them and feeling as if I have obtained even a miniscule gain in insight.

I have only one thing to do and that’s
To be the wave that I am and then
Sink back into the ocean
-Fiona Apple, Container

What are you pondering at the moment? Let me know in the comments below.

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