7/8/2020

Multiplicity

It’s a bit silly to think of ourselves as being a fixed thing — a personality with a set of desires, preferences, and the like. Certainly, we are this; yet, we aren’t fixed, and we aren’t singular. It’s a quiet day for me. I have some space. I sat down to find a bit of rest, thinking about the various directions that my energy could go, and I noticed myself taking part in a habit that I’ve engaged in over the past few years — picking up my phone.

What drove this? This isn’t restful, after all. Indeed, I find it generally has the opposite impact on me. I generally feel drained after a period of phone use. Nevertheless, I found myself opening Netflix (seriously?) and popping open an episode of The Office. I sat there, in the seat of my executive function wondering: WTF? Looking around my internal world, I found this me that was like, Yes! Let’s tune out and just get carried away in this little world.’ It took some doing, but the executive was able to talk this part of me back. I was able to step away from the phone, and, funny enough, to the computer where I could type these words. Ah, sweet, sweet technological irony.

I don’t know about you, but I see these patterns in my life a lot. I see the parts of myself sometimes competing for the limited resource of the hours in my days. I see the tensions within, and the paradox created by the numerous selves. I also see the strength that’s inherent within these paradoxes. The more choices, the more possibilites. What does each of these parts of myself have to teach me about myself? What might I experience through letting each of them have their place?

This was the key to movement from the phone (The Office) to the computer (the, well, the office): you’ll get to have your time. First I need to explore this. I need to write about it. The thing is, I need to commit to that — giving the part of me that just wants to space out opportunity to do that. But I’m not willing to just give him the key to the bus and say, drive’! No, I’m not going to let that happen. There’s just too much that I hope to do in my life to let that happen.

This morning, I was co-facilitating a program called Finding Our Way Back Together. It’s a 90-minute session where people get to go into conversation around what’s up in their lives right now, especially as we face the re-opening of our world in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. I think of the title of this session as holding a couple of different meanings. One is that we are all finding our way back together in the sense that we are going out once again. Going to offices. Going to dinner parties and BBQs. Going to protests. And we are in need of finding our way back together as a society — we are deeply torn asunder. We need to find a way to get back together.

As I’m sitting here now, I see a third angle: a deeply personal one. How has our time alone in the pandemic, in self-isolation, created any separation within us? How do we find our way back together? To experience wholeness?

It’s not possible for us to not be whole, I believe. It is, however, possible to feel not whole. Come to think of it, they might be the same thing.

Acknowledging that we indeed contain multitudes may be one of the starting points to finding our way back together. Or, rather, feeling our way back together.


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