The Space Between

The hole in your heart can only be filled by the companion that knows that it is there. Sometimes we seek companionship in search of one that recognises that gap, but fail to realise that we in fact projected our need on their abilities instead. We flit between the calm and the clutter, the spaces of quiet, and the spaces of revelry and indulgence, sometimes being pulled towards the calm, but most often pulled towards the clutter.

The clutter holds the promise of accompaniment, which deceptively veils itself with a mask of companionship. A kindred spirit is seen in common needs, more than in common goals. In those needs that resonate between two souls, familiarity is born. Familiarity, especially when it echoes similar pains and wants, creates an electricity that roots us to a point of temporary relief that lacks fulfilment. But that hint of relief, of a longer term repose, draws us in, and we find ourselves willingly sliding down that slope of abdication.

Impervious to the effects of our inclinations, the taunt of the clutter that promises the calm draws out our demons, and subdues our virtues. Relief morphs into indulgence, and indulgence honours the need for significance. To feel worthy of more than we’ve been able to acquire, companionship drifts into the distance, and the vacuous space that elicits nothing but instant gratification beckons.

The point of departure on that journey has to be grounded in faith if ever we are to find a rope on which to hold, as we cling to sanity. Sanity is quickly reduced to a concept of common relativity, while understanding is all that matters. As long as we feel understood, the principles by which we act, or the moral compass that once guided us loses relevance. After all, life is about priorities, and priorities are applied to needs. The greater the need, the more energy and hope we expend in its pursuit.

There is an abundance of similarly troubled souls. The ones looking for companionship that holds that embrace. The embrace that completes the flimsy grip we have on life, in the absence of which a future state is all that we court, and the present moment becomes nothing more than a means to an end. An end that no one else can relate to. An end that rests only in our hearts, and is seen only by the one in whose hands rests our soul.

But the clutter distracts and the indulgence beckons when faith waivers. Needs are tethered to the physical form, while peace is not. The physical form demands fulfilment, while the soul demands peace, but as long as we’re living, existing in a physical world, indulgence will always command our attention, and peace will always be elusive, except for those fleeting moments in the beginning. The very beginning of every embrace of a kindred spirit completes us in a moment of deceptive bliss. Sometimes we’re distracted by the clutter in that moment, and while we enjoy that moment intensely, we forget to see it for what it is. And so it is lost, along with the peace, as we draw on the indulgence that feeds our physical state, while the peace is shooed away.

There is a delicate space between the peace and the clutter. So delicate that the slightest distraction breaks the thread that tethers us to it, causing us to drift aimlessly. Well, not entirely aimlessly. As we drift, our focus again shifts away from the peace, the calm, the tranquil, and instead, we go in search of that fleeting moment that is only ever felt in the most momentary seconds of the initial embrace. And the rest of our lives are spent in pursuit of recreating that one single moment that we experienced when we least expected it, and when we didn’t even realise it was presenting itself.

The slope steepens as we drift away from it, and our burdens lighten as we see hints of it approaching. It’s a to and fro of warm bodies looking for a spark to create something greater than their individual selves, but find themselves lost in the rift between here and somewhere else.

The hole in your heart can only ever be filled by the one in whose hands rests your soul. Everything else is a distraction, or a stay of execution. The more calm we experience, the closer we are drawn to the sublime. The more clutter, the more ghastly is the silence that visits our soul.

[I once wrote without concern for the audience, or even for any concern of the rationality of my thoughts. I wrote because it was a momentary breath that filled my lungs beyond the needs. It’s been a while since I’ve felt my lungs fill with the air that once elated me. Now I write in search of those moments that were created when the distractions were what I described, rather than what I sought to embellish.]

The Way You Do That Thing

I recently read an article that suggested that they could provide you with insights into your personality depending on how you held your handbag, and the first thought that came to mind was, “How fickle!” Then I thought about it a little more and quickly realised that the same can be done with almost any shared behaviour that can be analysed between people. There is a general tone that underlies all of these behaviours, and it’s that emotional tone that I think is more insightful than any reactive analysis of how we handle a bag, purse, or wallet.

I’ve found that my mental state is either calm and composed, excited and passionate, or weighed down and dreary. Sure, there are a number of permutations that exist across each of those bands, and that is to be expected, but there is almost always only one of them that is dominant at any given point in time. The one that is dominant is either spurred on by environment, or objective. The stronger we are at maintaining our sense of self in the face of adversity, the more likely we’ll be able to maintain our disposition out of choice rather than through instinctive response to what is happening around us.

With this somewhat simplistic view, consider it within the context of how you write or doodle. When you’re calm and composed, in other words not feeling threatened or under pressure, your signature will probably be more fluid in its movements or curves. Your fingers or wrist won’t strain when you’re signing that till slip or contract, and your pressure will be differentiated just enough to place emphasis on those elements that subconsciously define your passions and inclinations, while skimming over those that simply complete the statement of who you are. Sign the same till slip when you’re feeling pressured or under duress, and suddenly the elements that were previously just mildly emphasized are now prominent, while the detail of the rest is quickly transformed into an unrecognizable squiggle because making a statement about the complete you is not so important. All that is important when you’re in that mindset is to establish your significance. To make a bold statement about who you are and why you demand to be taken seriously.

The same is true when we doodle. Under duress the doodle is harsh and deliberate. Usually concentrated patches of graphics or hard angles, while fluid and shaded when we’re not under duress. Squares and jagged edges replace curves and flowers to express frustration or anxiety. Logical flows or sequences reflect a need for structure, or an expression of boredom, and so on.

At the risk of over simplifying it (more than I already have) this in a nutshell is how every action of ours reflects what is going on internally. Those that pay attention to these nuances in our behaviour gain an insight into our frame of mind that allows them to use it, or abuse it to their advantage. Sometimes, a sincere observer will pick up on it and find ways to either draw you out of the detrimental phase you’re in, or they’ll make you aware of it so that you can use it to your advantage. How? Consider it from this perspective. If I am aware of the response I get from others when I’m angry, and that response gets the results that I need after all other avenues are exhausted, in future I will be able to draw on anger as a tool of expression when needed, rather than sliding into an angry state because I’m out of control.

What I mean is, if anger is used as a tool of expression, rather than a last resort to demand to be taken seriously, it becomes a lot more productive and is easier to harness and control, than if it is simply a state that overtakes us in a moment of desperation. To achieve this, we must be mindful (yeah, that word again). But mindful of what, you might ask? Mindful of the dynamics of the situation we’re faced with, and more importantly, mindful of our internal state in response to that situation. A third dimension that extends from the latter is an ongoing awareness of our abilities or talents. The more aware we are of what we’re capable of, the more likely we will be to deliberately draw on those abilities or talents selectively when needed, rather than relying on instinct to bring it to the fore when needed.

So how does all this relate to how you do that thing? The way you walk, the angle of your step, the gait you adopt, the completeness of your smile, the expressiveness of your style. It all reflects who you are, and what you wish to convey to the world. The more bold you are, the more confident you are that where you’re at is worth being admired and celebrated. The more subtle you are, the less likely you are to want the attention of others unless specifically needed. We say more with our actions and non-verbal expressions than we ever say with words. Think about that the next time you remain quiet when you know someone is expecting an overt verbal response. Then smile quietly as you have that a-ha moment. It’s that moment that, if nurtured, will spur you on to grow larger than the life you lead up to that point. That’s the power of mindfulness. It forces us to be accountable where before we felt we were victims.