Monday, 9 January 2017

Swimming between the currents

Many years ago, a Thai friend gave me a copy of The Miracle of Being Awake, by Thich Nhat Hanh, which is about mindfulness, before the concept of mindfulness entered popular culture, and I have always carried a number of concepts from this book with me.

One, which I particularly love, is the idea that we should nourish and celebrate the differences between cultures, making these differences simply part of our experiences in the world. There is no bridge between cultures that we must cross - rather, we become like fish who swim between currents, moving into and out of different cultures with ease.

Today, as I picked up the book looking for some words that might explain how I feel we can embrace our lives without children, I realised of course that this analogy works perfectly in the No Kidding culture too, and also, of course, for those residing in Parentland. None of us have to be in just one group, feeling isolated and rejected from the other, feeling we have to prove ourselves as worthy. We can simply swim between these groups, appreciating the differences and laughing in the good times, supporting and being supported in the bad. We may find succour more in one culture than another, especially at first, but we can find joy in them all. We can nourish the differences between us, recognising that while we experience things differently, we are still part of one, overall, experience of life.





14 comments:

  1. Beautiful,Mali. Couldn't agree more.
    BTW, I gave a shout out to New Zealand in my latest post...

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  2. Your final paragraph is lovely: this is how I wish it could be, instead of the chasms of misunderstanding we often experience between the different groups. I wish we were like fish swimming in and out of each other's communities with ease. Maybe it will be like this, when there are more and more non-parents (since this group is growing all the time, apparently). Here's hoping. As time goes on, I don't feel rigidly affiliated to any one group: maybe it's also something that evolves with time and experience.

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  3. Beautifully put. And places even more importance on the act of visiting, whether that is entering a physical space or simply reading along.

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  4. Beautiful! I need to get this book. I received Mindfulness training for a job I worked at - but it has been a few years and I am certainly not using it as much as I used to. I am struggling right now with coming to terms with the way my life is right this moment and I think it will help! Thank you for sharing!

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  5. I love his words and this reminds me to revisit them, I love this sentiment and how I wish we can all apply it to our choices and lives - moving in and out with respect and support.
    Time to find my books and read him again.

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  6. Gorgeous. I love this idea of swimming between currents, appreciating differences and celebrating similarities. What a great empathy-building thought.

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  7. Lovely. I have not seen it put into words like this before, but this is how it feels to me.

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  8. What a great concept. I completely agree when it comes to embracing different cultures.

    I am beginning to see and experience that it can work for the parenting and non-parenting part of our society, too. It may take some time and healing in order for us to be able to fully enjoy it all, but I do think it is possible.

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  9. I really love these sentiments. And you've given me a visual to use when I come across Different: a current rather than a bridge.

    I talked with a woman at the gym yesterday. She told me her age (about a decade older than me) and I told her that she looked and moved much younger than that number. She replied that she'd never had kids -- not by choice (it was important for her to say this) -- and maybe that was why she is aging well. I let her know we have more in common than the class we were in (which, had it been swimming, would have been perfect!).

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