Finding the Art in Everything

01 July, 2008

Momentary Continuity

I was comforting a friend today who is facing a straining transition, and new dichotomy emerged. I am not yet ready to claim it as universal, but I think moving on and forward in life means you are always moving between a daily experience that is either full of continuity or fragmentation. (I am still working on the labels for things).

When I am in a place long enough, my experiences each day seem to match the other days, and I find meaning in the habits and routines, and regular relationships. What comes each day matches about what I expect, so I find meaning in the reliability of my experience.

But any major change can disrupt this continuity--a relocation, the ending of a relationship, new circumstances, failures. It is here that I find meaning in single moments, where each hour or day can only be filled with its own things. Meaning has to come one conversation at a time, one person at a time, one simple delight at a time, and often these things are not big enough to fill anything else but their own moment. They are not big enough to reach continuously through one day to the next. If I am content with conversations instead of relationships, then I have what I need to get me through the lonely or dark hour. If I reach for continuity when all that is available is the momentary, then I am miserable.

Whats more, I think both places of meaning, continuous and momentary, are equivalent. I seem to frequently fluctuate between the two. BOTH places are only temporary, and the agony comes in mistaking either one as "normal." Recognizing them to be part of a cycle keeps the pervasive lonliness and displacement from becoming despair.

And I think we need these big changes to remind us that daily and continuous isn't necessarily permanent. These disruptions remind us that each year, month, day, hour, minute, and breath are always Sustained one at a time, whether we recognize it or not.

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