Finding Our Place in the Circle of Life

One birth later. Two breaths follow. Three cries signal our arrival. We are here.

What happens next is the story of our lives. In its detail, it is a story unlike any other. A story about a unique life. In its pattern, it is a story like every other. A story about Life Herself. As every pattern informs the details it houses, so is the detail an integral pillar holding the house together. Life is the overarching theme of all of our stories, but it is up to us to hold that story together; one story weaving through another and up and out onto the next, some superficially touch while others merge and submerge into one another until they are mistaken for a single thread. And to be part of such a tightly knit story, one must feel comfortable being in such close proximity with another story. Many of us fear such close contact with another because being that close, that intertwined with another story, we risk losing sight of our own thread. We go on asserting our individuality, ensuring there are clear and strong boundaries separating us from all these other threads. But these threads keep coming at us wanting to connect with us, to go through us, but we resist and get even more scared and more paranoid that Life is out to get us. We begin to see needles of thread coming at us from all angles, poking at us, pricking us and causing us pain. We begin to tell ourselves that Life is a story about pain and heartache. While in fact it is only so because we insist on our separation. And it is this insistence on separation that creates and reinforces this narrative of pain. It is our refusal to recognise that we are merely a word in Life’s story; one only intended to support Her narrative. We forget that a word only stands to gain meaning when surrounded by other words; a word can only communicate a story when it has neighbours.

Somewhere along the line in our individual story, someone whose story had merged with ours almost engulfed us and made us feel like we were about to disappear. And it is that fear of losing oneself that scared us away from Life. Trauma, love, the loss of love can all be so threatening and disorienting to our sense of self that we try to escape the fear by closing our eyes. And when we do, everything falls dark. We mistake this darkness for Life and go on reinforcing the already strong narrative we’ve created that Life is a scary story about pain and darkness and is not to be trusted. This narrative now turned faith against Life becomes too a faith against ourselves. We begin to reject our place in this dark story and want nothing to do with it. By stripping our story out of Life, the whole story now becomes about us, about the individual, a single word, finite, rigid, unable to grow, unable to transform. We become stuck and grow tired of trying so hard to grow without Life or any of its other stories. You see a word can only grow when surrounded by another. A sentence too alone is finite ending with a full stop. But if it is part of a larger story, a sentence does not end at the full stop. It informs and is informed by every other sentence in the story. And together, all words hold all sentences and all sentences hold the story together as a unified whole. And in that way, our individual story was only able to come into being because of a story before that gave birth to it and our story too can extend beyond its full stop but only if we choose to connect and be part of the larger story we were assigned called Life. It is our desire to separate that causes strife. It is our desire to be so individual that causes pain and renders us finite.

The world seems so heavy when we have to carry it alone. But we don’t. And when we recognise that we don’t lose importance by being just another pillar in a house holding it upright, pressure begins to relieve itself from our shoulders. All this weight that has been pressing on our spine for so long can finally fade as we begin to relax and ease into the story we were born to create. So embrace your uniqueness, but let it not consume you. And yes the pillar might lose its identity when it becomes part of a house, but what good is a pillar if you can’t make a house out of it? What good are we if you can’t see Life in us? What good are our individual stories if they do not bring Life to the world? I was taught this beautiful song recently, it goes:

We are a circle within a circle,

With no beginning and never ending.

Dear friend take my hand,

Together we can heal the land.

I hope this contemplation helps you feel a little more at ease about being a part of the world. The world is only as horrible as we let it be. So my dearest quarter lives, take a hand and let your hand be taken by another, fear not losing yourself in those you love, whether it is a community of friends, family, plants or even words in a book. You might lose a pillar, but you will gain a house. And just like a word, we only stand to gain meaning by joining hands with another. I believe that only when we choose to be part of this Circle of Life will we find our place in it. Our story will only ever make sense as part of the whole. There is a place for all of us in this Circle but only if we want it. This is a gentle reminder that we are all special but only when we create Life together.

With love always,