Quick, quick, slow
Quick, quick, slow.
Down to the quick
Quick, lick, show.
The tame in the wild and the wild in the tame
The same in the different and the different in the same
The new in the old and the old in the new
The few in the many and the many in the few
The pain in the pleasure and the pleasure in the pain
The name in the nameless and the nameless in the name
The chains in the freedom and the freedom in the chains
The gains in the loss and the loss in the gains
The gift in the taken and the taken in the gift
The shift in the static and the static in the shift
But what of beyond, not just above and below?
What of the the precious things we cannot yet know?
As we watch the hands of time
We wear a watch on our wrists
Do we have time on our hands?
How do these hands of time tick
Some days it seems straight
Some days it has a twist
Others still a curve, or a bend
Perhaps even backwards
And in the forest
Time stands still.
Change is a big buzz word. People fear it, people love it, people embrace it, people resist it. In fact, we all probably feel/have felt the above about change.
Today while walking, I was thinking about all my molecules, buzzing around within me. Skin cells dying and new ones growing with each step and breath I take. Essentially, on an anatomical level, we are constantly changing. People say “the only constant is change”. But what people don’t talk about as much is adaptation.
I won’t reach for the Oxford, let’s just think about this ourselves, rather than referring to someone else’s take on the matter.
Perhaps we can begin with the body. As cells die, so new ones grow. It isn’t a matter of CELL A IS DEAD! GENERATE B! It is more gradual, and far more natural. There is a process of cell death, and a process of cell generation. There is of course a point at which a cell is dead, but a lot happened before it got to that point. When it died, we would consider that “change”. But everything that lead up to that point is adaptation. So change is in fact the visible end-of-the-line effect, if you will. Adaptation is everything else.
People gun for change. “CHANGE YOUR LIFE!”, motivational speakers yell from soap boxes wearing expensive suits being paid far too much to inspire people into paralysis. I feel a different tune humming within me: Allow awareness about adaptation.
If we stop FIGHTING for change, DEMANDING it to be RIGHT NOW, wanting complete 180 degree turnaround, we may just get the change we seek. Even doing something in this very moment that may seem like 180 degrees from where one was going just one moment ago, is the outcome of an enormous amount of internal adaptation that it took to get to that point. Wanting and longing for change is one thing, but beginning to see the adaptations that lead to even that wanting and longing water those seeds to help them grow faster into visible change.
I think adaptation is the journey, and change is the/one of many destination/s. In a world of motivational posters and constantly-shared words by someone-or-other that have likely been said to varying degrees by millions of others all over the world, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey” is one of our time’s most popular, and yet societal obsession with change is in direct contradiction with this. Any major movement, even if it seemed to begin with a world-changing speech or a courageous (or unthinkable) action, has been brewing through largely unconscious (and perhaps also subconscious) adaptation.
This leads me to consider the option that when we get frustrated and feel like we desperately need change, when we feel despondent and are not sure how we can go on as things are, that there are adaptations happening that indicate growth. We are no longer able to accept being treated a certain way, we no longer take the same road, we take or reject the new job offer, we start/end the relationship, we buy/don’t buy the ticket. I wonder, if we were more aware of the smaller, subtler adaptations within us, would we be leading the charge for change as hard? Perhaps, because we may realise that we were ready for that change earlier. But the value remains, due to the fact that increased self-awareness can only be of benefit to one’s own health and thriving, and therefore also the world. This view helps any change to be seen as the ‘next step’ in adaptation in that area, and in that way, apparent revolution is in fact just the visible, obvious aspect of evolution.
So I challenge myself as well as all readers to inquire internally: What adaptations are we perhaps missing in our own lives? What areas can we see subtle shifts beginning? What might their message to us be? If we are aiming for the end point, could we perhaps be wearing blinkers and not seeing how our internal and external environment and scenery is adapting, like on a travel journey, towards the change that we know is coming (even if we don’t know what it’ll look like)? If we are desperate for change in a particular area, are we really sure that is where we are going, and can we track back to see how we have adapted/are adapting, to perhaps re-direct slightly or to acknowledge the growth? Are there any areas in which we can let go of the fight, and recognise that there really is adaptation happening, and that a cell cannot die before it is dead, and a new one won’t just regenerate before its time?
Mirror mirror on the wall
You’re positioned too low, I’m much too tall
Mirror mirror in my hand
I can only see my nose, a mere fraction of who I am
Mirror mirror in my heart
How to know even where to start
Mirror mirror in my mind
Reveal all the things my eyes will never find
Inspired by one of the most extraordinary and exquisite human being Women I know, I made this mirror. It is a hand mirror. It was made with love, shards of coloured glass, backboard, rusted circular washers and grout. Created out of a desire, dream and vision for what mirrors can be. I have always felt that we, as people, are reflectors of and to each other, holding “mirrors” up to one another in order to see sides of ourselves we cannot see alone. If you have ever held a mirror and tried to see the back of your head, you will know what I mean; you need another mirror, or a different angle, or a few more arms and hands ie it is impossible. In relation, we get to see some of each of our many thousand faces, and to reflect that back to ourselves and each other.
Making this mirror, so steeped in meaning, I thought about the relationship many women have with mirrors. I cannot speak for the relationship men have with them, though I invite courageous men to share. Women, largely, want to look beautiful, however they have chosen to define the word beautiful. Looking for beauty in a mirror can be a profoundly healing or a rather wounding activity, depending on the perspective. This piece spoke to me clearly about how there is so much more to an individual than what we perceive to be reflecting back at us in any mirror. Here, the mirror shard is only one of many. Here, the mirror shard only could show part of a person. The coloured glass is expansive, beautiful and creates for me a sense of freedom and movement outward from the centre, alluding to growth beyond borders, to stretching, to liberation, to inspiration. If only women (and men) would look in the mirror and see everything that we could be, everything that cannot be seen in mirrors alone, everything we are that is intangible and makes us uniquely ourselves. The growing glowing golden light that belongs to us, and to us alone.
Alas, it is impossible. And for this reason and countless others, a mirror has its place but it is limited. Community and social relationships are essential, because glass mirrors can never reflect back what human mirrors can. All those magnificent angles, hidden curves and coves, glowing golden lights, throbbing colours, bursting sunrises, warm summer evenings, broken edges, brave vulnerabilities and secret chinks in our armour. Whose to say the branches reflected in that mirror aren’t me, aren’t you, aren’t us connected like dendrites through these words? Could mirrors not be about connection more than reflection, about relation with what is seen versus exploration and curiosity about what is not? What if mirrors were about what we couldn’t see? What do we actually see in our mirrors, versus what we think we should see, or think we should want to see? What could we do with all that extra time one may waste thinking about what we think we should look like in the mirror and focus it on being who we want to be in the world? What kind of mirror are we to others, do we pick up on their light and true colours, or do we reflect other parts? Can we not be more playful with our mirrors, allowing them to just swing from fascinating to functional, from useful to entirely useless in an instant? Are we brave enough to see beyond the mirror, and to be seen beyond the mirror?
For as long as I could remember, I had dreamed of making a round mosaic table. One day, walking along the side of a mountain pass, I saw a side mirror shattered beside the road. I went back to collect it the next day. A week later, two wonderful women gifted me two boxes of glass. That afternoon, I found two tables – one was round, and the other needed a total overhaul but I could see what it could be. The glass and the tables sat in our garage for a few more months until we had a robbery, and I found myself placing my first mosaic, realising that I wanted to make something beautiful that would last beyond how awful we felt about what happened. It dawned on me that I love mosaics far more than puzzles, because in a puzzle each clearly has its place but with mosaics, there are gaps between pieces, and it isn’t always clear how a motley collection of fragments will take shape until they do. Since then, I have continued to make things. Here are some of my creations!
Mosaic 1: Fragments of the Round Table. This was rather Gestaltian for me, the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, and how there was a gravity to it, all the fragments finding their place in the whole. The colour segment divisions happened organically, and a mirror was at the centrepoint, symbolising how our true strength comes from our centre, regardless of what happens around us. A very special Paua shell necklace pendant from New Zealand was my round addition to the piece.
Mosaic 2: Birdbath. I found myself initially resistant to square tiles, as I prefer curves in general, but my mind has changed. I had a delicious shopping experience where I bought/was gifted hundreds of little square mosaic tiles and this was my first experiment with them, about which I am delighted! This bird bath has been in our family since before I was born, and for years it has been growing algae and has had a crack in it, somewhat neglected behind a tree in our garden. Placing the tiles and seeing what emerged, this design reflects my love for the number 3, and the blues, jades and green shades that bring me such constant rest.
Mosaic 3: 3-Tiered Spiral. This was another ode to my love of the number 3 and particularly 33. Spirals have brought me great medicine in my life, particularly in the past number of months regarding movement, momentum and natural forces. When I did my first mosaic, I had an idea of a spiral, but it wasn’t the right time and I was feeling my way through other shapes. Here is a once-rectangular table I took apart and refurbished into this, reflecting the multidimensional/multilayered and spiral nature of life.
Mosaic 4: The Home Number 15
Mosaic 5: Hand Mirror for a Beautiful Woman – The Gift: a Promise To See & Be Seen
Mosaic 6: The Lizard, my first piece to be sold