I’ve realised something true: meaning is a team sport, and environment — your people, place, embodiment, and rhythm of play/work/rest — is the 80 and the Self is the 20.
Duh, of course, but I’m getting old, and getting older means learning ever simpler lessons. And real learning isn’t a headsport anyway.
The first gong on the soul was starting a family. There was before my son, and there is after. (If you’re new to this list, here’s my New Dad series
The second was the pandemic. The isolation and alienation have hurt, of course, a skulking compounding ache, migraine-like. More impressing has been the collective experience of the same: being alone together. A trading of hardship stories that fomented communion in loss, a collective imagination of post-COVID times. How obvious it becomes that we are social creatures when we’re prevented from being social. How obvious we’re all in this together.
The third was Bloom
. This group is in fact a daydream realised: about 6 months before our meeting, I posted this incantation on my homepage:
I daydream about never retiring. Of a lifetime of creative partnership, friendship, and misadventure with soul-on-the-sleeve explorers who argue for decades about Helvetica and Beyoncé and Wittgenstein, who celebrate the little triumphs and sit shiva over halcyon neverworks. Brothers and sisters in the possibility of art and life.
Three gong strikes. I cannot unhear or unfeel them. And so what I’m impelled to do now, how I want to be, is consciously and fundamentally relative. The locus of meaning, of creative drive, has shifted towards Us away from I.