I’ve recently come across three more views on life which I’ll add to my previous three views on life.
The Faultlines & Breakpoints View of Life
People don’t often leave the company I work for, so anyone who leaves gets to write an internal blog post saying bye, and often the reason(s) why.
I recently read one of these from a which talked about life events that are either like a faultline (a minor disruption which you get over) or a breakpoint – a technical term for when CSS (cascading style sheets) on websites completely change where everything is and how it looks when a certain screen width resolution is reached.
A faultline in my life was discovering I really hated a job I’d just started. A breakpoint in was dislocating my patella and my sudden associated realisation of (eventual) death.
The Emotional Health Tree View of Life
In How To Develop Emotional Health by Oliver James, the author describes life and emotional evolution as like climbing the branches of a tree:
Our emotional evolution is like climbing branches of a tree. At each stage, depending on how we are cared for, we proceed along a different branch. If you think of the top of the tree as emotional health, the danger is that early deprivation or maltreatment traps us on a low branch. That sprouts new twigs that sprout still more, til we find ourselves at the end of a self-distructive branch – perhaps we are addicted to stimulation, a workaholic with the attention span of a flea, who cannot sit still and is prone to gambling or casual sex or binge drinking.
~ Oliver James – How to Develop Emotional Health
I feel like I was stuck for many years on a low branch of this tree with low self esteem and a disposition for bingeing. The last four and a half years of my life I’ve strived to climb higher up and it’s been tough, particularly starting out entwined with such a low branch.
A Charriot Being Pulled by Two Horses View of Life
In How to Stay Sane by Philippa Perry, she describes life as a balancing act between chaos and rigidity:
(People) …fall into just two main groups. In one group are the people who have strayed into chaos and whose lives lurch from crisis to crisis; in the other are those who have got themselves into a rut and operate from a limited set of of outdated, rigid responses. Some of us manage to belong to both groups at once. So what is the solution to the problem of responding to the world in an over-rigid fashion, or being so affected by it that we exist in a continual state of chaos? I see it as a very broad path, with many forks and diversions, and no single ‘right’ way. From time to time we may stray too far to the over-rigid side, and feel stuck; few of us, on the other hand, will get through life without occasionally going too far to the other side, and experiencing ourselves as chaotic and out of control. This book is about how to stay on the path between those two extremes, how to remain stable and yet flexible, coherent and yet able to embrace complexity.
~ Philippa Perry – How to Stay Sane
She shares an awesome classical metaphor for this:
Plato compares the soul to a charriot being pulled by two horses. The driver is Reason, one horse is Spirit, the other horse is Appetite.
My early years definitely were on the chaotic side of this spectrum, and I can see now I’ve personally been too rigid on myself over the last few years. This book gave me some good ideas to create some balance there.