Life is Analogue – Punctuate it
28th November, 2014
Silence, Stillness and Flow:
I got to thinking about the importance of punctuation. Not so much in the sense of grammatical accuracy, since I am not hugely adept in this particular area. More-so in the context of life and for me this includes:
• Creating variability within a broader symmetry and equilibrium.
• Balancing stillness with fluidity and momentum.
• Enabling instances of both deep reflection and true self-expression.
“Silence is where the Unicorns are!”
To periodically retreat into ourselves provides an invitation for silence, and as we ALL know “Silence is where the Unicorns are”. This is a term I adopted in my mid 20s from somebody far wiser than me, I still use it – A LOT – so what do I mean by it?
Silence is where magic and insight are created; an intermission for breath to fathom our connection with the wider expansiveness of life, a moment of punctuation within what could otherwise be experienced as white-noise. The pitch, pause, rhythm and pace of life provide an analogue quality to our existence. This offers colour and a richness which guide us; the experiencers and those who we share our stories with; to navigate and participate fully within the narrative.
Punctuation exists in many forms.
The experiences we have as individuals and those we share with others each carry with them degrees of triviality and enormity – from fleeting junctures to seminal occasions. Events occur: some captivating, others mundane; some filled with sorrow and others elation. Whether seemingly of our own free will or instances promoting a sense of complete impotence, each serve to remind us we are alive
Our minds and bodies develop like the leaves and branches of an oak tree expanding into the world before eventually withering. We provide acorns to be reborn in the form of insight, ideas, technology or offspring. Our stories take their own form in the lives of others and a cycle of life, death and rebirth exists, however we choose to consider this concept be it scientific, spiritual, philosophical or poetic. This serves to remind us of our impact on the planet reminding us to tread lightly, since the action we take has future repercussions.
Our diaries mark out weeks months and years; the seasons changing, turning of a tide and the gentle rotation of the hands on a clock provide recognition of the passing of time. “Tempus” does indeed “Fugit” and yet we are so busy looking forwards or backwards we fail to apply the appropriate punctuation to the now, the precise moment that is in fact the only real aspect of time we can most effectively influence.
In our race to fill our page with print we can forget that it is the space between the letters and words that bring meaning. We underestimate or lose sight of our ability to self-punctuate, to define where our attention takes us. We forget that the emphasis we place on events encourages us to challenge relevance or provide magnitude.
Honour the punctuation it serves to guide and direct your attention!
Self-authoring is a concept that is being raised more and more in the last 3 – 5 years, hence this blog, which is a reminder that (as the authors of our lives) even during events which may seem to provide us with little control, our choice of punctuation can vastly influence meaning, direction and outcomes.
So here are some questions for contemplation:
How are you (metaphorically) punctuating your life right now? If you were to write a diary journal for the past week, yet take out all the words and only use punctuation marks which would you choose? Which symbols would prevail?
Are you at the beginning of something that for you holds true significance; the type of event that requires capital letters or even underlining? How will you honour this time and provide the personal attention and energy it deserves?
Maybe this is a time for reflection and contemplation worthy of some well-placed question marks. What are the most important questions for you right now? How do these questions help you in the here and now and in moving forwards?
Perhaps you have found clarity and have something important to emphasise that deserves the reinforcement created by bold text or an exclamation mark or you might wish to express something so personal that quotation marks provide the sense of ownership worthy of your message. Is this a note-to-self and if not who you share this with?
Are you moving on from something, perhaps changing direction or having a degree of closure on a decision made, necessitating a mid-paragraph full stop? How will you utilise the pause between sentences before ensuring that you carry the learning and insight (from what precedes) forwards?
Is this a time of choice for you whereby the humble comma’s ability to still the flow yet traverse between what has been before and what has yet to come could be invaluable? How will you benefit from the comma’s proficiency at connecting degrees of sameness whilst equally harnessing its capacity to contrast and distinguish between differences? What information will you select to coexist in the same domain?
We have so many options…
- Those and / or moments, necessitating a forward slash to remind us of the decision junctions we have.
- The times where we need to compartmentalise requiring (brackets), help us define groupings of attachment and separation.
- Occasions where additional clarity is needed and a hyphenated-approach to our thoughts and communication could add greater precision and meaning.
- Circumstances forcing a meta-view of the subtext of our lives where italics might work well to remind us this is not the sum of our existence…
- And many more… have a play and create your own meanings!
Of course self-authoring is only half of the journey. Self-publishing is the expression of ourselves into the world – it is where we emerge from retreat and reflection to share our experiences. This is a domain where our punctuation requires as much if not more attention!
Show awareness and compassion for the punctuation of others too, remember it provides so much meaning!
Hope you enjoyed this blog, please feel free to share your thoughts.