LivingBackwards

LivingBackwards
"Damn the dichotomies, full speed ahead …"

The old saw insists that we live life exclusively forward. Next builds upon next, no U-turns allowed. Meaning, though, seems to emerge in reflection, in LivingBackwards for a while. Reflection serves as a welcome eddy within life's relentless forward flow, where a weary fish might casually snack on a caddis fly or two. Sure, the river flows on as ever, but the fish slips out of the current to contemplate rather than endlessly compete. I believe that us fish need some reflection time to make and maintain sense of our place, a peek back upstream to appreciate what's passed and an occasional side glance to catch what we almost passed without really noticing. I seem to live my life in fits and starts as well as backward and forward flows.

Three months ago I chose FindingHome as the 'theme' of my upcoming quarter's writing.
Each day (well, almost each day), I'd pull over to the side of the race and reflect a bit on what FindingHome might mean from there. I'd often find myself reflecting upon what FindingHome doesn't mean, but even the negative examples seemed to forward some purpose. I more deeply appreciate now what I started out reflexively considering. Living forward seems to encourage reflexive responses. An idea elicits a muscle-memory reply. Over time, a habit might form under the guise of a well-exercised firm belief. Unreflected, reflexes accumulate to produce a rather narrow and thin opinion rather than any deeper or more meaningful understanding.

What have I learned? It's too early to tell. Accumulating reflexions doesn't resemble catch and keep learning, it's more Talmudic. Conclusions seem optional. Tentative conclusions might lead anyone to claim that they just don't know yet. Upon reflection upon the reflections, one might admit that they might never know. Reflection sets experience in motion more than nailing it down. FindingHome turned out to not be about having found one. I might reflect that if I ever meet my home, I should at least consider burning it down, since finding it would end the search and thereby end the intended-to-be eternal conversation. Reflection seems at least half comparing, gauging this to that. No choice necessarily results. I figure that I'll continue FindingHome wherever I might finally end up.

I have over this passing quarter created a book-length reflection. Much of it seems like projection now, a forward-looking form of LivingBackwards. I dragged up some past as well, but time seems almost irrelevant since reflection, LivingBackwards, doesn't abide by the straightforward rules governing the passage of time. That eddy in the rushing river slows and even sometimes utterly stops time's progression. The resulting meanings might spawn some deeper understanding. I began by catching myself feeling homeless in my home, far separated from the place I fancied that I'd really rather be. I discovered that I stood wherever I might stand and that my notion of home, here or there, seemed—seems—inseparable. Whether HomeSick, HomeBound, HomeSteadying, or Homing, it was probably home all the way down.

Damn the dichotomies, full speed ahead, with some LivingBackwards thrown in on the side. Here's a
handy link to the full collection of the passing quarter's reflections on FindingHome. If you feel moved to do so, read back through them. They're presented in reverse order, latest to first, to properly reflect how reflection seems to work. I'll see you next quarter. Oh, how I wonder what I'll be reflecting on then!

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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