Friday, July 23, 2010

Is Your Life Folding or Unfolding?

The other day I became fascinated by a comment that someone made in passing. They were talking about how a particular situation was unfolding. What fascinated me wasn't really about the content about what was unfolding (though, that was interesting too). I became transfixed by the image that appeared in my mind of a life unfolding and reveling itself from birth to death.

A nice image. Not anything particularly life-altering. This notion of a something unfolding is a pretty common figure of speech. A Google search of "unfolding experience" results in about 11,800 items. The first three search results:

  • A blog entitled "The Unfolding Experience" that opens with this Kahil Gibran quote: "The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals. 
  • A sample of the book "Becoming a Reflexive Practitioner" that says that "The narrative intends to capture the unfolding experience of working or journeying alongside a patient through their health-wellness experience. 
This still isn't what caught my interest. What really distracted me that hour--and for the last couple of weeks--is that generally we don't have lives that unfold. Overtime our lives become folded and compressed. Possibilities of what might be shrink. Our emotional ranges are limited. We become smaller rather than expansive. The world of opportunity that youth and innocence offer us becomes replaced by cynicism and regret.


This might not be the right direction to be moving in, no? I'm becoming much  more aware of how we use language that limits the possibility of what might be--and inviting those I work with to find ways to open their language up more and unfold into something larger. 

Try it out.

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm, very interesting choice of words. I have never used that word. But to me, unfolding, is like taking something that is already in a supressed state or a disheavled state, like a crumbled up piece of paper, and then just watching it unfold into whatever it was before. So, here is a piece of paper all crunched up, put it down and what will happen? Well it needs help unfolding, it wont unfold on its own, but one thing that sticks in my mine is that once it unfolds, it is never the same. Something that is folded never returns to its natural state. It is tarnish, maybe for good, maybe for bad, but its original state has been altered. So if we are 'unfolding' - hmmmm - not good? not bad?? do we go back to our original state? and what the heck was that anyway? Pure as a baby! No baggage, no hate, just innocence and trust. So in hindsite here, I do not want to 'unfold' because I would never survive as that little baby again, too much of life has changed me.