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A Nod to Being

The text of the piece A Nod to Being reads:

In a subconscious nod to my…

[existence]

…I went through brief phases of being.

photo

It seems we’re in a constant state of being and becoming (consciously or subconsciously, it matters not at all). Just as we’re being someone in one moment we’re also simultaneously becoming someone else. This is nothing new, I suppose, but it sometimes is news to young adults. My piece reminds me of this excerpt from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland:

“The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
`Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, `I–I hardly know, sir, just at present– at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’

alice-in-wonderland-art-alice-and-the-caterpillar-charlene-murray-zatloukal

Once internalized, this idea of constant expansion, growth, and the evolution of the self toward something more refined, more inclusive, more insightful, and more aware — is the basis of the growth mindset and lifelong learning. (Often, for our students, it matters much less where they are now than how they are progressing to where they are seeking to go–hopefully a place they are needed and in which they can add value to their like and the human experience writ large.)

In the piece itself, the two chunks are linked to show the link between being and becoming. The yellow strand dips deep, like the smile of the Cheshire Cat, to show how coping with being and becoming is best done with a positive perspective; one that is a yes-saying, an affirmation, or even–if necessary–a content surrender to what is and to what will be.

The chaos of the linked fabrics–all of a different style, texture, color, and shape illustrate the many streams of consciousness we float down (or might float down) and the unique roles we play on those separate, and yet connected journeys. Connected because, at the deepest level, we’re all dependent on and composed of water; water that is used and recycled over and over in order to facilitate our very being. (We’re living water; water creates through us. We suppose we’re separate drops of water, but really it’s all one big ocean.)

What’s amusing is that even when we try to sail down the same stream of thought or experience, it’s likely impossible, for as Heraclitus suggested, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

May the “brief phases of your being” fulfill you and may your states of being positively impact your students and those beyond your reach–like ripples across an ocean,

–Aaron Sherman

1 Comment »

  1. I appreciate how you’ve connected this to text, how this weaving, this playing with the materials allowed you to find yourself thinking about growth, evolution, expansion. This post builds on and reinforces our ongoing conversations on learning, thinking, creativity, and being.

    Like

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