Arriving home. First thing I notice is silence. Afterwards comes lack of movement. My place is same as I left it. Almost unnoticeable layer of dust hints to the absence of presence. One week of absence transformed in to a layer of dust, dried out plants and a smell of old air which cries to be let out outside. For me, though, the absence transformed in to a thick layer of thoughts and observations, of self and the other. The trip was quite intense emotionally, a lot has came into my awareness, as I desired for. When I was going, I was ready to receive whatever comes. I was open, at least so I thought. As the week was passing I was shifting from a space of joy and pleasure to the state of total overwhelmed confusion. I was actively engaged with the journey on different levels. Internally, processing my experience of being with my parents and other people I am not usually have shared activities. And the actual program of the trip was rich and saturated with activities. At times internal and external load was too much to process, so few times I felt too foggy to do any kind of useful reflection. It was a new type of noticing, to be able to stop myself from drawing conclusions, I felt my capacity to reason wasn’t sufficient due to the load and pace of information that was flowing together. Whatever I would arrive on would be either false or tiredness driven, my brain just wanted to be left alone, so it wiggles itself out from the thinking producing kind-of-good-enough thoughts.
I started the journey with the intention to spend time with my parents and update each other on what are we up to. After a few unsuccessful docking attempts I realised how pointless it is to force interaction toward a preconceived outcome. The idea, that one can have control over the connection, is a false one. It removes the other from the equation and makes the interaction a very lonely place. Being with someone else is a dynamic, collaborative process built on moments of connections and disconnection, clarity and misunderstandings. I came across the notion of intermittent continuing proposed to describe self and other interactions where defined boundaries and necessary condition to make it meaningful. Accepting and embodying the boundary between the self and the other being both patterned (non-arbitrary, partly predictable, somewhat reliable) and nebulous (ill-defined, unstable and purpose-dependent) is the practice of intermittent continuing. A container wherein dynamic and fruitful interaction can take place and wherein meaning appears. Shared meaning, not individual. It arises when there is a pattern, overlap within a nebulous open space. The right activity is important in this process, the activity becomes a playground, which determines potential range of patterns, if the activity is not right for both, the chance for meaning to arise decreases. Expectations work counterproductive as well, when one steps into an interaction with a set of preconceived patters, the game turns into pattern seeking rather than building meaning together. For an interaction to be rich - the following criteria apply, a clear self-and-other boundary, right activity, acceptance of nebulous pattern nature each of us carries inside and time to allow pattern to emerge. There can be small immediate patterns, but also larger ones. To be seen the latter ones require patience, love and ability to think beyond present moment. Pattens can be imagined as arches, which consist of smaller arches. Sometimes we get angry or frustrated because in the moment it seems like the connection is gone, too much nebulosity and uncertainty but over time, if the general activity is right, it will fall in places and nebulosity will find the place in the pattern. Both are important to meaningful interaction as they allow to maintain the boundary.
These thoughts allowed me to come to peace while indulging into pattern making. I shifted my attention towards the right activity - wherein both nebulous and patterned can be contained. Regarding my parents, the main activity that we have in common is being a family, there is no other bound like that you can have with other humans. It is as solid and indestructible as it can get. Whatever happens within, no matter how nebulous and groundless it might feel, the pattern will always hold us together. Perhaps we can use this rare opportunity and get to know our own nebulosity a little better. Instead of insisting on finding new meaning, let’s enjoy the comfort of the familiar, unconditional and forgiving pattern of parental love.