I slipped over early in the week, nothing serious, but I did break my glasses. The local optometrist team worked magic and put what they could back in place, hopefully long enough to hold before new ones arrive. I find it so hard to see clearly without my specs and the short trip to get it all sorted was as stressful a moment as I have had in a long time. The anxiety ramped up quickly and how much I take my glasses for granted was instantly the centre of my attention.
Saturday started on the ocean with an intense sea fog and ended with a stunning winter sunset – and that is how the broken glasses incident was too. It began in complete haze and inability to focus or make anything out and ended in the warm glow of professionals who had seen many a day and knew how to close it up with colour. I am finding I am living a lot between these two kinds of horizons – muddled haze and translucent clarity. Calibrating between these two is more than a binary choice, it is a process of constant adjustment against values and principles and a loose attempt to be living inside planetary constraints. I am forever falling short and holding myself to account is only part of the story. I really appreciate it when others call me out, give me a nudge or even a push and a shove. It all helps me know where the boundaries are and who or what holds them in place. There are often surprises to when those ‘beautiful constraints’ might be. More than once I have found my good intentions to fall foul of an invisible boundary I had accidentally transgressed.
This week I had the good fortune to be listening and learning from Aboriginal elders and lawyers talk about how we are governed and what laws get applied when decisions are made. I learnt about Aboriginal law, earth jurisprudence and Western jurisprudence and their differences revolving around the rights and responsibilities inside each and primacy of land and/or humans. All this in NAIDOC Week seemed a perfect alignment, and there were plenty of foggy and clear moments. There is no way I would have been able to process the conversation and what I was learning without my glasses! The interdependence of what I hear, what I see and how I integrate and feel my through new learning seems completely reliant on being able to see clearly. Fog lifts for me once I can process new information and give it meaning and make sense of it in how I can apply new knowledge to everyday situations. Big ideas need our big skies and even bigger hearts.
The joy of discovering a new way of seeing the world usually is followed by the grief of never being able to see it the old way again and knowing that there is a cost to that, because of the privilege you had in holding onto the old way of seeing. It is a constant letting go, unravelling as Leunig would say. I reminder that ambiguity and lack of clarity are gateways to a more lucid future. Living in the present tense maybe a mindfulness act, but I don’t think it is enough for transformation, being rooted in the past and honestly confronting the consequences of those times in the present epigenetics and trauma and all that entails, is part of the necessary healing and heralding required for a kinder and more just future. I don’t want to go there … often … and it can feel like being on a hamster wheel … by not going there is to remain in the fog with broken glasses.
Slipping to enable glasses to be broken, getting the glasses temporarily repaired, being in the fog, seems to be a process and a natural law for meeting the moment.