Life as Mosaic

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building a mosaic, one tile at a time
building a mosaic, one tile at a time

I woke up this morning feeling tired and wanting to sleep some more. My mind had a different plan. It was ready to be busy. So, I stayed in bed letting my mind run through all the things it wanted to ponder: this morning’s dream; design ideas for a current knitting project; the monster the “West” has created which we call Israel/Palestine; strategies for a puzzle mini-game of Plants vs. Zombies; my upcoming medical appointment; writing about Evo Morales for a group project; how I feel about my (lack of) waist line and what could be done about it: how to get the principles of autonomy, consent and solidarity into the consciousness of a critical mass of people; how to save more money for a Tiny House. I feel like there were more mini-topics in there, but this is what I can recover in retrospect.

I laid in bed for about 45 minutes as all these thoughts flowed. I wish I had some kind of thought recorder. Speaking disrupts the flow when my brain is doing this kind of processing, yet I forget so much. There were many contemplative thoughts, lingering questions and actionable ideas. How many will be lost? Too many, I’m sure.

As with the knitting project I have on the needles, life is a mosaic. Building blocks which get set in place in a somewhat random order with time being the only structural skeleton. A block is laid down. It may be about learning to knit. In the next period of time, another block is laid beside. Perhaps it’s a running session. Then another beside it which is time spent a child. Later, we might place another block on top of the knitting one. Maybe it overlaps with one about the value of bearing witness. And the fabric of a life is being built. Seemingly disconnected blocks are actually part of a cohesive whole. Subjects left behind while much time is spent on something else, may be incorporated back into the fabric again, later.

One of the thoughts this morning was a revelation about the approach to designing this particular knitted piece. It’s a tunic, built from an ongoing series of mitred diamonds. I started it declaring that the first row of diamonds was the bottom of a tunic. I don’t usually like to knit sweaters from the bottom up, as I find it more difficult to control the fit and get the desired finished look. I’ve been a bit stalled because I’ve been trying to figure out how to calculate and pre-plan all the steps going up the body and where things will land in relation to the waist and bust, etc. I realized this morning that I don’t have to think of it that way. It’s a mosaic. I can pick up stitches along the bottom of a diamond as well as along the top! I can move in any direction. So, those first diamonds are not necessarily the bottom. I also don’t have to be limited to diamond shapes or the size of the diamonds. Though there are diamonds in place which are set, there is a far greater range of possible outcomes for a final design than my mind had considered before. That’s the beauty of a mosaic.

If I think of my life as a mosaic, rather than a linear progression, on an intractable trajectory, I can see that there are still a far greater range of possible outcomes for what my entire life will hold than I might have considered before. Perhaps half or more than half of the mosaic pieces of my life are already in place. Still, I can lay down each upcoming tile anywhere in relation to previously laid tiles. Life isn’t a 3-D object, either, so there are even more possibilities for how to connect and integrate.

I may not be a young adult setting out anew, but the future isn’t written in stone based on the past. That’s not a new idea, of course. It’s not like I’d been consciously telling myself that it was. This morning’s contemplation seems to be about letting myself know that sub-consciously there are ways in which I have written myself off and begun limiting my potential.

I’m not sure what I had closed myself off to. Hopefully, this awakening time today is making room for ideas and actions which I had previously not allowed to come forward to emerge.

In my dream this morning, I set out to do a kind of triathlon. It didn’t look anything like the triathlons we have in real life. There was some swimming, but it wasn’t really a race. It was more of a beautifully peaceful multifaceted passage. Mine included knitting, of course. As I was preparing to set off, a friend came to speak with me. He brought another person, who sat next to me emanating warmth. I couldn’t see the person. They were just a presence and I felt a warm gaze. At first, it made me anxious. Soon, though, it felt nourishing. As I got up to dive into the water, I realized I was nude. I felt uncomfortably exposed and confused. I was suddenly in doubt about this triathlon and my readiness. Then this person held out a hand. I place my hand there and all the anxiety I was feeling dissipated. We dove in together. The water felt exquisite.

This morning feels exquisite.

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