Hundreds and Thousands: #A-Z Challenge
“Hundreds and Thousands are minute candies made in England–round sweetnesses, all colours and so small that separately they are not worth eating. But …it was these tiny things that, collectively, taught me how to live. Too insignificant to have been considered individually, but like the Hundreds and Thousands lapped up and sticking to our moist tongues, the little scraps and nothingnesses of my life have made a definite pattern.”
I love this image for two reasons.
Sometimes, Let’s Take the Long View
I understand the value of inhabiting the present moment, recognize that it is all we ever truly have. I try and mostly fail to “be here, now” as yogi and spiritual teacher, Ram Dass exhorts us to do.
But I confess to feeling a whoosh of kinship and relief when I read the words of perhaps the one other person on the planet who thinks that living in the present moment might not be our only worthwhile goal. Thomas Moore, of last week’s post about aging, wrote,
“It takes effort to be in the moment, and in my experience, the effort isn’t worth all the praise it gets. I’d rather live more in the past and in the future. I’d prefer to expand the time frame in which I live rather than contract it into a moment.”
There are patterns which emerge in one’s life, circling and returning anew, an endless variation of a theme.Jacqueline Carey
Patterns are Evident in the Hundreds and Thousands
It is the patterns we discern that give our lives their meaning. Those patterns can only be found in the aggregate, the hundreds and thousands, not the present moment.
Have you kept journals at different stages of your life? If so, they’re a great source for pattern-finding. Alexandra Johnson, author of Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal, writes that journals contain ten categories of life patterns:
|(intentional) silences||key influences||hidden lessons|
|secret gifts||challenges||unfinished business|
“Each category corresponds to a way we engage or hold back in life. To begin to see a journal through these ten organizing devices is to unknot years of tangled entries.”
If you keep a journal, or even if you don’t, consider exploring the patterns of your life by asking yourself questions. For example, “What challenges have I embraced? Which ones have I avoided?”
Are you naturally more inclined toward the present moment or the long view?