RHYMES&REASONS

Observations, Thoughts and Reflections on 21st Century Life

Tag: Belonging

Still Life – a Personal Heritage

 

001‘Silver Jug with Lime’ 2016

Many of us seek an identity – or perhaps seek to escape from ourselves – through the things with which we choose to clutter our lives. Most are transient, outliving their usefulness, unable to keep up with our changing desires as the years pass by.  Few linger long after we have gone, travelling in time in a way which is closed to us.

There is a comfort in the familiar, in the multilayered existence of inheritance; a stabilizing, grounding sense of belonging which comes from things with which we grew up, the landmarks by which we navigated our early years. They are the threshold between our history and the present, between what has been, what is and what is yet to come. A kind of immortality we ourselves cannot achieve.

Such objects become integrated and entwined in our personal history handed down from generation to generation.

A familial wave passing through our lives.

001‘Silver Spoon with Lime’ 2016

https://www.artfinder.com/rebeccapells

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The Child of Fear and Grievance

The temperature of nationalism has been on the rise in Europe since the beginning of this century.  This week it came roaring it’s way over the threshold of the UK parliament seating itself firmly in the chambers of power.  The middle ground is being pulled to the outer edges of fear and grievance.

At best nationalism is an invitation for the unwelcome guest to return home; at worst the exorcism of an unwanted presence in our homeland.  We struggle to let go of the way we have decided to tell our story, embellished by time and enmeshed with grievance it provides us with a sense of belonging.  Nebulous and lacking definition it longs for incarnation and roams with intent, seeking the portal of increasing support through which it can transmute and manifest.  At the same time we are not quite knowing or recognizing the form of our intention.  We explore the streets of our political landscape looking for firm ground but finding only rough terrain which keeps us off balance and unsure.

 Instead of choosing to let go of the foundational memory of those we were wronged by, a false sense of self enables a collective pain to thrive and breeds fresh fear of a contemporary but false enemy.  We cease to be afraid of our neighbours when we cease to carry the collective fear and injustice of our past, choosing instead to make friends with those we previously challenged with a beckoning hand to our future.  To let go is to enable ourselves – our nation – to see our place in the world more elementally and clearly.  It is to unburden ourselves from carrying the past and lighten the load, sweeping away the black cloud of history which was passed down to us and – without such bravery – we will inevitably pass to our children.

Withdrawal from the front line of demand and grievance enables us to realign and find a fresh perspective, viewed through a contemporary wide angle lens rather than the myopic glass of selective and painful memory.  It is only from here we will find solid ground from which to step forward in friendship and have our voice heard in a different, clear fresh and powerful way.

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You may also be interested in an earlier post  A Sense of Un-Belonging.

A Sense of Un-Belonging

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Singapore 1966

Am I to be forever on the outside looking in? It has become a place – a feeling – so familiar, that I now fear the very thing I seek.  I carry it with me and yet it doesn’t have form, this nebulous  thing;  I cannot grasp it, and yet I can feel it’s elusiveness.  I have looked for it in my home, work, relationships and among my things.  I have few items from my family home –  they should evoke a warmth of feeling, a welcome symbol of my belonging somewhere but I find none, only a physical ache for something lost – no for something I’m yet to experience: an ongoing penance for daring to be here at all.  It’s not my destiny, it is and always has been my reality, the outsider as one country became another and I learned to count the number of schools in different languages.  Letters sent to best friends who’d formed new allegiances before the postmark had dried.

For a moment, I felt I belonged to something or someone, I wasn’t sure.  It was a feeling unfamiliar despite my one score year and ten. It was only later with divorce papers in hand that I realised I hadn’t belonged at all, I’d wanted it so much that I believed for a while only to discover I’d found something different, an identity that didn’t even begin to fill the void.  I’m trapped in this waiting game, on the outside while everyone else is within, strangely similar to my childhood punishment of being left out in the hallway while the rest of the family were in the sitting room with the door firmly closed.

And so I find myself on the outer edge of others’ comfort zones, kept in some kind of friendly exile as they perceive my differences.  Or perhaps it is I who perceive them, me that does not know how to fit in.  The roots of belonging are established in childhood and strengthen as we mature.  If for some reason this fails to happen, I have come to accept, at least for me, that it will never do so.  A sapling starved of essential nourishment, continuously uprooted and replanted in new territory every few years will struggle to thrive,  it’s energy channelled into mere survival, unable to blossom or reach it’s full potential as a mature tree.  It will never have the stability of it’s contemporaries, it’s roots exhausted by constant disturbance have little strength to weather the next storm.

Unlike the tree, I can choose my environment and find shelter from stormy weather and in the calm of my simple life I can thrive and flourish, untethered by my un-belonging, abiding by society’s rules but unbound by it’s conventions. There is a freedom to this existence from which I can emerge at my choosing.  In this existence I can create my own place unrestrained by outside expectation and dictates.  I’ve ceased to seek this thing called belonging – the need, the void is still there but I have learned to carry it not as a burden but like a warm coat.  There is now a comfort in not belonging, a familiarity I would miss.  I can finally embrace being on the outside looking in, not in judgement but with a welcome sense of reflective clarity that is borne by detachment as a gift.  These are the desired nutrients for the flourishing of creativity and unfettered freedom to blossom.

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Acrylic on Canvas 2014 Rebecca Pells

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