Gratitude Swells

A few weeks ago, I wrote about building bridges, about traversing the distance and difference between independence and interdependence. With the help of a word play, I demonstrated how you can get from one to the other with a few simple steps and how you can pause to dwell in any of the steps of the continuum. It went like this:


Separation, Autonomy,

Rights, Responsibility, Integrity

Cooperation, Participation, Collaboration

Connection, Cohesion


I made it sound easy. I’m sorry for that. That’s a disservice to you. And it was a disservice to me. It’s not that easy and it’s not the end of the process.

I was so eager to move beyond the discomfort of holding the contradictions of independence and interdependence in this time and place, that I embraced the theoretical resolution of the word play as fait-accompli. It did offer a sense of peace and completion for a spell and I was grateful for the breathing room but the dis-ease soon crept back in. Building bridges with words, ideas and theories is only a starting point. The ideas that had originated in the head needed to land in the heart and be put into practice in the body. I am pulled to live into the pendulum of independence and interdependence in my own life. I need to pay attention to both the clinging and the releasing. I need to notice both the safety and the isolation, the comfort and the distress. I must actively choose to step in closer and invite others to join me in community. I must also pay attention when I am called to solitude.

Rather than building a bridge to span a gap, uniting my mind, body and heart around these disparate ideas feels more like casting a wide net over abundance. It is about allowing and honoring the distance between them. It is about knowing that the distance is relational and full of potential and that, in that fertile space, there is infinite possibility and continual movement.

Today, rather than landing in something that looks like resolution, I am gaining comfort from the movement. I am appreciating my capacity to be elastic. Moving through my own ideas, embodied in emotions and actions, I live into the ebb and flow that guides all life. I inhale the sweet fragrance of milkweed at the same moment the monarch lands to drink the flower’s nectar. Gratitude swells as I walk on and the butterfly takes flight. Carrying the sweetness of the encounter for a moment longer, we go our separate ways, parting the same air that has sustained butterflies and humans for as long as we have been here.

(Incidentally, I wrote about Independence and Interdependence in May 2017 too. You can read that post here.)