Today I left my cell phone at home. I lost myself and it was amazing.
I lost myself in new spaces of familiar places. When we are somewhere totally new, and without tools for orientation, it can be easy to lose ourselves. And when we do lose ourselves, we become exposed, naked and bare-skinned to the present moment, feeling every detail. Without awareness of, or attention on, our self, we lose the separation created by distinct perimeters. The boundaries between us and the present experience disintegrate. We become the experience.
I left my cell phone at home and lost myself in a totally new day, in the same old city. Without my phone I was also without constant access to elsewhere. I was without the experience of being in two places at one time. Body at the corner coffee shop, but my self hitchhiking the virtual world, yesterday, or tomorrow, miles away. I was lost because instead of here+there, I was just here. Each moment is always unique but to experience its uniqueness you have to be 100% here. It had been so long.
"Not to find one's way in a city may well be uninteresting and banal. It requires ignorance - nothing more," says the 20th century philosopher Walter Benjamin. "But to lose yourself in a city-as one loses oneself in a forest-that calls for quite a different schooling," The schooling is a most important curriculum for all humans. Its lesson in releasing our tight grip around self consciousness teaches us what it means to actually be so very little aware of your self's existence that there is no separation because when we are totally engaged we are in the now, and in the now there is only present moment experience.
"To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade away," describes Rebecca Solnit in A Field Guide to Getting Lost. "To be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery. And one does not get lost but loses oneself with the implication that it is a conscious choice, a chosen surrender, a psychic state achievable through geography."
Jay Harman's book, The Shark's Paint Brush, dives into the world of boimimicry, across industries and applications, to demonstrate how it is at the root of innovation and how you can utilize the principles of biomimcry in your business or projects (heck-even your personal life).
Towards the end of the book, Harman writes, "A mature forest is a self-sustaining producer of diversity and abundance. Many businesses, however, function more like invasive weeds...spread out rapidly into an area, put down shallow roots, and use more than their share of local resources. Invasive weeds are often species with short life cycles." To me, a business model incorporating principles of biomimicry and operating as a mature forest is certainly a Benefit Corporation.
Here's a great overview to fast track your understanding of and how to put Biomimicry to use for you:
In her book, The Faraway Nearby, Solnit writes, "If the boundaries of the self are defined by what we feel, then those who cannot feel, even for themselves, shrink within their own boundaries, while those who feel for others are enlarged and those who feel compassion for all beings must be boundless.”
Therefore, feeling defines the parameters of our self, and by knowing our feelings and experiencing them our boundaries expand. By avoiding or repressing them, we shrink. Feeling is a muscle. As such, it either weakens (can only feel a little/ numbness) or strengthens (can feel a lot - are aware of your feelings, know what you are feeling and why). It is not static at all. Feeling, experiencing emotions, is a large part of human life, and is a vital life line for health and wellness. Self awareness, and inner emotional intelligence grow through the process of getting to know oneself and become the foundation for developing emotional intelligence, intra-personal skills, and much more.
Developing emotional intelligence and self-awareness goes hand-in-hand with developing a relationship with emotions through experience of feeling; our choice to feel and experience the unseeable but knowable realm of human emotions determines whether our feeling muscle is decaying or strengthening, whether the boundaries of our self are contracting or expanding.
As we go down the path of experiencing feelings and becoming emotionally intelligent it is inevitable that we will encounter pain, and pain serves a purpose, for what you cannot feel you cannot take care of. In time unprocessed pain numbs our psychic and physical senses, lessons our capacity to experience life and our ability to live it. It is important to feel pain and work through it, to purge oneself of it; else wise these unprocessed experiences (and their feelings) create blockages, preventing one from living, and being in the present. They become deadweights on the soul, and this build up casts shadows, outward from your perspective, onto what you see, polluting your perceptions with all types, shapes and sizes of distortions.
While this life wisdom is widely agreed upon, in the face of painful emotions why do we still freak out, avoid them and in extreme cases even cut off, numb or by whatever means necessary, detach from feeling? Emotional pain does (sometimes) hurt and can appear very threatening, but what is it about emotional pain, and painful emotions that scare us so? My best answer is it's the unknown. Painful emotions appear to be just the beginning, the first few steps on a path that leads to greater suffering and unknown depths (and these emotions already hurt!). Therefore, we turn off the path and avoid it all together. But we all know this doesn't really help anything.
Life is a process, not a product, and emotions and feelings are transient. So, in the face of emotional distress and unpleasant emotions it is best to allow them to come up, to let them arise. By doing so, just allowing the feeling, you begin to release it.
What is ordinarily imagined as disintegration is also, or instead, metamorphosis. All stories have an end, but in life endings are new beginnings.