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the inside of things

the inside of things

by Andrea
November 12, 2012

Recently I was speaking with a few close friends, and someone asked the questions: "What it is in life that is attracting us right now? What are we drawn to?".

My first response to these questions was "the inside of things". Strange I know. The inside of things. What does that even mean? As I reflected on this over the past few days, it grew in meaning and significance, and I realize that the inside of things draws and attracts me more than anything else. And as far as I remember, this has always been true.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be inside of the mirrored surface of the coffee table. Then I could live in an upside down world. And when I was a little older, I was curious about the inside of a cell, then an atom, so I studied biology.

But what is it like to be inside our relationships? To be inside our friends and family? And, in the case of "when the table turns," to be inside our aging and fragile parents?

My experience of "the inside of things" is when there is no longer a line between self and other, between you and me -- when I cannot find where I end and you begin. That line has been erased, and the result is life-changing and liberating. The existential burden of life is lifted, and there is freedom. Freedom to be truly who I am in relationship with you, the other. Freedom to be with my mother as she is changing and becoming more and more fragile in her senior years.

From this place, from the inside of things, I find all the energy I need to be with my mother in a way that is real and fresh. She may repeat the same thing a hundred times a day, but from the inside, there is always something a little different and a little new. This gives the freedom to respond in a way that is a little different and a little new -- and this is all that is needed to keep things fresh and joyful with her. It's not a lot. Really. But I have to be on the inside to hear the difference.

Don't get me wrong. I do not always feel as if I'm on the inside of things. Sometimes I feel I'm on the outside, and I can't hear a scrap of newness in the stories I've heard hundreds of times. But then I know I'm on the outside. And because I much prefer to be on the inside, I will be patient. Patience -- I have found -- is the key that unlocks the door to the inside of things.

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