S P A C E || A new mirror

A HANDFUL, yet, of outstanding invitations for the 2018 edition of The Mirror. Hm. I wonder if they will get back to me. I guess I’m done writing the lots and lots and lots of emails, and ready now, to focus, on the people who have shown up. Said ‘yes’.

The party started on 8 January. So, last Monday.

So much to put in to the space between that last sentence and the next one, but it’s not for public sharing, so I’ll save it for another box.

A new mirror has begun, and my, what a start.

We are a week in.

This is different, from before. Is it because the world has noticed, as a handful of us tried earnestly to share before, that listening is important? That empathy counts? That there are qualities that are valuable, and meaningful, which a certain kind of dominant worldview simply doesn’t recognize as ‘counting’ as much. It’s time. For this idea. That we can make space for true connexion, for sharing in ways that bring us closer, and not divide. Letting go of boxes, dogma, identity. Letting to of the idea that ‘winning’ at an argument somehow… Matters. We see that there is a pain inside of us, all of us. A loneliness, too. The darkness isn’t just yours, or mine, or theirs. It’s all of us. Together. When you look at it like that, when you see the mirror as a unifying thing, that shows us all the bits and pieces that we are each feeling, and reflects it out there, to us, and others, magic moments happen. It’s not valued, though. Searching for them. And here I am, insisting this is good stuff. Changing DK into the architecture for designing a shape of space that invites quality, remarkable connexion. Yes! Am I out of my mind? I can hear BH asking that to AP, replaying that scene that I read in the other box, ‘Welcome to The Mirror,’ and I’m chuckling. BH. AP. In the same conversation. How did that happen? Remarkable (to me. Again, it’s important to qualify). Unbelievable that two people whom I met quite by chance and briefly on their separate excursions to ‘Cambodia, of all places!’, are talking and they don’t even realize they have both travelled these very roads, bumping into me is only just a blip, but they were on these same journeys. Just imagine. How many strangers have been where you’ve been? Held the same sadness, or love, or grief in their heart? You just have no idea… Unless and until you show up, like, really, and make time, and be there. And look. In the eyes. It’s all there.

Isn’t that cool? What if we could talk together about Phnom Penh, and Kampot, and Battambang, and Siem Reap? Such specific places, not always talked about, except in a side note about ‘exotic places.’ I read this ‘bestseller’ in parts, such a dumb book, because the author was going on and on about Phnom Penh and the killing fields, as per usual, and then quoting ‘a guard’ who gave him this (what the author thought, and described to be a poignant) quote about how the guard lost touch with an uncle: ‘He was in the Khmer Rouge.’ The author noting that, making the usual uninformed-by-real-listening boilerplate comments about how sad that is. We know. Give us something local?… Gain some real understanding first please it’s your obligation, get the best-you-can real story, as people will quote what you write, but I’m saying this… because I lived in Cambodia, four years, not long enough to pull that off but that’s not my work, it’s not my place to tell others’ stories… and I know some people who actually know some people who actually are ‘a guard,’ and you know what? They are feeding you a made-up story because, why shouldn’t they? It’s funny. Watching your predictable reaction. What a laugh. Makes me smile, thinking about it. Why not? They’re having fun, and that’s the thing that’s great about Phnom Penh.

Play. Walk play. Talk play. Come play. Go play. (CS, are you there? Thank you for teaching me this.) And KM: ‘You don’t say explore. You say… Walk play.’

Remarkable moments… Happening! Designing for them? Most people: ‘P-shaw.’ The Mirror? ‘Yeah!’

JD, thanks for the email! I just saw it. I woke up and I came to this cafe with a name that comes from a Beatles song, and I thought, well, well. There’s J. That’s funny. I don’t think we did talk on that day? I think maybe you saw me but I don’t think we actually talked in real life, did we? I think not because I would remember that. I remember Chapel HIll. What an encounter! I got a stupid C in that class. There was also a slightly derogatory comment that came from that person, and later in life, I look back, and I understand this is not because of inherent weird things that are wrong that for a long time, I’ve been angry about. It’s because of different values. Whole massive deeply rooted cultural values, very much there, in NC.

I value artfulness, play with words. She valued… Correctness. Following the script. I see that my life has been an investigation, of poetry and the poetics that can become clear when we allow them to emerge: in an architected space, for real dialogue.

MAYBE IT WAS NAEIVE to think that, with me, the search for meaning, and inquiry that leads to insights of the kind that are too big and too important and too personal to share out loud is a universal quest. People have things. They have books to read that tell them what to think about stuff, big stuff. But experience. Experience tells us so much, in such rich ways. Moving through the world these last few years without any real idea of ‘how it’s all going to play out,’ has been… Educational! You really see. You really do. When you get out there and move around, you discover with your intuition, not your head. I think that has been the biggest change, in these last four (five?) years. Since leaving the Triangle, and not going back, I’ve become a different kind of personal together. Like my grandmother had said, when we laughed out loud and talked about these things, when I was there, younger, but also glimpsing that the Way To Do Things is simply not that cool, and that she was cool with me thinking it wasn’t cool, and us bonding over that, well, she said this thing about me. ‘They will say, na, Ke oh, she came to India, and she changed… Altogether!’ And we both laughed our heads off because, yeah. They would. Did.

My grandmother, PK, was the first person I had a philosophical jam session with. I’m so glad I went there, quitting my job, taking the round-the-world flight, being young, not knowing, taking a chance, going outside the box, hoping the net would appear, hoping that this would be ‘the right move.’ Lessons? There is no net. You are always on solid ground. Because the world is composed of many, many kinds of people. And some of them, like you, are searching.

This post is for L. That was some conversation, yesterday

And M from Cameron. A new game? Emailed you. Our first move.