finding our place on the continuum

the continuum

We live in a world of the spectrum and the continuum. Imaginary lines which mark out extremes and signpost all the places in between. Not black, not white, but a shade of grey.

I wrote yesterday about water – the oxymoron of the life giving, life taker. Many paradigms exist in our daily lives where the extremes, the opposite ends, can be deemed good or bad, positive or negative, healthy or unhealthy. The continuum between those extremes is often full of more choice that the water scenario, where nature determines the extremes and when to apply them.

Our diet for example. Eating too much of one thing can often be harmful. Eating too little of some things equally harmful. Smoking, alcohol and drugs – all forms of relaxation, pain relief or important habits of social bonding. Too much though can prove addictive, destructive or even fatal. Being with others, essential to our very humanness, yet sometimes we all need to be alone. Too much loneliness, psychologically painful. Mental pressure; a deadline or tense situation can provide drive, adrenaline, focus. Too much pressure can lead to stress, illness, breakdown, even death. Exercise and rest – too much of either, or not enough of either, potentially unhealthy.

Maybe we should name each continuum? To give it the full context?

Sociable aloneness.
Overindulgent abstinence.
Relaxed pressure.
Doing being.
Resting exercise.
Working life.

When water destroys, we often have no choice. But in many of our life tensions, on one continuum or another, we do have choice.

Finding our balance. Locating our place on each continuum. Choosing, then reflecting and reviewing, and choosing again is crucial to living a healthy fulfilled life.

I wonder though if all too often we don’t see the continuum? And so we cannot understand its nature, its extremes? Without this context, maybe we don’t really understand the choices we make or don’t?

the oxymoron of water

India Monsoon Flooding

We need water to survive.

Depending on circumstances, our life expectancy without water is between three and ten days.

Water is crucial to our very existence. A life giver. It supports the growth of our natural habitat and most of the food we eat.

In fact we are composed mostly of water.

Yet in recent weeks we have seen how much damage water can cause to our way of life. Crushing infrastructure, destroying livelihood, breaking spirit, even bringing death. Floods in the UK are thankfully infrequent, although of course, in some parts of the world, water in the form of storm, tide, flood, sadly takes life more frequently.

Water – essential for life, yet a powerful force that can bring death and destruction.

Water – a live giving life taker; true oxymoron.