Dispersed vs. Centered

November 15, 2014

Kaleidoscope of fall leaves

Kaleidoscope of fall leaves

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“The experience of centering was one I particularly sought because I thought of myself as dispersed, interested in too many things.  I envied people who were ‘single-minded,’ who had one powerful talent and who knew when they got up in the morning what it was they had to do.  Whereas I, wherever I turned, felt the enchantment:  to the window for the sweetness if the air; to the door for the passing figures; to the teapot, the typewriter, the knitting needles, the pets, the pottery, the newspaper, the telephone.  Wherever I looked, I could have lived.

It took me half my life to come to believe I was OK even if I did love experience in a loose and undiscriminating way . . . I found myself at odds with the propaganda of our times . . . One is supposed to concentrate and not spread oneself thin . . . ”
— Mary Caroline (M.C.) Richards, Centering in Pottery, Poetry and the Person

I see myself in today’s quote.  I, too, have envied people who are focussed on one path.  I suspected that they got farther up the career ladder than I ever would.  I seemed to have changed professions every seven years or so, starting at bottom each time.  But now that I’m old(er), I don’t worry anymore about what I will be when I grow up.  I’m actually rather excited about all the things I want to pursue and explore in my retirement.  I suspect it might be a good thing to have a Renaissance outlook, a general curiosity about many things, in our latter years.  Finally, I might be in tune with my time.

These kaleidoscope pictures remind me that being dispersed rather than centered can be quite beautiful, too.

 

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5 Responses to “Dispersed vs. Centered”

  1. Anne Timlick Says:

    ahhh- you hit the spot for me this morning!
    how EVER did you capture your kaleidoscope photos?

    • Rosemary Says:

      My iPad came with an app called Photo Booth, and the kaleidoscope effect is one of the functions of this camera app. I don’t play with it often, but it is fun.

  2. Elisa Says:

    I find that when I am grounded it puts me at my best processing to be able to do and to note and to experience all of those things at once in an optimized state.

    I often want to correct people who equate grounded/centered with boring and weighted down. I find that it is quite the opposite.

  3. shoreacres Says:

    There was a time when it was considered appropriate for people to travel both paths. A “liberal” education had nothing to do with politics, and even less to do with spoiled children lolling around the campus to avoid going to work. It was assumed that a working knowledge of geography, world history, the classics of literature, both Western and otherwise, and so on, was necessary to be a functioning human being. Well, I could go on forever about all that, but you take my point. Knowledge should be broad, as well as deep, and experience likewise.

    Actually, I like “broad” and “deep” better than dispersed and centered. This is purely personal, but I feel as though “dispersed” is near to “frittered away,” and that misses the point being made.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Broad and deep are probably better word choices. I like Elisa’s grounded as well, and dispersed seems the opposite of grounded. Each brings its own subtle interpretation.


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