Being & Becoming

“Only in childhood are we afforded the luxury of inhabiting our becoming, but once forced to figure out who we want to be in life, most of us are so anxious about planting that stake of being that we bury the alive, active process of our becoming. In our rush to arrive at who we want to be, we flee from the ceaseless mystery of our becoming.”

Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

(T)he future is made up of purely abstract and logical elements — inferences, guesses, deductions — it cannot be eaten, felt, smelled, seen, heard, or otherwise enjoyed. To pursue it is to pursue a constantly retreating phantom, and the faster you chase it, the faster it runs ahead. This is why all the affairs of civilization are rushed, why hardly anyone enjoys what he has, and is forever seeking more and more.

Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity


I’m not sure I’ve ever fled from the ceaseless mystery of my becoming, but I do feel, on occasion, the desire to unzip and step out of this constant state of being.

Sometimes there’s just too much me in my life.

In December, when the sun hides for days on end, I find myself restless and in need of distraction. I pick up things up and put them down, pace the cold floor in my hand-knitted socks, wonder if it’s too late in the day to have another cup of coffee, settle for tea, which I always enjoy more than I think I will.

The other day I made some bread: yeast, water, flour, salt, a spoonful of olive oil. It spent most of the day in a state of becoming. Then I baked it, and it became bread.

You can’t eat the becoming.

Which is to say, becoming is not necessarily the ideal state of being. And while the future may indeed be an abstraction, there is considerable pleasure to be found in anticipation.

I can enjoy the bread and the tea and still look forward to spring.

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