Saturday, April 25, 2009

Life is Short - Go Ahead and Oscillate!



We are beings of oscillation. Off/On, Off/On. In fact, everything alive oscillates - from the subatomic level to the galactic. Oscillation is the essence of the rhythm of life. Sleep/wakefulness, happy/sad, inhale/exhale, work/rest. We need it all - the extremes, the mid-point, and especially the movement back and forth.

Sleep deprived people are groggy while "awake." Those who work all the time are stressed out and cranky, those who rest all the time are vague and blurry. People who live at one extreme or another are deprived of the spectrum of oscillation. The denial of the spectrum of oscillation sucks the life essence out of people. It does.

I am so uninterested in the idea of remaining fixed on a perfect point between the extremes. That's not oscillation, that's petrification. It's every bit as deadening, in my opinion, as staying fixed at the edges of the spectrum. Those who travel too far either this way or that way get disconnected from the idea of being centered, they become lost. Those who sacrifice the extremes in order to stay right in the center deny themselves the textures and colors of a life fully lived. Moderation in everything, say the great sages of Chinese medicine, including moderation!

Mastery of the dance includes the capacity to know when you've reached the edge of your oscillatory solar system, along with the ability to turn on a dime and move back in the opposite direction when you've gone about as far as you can go. It's a life-long art to learn, the dance of oscillation.

As you can see, I am in love with the pendulum, the turning wheel, the meandering path of the fully lived life. According to the cosmology of Reya: Work hard, rest "hard." Sleep well and then wake all the way up. Let yourself get really hungry, then eat a delicious meal, enjoy the hunger, then enjoy every bite. Don't forget to laugh, cry, love beyond all reason.

Life is short. That's what I've been thinking about this week as I rested "hard" and then launched into a serious work week. Vibro diem, ya'll. Oh yeah!

From the American Heritage dictionary:
Word History: The rather dry word oscillate may become a bit less dry when we learn its story. In a passage in the Georgics, Virgil applies the word to a small mask of Bacchus hung from trees to move back and forth in the breeze. From this word scillum may have come another word meaning "something, such as a swing, that moves up and down or back and forth." And this scillum was the source of the verb scillre, "to ride in a swing," and the noun (from the verb) scillti, "the action of swinging or oscillating." These words have given us, respectively, our verb oscillate, first recorded in 1726, and our noun oscillation, first recorded in 1658. The next time one sees something oscillating, one might think of that small mask of Bacchus swinging from a pine tree in the Roman countryside.

20 comments:

John Hayes said...

Great thoughts this a.m., & really fascinating etymology-- thanks!

mary said...

Life IS short... that's why it's best to not take it all so seriously. Plans change - opinions change....you have the right attitude. And I love the wisteria, it has always been a favorite . Had it in Laguna and am planting here at the church.

Guru LaRue ( I am not really a Guru it just rhymes with my name:) said...

I love the glowing flower energy!

René Wing said...

yes and no...

just kidding.

I love those thoughts, especially this: "I am so uninterested in the idea of remaining fixed on a perfect point between the extremes." Me too. Great joy rests in being with the full experience.

and how did you get that tulip to light on fire?

Reya Mellicker said...

I walked past that tulip at the perfect moment, when the yard was in the shade but the sun was shining, as if on purpose, on that one tulip.

Wysteria at the church? YES YES YES!!

ellen abbott said...

How boring to stay at the same midpoint all the time. Moderation in all things is my motto, but I moderate between extremes. Or, maybe moderation meands trying a little bit of everything. Yes life is too short not to experience as much as possible.

R.L. Bourges said...

small mask of Bacchus in the breeze works fine for me. And that Virgil, what a guy.

Enjoy the pendulum ride over the weekend, Reya.

wf says: extuat which is the third person singular of the unknown Latin verb 'extuare' for which I will find a meaning shortly. (I'll check the Georgics, just in case) :-)

Ronda Laveen said...

I think that your description of oscillation perfectly describes the "centering processs." The energetic bodies get pulled way off to one side. We gather them back evenly around us. They get pulled way to the other side and down. We gahter them back evenly around. On and on and on.

Your bottom picture illustrates the example of extremes. The newly opened tulip in the right foreground. In the back left, the remnants of daffodils spent.
Loved the story of Bacchus's mask.

Poetikat said...

I can never resist walking into the path of an oscillator. The little child in me rears up and giggling, I go charging through.

Kat

Bee said...

The sun shining though the tulips: divine!

We all need a bit of Bacchus - exactly what "Be Drunken" is all about. I love how one extreme makes us appreciate, and even be able to experience, the other.

Your words so often touch on something I've been thinking about. When I was away, I gloried in being with friends and family (always busy; always talking), and when I got back, I couldn't wait to sit in my garden, quiet and alone.

Auntie, aka Dog Girl said...

How did you get that flower to GLOW???

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Here's to the pendulum, a metronome, keeping time to the music of being...

Squirrel said...

Nice glow on that bloom. !

deborah said...

our mother believed the basic shape in the universe was a spiral
like the spiraled rings orbiting Saturn and Uranus
although these had not been believed or seen before she died
like the spirals of DNA
like the spiral of an oscillating sound depicted on a monitor
over the line
under the line
like the lines on a heartbeat monitor
a brain wave monitor
like the hummm of so many activities
and until this post
i'd never realized like the rhythms of our lives
love you so

Reya Mellicker said...

I didn't know that the rings of Saturn and Uranus were spirals. Wow that it so cool!!

Steve said...

"Those who sacrifice the extremes in order to stay right in the center deny themselves the textures and colors of a life fully lived. Moderation in everything, say the great sages of Chinese medicine, including moderation!"

Reya, that is SUCH an interesting idea. I think it's absolutely true. I think much of my personal frustration over the last several months has been due to the stasis of non-oscillating. If you just sit still and take no risks, your life is calm but dry and featureless. You need to flex and relax, move and flow, not suffer paralysis! Bravo for this insight!

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks, Steve! I always admire your ability to remain centered and never think of you as "too" centered.

But hey, it could happen even to you!!

Sandra Leigh said...

Who knew? I'll never look at my oscillating fan in the same way. Thanks, Reya. I really enjoyed that post.

Lover of Life said...

That gives me something to ponder. There is so much I do not know.

Joanna said...

I just love this idea of oscillating. We all have our own vibrational song. That tulip just glows.