Seasons (by Brittian Bullock)
In-between spaces get a lot of press these days. Life lived in the tension of two mutually oppositional positions is slightly the rage. Its hardly a new fetish. The ancient Celts were fascinated by things that were neither quite one thing or the other; such as mistletoe–not a plant and not a tree, or the mist–not rain or air. For that matter the Vedic masters from India, roughly 3,000 years ago, thought it great sport to ask each other questions until neither had a sufficient answer. This was thought to be penultimate–a deep spiritual experience.
Today’s cultural climate in the west makes it easy to understand why leminal space (neither here nor there) is sexy. The dominate political system has ground itself into a stalemate in which both parties seem genuinely unable to offer real variation from the other. Endless debate over minute differences leaves a spectator feeling powerless. Not only that but religions have faded into a glut of optionless in-fighting. On and on, our seeming choices from which we develop a world view and form perspectives, is vastly limited and truly boring. All this leads to a rather convenient thought–”its all the same…and it all has a place…”
I’m a bit of a developmental constructionist. Meaning I believe that there are distinct lines of development and stages of growth that we pass through at almost every level. There are well ordered paths of cognitive, physical, emotional, moral, spiritual and social development. These can be charted and even often measured. Not only that but they’re unavoidable stages. You can’t pass from childhood to adulthood–you have to walk through adolescents. You can’t move from a mythic and magic society into a post modern society overnight–it requires a scientific stage (and others for that matter). They build upon each other. It is an ordered parade from one end of the street, unfolding into the other.
Leading me to say this–for all the talk about tension or leminal/in-between spaces–I find them routinely lazy. Lazy in this sense: they attempt to skip stages of development.
To arrive at the end of ones life having examined and experienced a wide array of places, to look at them and then say, “Life is mystery…God is unknowable…but we can enjoy him…” This is to have passed through life with authenticity. But to simply say that at 20, is theory. Its imitation. Its to be a second hand human.
The only way to become “seasonless” is to fully pass through the seasons of life. Its to love fully and be hurt fully; to give fully and to take fully; to invest in this element with all of your heart, without being cross eyed about, without living into tension. Its to be given. Only when you have been given to such a degree can you truly be open, can you be authentic in saying “I have looked at both sides…”
Brittian Bullock is an author, speaker/storyteller, and artist who lives in the Portland, OR area with his two sons Ransom and Judah. He has spent the last decade founding, consulting, or living within multiple intentional communities. He writes for various publications, and has penned two books (and counting) exploring urban mysticism–a fancy way of talking about the intersections of faith and culture. Follow him on Twitter or his blog.