I’ve been thinking about the idea of “personal geometries” – what our networks would look like if we were able to draw them.
Every day, we find ourselves in a network of ideas, people, organisations, worries, opportunities. Everything we spend time thinking about is a relationship, and when our relationships determine everything we do, geometry matters.
The elegance of our relationship geometry – whether it is smooth and elegant, like a Fibonacci curve, or messy and disjointed- results from how aware we are of it. Elegant geometry results from the alignment of all our faculties – the intellectual, intuitive, emotional and bodily senses aligned and in sync with the direction we want our lives to take. When things feel uncomfortable, our geometry is probably out of order – and if we could somehow map it, it would probably not be pretty.
We cannot design our geometry, but we can pay attention to it. We know where those parts of what we do no longer fit. The pandemic has knocked many patterns out of kilter, and making the changes we must to tackle climate change destabilises us further. For many, the relationship geometry that was acceptable two years ago no longer serves us and does not help us fit into the lives we want to lead going forward.
Reshaping our geometry is not a technical exercise. When our shape is determined by so much that is not measurable, there are no templates. We are all individuals with unique talents, aspirations, and potential. Getting ourselves into the shape we need to be for the world that is emerging requires paying attention to many aspects of our lives we have subordinated. Not just our external markers – qualifications, resumes, and image- but our internal markers. Our spiritual health, the time we spend connecting to our surroundings, from time alone in nature to the depth of the conversations we have with each other and people we don’t know and reading poetry as well as project proposals.
The constraints of the pandemic have given many of us the experience of connecting to those who used to be invisible to us – the health workers, the teachers, care workers and many others who make our lives work. We have a greater sense of connection and how fragile it is. As we emerge from what was into what is becoming, our geometries matter – who we know, what we think, what we question, what we value and who we value – the places data cannot reach.
In a hectic, hurried world, our geometry makes the difference in how we cope with it.