The Pure Expression of Sensibility

Yesterday we visited a cousin my partner had not seen for quite a few years: I had never seen her except at her mothers a week before. In their youths they were close and recent moves had opened up the chance to renew the friendship. She is a friendly person with two children. More than that though her house and garden are filled with objects, none of which came as a set so each item is unique unto itself. What made it astonishing though was that each object, chair or table was beautiful in its own right and sat harmoniously with its fellow artifacts or pieces of furniture even though they were bought at different times and had no obvious match in terms of style or period.

It was one of those very rare occasions when you realise someones sensibility is so refined that they can home in on the natural harmonies of things in a way the more normal of us can never see. She works as a teacher and a councillor. How far these occupations allow her to express what she has inside her I cannot say. What I can say is that what is inside her is beautiful and complete.

Millions, if not billions of us work for corporations. The are limited liability companies:  legal entities which have no personality in their own right. The current personality, mission statement and approach to its employees is the product of whatever people inhabit the senior or middle management posts at any one time. Within the company many work in ways which displays limited aspects of who they are.

Watching children we can remark that “she’s a beautiful dancer, and so gentle in the way she interprets the music” or “he paints with such energy and verve that the life of the subject almost leaps off the paper”. In later years these people may well be working in a middling administrative post for some multi-national, or under the control of a self-interested self-made man who “wants the job” done and is not too bothered about how a person feels or is expressing themselves as long as they finish their work. It is part of the well-healed brutality which characterises modern business life.

Inside the man may sigh, but neither his boss or his mortgage is too concerned as long as he puts in the hours and the papers move efficiently across the desk. My heart always goes out to such people, in a way which belies the fact that I am one of them myself. The boss may well have private compassion to which he allows some expression as long as it doesn’t disrupt the smooth working of the office or his career.

So we progress through our lives, initially celebrating our independence and then slowly encircling ourselves with bills and responsibilities until we can hardly remember who we are. Sometimes in the glance of a friend or some extended holiday which involves more than lying on a beach gasping for air we may feel an inner self rise from within that caution which can gradually stifle  us. To often when we state or work on an ambition we are not aware of the costs our spirit will pay. The alienation so many feel from the rhythm of life and the pure joy of being bares sad testimony to this situation.

We all know some middle age man, who works in some faceless role who has a trumpet in the attic of his house. Asked about it he will say, “I used to play a lot when I was young”. Perhaps he might go as far as raising it to his lips to blow a few rusty notes out into the room before smiling ruefully and saying “It’s a long time since I played”. To him, me and many like us I pray that we don’t give up on ourselves. Beneath the suite or smart executive skirt a secret garden dwells. Water it occasionally and be astounded at what you find within.

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in childhood, community, creative writing, Environment, faith, Life, recreation, Talent and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Pure Expression of Sensibility

  1. Caroline says:

    When did we become too scared to dream and grab a different future? Do we all become too bogged down in everyday life and responsibilities and so lose the courage we had when we were in our twenties to just go out and do whatever we really want to do. Some families still do it – they take throw caution to the wind and ‘go for it’! They change their garden! As you say “Water it occasionally and be astounded at what you find within”

    Another wonderful and thought-provoking post! (and you can tell I really am ‘working from home’ today!!)


  2. working from Home can have it’s benefits. I always love you comments so this is one benefit I’m sharing. Thankyou


  3. successisthebestrevenge says:

    I concur. We get lost in the fog. I appreciate your sharing. It identifies with so many.


  4. Julie says:

    Thanks for sharing yourself, CD. Chill bumps with your ending. Why not water that garden regularly? That way it gets to really bloom once it’s a bit stronger. Anyway, I’m pretty sure that’s what you’re already doing… “Too often when we state or work on an ambition we are not aware of the costs our spirit will pay.” Poignant. And too often we feel it’s impossible to let go. Before, I never considered my spirit. Funny how priorities can shift.


  5. Beth says:

    And this, my dear Ducky, is why I have an escape plan with my job… and it involves me and culinary school because, well, why not? One of my favorite places in the world is my kitchen. Some of my favorite books are my cookbooks. And one of my most favorite activities is puttering around in my kitchen making something no one else would dare attempt. And being single, I’m only risking my own neck by quitting a stable, secure job to do this. But since I never do anything without a plan, ya’ll will have to listen to me complain about my current job a wee bit longer!

    But seriously… what’s really better? A degree from college and a job you don’t like? Or slightly lesser paying job that you love that never feels like work? Why squash the personality, talents, and natural tendencies in the name of drudgery? I’m good at the corporate stuff, I’m just not cut from that cloth so it doesn’t fit me for the long term. It chafes…


  6. Barbara says:

    Such a beautiful post Peter. So many beautiful souls are lost in the corporate world trying to make a living while losing their ‘life’. Thanks for bringing that to light. who knows… maybe someone will really feel this and decide to follow their passion because of your words.


  7. So many beautiful souls are lost in the corporate world stifled by long hours and no air for creative expression. It’s a choice some of us make to succeed at life. The mortgage, the car payment, the children, all of them responsibilities we must think about….I think it’s important to find an outlet for your creative energy whether be only a couple of hours a week. It is your time, not managements, and not anybody else’s. Just yours…

    Thank you for your insightful post. As always you hit the mark!


  8. nelle says:

    This is a wonderful post! You are so right, stifling ourselves with the myriad of constraints established by society carries quite a cost. Diversity is and always will be the most important of human elements, generating the richness where we can observe different and appreciate.
    I’ve been done this slippery slope, resulting in an ugly fall that did much damage, to others, to me. We have a responsibility to others to be sure, but we also have a responsibility not to strip away that which makes us unique, or that which makes us who we are (I fell to the counterforce of this element.)

    Best advice I can offer anyone, as I did people working for their GED…be you, it all starts right there.


  9. Lady E says:

    Thank you once again for this prompt to consider things a bit differently, to look at our lives a bit harder…Right now, some of what you write resonates because I feel so lost I no longer truly know who I am. Who was I to start with? Which talents have I buried? How do I help my children find this harmony between who they are inside and out? So many questions…I love your blog.


  10. eof737 says:

    Pity some never revisit their gardens before the blooms wither and die… thanks for the reminder! 🙂


  11. backonmyown says:

    Great post, as always. As a retired teacher, you struck a chord with your description of the cousin/teacher. What you have nailed here, in my opinion, is that despite the fact that she has an all-consuming job in teaching and parenting, she still is able to let her soul soar in her garden and home with all her disparate objects that somehow go together just because they are things she loves. Beautiful.


  12. Miss Emm says:

    That is so true. Sometimes when I have the leisure to step back and view the universe from the “outside” I feel like we are zombies walking the same path day in day out.


  13. This line says it all “The are limited liability companies: legal entities which have no personality in their own right”. You know I love your post.. And your post are always amazing


  14. Jillsy Girl says:

    why does age have to effect us that way?


  15. Big Al says:

    I think this blog is your secret garden. And you are harvesting some amazing food for thought. Keep on cultivating.


  16. redheadmouth says:

    Such a true post. I am new to the work life and I already find myself slipping away into paperwork, meetings and presentations. We lose what we are passionate about in the career driven world.


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