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the art of living your life purpose

I Don't Remember Who I was Before I Knew You

HealingChloë RainComment

When I reflect on my life, a series of events play out, turning points, each seemingly having nothing to do with the other, nothing to do with the time or the place or the decision I made in the moment, to go left or right, to go or to stay a moment longer in the crowd, and yet… 

There they are, inextricable moments in time where my life path crossed some other complete strangers' and in that moment of our meeting our lives would never be the same again.

These times seem to come with no warning, no seemingly repeatable system to identify when or where this important event was going to take place.

I’ve read that the way we experience linear time is a false misunderstanding of how things are actually unfolding in our Universe. When we look at time and space and reality from a scientific perspective it appears more likely that everything is happening all at once. 

Strangely, this makes more sense to me when I really think about my life and the way I experience the people, places, and events of my world.  

I call this livingly spherically. It seems to me that my life radiates outward from a single point of origin. I can peer into my past from the center of my life seeing things through the lens of my present wisdom and therefore the way I view my past has changed, and in the same way the experiences I’m having right in this moment are changing my view of the present and my future.

There are people and moments in time, decisions I’ve made (though perhaps not the ones I would have thought), and places I have lived that have changed me at depth… When I peer into the depths of my existence it seems they are at my core.

Upon review of the meaningful encounters of once strangers whose presence in my life changed me forevermore, I can see no real pattern. But I am left with a sense of wonder and awe and total and utter reverence for the random kindnesses of life.  Just when you need it most, it seems that these once unknown people become major characters in your life story. In that moment when you were about to throw in the towel, give up hope, and write everyone in the whole world off, a new character is ushered into the scene and everything changes. 

When I try to go back in time through my memories it becomes difficult, impossible even, to separate who I was just before that moment in time when that person came into my life and who I became immediately upon knowing them. There was a time that I didn’t know that person and so I must have been different then, and yet…

I can’t remember who I was before I knew that person.  

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
— Carl Jung

I can recall where I was when I met that person who changed my life but I can no longer recall who I was before I met them. It seems to me that from the moment of now, I was always to know that person, because without them I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Sometimes these people are just a memory that I carry around with me. I haven’t seen or spoken to the the person in years, decades even, and yet their presence in my life is no less real, no less vivid, no less impactful. Either they left a long time ago, or they’ve been gone from this earth for sometime, or I went away thinking I’d return before too long, only to be irrevocably changed so much so that I never could return to them.

I call up a memory of a friend or a lover and play it out like I was selecting a scene on a DVD. I remember what was said right at that moment, what I was wearing or the smell of baking bread in the air.

There are people who mean so much to me, I couldn’t unravel their existence from the fabric of my life’s time line without creating a kind of gaping black hole that sucks all the light from the surrounding Universes.  

There would be a heavy and inescapable nothingness without them that could not be lightened or filled by anyone other than them.

These people have become a part of me. I couldn’t be me without them.

These are the aftereffects of two spheres intersecting in time, our worlds instantly became different upon encountering each other.

Its these same people, at times in life when I’ve lost faith in myself and humanity, that I can call upon or I can call their image and likeness into my mind and through the sheer affection for their existence in my world, begin to feel hope, again.  

I have wondered, if there was a guarantee to life would I buy it? If the guarantee told you every step along the way before it happened and of the people who would come in and out of your life and how they would change you, would I want to know? Would I want to know if they stay or if they leave?

Would it make me happier, in the end, if life was guaranteed to work out just the way I planned it? Or does it add some worthwhile sweetness to the experience of living, not knowing how it's all going to go?

You don't know how or when you’re going to meet a person, a friend, or the love of your life, who will irreversibly change your world and how you view your past, present, and future for the rest of time, across all previous memories and boundaries of the mind. 

Perhaps this is one of life’s great mysteries that makes life worth living.

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