“WHAT we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”
- T. S. Eliot
We age, we learn, we must or we die - unsettled.
Like a tree, I see my age and journey in life as growth rings.
But unlike the tree's increasing number of rings and an expanding diameter, I have grown moving around, returning to where I started in a circle covering an expanding Mobius space all these years, instead.
This process of growing for me is repetitious journey. The experience and realization is measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days and years - time.
So much walking around in this space, so long in life through time, and I still could not fully comprehend or understand what a Mobius is, except that things become familiar with the knowing of some parts, elements and particles in the strip or topography and the comings and goings has left me some measure of expertise, understanding, and wisdom about life. I hope so.
A day after my birthday, this week, I can see how I was swamped with greetings from friends and well-wishers here and abroad on social media. It was just like the first time, except that the number of greeters tremendously increased through the years. As this happened, I noticed how friends adjusted to how I manipulated the applications on my social media wall.
The messages also changed in their tone from simply a one-line happy birthday wish to appreciations of how we encountered each other as members together in our internet community.
I have read some of the messages. It would take me days to read all of the greetings posted in my private message box and public post. I am heartened. What I read so far affirmed to me the importance of "community" in the work place, at home, our worship places, and our world in general through social media.
Human existence is about building communities. Vice versa, building communities is about ensuring quality living and sustaining the best about human existence. For the moment, in the Philippines, we are terribly failing our basic responsibilities towards community building and sustaining and enhancing the quality of life of our citizens.
Over the past regime, poverty and food lack affected the greater number of our people. Soon, as the regime rolled on towards the conclusion of its term, glowing reports of the nation’s economic performance seemed to bring hope that we are on the threshold of joining Asia’s economically well-off or rich nations. The reported good economic performance of the country and its benefits, however, were not owned by the people. It benefited only the corporations and those citizens above the middle class.
In the Philippines, political regimes come and go in cycles of six years. The new regime inherits the same problems left by its predecessors aside from facing up to new trends and challenges. Meanwhile, good communities seem to be disintegrating not sustained, and are replaced by new ones that are disappointing most times.
Today, during my usual afternoon “Kaffee und tee” break, I read a report on Pres. Duterte’s latest narcolist that took me back to meditating about the roles of our communities in securing human dignity first not so much on acquiring all the rights to anything and everything and not owning up to responsibilities and accountability.
It used to be that the drug problem was confined to a few areas in Metro Manila and some highly urbanized areas in the country. Today, the President’s list “… reflects the extent of the country’s drug scourge, affecting 92 percent of all barangays with 11,000 policemen and 16,000 barangay captains involved.”
Since the President’s drug war, we have come to the creeping realization that our communities are no longer safe habitations, as our politicians, police, and judges, almost anybody including foreigners who are simply visitors in a foreign shore are either users or pushers of drugs, destroying our people, our communities.
Whoever said that a map is “many tongued, a chorus reciting many centuries of accumulated knowledge in echoed chants,” is suggesting we need to take a second look at our communities for some answers to why we now live dangerously in our own backyards.
I agree with the adage that change starts with me and here is how I mapped out my Mobius journey in the coming days following Carl Rogers’ and his team of psychologists experiences in their quests and observations in the forming of communities.
Since I have direct influence over my family, my communities in the workplace (with three addresses in the same agency), and indirectly with the place I am domiciled and all the communities therein, I need to rethink my actions so that I will positively influence the members of my communities, one way or another. As I uphold unity in a team and its work, it is important for me to appreciate unity and separateness at the same time. Communities are after all resources for individual members to discover themselves and become all that they can become. It must provide saneness, freedom to be individuals, to learn and work towards one’s own goals in a harmony of diversity, and constantly sharing their best for the betterment of life, of community.
The other important things that I must re-learn in my own "life-workshop" in the community laboratories before me is about dealing with chaos and pain and being able to hear and listen better to the different voices emanating from humanity’s experience with sufferings under difficult realities and conditions. Only by listening can genuine participation in suffering be attained and caring expressed.
I need to re-asses my values constantly about what is good for me and fellowmen. In this effort, there are things I need to question. Not everything perceived to be good lasts forever. There are standards that must be held less tentatively, less rigidly, and based on ever-changing experience. The great standards, I also must engage continually and affirm their true worth and measure.
The process of decision-making will continue to be incredibly complex because of its ramifications to the community, to the members, to relationships, to standards, and the things that we value. The process can be cumbersome, irritating, complicated, frustrating but not to be shirked, if you must love. This leads me finally to what this existing is all about – to confront and face up to the transcendent or spiritual. In spite of me, I am a believer and I am needful of knowing more about God, who is love.
I can see, I come to that same place again of my beginnings – in love.
That should have created and sustained great communities where quality living is not only a dream but a place where the best about human existence is a daily experience, blooming and stretching without end. What a dream, still beyond reach, but why not, it is a working concept to attain, in my Mobius space. That could be Paradise.