Keep the Channel Open

Theseus' paradox poses a simple thought experiment: If you systematically replace every single part of a ship over an extended period of time, is it still the same ship? Looking at it, we might know that none of the original ship still exists. But it still has the same essence from when it was first constructed, right?

This paradox applies to our bodies as well: Though some of our cells are with us for life, our skeleton gets fully replaced every 10 years. Every cell in your bones is less than a decade old, but you probably don't think of your skeleton as being particularly younger than the rest of you. It's essentially the same one you've always had β€” it just got larger with the rest of your body as you grew up.

Reflecting on our cells' transience reminds us that we are an expression of the universe, both physically and spiritually. For a brief period of time, matter flows through us, and every time we wake up, we face the blank page of a new day.

So, how do we best fill that page?

Dancer and choreographer Martha Graham suggests that we should simply "keep the channel open":

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.

If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium. It will be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it open clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

In other words, by concentrating on your universal expression, you can ship your work each day with greater ease.


Reflections on creating systems to sustainably grow your impact on the world.
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