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personal engagement personal engagement socialchange

Universal Engagement and Heartspace


“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside of us while we live.”

—Norman Cousins

There is a space between our sleep and our dreams where the fertile grounds of imagination takes hold, and where our Heartspace is unconsciously nurtured, despite all we may do to neuter it during the day. This is where our Heartspace is unconsciously nurtured, despite all the ways it may be neutered during the day. All the things we do that may thwart our true selves, including lies, cheating and stealing, hurts and aches, abuses and all of these pains we suffer, these things get washed away in our dreams.

Norman Cousins rightfully takes the pressure off dying, because there should be none. We know that life has its cycles. We understand we are like the egg becoming a caterpillar, becoming a chrysalis, blooming into a butterfly that lays eggs, and then dies. That is life. Death is not the greatest loss in life.

We should not mourn what dies inside us while we live, either. Heartspace is the interior cache where each of us can reclaim everything that is truly ours. Joys, innocence, memories, experiences… each of these is meant for us to have the experience we do with it. If we remember, maintain, sustain, and contain life in all its myriad ways, then that is exactly how we are supposed to experience it. If we loosen and lose, disappear, distract, contract, or retract, that is okay, too. The important thing to know is that our life, the one we live every single day, belongs to us whether or not claim it, own it, or name it. The engine of personal engagement gives us self-ownership over everything we experience, and allows us to access it whenever we want.


What dies inside us while we live is a tender thing because we face it every day. We may watch our children and see child selves playing through them. We can see the schools and playgrounds brimming with excited action and we want to be there. We can look at young lovers, watch grown parents, see the squinting eyes of the elderly, and all the while imagine, dream, remember, yearn, or desire what they are experiencing. Rarely do we simply see what is happening around us without judging it in some way. This is what led a journalist like Counsins to his conclusion about things dying inside of us. It is true that feelings, emotions, states of being, people, places, memories, knowledge, ideas, all of these things do transition and move beyond us. But it is not true to believe these experiences are either the “greatest loss” or that they are actually dead.

Unlike butterflies, the things that go on inside us have no ending in their life cycles. As human beings, there is an infinity we access through our Heartspace. Unconsciously or consciously, our minds, hearts, actions, and souls act out this infinite access through our personal engagements and our social engagements. This is the definition of universal engagement.

Universal engagement is the sustained connection we all share within or outside ourselves with the rest of everything. Universal engagements are tangible: The laws of gravity and cause and effect are two tangible examples of sustained connections we share with the rest of everything. They are intangible, too, and that is what I mention our dreams.

The fertile grounds of our sleep are occupied by a deep interaction between our Heartspace and our hands, exposing to our minds the infrequency of death and the absolute necessity of universal engagement. Go there tonight, sleep, and may your dreams be realized. It was once declared, “In dreams begin responsibility.” Our Heartspace demands that we take change, be who we are, and go forth into the day, alive. No loss.


Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

By Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker, writer, trainer, researcher and advocate who researches, writes and shares about education, youth, and history.

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