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personal engagement personal engagement

Envisioning Heartspace

Man is but a network of relationships and these alone matter to him.

 – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry  

Every morning is a call to action, a demand for movement, a whisper of enticement, and an insistence to go on. Heartspace compels us to connect every day in every way we possibly can.

This image illustrates the Leonardo da Vinci quote, "Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” – Leonardo da Vinci

If you want to visualize what Heartspace looks like, start by envisioning a geodesic dome. Notice in this closeup of the Montreal Biosphere that a geodesic dome is made of thousands of interlacing triangles. In Heartspace, each point of contact among the triangles is a sustained connection in your life. All of these connections lace together in order to form your Heartspace.

However, instead of holding a hollow space on the interior like a dome, your connections also lace inwards in a profuse and lavish network of connections and intra-connections. This represents the sustained nature of Heartspace, and the reality that each of your connections affects every other to varying degrees. In this way, your personal engagement is like a spider’s web, too, where the vibrations shake the inexplicably strong connections you have within and around you. Thich Nhat Hanh showed how this happens, writing,

People normally cut reality into compartments, and so are unable to see the interdependence of all phenomena. To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one’s perception of reality.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

Heartspace is more though, because rather than having finite endings that are clear and identifiable, the sustained connections you maintain within and outside yourself are launched ad infinitum throughout your life. Heartspace literally has no boundaries.

Heartspace has eternal latitude, and whenever we sustain our connections within or around ourselves, the impact launches out from ourselves, like ripples in water. Just like ripples that radiate out from the place where a drop of water lands on the surface of a body of water, our sustained connections coarse through our Heartspace and into the lives of others, generally unconsciously, but sometimes consciously, too.

Shared Heartspace
This is a diagram of Shared Heartspace. Copyright 2020 by Adam Fletcher. All rights reserved.

When we interact with another person’s Heartspace, it can be useful to envision overlapping connections happening like in a Venn Diagram. This happens when we fall in love, or meld deep friendships, or nurture warm connections with our children. It can happen when we reciprocally give our art, cooking, or chopped wood. It happens when we share- that earnest and honest act we learned as children. Sharing Heartspace is devoid expectation or consternation, because it simply insists that we be who we are, how we are. It calls us towards our innocence and compassion and allows us to be fully human, if only for a moment.

Kurt Vonnegut shared a great reminder to bring us within ourselves through this innocence, writing,

Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.

-Kurt Vonnegut

These images are meant to enliven our ability to see Heartspace, what it is, and how it works throughout our lives. If they do not work for you, simply release them from your imagination. If you want to, look within yourself and imagine what your Heartspace looks like for you. You might even draw that, or write a poem about it. Reply to this post and let me know what you think and feel about the ways sustained personal engagements look throughout your world.

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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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