“How tall are you?” my friend, the doctor asked, looking up from the chart.
“5’10”, I used to be 5’11”, I answered.
“That doesn't sound quite right, let's go out in the hallway and get your height.”
“Hmmm, well actually, you're 5’7” and you still have your shoes on.” “Next time I see you, you'll have withered away to nothing.”
“How much do you think you weigh?” he asked as the slide weights clattered along the rack.
“Oh, about 164, I’ve lost some weight” I said.
“Nope, 154. You are wasting away, my friend.”
That got me to thinking, inwardly. It made me introspective. Reflective. I realized that I was becoming what happened to my father in his mid-seventies. One day he was his full 5’11” in height. Then, before I knew it, seemingly overnight, he had shrunk a good six or seven inches.
I was reminded of a recent picture of myself and my son as we were walking back to the car after attending a Colorado Rockies baseball game (they won). I was shocked. I looked like my father. A little old man. Worn out. Worn down.
So, as I am inclined to do, I began reflecting on the meaning of all this. How my body is going back towards its original size and it will eventually be in its original form of nothingness. I was reflecting on how everyone I love and everything I treasure will be left behind. How my presence as a part of the world is diminishing. As I said, I was doing a fair bit of reflecting. Looking inward at what was, what used to be, and noticing the changes, the loss.
And then I thought, “Well, you know what else is happening?”
Though it is painfully clear that my body is shrinking (thank you Dr.) my mind is still going 1000 miles a minute. I am thinking about old things in new ways, and new things in old ways. I am still teaching. I have new ideas I want to try out. My creativity is still bubbling. I am writing things. I am reading things (Quantum Physics, lately, and its application to what I do and its implications for mankind fascinate and inspire me). The people closest to me sigh at my latest idea(s), “I want to’s, how about’s, what do you think of this…..”?
In that way, though I am growing smaller, my internal world seems to be getting bigger. It is expanding. So, I wondered if I could come up with a new word. I did. (I will probably learn, as I usually do, when I think I have come up with a new idea, that Aristotle or some famous sage created it 2,500 years ago).
The word? Exflexion.
What is Exflection? A focus on what is inside of me that represents the growth and expansion that is also a part of me. Reflection seems to suggest looking back. Exflection would be an experience of sensing that my body is not large enough to contain all that is happening in my head.
I have actually had that sensation. I was talking with a few students in Cambridge after a workshop one evening. They were asking where I had come from and where I was going, what I was writing about, interested in, etc. They seemed somewhat shocked. As I was telling them, I actually, literally, felt my chest expanding. As I was telling them all that was going on and what I was working on and with, my words, my world, it seemed it was all just too much for my body to contain. I wondered out loud if this sensation is what death is, the body just gets too small for the expanding universe that is me, inside of this body.” At the time I did not know that is what Quantum Physics suggests is going on. In all of us.
So, reflection, exflexion. Twins. They are both going on at the same time. It is difficult to see both at the same time, though they are both there.
So, I think I will just keep moving from Reflection to Exflexion and enjoy the rest of the trip. Both are a priceless gift.