The Happy Heart School

Living lifelong human care, development, education, learning and service for all.

Contemporaneous Becoming

Contemporaneous Becoming

for Vashima Goyal, Ruth Usher and BSc Occupational Therapy Students of Singapore Institute of Technology-Trinity College Dublin 2019 Intake


It is not possible for a person to become in isolation from the contemporaneous society and natural earth that one finds oneself in. On a daily basis, it is in fact situational from space-time to space-time.


So how does one respond to all the various ecologies of thoughts, norms, belief systems, best practices, natural environment that one finds herself or himself in?


How does one inform oneself?


How does one navigate the labels of belonging and non-belonging, the social structures of participation and non-participation, and the distribution of the access to necessities and discoveries that one finds oneself in?


After many, many rounds of dialogues, group investigations, validations and sharing, I might venture a suggestion: a place of pause.


This is starting to look like a place where one can be, and where the being is such that the becoming and belonging begin to really have that time and space to allow the breathability of choices, and ultimately, identity formation or decision-making.


Conversations between two people in a space may no longer make sense if the language of the dialogue is actually at odds with one another. There seem to be words exchanged in the same understanding of joint and shared meanings, but perhaps there really isn’t a meeting of mutual presences.


If the I of the person speaking isn’t even formed in a way of true freedom of discoveries, making self-choices in the capability and capacity of one’s own identity formation, and when the flux of seeming onslaught of ecologies and complexities of the realities of life demand a choice-making that requires a quick adaptability or decision-making in response to the social and natural environment, one freaks out.


One is out of capacity.


That being out of capacity isn’t an end state or pronouncement of – there is no answer, or all is lost, or there is nothing more I can do, or it is beyond my control.


That sense of defeat lies in the self being overwhelmed by too many narratives of others, that while the data is rich and intentionally helpful, it makes no sense to the listener, who 1) is already overwhelmed, 2) isn’t able to synthesise so many languages and universes of others, 3) needs time and space to analyse the data and articulate one’s own coherence, and 4) making the decision through conflicting priorities and trade-off of outcomes.



So, what makes most sense in supporting a community to learn, work, share, negotiate together, is really becoming clearer to me as:


  1. Creating an opportunity for coming together, relating, working and discovering together in diverse communities in the real world;
  2. Creating a safe place of reflection – personal, small group and large group;
  3. Creating the tools of making sense of social-relational with others – people and the natural world;
  4. Creating decision-making transparency of priorities and trade-offs;
  5. Tracking of the actions of decision-making and validation of whether the assumptions of decisions are valid or whether the situation has changed again, which in turn requires another cycle of reflection and decision-making;
  6. Understanding the shifts of identity evolution in the growth of becoming of the self, and the other, and the communities of engagement;
  7. Articulation of such growth in languages that are meaningful for such reflective growth processes; and
  8. The constancy of such a commitment is that of faithful openness, silence and deep listening to the cry of this flux, which really is a constant becoming of sense-making and a resilient adaptability to the complexities of ecologies that inform oneself, but yet does not alter one’s core identity.


I came to understand today that learning is about interacting with reality, and experiences. The diversity of the experiences is important in the identity formation in order that one does not become isolated in one’s own monoculture.


At the same time, the experiences will need a shape. If they come completely fragmented and at too fast a speed or is force-fed and thus becomes threatening, the order formation of sense-making may breakdown. It is tempting to conclude that without structure, it is not possible to find coherence on the account that language is sequentially communicated with another. Within the self, there may be moments of integration where there are non-words, and non-conceptual.


Perhaps a true meeting is like this. It is a meeting of that integrated knowing of a particular peace that is unique to the self as well as universal. Maybe it comes down to being this peace before one can truly commune and then communicate, with another.


There is a form that I have experienced that communicates as well as commune. It is largely that domain of freedom of expression, that which we call art. It isn’t actually material; but there is a process of interacting deeply with people and materials, and so in effect, it is a place where one has given oneself permission and authority to search, discover, articulate, express raw-rity. The right to confusion, to not knowing, to intense raw emotions, typically of frustration, anger, explosive, in the dogged dignity of finding humanity, peace, non-violence, acceptance, tenderness, gratitude, and ironically, the sweet surrender — into life.



There emerges a strange sensation that comes with an equally, dogged inarticulable deep understanding that is undefeated yet which no longer yearns to fight, but which instead, stands, to commit to the right of another to experience the grace of becoming, in his or her highest personal-universal authenticity of identity formation.


Peng-Ean Khoo
August 9, 2019



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