Measurement (Maessive via Flickr)

Back to the start.

A room full of doctors, midwives and specialists. My wife and I. Noise. Rushing. Crying. Blood.

There they are. Twin sons crying at the shock of suddenly being.

We have agreed on their names but not which one is which, so I make a decision and name them. A nurse almost labels them the “wrong” way. I correct her. But I was stressed and in a dumbfounded, new-dad state, so maybe I mixed them up.

They are James and William.

Everyone in that hospital room that day, everyone who visited and everyone who later stopped my wife at the shops to ask dumb twin questions, would already have known several James and Williams. They probably thought, “Does he look like a James? Does he look like a William?” as if this is not a completely insane question. They might notice we shorten William to Wil with one ‘l’ and that reminds them of Wil Anderson the comedian rather than Will Ferrell the comedian.

I notice I do this myself to help remember people’s names. Some people just look like a Steven, Jess or Arthur. But once – when they were zero days old – they just looked like a newborn.

From the very first day you are born you are tagged (literally and figuratively) by people having expectations. You have the beginning of a past and history. You have joined the world of named things. The world of this and that. The world of form.

The twins are identical so we later used – hopefully subtle – colour-coding to help people tell them apart. Initially James wore mainly blue and Wil green, but then we switched and James became more earthly colours like red and brown and Wil blue and green. It’s persisted in the colour of the frames of their glasses. Colour of course carries emotional content. So this small decision changed people’s perception of them.

People also look at my wife and I and make judgements about what James and Wil are like based on what we are like

This sort of “expectation” analysis will drive you mad if you continue. It’s not a bad state of affairs. It is just the nature of the world we live in.

From the day they are born kids start looking for and learning evidence of who they are. The evidence enforces who they think they are, their strengths and limitations. They file away their successes and failures based on how other people react to and perceive them. Do they then eventually become the expectation that is reflected back at them?

This structure of habit and memory ossifies and builds up like coral. Fixes and hardens. Eventually the structure will become so monolithic that it is difficult to experience who they were in those early days when they had little or no identity. They will have become completely identified with the named world. Living in and being part of it. Filed, tagged, labelled and closed away. They will believe, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.

But. That brief moment when they took their first breath. No history. No labels. No expectations from, or of, them. Just being.

No expectations or limitations. Mind and body open to all experiences and possibilities.

To be able to re-capture that feeling.


James wants our next holiday to be on the moon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: