Living with fluidity

One of the more memorable statements made about David Bowie at his death was that he was constantly reinventing himself. And I think we all recognized the truth of it. As soon as the world had given him a certain identity, he would turn around and be someone else.

It’s not an easy character trait for the people around you. I felt a pang of recognition, how often loved ones have told me, First you were this, now you are that. Can’t you make up your mind?

No. If it comes to following life’s path, making up my mind would mean standing still. I might step onto a conveyor belt and let it carry me to the end. But that’s not the way I want to live. To me, life is not about establishing an identity. It’s about responding to what shows up along the way.

waterI chose this photograph from my recent trip to Norway as an illustration because, at first glance, you might think you were looking at a sheet of ice. This is actually moving water: waves breaking on the shore. Because I used a very long exposure time, you can’t see the separate waves or the movement of the water. It all merges into one image.

When we look back on Bowie’s life, we don’t see a series of disjointed identities. We see a life capable of making adjustments and responding to what happened to him.

I hope that when people look back on my life – or on their own lives – they will see the same thing. A life capable of responding to life. Living with fluidity.


  1. Maddi, thank you! You have a singular knack for catching hold of fundamental life questions, which you then explain (I like to think of that action using the Italian verb for explain, “spiegare”, meaning literally “to unfold”) to reveal their essence.

    • I love this, Sabine! Comparing explaning to unfolding brings images of revealing mysteries. And all I do is muse on things that happen to me. So, by writing, I reveal truths to myself as well.

  2. It is constantly a joy when I discover your lyrics under my mails. I look forward to open it like a child who receives a gift .
    It is not always easy for me to decipher it. there are some nodes to solve! The language, then your mind. But it is often strange specifically with Your texts – often surprise myself. For similar to read your book, I understand often since the whole point before I understand the individual words. I think it is because you made it your innermost writing with all your heart.

    And yes you are right, It is everyone wished to have a living with fluidity.
    In German we say “Ein Leben im Fluß”.
    I believe Life is movement, development, change …. so I wish you many many “liquid” for fluidity in your life. (and me; a better understanding for the English language.),See you and a healthy and good night,
    Michèle ( Mi Ke from Osprey Chat)

  3. Maddi, this resonates with me strongly. I used to joke with people about my various incarnations over my lifetime, but I can see that although my core essence has never wavered, my experiences have given me many layers of “self-ness.” I love the idea of “unfolding” as we journey on to new discoveries.

  4. Mary Lou Gillette

    Dear Maddi, all the comments above make me think of the quick fingers of my daughter in law’s fingers creating oragami shapes from flat pieces of paper. Our lives would be very flat if we did not bend and fold with the forces that have shaped us. At this point in my life I am sensing a tendency to fold in upon myself, and must push against this to open up more. Your blog is much appreciated as it makes me think. Thank you!

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