Recently I came across an online article by Maria Popova that introduced me to the concept of inosculation. You can find the full article here, but let me introduce you to this concept in Maria’s profound words:
There is a phenomenon in forests known as inosculation — the fusing together of separate trees into a single organism after their branches or roots have been entwined for a long time. Sometimes, one of the former individuals may be cut or broken at the base, but it remains fully alive through its sinewy fusion with the former other. This is no longer symbiosis between two distinct organisms but a hybrid new organism fully sharing in the resources of life.
Everything alive has the potential for inosculation in one form or another. That, perhaps, is what the great naturalist John Muir meant when he observed that “when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” To be proper citizens of that universe is to recognize ourselves as particles of it, indelibly linked to every other particle — particles each minuscule but majestic with possibility; it is to recognize that, as Dr. King observed, “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.”
I was intrigued with this idea, and even more so when I looked up the definition of inosculate (verb) which means to “come together or open into each other”. This is such a spiritual concept and I am humbled once again at how much wisdom there is to learn from the world around us. I was able to speak to this at the recent Oceanic Palliative Care Conference held in Sydney where I presented a plenary on Improving the Quality of Spiritual Care at End of Life. Many of the presentations at the conference spoke to what is not working in our systems, be it aged care, disability and palliative care. We recognise the same struggles and limitations as we seek to improve the quality of spiritual care. The systems are not working, and it is difficult for any of us to flourish, let alone thrive. How can we come together and open into each other in new ways, bringing all of our wisdom and expertise for the benefit of all? At the OPCC there were a number of presentations that referenced co-design in the development of new projects and programs. There seems to be a growing recognition of the importance of coming together and the need to hear from every voice. I have long been interested in the question of voice. Whose voice is dominant and whose voice is missing were significant questions for me throughout my recently completed thesis.
In two weeks, Australians will be asked to vote on the subject of voice. I'll be voting YES! It is time to recognise 65,000 years of Indigenous culture and to come together to listen to the voice of deep wisdom learnt from continuous connection to this land. Land that has so much to teach us still.
Cheryl Holmes, CEO