The second characteristic, which has marked Chinese symbolism since this era, consists in the adherence of the society to the earth, the arable soil; and in the feminine connotation of the soil. The soil is the fertile earth, and the earth where the mother gives birth. Vital, living, life-giving, mother and earth are identical for this society that lives on grain, is bound to the soil, and dependent on the seasonal cycles of plants, animals, human beings, climate. But the soil, by metonymy, also connotes coupling: games, engagements, the marriage of the young. The place becomes 'holy' because it is identified with the mother; and, at the same time, with the genitality of rival groups. In China, there are no initiation mysteries: they are replaced by the hierogamic celebration which gives the place its meaning. By celebrating a holy place, one thus celebrates a mothering earth; perhaps not even an all powerful mother, but the very principle of genitality: this alternation of war and union between the sexes. No Father, no unifying Word. A Mother: the Ancestress and a place of sexual jousting represent the logic and the cohesion of the society. reading about the dances and the legends of ancient China, one can't help but be struck by an imagination totally oriented toward the genital act. ...
the movement of the feminine figure is closer to the ground (entanglement of association with physical reality)
People you love become part of you — not just metaphorically, but physically. You absorb people into your internal model of the world. Your brain refashions itself around the expectation of their presence. After the breakup with a lover, the death of a friend, or the loss of a parent, the sudden absence represents a major departure from homeostasis. As Kahlil Gibran put it in The Prophet, “And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”
In this way, your brain is like the negative image of everyone you’ve come in contact with. Your lovers, friends, and parents fill in their expected shapes. Just like feeling the waves after you’ve departed the boat, or craving the drug when it’s absent, so your brain calls for the people in your life to be there. When someone moves away, rejects you, or dies, your brain struggles with its thwarted expectations. Slowly, through time, it has to readjust to a world without that person.
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
— Anaïs Nin
Both tenderness and attention share a root in the Latin verb tendere, meaning to stretch, extend, as we do when reaching toward another, acknowledging possible reciprocity rather than grasping for an inanimate object.
—Catherine Bush, Invasives