Saturday, September 29, 2012


There is a lot of talk these days about people who live in bubbles and walk about without cores. I get the bubble simile, one is unwilling or unable to grasp other people's experiences, but the "core" concept I find more complex.  I first bumped into this word as it applies to people and not apples, in a self-help group run by Dottie years ago. Dottie went to a Gestalt workshop, loved the experience and decided to carry it home and offer it to others. A dozen of us, mostly students, joined her group out of curiosity and for the great cookies she baked every week; except for Edger, Dottie's husband, who had to attend.  Dottie would begin the group by asking us to say a sentence or two about how we felt in the moment. As usual, when it came to Edger's turn, he described what his body was doing. He said something like, "I feel the back of my thighs pressing hard against the chair. The straighter I sit, the stronger the pressure." Dottie, none too fond of Edger, lost it.  "No one cares about your damn thighs, Edger. What do you feel inside? Speak from your CORE."  I felt sorry for Edger, who mumbled something about his shoulders, and I wondered about my own core.

What does it mean to have a core?  I picture a column of values, principles and beliefs based on all life experiences; an inner identity.  To be in touch with your core means you know who you are and what you stand for.  And, without thinking too much about it, people around you have a feeling for who you are.  If asked to sum you up in a core word, they might say such things as: scholar, giver, taker, salesman, comedian, Don Juan, saint, teacher, healer, politician, brat, catalyst or artist. Not a full description. Rather, an intuitive impression.

Closely aligned with the concept of core is the idea of authenticity.  One knows when someone is pretending to be something s/he isn't.  The pretense may be motivated by shyness or by the need to play a role that doesn't suit.  It may be about inflating one's ego or trying to put something over on someone.  You may not think about the motivation, you just know when someone is being phony.  It makes you squirm and want to look the other way.

Most of us, at one time or another, have been oblivious or untrue to our core values; certainly we have all used pretense.  It's odd how being oneself is often the hardest thing in the world to do while at the same time it's the simplest of ideas.

Oh, and looking back on Edger, I think he was being himself ... concrete ... he just wasn't being who Dottie wanted him to be.


MtC said...

Sometimes it is hard to know exactly what is core and what is apple. You are making me think again. Thank you.

Bridget said...

Awe, MtC. I had your core word tagged as "scholar." May have to reconsider.

AppleBits said...

Hi - I just wanted to say thanks for all the really good posts you do.
I signed up for the email copy, and look forward to them coming.
I recently told a friend this: "She writes kind of like Apple does their designing... very simple, easy to understand, just works. I guess that's why I enjoy and value her words so much. They are never overwhelming, easy to use, or absorb."
She thought you would enjoy knowing that's what one of your readers thinks. :)
Thanks for giving us this!

Note: I'm not affiliated in any way with Apple other than I just love their products. Thought I better clarify that.... :)

Liz said...

how very, VERY nice, apple. thank you so much for your lovely feedback.

Bridget said...

Hi AppleBits,
Thanks for the kind words. It's good to read that you find the concepts easy to take in. bridget