They don’t part
don’t whisper or utter sounds.
But the songs behind them
could shatter mirrors
reflecting dreams not realized.
April 25, 2017
They don’t part
don’t whisper or utter sounds.
But the songs behind them
could shatter mirrors
reflecting dreams not realized.
April 25, 2017
Only some things get through
What does pierces, shines, nourishes
What doesn’t leaves dark footprints –
reaching, fingering, stretching, searching for light
April 24, 2017
It’s been a little over a week since I decided to leave my job. It’s another first page to another chapter in my life. About a month ago, A and I took a leisurely drive to neighboring Greenwood to check out a bar he had recommended. Sunny outdoor picnic table seating on a front yard of gravel was open. We sat down, had some drinks and yummy appetizers, and soaked in the remaining warmth of the summer. Fall was just around the corner.
It was a moment for us to talk about life and what was working and what wasn’t. For me it was more about what wasn’t. But I had a plan and had made a decision. My life would change soon, but timing seemed difficult, and too many thoughts about everyone else’s feelings would flood my brain. My stomach hurt thinking about it. We finished up and thought it’d be a good idea to go for a short walk. We ended up across the street at a book store. Feeling good from a warm, sunny afternoon, with a drink in us, eyes wide we perused the front section of new books and my eyes locked with these:
Amy Poehler’s Yes Please has been a wonderful read (haven’t finished). But Amy Poehler She is a talented and wonderful role model for women and girls, and I needed to add to my collection of autobiographies of comedians. And I really enjoy her Facebook stream “Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls” which updates with information about young girls and women all over the world who are accomplishing great things and changing how we see women.
But the book on the right actually helped me by kicking me out the door to find the courage to be who I am. I had recently earned my purple belt in Kajukenbo (Chu’an Fa Kung Fu) and was feeling especially empowered, so a book titled You are a BADASS How to Stop Doubting your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life was like like validating my accomplishments while simultaneously calling me out on how I have kept myself from being all that I can be. Where did I go with photography? Where did I go as an artist? As a creative person? It’s the one thing you’re good at, but have never fully owned and embraced. So, here was this book telling me to stop doubting myself so you can start living an awesome life. I almost left this book behind. I wondered if it was like all the other self help books that had exercises and was squishy, but it’s not, and she speaks frankly about attitude adjustment, having faith in yourself, learning how to develop a good relationship with money (because, let’s face it. Money, and spending it, can keep us from doing LOTS of the things we want to do), and how to just give yourself a break and love yourself. If you were asking, I’d say that I recommend Jen Sincero‘s book if you’re looking to make changes NOW.
I think the only thing I’d want to note is that I was ready to find this book. I was ready to own my identity as a badass and recognized, for a while now, that I’ve been holding back (read: sabotaging) who I am for various (not very good) reasons. But after a few attempts at being “normal” and “conventional”, I found that I am neither “normal” or “conventional.” At some point I’m sure I’ll find something steady that I might enjoy doing, but for now I’m going to feel it out and be me. Do what I want. Make what I want. Be who I am.
“We are inundated with so many false messages… and yet there is this spirit, this voice, that comes from somewhere quiet and deep, and it whispers truth. I wanted to create a magazine that gives voice to the heart.”
This is my friend Laura’s Kickstarter. Check it out:
I read an article on ESPN.com about how a 19 year old woman took her own life because she felt she wasn’t being the best. She hid her suffering from her loved ones despite appearing perfectly “normal” and happy if you followed her Instragram feed. The article is very well written and tells the story with kindness and sadness. It inspired me to share the article on my Facebook page, because I believe mental health is still seen as a stigma.
The article got me thinking about how we navigate through this ever-changing landscape of technology that drives how we interact as human beings. How do we stay connected for good reasons? How do we stay on top of what is important to us? How do we gently nudge aside the things that don’t serve us for the better? How do we keep from losing sight of what actually matters. Because let’s be honest, it’s easy to be envious of others. It’s easy to want to be like everyone else, and have what others have. We want to best someone at something. We do this while seeing a friend’s post about how they just bought their new house, have their first child, travel to far-off lands, and even get super buff. I mean, I think it’s okay to have ambition, work toward personal goals, and tough out a challenge. But I feel working towards other people’s goals, striving toward goals set by others, is not what is best for us.
More now than ever, I feel like we are engulfed in images and messages – pretty much instantaneously through the use of our cell phones and tablets – that tell us intentionally (or even unintentionally) that “You’re not doing it right if your life doesn’t look like this.” Through ads, social media feeds, it happens all day, every day. I’ve had my moments of looking through a old friend’s Facebook feed and thought “Man! how come my life can’t be like that!” and I had to stop and think “Wait a minute, that can’t be their whole story. It isn’t their whole story.”
This all brings me to why I’m sharing this Kickstarter with you. Because I think sharing our heart’s truest and boldest stories is important. And with all that, I think everyone should check out Lucia.
I met Laura in a photography class. She came across immediately as a friendly and whole hearted person (If you met her, you really do get a sense that she speaks from her heart). I’m excited for her taking this journey to share a part of herself, and to read about others with the courage and creativity to share the spirit and whispers that come from deep inside. I honestly don’t know about any of the stories that are in the magazine, but I have a feeling the pages will be a place where people come together to share beauty, sadness, loss, love, and joy in a way that strengthens human connection for the better.
Note: I want to be clear that I am not saying that the cause of someone’s sadness is because another person posted about a very cool life experience on Facebook! I love vacation photos, kid/baby/kitteh/puppy videos/photos, even how church made you happy. I think we all pretty much do. But let’s be kind to ourselves and focus on our own individual happiness.
Something about the delicacy of the strips of light against the coarse and peppered concrete are like my attempt of finding the potential greatness in me only to push through a barrier and be greeted by harsh reality and unyielding obstacles and challenges. But somewhere there’s a raft, a blanket, a patch of grass to rest my head and take a breath.
I thought maybe I could try some exercises in self-praise. For those that know me, this is not something that comes easily. I am more quick to criticize my efforts, deem myself mediocre, and see gloom regardless of sunny paths lighting the way. So, here we go.
Summer corn: We are nowhere near summer, here, in the Pacific Northwest. I’m “flipping” through photos on my Flickr photo stream and wanted to post this one of some corn we had one summer. The hint of husk seen in the shadows give the image depth. The light is delicate and revealing. The white kernels add a kind of dance to the cob, letting your eyes move around the image a bit. The folds are just so, dynamic and enhanced by the threads in the husk. Most food photos are shot with a white background, but my attempt was not to make it look like a magazine or food blog photo. More, my attempt was to showcase this piece of corn at the height of its glory before we sunk our teeth into its sweet deliciousness!
Change is hard to get used to. I guess I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me, personally. So, professional advice brought up the fact that physical activity helps bring balance to my life. You know, like, exercise. Now, I can’t say I’ve run a 5K or even jogged around the block. My daily form of exercise is running to my car to move it before the 2hr limit is reached.
So what would work? I looked back on when I was working full time, was reminded that I did really well when I was practicing yoga. Yoga was a time to calm the heck down, go inward, do ONE thing at a time, and just breathe. I found a place to go to, signed up for a few sessions and find myself in an amazingly centered state of being (well, as centered as I can get). The classes I’ve been going to are purposely for me to focus on myself and just be quiet. Yoga is a Yin that is very much needed for my very much Yang personality. In addition to the calm it brings to me mentally, I’ve also learned new stretches that help with the parts of my body that need attention because of the work that I do (photography works my shoulders, wrists, neck, and fingers). So, finding time to not only quiet my mind, but also breathe out tension in my body is very beneficial when I do it for an hour or more. I’ve made the decision that yoga needs to be a life practice. I will sign up for classes as I can afford and will practice at home as much as I can.
I’ve also remembered that I love watching movies with the director’s commentary on 🙂 I put in Newsies by Kenny Ortega, a classic from my childhood with wonderful music, acting, singing, and dancing. In the behind the scenes footage, Mr. Ortega fostered a sense of family and provided ways that the actors (who were all young boys) could relate to the characters and the time period (1899). I listened to how much effort went into making that film from costumes, setting, dealing with 90-100 degree weather while dancing, and the challenges they faced like small time frames to complete scenes, etc. Yesterday, I watched a 4-hour documentary on Woody Allen and what went into making all those movies he’s made for the past 40 years. Hits or not, Mr. Allen cares more about making a movie he likes and wants to make and not movies he thinks others will like. What does it matter what other people think? He just wants to make movies.
So what does this have to do with me? Well, as I’ve found out, the yoga helps me center and give myself the time to be kind and patient with myself. The movies help me realize that creative projects, or art, are efforts. A whole lot of resources, collaboration, compromise, and limitations stood in the way before they could even get a glimpse of what they really envisioned. It reassures me that their creation didn’t just fall from the sky and look perfect. For me, it helps me be patient with myself if I don’t get the results I want with my photography. The most I can do is show up and do what I do. If I like it, I like it. And it shouldn’t matter what other people think. We are in a world where everything we do, for some reason, has to amount to making money or making a name for ourselves. That thought to me is completely overwhelming. The more I think about it, the more I wonder where I’m going, the more I get lost. I just need to concentrate and focus on the present and be there for myself. I won’t be able to nurture my soul if my attention strays in hundreds of directions all at once.
Along the lines of my post from a while back titled On Music – the Other Love of my Life, I think it important to touch upon how cathartic and therapeutic it can be to make playlists that match a certain mood or remind you of another time and place, whether it was good or bad. I don’t mean to dwell on the past, but I definitely recognize and appreciate that I felt what I did even if it sucked. There really is something to accepting the choices I’ve made in my life and knowing there isn’t anything to regret.
This post and the image below is in response to a question I received from another blogger/photographer. Between 2001-2002, my life was in total uncertainty. I was in a relationship that I don’t think I was fully IN (I wasn’t present). I was a lost, confused, feeling-guilty, stifled 23-year-old. By the time I figured out what I wanted to do, there really wasn’t a relationship to salvage, so I decided to leave. It hurt and it was bad, but it had to be done.
It was a very surreal time. I felt incredibly raw. It was like my whole body could finally sweat and I could allow myself to feel the way I wanted. I was vulnerable, miserable, angry, and craved independence despite its overwhelming paralyzing effects. The songs below are songs I listened to from that time and songs that have popped up that I can associate with the feelings I had then. They either remind me of the time it all came crumbling down, or those times I remember writing out pissed-off poems. Times I was meeting new people, experiencing new people, working late hours, driving and climbing up mountains, and just laying on that horrible futon with the lump in the middle.
I felt I had to write the titles and artists’ names out. Something about the ink to the pad makes me happier than doing a screen capture of my iTunes list. With as much emotion as I get out of listening to this list, it seemed an injustice to do that, so I wrote it out. The songs don’t entirely flow together, but that doesn’t matter to me. I know when each one played, where I was, and how I reacted to it.
So if you are someone who groups music together to fit a certain mood or motivate you to act a certain way, I feel you. If you’ve never done it, I say give it a try and let loose. Remember that one time?