Monday, August 30, 2010
I am change:
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The idea rattled around my brain. I remember wondering why my daughter sniffing her nose and the neighbor's barking dog made me crazy. Why did they bother me?
One day I realized my sweetie and I have very different perspectives about standing up (in public) for what we believe. I can still hear Mom in the backyard, speaking angrily to me about my having told the neighbors that she was a Democrat. "It's no body's business," she scolded in a loud whisper. Funny, I don't talk about political beliefs with anyone except very close friends and family. My sweetie on the other hand has ancient black and white photos of his mother marching in a crowd in Times Square. He's the kind of guy that will stand on the street corner with a sign of protest stapled to a 1x3" garden stake. There is a part of me that envies his courage and a part of me that cringes at his gall.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I related this to those of us who are seeking the blissful path and how hard it is to know where to go and what to do, and how easy it is to latch on to the next sunny idea that bounces in our head rather than stick to that sustaining idea that keeps calling us from our gut. Instead we jump on the next bandwagon or throw up our arms and surrender to status quo because there are too many options. If I hadn't been asked to look at the archive using a different lens this solid piece of work would've gone unnoticed. I'm sure the lesson is in being true to my artist's eye and avoiding making artistic decisions based on superficial attributes.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
One of the women waited until everyone else shared and then admitted she really didn't know why she was there, she was physically hurting and really had nothing to say except that she felt like her life was falling apart--job, relationship, health. Everything out of control. She was crying by the time she uttered her last word. The blanket of concern silently covered her shoulders.
Someone joked about how little we control, and we laughed about the lessons to help us learn to recognize it. And how we are offered the lesson over and over until we get it. There was nodding consensus.
"Have you given birth to a child?" the woman sitting on the piano bench asked her.
"No," was all she said.
"No matter, it's just a metaphor anyway for the kind of human pain that occurs in things like childbirth."
"It's called transition. I had one woman grab my arm and yell 'I cannot do this one more minute, I am losing it!'" remembered the nurse in the overstuffed chair.
"Yeah, I literally pushed my kids' Dad out of my way and told him to get away from me I was so over the edge," said the hostess.
The woman quietly sobbed through her puzzlement.
"This is where the Mom is dialated and ready to give birth," the nurse confirmed.
"Sometimes change feels like the transition of childbirth. Just when you think you cannot endure one more moment, you give birth to a new you or a new part of you. Is it possible you are in transition? And you're about to give birth to the new you? asked the woman on the piano bench.
The women surrounded the crying woman, each touching a small patch of her aching left side. The leader said some words of blessing.
And then they cut the cake.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
When I'm working with all my heart I do crazy things like willingly get up before 5:00am to get the best light. I sit for hours waiting for the perfect context to live by so I can capture it. I spend hours looking and re-looking at images and going out again to get better light on a promising shot. No sweat. No taste for grumbling or hesitating. I even bought a ticket on a Saturday evening for the local river cruise so I could shoot by my subject from a prime vantage point while others ate and drank. I have a feeling no one bothered me while I lurked around searching for the perfect shot because I had this big smile on my face the whole time and no one dared encounter the grinning nut with the camera.
Part of the joy for me comes undoubtedly with the assignment itself. I was actually hired to take photos of a local historical landmark (permanently altering my amateur status). I like having the clarity of an assignment. I got that assignment through my network, those who are aware of and support my work. As a matter of fact I wouldn't have been considered for the assignment had it not been for one of the women in my writer's group. Daily, walking the path of bliss. But the other is in living my mission--behold, ask, learn, create, share, connect. I walked within the joy of my talents and gifts and it left a silly smurk on my face. I highly recommend it.
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
I mourn for you
Awareness before change
“I was hoping to come back and join you in bed,” my sweetie said clearly disappointed as he walked past me on his way to the bedroom after spending the night in the guest room where his back finds respite. “Too late,” I retorted, fully clothed, brewing a cup of coffee and unfolding my buttermilk pancake recipe. He continued to our bed, surely hoping I would change my mind. Standing my ground meant we missed out on the irreplaceable morning “spoon”—a defiance way beyond the occasion and very much out of character.
I had nothing to say on this Pancake Sunday--a ritual we started to bring the family back to the fold once a week, even after Mom arrived; even when my sweetie tried to get me to leave my post at the grill to come see the critters converged on the deck enjoying the morning’s banquet of seeds and suet. I ignored him. “I’ve got pancakes to turn,” I growled under my breath.
I could feel myself slipping over the edge as Mom poured syrup and detailed the lives of her neighbors and their little girl whom she cannot forgive for going without underpants, and the impending birth of twins, and the small house they live in, and the Mom’s favorite coffee and their latest conversation encased in a “Then I said,” and “Then she said,” recalling every word. “I don’t care,” I thought, through my blank stare.
That was the first time I realized my heart hurt. Not the “I’m-having-a-heart-attack” kind of hurt, but an ache in the anterior. I breathed deep into the pain and sighed.
Luckily only Mom had joined us on this Sunday after Thanksgiving. Instead of the usual group of friends and optimistic chit-chat, we ate with an uncomfortable quiet. It didn’t take long for her to pack up and go home after breakfast, leaving me alone to dwell on the status of my relationship, the recent and untimely death of a friend, my floundering career. My heart hurt. I breathed deep and sighed and relieved it for a moment more.
Awareness October 2009
Darkness had not yet dissolved on the Saturday morning I awoke anxious and sad and inconsolable. The contrast was stark to the usual song in my head. The frenzy prevented me from turning and breathing and willing myself back to sleep. What? I wondered.
The channels flipped on my internal tube, exposing trailers of unfinished business, the chasm I feared growing between me and my daughter, the class the previous day that produced two negative evaluations, conversation with the neighbors at dinner the night before where we talked about elders and our turn, Thanksgiving plans upended again in a phone call.
I paused and hit replay. Decades of chaotic Thanksgiving scenes montaged through; my Dad’s death on the holiday when I was 5, yelling and swats with the hair brush over dresses and curls, a major riff in the family where half split off to celebrate elsewhere, Mom insisting on celebrating one place or another creating the necessity to “pick sides,” my daughter throwing up to avoid choosing, the ache in my heart the year before. Years of chaos and drama created by ancient sadness and suffering disguised itself as current reality and visited me there in my bed to me to remind me to move on.