Friday, August 01, 2014
If it is a seamlessness to the experience, a freedom from the fractured experience you have known, and a tranquil calm quality of presence and an ability to no longer be jerked around by people and the circumstances you will surely face, detachment becomes a necessity.
And it is not as it might sound to you. This doesn't lead to a withdrawal from it all and from people. It makes possible a completely new and healthy way of engaging in it all.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
"I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."
~ Stephen Grellet, 1773-1855
French-born Quaker Minister
I think of that observation often and regularly since first hearing it. And I make a concerted effort everyday to live my life in a way that always respects the reality of it, with regard to people, situations, and place. I have thought of the quote almost everyday this week in the studio due to a reoccurring conversation I have had with a few clients, a conversation spurred by the photographs on display there. I have become very aware of the fact that I cannot go out and reproduce the best of my photographs. They are moments in time...captured once. And I do know this, I have tried. None of them were shots I set out to capture. I just happened to be there, and noticed something in that moment that captured my imagination and then stopped and responded to it.
When we miss the moment...it is missed...and it passes...never to pass again in the same way.
It pays to pay attention. In nature you might glimpse, in a moment, beauty that will take your breath away in a way that will leave you forever changed...awakened. When it comes to people you might just capture and create a moment of compassion that will leave them forever changed, restored....and that too will leave you changed as well.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
It is impossible to cheat this reality.....life is transient.
Everything is passing. It has been a very contemplative day for me. Most of it spent in solitude, stillness, silence, and surrounded by beauty. The photography is a contemplative practice for me as well. Whether I have the camera with me or not, there are times when my mind is still and I am attentive to remaining singularly focused on what is in front of me in each moment. Today I live in a mode of always sensing that there is no shortage of things worthy of the reverence with which I am learning to approach this wild trip of being alive and being here.
There are also times I attempt as best I can to enter into the Nothingness where all the clutter and noise of the surface quiets down. In this space one has a chance to begin to hear another voice speak. And I came to find out that this voice is not the "voice" I became familiar with in my days of religious practice. The religious voice was a voice that never brought to me the joy, and peace, and rest I have found over the past several years. And real tangible paradox comes into play here as well. A clearer view of "what is" happens in this contemplative space. A clearer view that travels right next to mystery and uncertainty and dances together...inseparable. I no longer feel the need to untangle them. Some things just belong together.
My best friend stopped by for a brief visit today...unannounced. He found me sitting on the swing in the garden space behind the house. He joined me on the swing for a bit and we talked. He brought up a new reality he is becoming acquainted with....transience. In a way it has been forced upon him. He has been in a long season of having things stripped away from him. Big things. Things that would leave most men I know cowering in a corner in a fetal position drooling on themselves. He and I can relate now. When that kind of season came upon me several years ago we couldn't. He didn't understand. When he had to leave, as he walked away he turned back to me and through a shaky voice and tears he said...and I am now losing this too. He and I have lived across the street from each other for 28 years. And that has happened in 3 different neighborhoods. We grew up in the same house too. He is my younger brother. Due to some of those things being stripped away from him they will be moving. To just surprise me at a moments notice by walking across the street to chat will not happen anymore once they move. Things are changing.
Who knows, I too might at some point be forced to let this quiet tranquil garden space I have developed over the past 18 years go. Everything is changing.
I am pleased to be able to say that I have come to understand and accept, embrace, that solid ground isn't ground that doesn't move. Solid ground is a reality and it is more like a river that flows and changes. And it is best to let go. If you don't....arms can get jerked off.
Acceptance is a very subversive and transformative force. And there is still a lot of pain to endure, regardless.
Friday, July 11, 2014
I can't possibly post this photo of the moon lit sky tonight without adding the ending, the last paragraph of my favorite book Eternal Echoes.
"In the pulse-beat is the life and the longing, all embraced in the great circle of belonging, reaching everywhere, leaving nothing and no one out. This embrace is mostly concealed from us who climb the relentless and vanishing escalator of time and journey outside where space is lonesome with distance. All we hear are whispers, all we see are glimpses; but each of us has the divinity of imagination which warms our hearts with the beauty and depth of a world woven from our glimpses and whispers, an eternal world to assure us that from all eternity we have belonged, and to answer the question that echoes at the heart of all longing: While we are here, where is it that we are absent from?" ~ John O'Donohue
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Just imagine as you look into this photo......I was standing in the silence and fading light under a canopy of trees when the last rays of the setting sun settled, for just awhile, on this lovely Leopard Lily. The lily was just available to reflect the light. And I was available to notice.
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."
When I Am Among the Trees...from Mary Oliver's Thirst: Poems
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Until the heart is content, the mind continues to wander off searching for belonging. All of which turns out to be false belonging.
We arrive at true belonging by way of the long surrender. We finally give up the activity of wandering off from the here and now once we recognize what we already have and has been with us all along. There is nothing outside ourselves that will make us content....no relationship, no possession, no experience.
Contentment is all inner invisible world stuff. It's a healing of the fractured experience that had defined our lives while discontented. It returns us to a seamless, tranquil, more poised way of being. And it transforms how we will from now on relate to and engage with the visible world, simply because now we are no longer needy and are no longer attempting to scrape from others, and from possessions, and from experiences something these things cannot possibly provide for us.
"The world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, only by a spiritual journey, by which we arrive at the ground at our feet and learn to be at home." ~ Wendell Berry
For the one who is content, it's the simplest and most ordinary things that now satisfy.
To begin to experience, really encounter the extraordinariness of the most simple things, leaves you feeling wonderfully alive at all times. Your eyes have now been graced once again to recognize real beauty and and to know that you know that you are surrounded by it on all sides and infused with it wherever you go. This is something no one or no thing can ever take away from you.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
All the carefully detailed plans people make for the future, I no longer have any interest in the activity. I won't go as far as to say that the activity is foolish, I wouldn't want to offend anyone. But I will say it is a prison of our own making if we go that route. There is no respect of freedom or spontaneity involved in it. Not really. We do such damage to the wild and unpredictable beautiful dream that brought us here while we are so caught up in trying to map out the future. And if we can be honest about it, it all is just an attempt at creating a security for ourselves that does not exist. In the process, we disregard the moment and all that is happening, in ways we can't even begin to fathom. We are left taking the bounty of the gift and somehow spinning it in order to turn it into our own little self serving over indulgent adventures in missing the point.
And all the while, something better, something more inclusive, something more gracious, more generous, travels alongside us inviting us to awaken and allow the dream to reframe it all for us so that we can join in on the renewal....the retrieving of what we all have lost with regard to our humanity.