Living in Frames, by meshing the lyrical moments of life with the captured images of experience. This is a reverie, a journey, the fork in the road, and the never-ending story....

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

saying 'goodbye' to 2015

In just a few short days, it will be 2016 and this makes me a little sad.

For 32 years, I was one to look forward. There were parties and intimate moments to ring in the New Year, there were reasons to say ‘goodbye” and times where it was nice to hold someone’s hand. And it was never really about the passing of time on a calendar, but it was about having an optimistic outlook, starting another year on a fresh foot, and setting goals that would bring out the best, possible version of yourself. It was as though by honoring the New Year’s tradition a “free pass” was granted for all the shortcomings, mistakes, and things given up on too easily. “Look forward and try to not make the same mistakes again,” was the message. All in good faith and tidings, I’m sure.

Charleston, SC 2014
However, over the last couple years I have noticed something very different about my attitude in regards to celebrations. As time has gone on, life has becomes richer and fuller to me, and it no longer feels that I’ve lived a thousand lifetimes (a series of starts and stops, turning around and going the other way), but that the narrative is in fact, seamless and interconnected and filled with purpose. My experiences are not separate incidences from my mistakes, my beliefs are not separate from my fears, and what I can offer others is not separate from any other part of me. This lesson has had such a profound impact on me, I can’t remember any other time in my life where I’ve felt so immersed in the present. 

Too many years I wanted something else for myself and in turn felt a lot of pressure in not being quite good enough. Even the years that by all accounts were successful, to me it always felt as though I could’ve done better. Not that we shouldn’t always be striving to be better people all around, what I think people do forget sometimes is to take the time to slow down and appreciate what we do have.

When I look around me, I see a home filled with love. I see a place brought to life by people who wanted to create something special. Where I am now, is a place I couldn’t have dreamed or imagined, even just a year ago. And every day, I say to myself, how could this possibly get better? If anything, I worry that someday I might lose this, and should that happen I don’t want to ever think that it was never enough—that there was a time I couldn’t wait for these years to pass… No, I will savor this year, like I hope to each and every following year. I will resume cherishing these days, until my cup runneth over.

our first garden, 2015
Reid State Park, ME christmas day stroll
photo credit: Dave Cleaveland

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

reflections.




collage.

Recently, while working with a student, I rediscovered the cathartic pleasure of collage. As a kid, I used to love cutting up old magazines and arranging people, places, and things into a narrative of my own making. Unfortunately, somewhere in adolescence I grew out of this medium, because it seemed childish and a waste of time. But sitting in on a student's art workshop just last week, brought back so many fond memories--of many quiet hours being in my own head, breathing life into some of my dreams and the complexities of the imagination. It was inspiring enough to want to make time for forgotten pastimes. So, I dug out some vintage postcards I've collected over the years and finally found a use for them. 



Sunday, December 13, 2015

If you Google the question, “What is the meaning of life?” The first query entry that comes up is an Albert Camus quote: “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” 

Thanks, Google! I get it. 

Initially, I googled this question for a laugh in spite of my growing cynicism about what is happening in the world these days. Maybe, I was just looking for a dose of fortune cookie wisdom to elevate my spirits, which have been steadily deflating over the last month or so. Trying to stay focused on the positive, is all well and good, but at what point do you begin to question all ideology and life principles?

Having a “spiritual crisis” some call it, but I would say it’s more like relearning the map you were given as a child. In times like these, I can only wish to return to that unadulterated place, where my heart and gut were my best guides.

You see, a healthy child comes into the world trusting with a pure heart and curiosity, learns through experience and exposure, how to navigate and cope with life. Neurologically they develop a built-in system to respond with their natural instincts. The child, if fortunate enough not to experience any trauma during their early development years, possesses an untainted sense of themselves in the world and hopefully the confidence that they have nothing to worry about—that they are safe and all their needs will be met.

As that child grows older, they learn what we as adults refer to as, “reality”, which is really a matter of perspective, as no one’s reality is the same. Some people can relate to one another for having similar experiences, but what they choose to take away and believe in is unique to the individual. Reality is the meaning one assigns to experiences as a maturing individual and the rationalizations they use to justify the decisions they make.

Life is riddled with dilemmas and challenges. But where there are quandaries, there are also lessons. And if you aren’t asking questions every time you reach an impasse, then have you really been learning anything at all?

I’m not one to assume I have it figured out. Though, in recent weeks, my beliefs have certainly been tested, and I’ve felt a whole series of mixed emotions. What I thought might be true, has since been replaced with a giant question mark. And I wonder, where do I look for answers, now? With medical professionals? (But what if I don’t trust they have my best interest in mind?) With God? (But what if I’m unsure if I believe?) With family and friends? (But what if this is a burden I do not wish upon anyone?)

There will also, always be things beyond my understanding and a simple explanation. No matter how much I educate myself, record my findings, share my feelings, and throw myself into life, there will still be unanswered questions I must learn to live with. 

I want to have the faith and fortitude that these converging life experiences will eventually come into a clearer focus and reveal their purpose, in due time. Because when I really dig into it,  it’s just too damn, scary and sad to think there is nothing more to life than biology.