Friday, January 6, 2012

insights and an epiphany ...

I am easing into the new year, attempting to coax some Clarity into myself and my life. I am reconnecting with those practices that support me in slowing down and settling in and hoping to reestablish some healthy routines. Why do I drift away from what I know nourishes and supports me? It's almost as if feeling in alignment is too intense a sensation for me to maintain for any length of time. Or, perhaps being centered feels "off" whereas the Dionysian frenzy I so often find myself in has become my understanding of normal?

Slowly, slowly I've been returning to a morning yoga and meditation practice. I feel so much better when I give myself that hour before my day starts to stretch and empty out. A sense of spaciousness is created and I am able to more mindful dance through my day rather than the above mentioned frenzy. I've headed back to the kitchen after the holiday break and am juicing, making smoothies, gathering fresh produce for soups and stews. It is all very satisfying and supports me physically and mentally as the process of chopping, sauteing, simmering, cooking all force me to slow down and be present. And then enjoy the fruits of my labor.

I also have returned to a daily photo taking practice. I had forgotten how much pleasure I derived from pausing in my day to notice the light flooding the front room of the house, the patterns camouflaged within the clutter and the beauty of my girl. I am enjoying Susannah Conway's Photo Meditations course for the reminders to slow down and really look at the slice of world that is my life. I love looking at other photographers' work and seeing how they translate their love and curiosity and excitement into an image.

But here's the hazard for me - here's were Clarity can slip away: I am easily distracted and find myself wrapped up in another artist's world, in their way of conveying their passion for life into art. I see things I want to try, techniques I want to learn and that is all well and good as Possibility is palpable in those moments of discovery. But the danger for me is becoming enchanted with a world other than my own and measuring myself against those whom I admire. Too easily I get overwhelmed and discouraged.

I realize I take the pictures that I take in order to clearly see and understand the beauty and the joy that lives in my world. I take pictures because the act of looking helps me to see and know how much I truly love my life.

Big epiphany there. The act of documenting my experience, my world, makes manifest the deep love and gratitude I hold for this life I've been gifted.

I look at my photographs and I see a thought or a feeling captured, a memory collected and preserved. I share my pictures with the hope that some small flash of the love I feel is conveyed, but I have to know that what excites and thrills me in my images is inherently subjective for I am seeing my work through the lens of my heart, my life.

If there is anything we are rich in, it is images. We are a visually obese culture. Years ago I met an artist from China who told of riding his bike 100 miles to another village just to see a postcard of a Monet painting. I think about this story often and wonder if I have become lazy. A whole load of looking but very little seeing.

I also know I tend to trivialize my offerings when faced with a Flickr photo pool brimming with hundreds of images. I begin to question whether there really needs to be another photograph of a sunset or hands holding a flower or the clutter of a home? It is easy to discount one's work as one more in a long line of the same-old-thing.

But of course, such comparisons are merely distractions. I return to my intention and with Clarity I understand it is not a competition. My intention for doing what I do is intensely personal and vital and therefore necessary. To me.

And your images, your artwork are necessary to you AND me because the love you put forth invites me to step forward and make my offering. It not the what but the why of what we do: I create because I believe in connection, I believe in clarity,
I believe in understanding, and I know all are essential for Love to expand and thrive within myself and within my world.

So for me, the moment I slip into comparing and judging my work against another is my signal that Clarity has become obscured by foggy thinking. Foggy maybe fine for a landscape, but not for living a life.

Ultimately, it is about how we choose to show up in our lives which for me includes my art. How do you insert your heart into your life? Where will we find traces of your one, wild precious self?


  1. ~"I am seeing my work through the lens of my heart, my life"

    ...that my friend i think is the only thing that is not for others to find beauty or harmony in what we share...though it is is our way as an artist as a person unique in who we are to share what we see and feel through whatever mediums we use in our day to can be so difficult in this endless sea of artist that are budding and blooming to NOT be captivated and inspired...i have felt it many times over...but then i try to find that clarity you were speaking of...we come here because you are true to your share what you feel and that is what has always kept me coming back...i love seeing your photographs...glimpses of your day...reading your words and watching your art evolve...a wonderful post my friend...much love light and blessings~

  2. Stunning photos, Lis. I hope you can look at them both from your heart and from an outer perspective and give yourself a big old pat on the back. You have echoed many other artists sentiments about comparing and not measuring up. We do what we do because we need to. This electronic age has let us create community together, gratefully. Wishing you more clarity as this year unfolds.

  3. I, too, struggle to maintain a slow pace that allows me to linger, to see, to understand. It took me many years to achieve breakneck multi-tasking speed, so I expect it will take awhile to break the habit as well. My heart shows up in my words, which I try not to use loosely. I write to make sense of things, to find the deeper meaning. And to surprise myself.

  4. Oh how I ride the roller coaster with you on - does the world need one more.... ?- but as you so eloquently reminded me - there's room for all of us - and yes we are all needed - with our own vision and creations to bring forth for this wild world we live in together. thank you again Lis for your loving thoughts and gentle reminder to keep's good - all of it - xoxo

  5. ah, so much i could say on this...i have the same crisis of faith sometimes -- i even went and deleted a bunch of 'garbage' photos the other day because they were of weirdly random things like plant pots and cat's ears. that's my existentialist despair at it's finest.....

    but you've given me some really juicy stuff to think *all* matters because it's where we are in our world's right then and that is a truly beautiful place to be.

    i really struggle with visual overload these days -- i've been taking long breaks from the interwebs {in my existential desperation} because i feel completely overwhelmed with it....


    thanks, as always, for being/doing/sharing -- you are force of awesomeness...


  6. Could there ever be too many photos of sun, moon, tree, children, animal, clouds hanging in the sky? I have to remind myself NO, NEVER! It is the moment we are in awe of. . . What you express here in this entire post echoes closely my own path lately- from the juice to the comparing to the discouragement, to the reminder to simply LOVE the life before us. You are so wise and eloquent in your expression of these observations. THANK YOU, dear vata goddess :) Namaste-

  7. As always, this post really strikes a chord for me. Thank you so much for sharing your heart here!

  8. A beautiful post and a beautiful blog. I too am in a place of gently returning myself to an early morning yoga and meditating practice.
    I love your photography and the idea of photo-meditation is so very inspiring.

  9. "And your images, your artwork are necessary to you AND me because the love you put forth invites me to step forward and make my offering."

    Such a beautiful post Lisa. Thank you for the reminder.

    Stephanie :)

  10. The act of documenting my experience, my world, makes manifest the deep love and gratitude I hold for this life I've been gifted - LOVE THIS.

    I love that we are both seeking clarity this year and I understand where you are coming from. I like the idea of starting the day out with some time carved out for you.

    I support and encourage you on your path.