I was recently in Vancouver, BC. And there are parts of the city, that for lots of reasons, are less than beautiful at first glance. There is a particular street that has several factors working against it. So, I’d be justified in saying it’s not beautiful. It also tends to smell a little like a chicken rendering plant from time to time. The point is, I am a bit more challenged to find what’s good about it, than in much of the rest of the city. Until, the sun comes from behind the street, lights up the city skyline and reaches all the way to this fence. All the way to these delicate flowers and fills them with light. Which I wouldn’t have seen, if I weren’t looking. If I weren’t hoping to find something beautiful. Thing is, I had to let go of the idea of ugly before I could find the other. Sometimes, maybe it’s just letting go of an idea… maybe it’s just that simple.
“It is not titles that honour men, but men that honour titles.” ~ Machiavelli
I thought of this quote as I was performing the most benal task this morning. I don’t really have a title. But I have a place. I have roles. And I was wondering what kind of honor I have brought to them. As small as they have been. Not a lot. Not very often. And it hasn’t been the mistakes that I have made that brought dishonor, but my heart. I’m glad I have time. I have today.
Seven years ago. I posted my first images on a photography site. After years of not picking up my camera. After years of trying to live up to some labels while trying to get rid of certain others. I resurrected part of my self. Through my photography. Again. Call it art. Call it a mess. I called it mine. These are the words I posted with that first image. Strange how I was reminded of these same words just today.
…surrendering to what’s fragile. giving in. no longer asking to be anything else for anyone else. I know who I am. at this moment, I know.
make up whatever you want…
… I am that
Just yesterday, a friend asked me, “what now”? And it’s hard to know. Because my world changed and I wasn’t ready to change with it. Ready doesn’t matter. So, two days ago, I began asking new questions. Looking for new answers. Heart open. It’s time. To start from a place of love and take one more step. Toward light. Toward living. Toward more love. Treading softly as I dream new dreams one at a time. Building them little by little. Sharing them as I go.
I have been listening lately to people talk about how they feel too deeply or give too freely, all of it leaving them open to hurt. And the people in particular that I’m thinking of are two of my favorite people. Not just because of who they have been to me, but because of who they are. As people. One of them wants to shut down, close her heart, because she gets hurt when she opens it. The other feels he has given so much of himself to others that there is now very little left. To give at all. Both have gotten hurt as a result. The thing is–the problem is, I think it’s all connected. The abilities I think we have to open our heart, feel too intensely, leaving us hurt, give too much, leaving us depleted, is all part of the wondrous people we are. It’s deeply entwined with the way we receive and give love. The way we express. The way she is able to be on stage in front of hundreds of people and stir someone’s soul with her voice. And the way he is able to translate a vision of light and emotion in his head through a lens and have it bring someone to tears. And I have to believe this about myself. The areas of my being that allow me to feel the most pain and often frustration, are the very parts that allow me to see beauty in the world and people around me. To shut down the part of me that feels “too” deeply, means I shut off the ability to feel joy as well as pain. Even what we create, if we are able to create at all, becomes a partial expression. It seems like a shame to put out the fire, just because it might burn me, when it’s the same fire that warms me when I’m cold. And that. is the struggle.
I’ve been a little short on hope lately. At times, it seems to disappear altogether. I know it’s still there. Just obscured. Hidden behind barriers of discouragement and frustration. Facts and reality. And because it isn’t something I can’t conjure up. I can’t produce it. Sometimes, I have to wait for it to reappear. Unfortunately, waiting… not my strong suit. Especially when Hope is such a driving force behind this new journey of mine. Going forward without it can be difficult at best. Well, this morning, it was there. Right there. Smiling at me when I woke up. I didn’t ask it any questions, like where the hell have you been?, I just smiled back. Then I reached for the book beside my bed. On life in Seattle.