"Life is a banquet. And the tragedy is that most people are starving to death." -Anthony DeMello
Does it feel to you as if we are living in an age of insanity? Insanity in our world, in our government, in our workplaces, in our educational system, and even in our homes...
I have decided not to spend any more time than necessary in places of insanity, for there is much more inspiring and awesome scenery available, and the reality is that we can help ourselves to it. We have a choice. Yes, we even have a choice in dire circumstances to some extent - although that may be considered "advanced practice." But, in my opinion, it's worth building those muscles.
In other words: Be HERE now, not "there" - unless "there" is someplace really awesome that involves palm trees, turquoise water, and a gorgeous sunset (and no bugs!) or whatever stirs your soul, for that will have a calming effect on your body-mind. But if "there" is a painful place to be, then you simply have to train your mind to be HERE - because being "there" is no good for you. It robs the present moment of peace and joy. And really, every moment is precious.
As a player in the human drama, there are elements of my life situation that are definitely insane, and the way I deal with the insanity is to refrain from lingering on the "what's wrong" channel. By this, I don't mean resisting or denying circumstances, but I do my best not to indulge feelings of deprivation and indignation. (It's one thing to "be" with the feelings and take action; it's another to imprison oneself in such mental states.) Although I certainly have my fair share of "stuck" moments and still tune in to that channel out of habit, my tried and true solution is to grab my camera pack and head outdoors to search for beauty. It has become a driving passion.
It feels like a deep, soul need to connect with something AWEsome that expands my separate, limited sense of self and reminds me that I'm more than this or that unsatisfying situation. The more insanity in the world, the more necessary it is to connect with beauty. I read somewhere recently that beauty, love, and God are synonymous. That's how it feels when I connect with the abundant, elevating goodness of the world. That connection facilitates a more peaceful, centered mind that can deal more effectively with disharmony and situations that require attention. It can change the course of a day. In fact, I have begun recording the day's magic moment(s) in my daily planner - for they are important events.
My husband commented to me tonight that my photographs are like a drug. Instead of smoking or drinking intoxicants, I inhale the images I captured during the "magic moments" of the day - thus experiencing them all over again. It's incredible how really entering into an image can bring you back into that numinous space. My breathing slows down, I feel more at peace, and I experience a sense of expansion - not in an egoic sense but in the sense of interbeing with life energy. Sharing my photos (and words) online has given new meaning to my life because it is my hope that others can sense the transcendent energy that I experienced in the moment when capturing the shared images - and open the doors to that dimension.
I know through my own experience that this is possible and give thanks every day for the technology that allows such sharing. This week, for example, my spirit was stirred by an image captured by one of my Facebook contacts. The colors were so vivid and the scene so stunning, and I kept revisiting it in my mind throughout the day. The image - experienced in person by another and then shared - improved the quality of my day. The energy came through. Even if I did not experience it myself, other people's images might bring back the feeling memory of having dwelt in a similar scene at some point in time. Just knowing or remembering that colors like that exist does something to me. We can be of service by reminding one another of the beauty and goodness that exist in this world despite the news headlines.
In my own little corner of the world, the fall foliage has become breathtaking this week as we approach peak. Fall, more than any other time of year, exclaims, "Be here now!"
October is the most visually spectacular month of all when sunlight turns leaf canopies into stained glass masterpieces featuring crimson, orange, gold, and green, and the misty mornings begin like an Ansel Adams landscape until the fog lifts, revealing blazing color.
One day after work, I went off in search of painted turtles sunning themselves on logs. I had run into a couple of high school students on a trail the day before, and they told me about the turtles. However, I didn't see any, and the subject that day ended up being milkweed.
But really, it's always beauty. Or you could call it love. All of its unique expressions are just variations of a theme.
And, of course, the spider web fascination continues. (After all, it is October, the month of Halloween!)
The above picture of a riverside spider web spoke to me:
Said one bead of dew to another:
When we were a river
Flowing toward the ocean?
That led to a strong urge to sit still and watch the beads of dew evaporate into the air and disappear. Something about that transition from water to vapor was calling to me. But there were other possibilities and responsibilities competing for my attention that morning, so I did a Google search and, sure enough, found a time-lapse video of water droplets evaporating from a spider web. Watching the video satisfied a longing, and I felt gratitude toward the person who took the time to photograph and share it.
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Now I'm off to do more leaf-peeping because it seems today is a peak foliage day, and being surrounded by the stunning colors of autumn is my top priority in this moment full of possibilities.
And of course I will share what I find!
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