This past week one of my (contemplative) photo assignments carried the theme of "Possibilities". A second challenge to be taken this upcoming week revolved around "Texture". Both spoke to me in very similar ways. I love texture. Perhaps that is why fiber based art appeals to me. I also love the textures found in everyday life: tree bark, concrete, rocks, peeling paint, rust. It is all quite artistic without trying to be so. Consider this small piece of pottery. Consider its size, its color. Consider its stopper, and the texture it brings to the piece. A study in contrasts: the smooth coolness of the pottery vessel itself and the rough textural look and feel of the stopper. Beauty at its best.
But what of possibilities you ask? Wikipedia defines possibility as:
...the condition or fact of being possible. The Latin origins of the word hint at ability. Possibility also refers to something that "could happen"...
If we consider ability, then this lovely little vessel is in perfect sync with the heavens. It has the ability to hold something, but whether it does or not is at the heart of the question. Deeper still is the question of "should it?".
Should it hold something, anything at all? Should it be thought of as purely textural, or do we see the possibilities of it being filled with something hidden from the human eye. A hope? A dream? Or, like Pandora's Box, does it hold the possibility to unleash the unexpected, the unwanted. Without opening the vessel, without removing that which closes the possibility from sight one has no idea. Perhaps removing the stopper won't reveal anything of great importance. On the other hand, perhaps it is much like one's life: open (or closed) to the possibilities that surround each and every one of us. Each of us has the ability to find what is possible- if and only if one remains open. Some days may be more difficult than others, but possibilities are truly endless! Open your own personal vessel and discover. Open your heart. Quietly, contemplatively, open your mind. Anything is possible if only one truly seeks.
Every so often, there comes a time when when one feels a need to reverse the direction of their mundane life. A bit of intrigue. Just a little something provocative, tantalizing, fascinating.
On the other hand, many times all one truly needs to do is stand quietly and simply reflect. These are the times one learns more about their fundamental nature, their purpose, their essence. Puddles will dry, clouds will part and life will go on as usual. Maybe "mundane" truly is enough after all.
Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat which causes entities to quickly pull far away from it and usually hide. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger. -Wikipedia
Perhaps I should put my own spin on fear:
Fear is a doorknob.
A doorknob to a place I am looking forward to transforming. Take the doorknob to my attic for instance. It is a beautiful knob. It shows wear and tear of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of twists and turns. Turn it. Open the door. Stairs will lead me to a room I intend to transform into my quiet space. I can see the clouds from there. I can be still and be happy. I will make art. I've ascended those stairs numerous times in the past few months de-cluttering, planning, getting ready to have another space in which I can create. Until Monday. Monday I turned the knob. I opened the door. I began the ascent and spied something on the third step.
"What's this?" I thought to myself as I brushed it from my path. A strange crunching sound came from the object as it came to rest upon the second step. I brushed at it again, just a bit harder. That strange sound rang out again as the object hit the hardwood of the second floor hallway. "What in the world?"
It was only when the dog came to investigate, and I bent to pick up the offending object that I realized what it really was: a bat.
I will correct myself. Fear is not a doorknob. An unbridled kind of fear, a terrorizing kind of fear, make me want to run screaming from the house kind of fear is a furry mammal with wings. Fear is a bat!
It was small.
It was dead (I hoped).
It was utterly terrifying.
As my heart began to pound uncontrollably and my brain raced (and I do believe I muttered OH MY GOD at least several times in succession), thoughts of what to do next tried to form. I had to deal with it. I had to summon some courage. I had to save my dog, which I tried to do by literally screaming "Leave It!".
From there it became a situation comedy as I told myself to pull up my big girl panties and deal with the situation at hand. I will let your imagination take over, but let me just say- I found that it is amazing how much courage one can muster when forced to problem solve. It may not have been pretty. It may not even have been sane, but it was accomplished. As for my new found courage?? It didn't last long, evidenced by the fact that I slept with my bedroom door shut tight that night and forced the poor neighbor (thank you T!) to take on the actual act of disposal. I chose to stand at the sidelines quieting my beating heart, patting myself on the back for surviving my ordeal and vowing I'd turn that doorknob again- someday!
Life can be a sobering proposition. Life is a crap shoot. Yesterday, we can be on top of the world; today, a totally different story. We allow our hopes and dreams to hinge upon outside influences. How we feel society judges us. What we think is our value is so often based on what we perceive to be other's feelings or actions towards us. Is it any wonder then that so many can fall into a nether world of despair in the blink of an eye? How easy it can be to lose one's self. So many ways at one's disposal to do just that. To hide from the struggles of every day life. Give in to pain, give in to a loathing of circumstance which can then manifest as a loathing of self. Give in to feelings of being misused and abused by things "outside our control". Yet, are they really? Do we as beings of a (supposedly) higher intellect truly have no power over our circumstances? Can we learn to close our eyes and be still for a moment in time, and then just a moment more? Let ourselves feel? Let ourselves hear the internal workings of our minds? Can we learn to connect with our souls? Most importantly, can we find peace? What happens to that connection, that peace, once our eyes are open? If we (as that higher intellectual being) continue to search for some measure of inner peace, can we obtain it without giving up, or giving in? Which path we choose to take is as diverse as the universe itself. Life is a crap shoot. It is to be seized with all we have, all we hope, all we dream, all we are. It is in those hopes, those dreams deep within our souls that we might finally live a life fully realized.
Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith. Challenge one's self. Take on something new. Learn. Grow. Experiment. Contemplate. That is exactly what I hope to do as I go through the remainder of this life of mine. I took that giant leap. I am open to what I might find each and every waking moment. I intend to look at the world-at-large in an entirely different way. To grow. To experiment. To live a contemplative life. This blog will be a chronicle of my journey. It may not always be easy, but then, anything worthwhile doesn't have to be easy. This is home to my new adventure; an adventure using the written word, of using photographs. This will be home to my thoughts on living, and most of all in seeing contemplatively. I invite you to come along for the ride if you so chose. It would be an honor to have you along for the ride...