Nikon D750   f/4.5  1/400s 85mm  1400 ISO

“…is it the wish—the dreamlike, bombastic wish—to stand once again at that point in my life and be able to take a completely different direction than the one that has made me who I am now?

“There is something peculiar about this wish, it smacks of paradox and logical peculiarity. Because the one who wishes it—isn’t the one who, still untouched by the future, stands at the crossroads.  Instead, it is, the one marked by the future become past who wants to go back to the past, to revoke the irrevocable. And would he want to revoke it if he hadn’t suffered it. …it’s the absurd wish to go back behind myself in time and take myself—the one marked by events—along on this journey.”  ~P Mercier (Night Train to Lisbon, pp. 51-54)

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” ~ Heraclitus

When my heart came to rule
in the world of love,
it was freed
from both belief
and from disbelief.

On this journey,
I found the problem
to be myself.

When I went beyond myself,
the pathway finally opened.
~Mahsati Ganjavi     

initially posted in November, 2018


if I go to heaven I will forget you,

and

if I go to hell you will forget me.*

memoryportraiture
self portraiture created through the use of mixed media

In China a person who will not forget the past is described as ‘one who did not drink Old Lady Meng’s soup.’ Borrowed from Buddhist folklore, Old Lady Meng dispenses the Broth of Oblivion to souls leaving the last realm of the underworld on their way to reincarnation. After drinking her soup, the soul is directed to the Bridge of pain that spans a river of crimson water. There, two demons lie in wait: Life-Is-Not-Long and Death-is-Near. They hurl the soul into waters that will lead to new births.

Old Lady Meng is more than a quaint antidote for the Greeks’ Mnemosyne. She embodies a psychological understanding about the forces that promote, indeed demand, forgetting for the sake of ongoing life.  It is not enough to note that water is linked with amnesia in Chinese folklore as much the same way that the river Lethe is associated with forgetting in Greek mythology. The challenge here is to make sense of the distinctively Chinese attachment to remembrance in spite of the benefits of Old Lady Meng’s soul.

In Jewish tradition, too, the benefits of amnesia were acknowledged along with the sacred commitment to recollection. There is a midrash, or Torah-based story, that teaches us a lesson similar to that of Lady Meng: ‘God granted Adam and Eve an all-important blessing as they were about to leave the Garden of Eden: I give you, He said, ‘the gift of forgetfulness.” What is so precious about amnesia? Why would God, who demands fidelity to memory, offer the relief from recollection?Perhaps it is because without some ability to forgive and forget we might become bound by grudges and hatred. To remember everything may be immobilizing. To flee from memory, however, leads to an ever more debilitating frenzy.(40-41)**

source:

*Arang and the Magistrate

Munhwa broadcasting corporation 

**Bridge Across Broken Time

Vera Schwarcz

Initially posted on October 10, 2013

Individuals have within themselves vast resources for self understanding and for altering their self concepts, basic attitudes, and self directed behavior; these resources can be tapped if a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided.   ~ Carl Rogers

I am acquainted with a mind filled with multiple crosscurrents of unfinished thoughts, stifled emotions, and passing moods. There is also a growing recognition that at times I am overwhelmed by discursive thoughts that are formed by habitual ways of thinking, led by my own various prejudices, impacted by personal preferences or aversions, colored by laziness or selfishness, and intensified by faulty or superficial observations. Sometimes I awaken to myself to find that while engaged in a behavior, my mind has entered a dreamlike state, and therefore events and conversations are vague and fragmentary.  Sometimes I acknowledge this process or attribute it to boredom, anxiety, doubt, impatience, exhaustion, misjudgments, and self-salient triggers.

Protecting oneself, one protects others; protecting others, one protects oneself . . . And how does one, in protecting oneself, protect others? By the repeated and frequent practice of meditation.

And how does one, in protecting others, protect oneself? By patience and forbearance, by a non-violent and harmless life, by loving kindness and compassion.” But self-protection is not selfish protection. It is self-control, ethical and spiritual self-development.  ~ The Buddha

springcreekbnwreflections2web

Every healing intervention is motivated by suffering and hope – be it of the individual, family, friends, or a community agency.  The value within suffering is that it contains a message of incongruence that awakens the motivation to heal. William James wrote that life is the manifestation of behaviors that attempt to avoid, overcome, or remove that which is seen to block us from that which we desire.

The personal story is a narrative of our unique sense of identity.  We create our identities through the stories we weave onto a tapestry that is formed against the background of our family mythologies. We pull threads from of an assemblage of recalled details from our pasts and weaved them into images that cast us in whatever role corresponds with our current situations, feelings, thoughts, or actions. The colored threads of this tapestry are often re-embroidered to reflect the creative and dynamic process of our perspectives as we shift in, out, and between various roles, feeling states, and cognitions.  As we reflect on our self-created images we are in turn affected by them; therefore, there is an unconscious re-weaving of our tapestries.

 Our self-stories as well as our family mythologies create and maintain our identities and thus influence how we anticipate experiences, act, and subsequently interpret our situation.  Becoming aware of the tapestry and images we are creating frees us to review patterned behaviors, reframe our story through different colored concepts, and to release rigid interpretations.

landscape 1

Within … a supportive and non-judgmental environment, each is invited into a process of bare attention that is non-coercive as they uncover the seeds of their suffering and thus begin to strengthen their recovery with renewed energy.  It is after a meeting during the quiet of one’s alone time that each attendee begins a process of dismissing what is personally invalid, questioning harmful behavioral patterns, or replacing painful concepts with constructive meanings.  They, through their own individual reflection, take what is helpful for them at the moment and let the rest flow away.

contemplativephoto-peace

Through this process of externalization, validation, and reformation an individual is being invited to become other to herself as if she were the audience in a movie theatre watching her life story being retold on a screen.  Consequently, a new relationship with the self is formed that lessens the suffering that comes out of subjective rigidity, alienation of self as “the only one”, and attachment to shame and guilt.

Excerpts: Koeford, B., A Meditative Journey with Saldage

Initial posting September, 2016

In all things, the Way does not want to be obstructed, for if there is obstruction, there is choking; if the choking does not cease, there is disorder, and disorder harms the life of all creatures ~Chuang-Tzu*

linesandshapes (4)

When I chisel a wheel, if the blows of the mallet are too gentle, the chisel slides and won’t take hold. But if they’re too hard, it bites in and won’t budge. Not too gentle, not too hard–you can get it in your hand and feel it in your mind.  You can’t put it into words, and yet, there’s a knack to it somehow. I can’t teach it to my son, and he can’t learn it from me. ~Wheelwright P’ien*

*cited in:

Tao of Photography Seeing Beyond Seeing

Philippe L. Gross & S.I. Shapiro

initially posted on September 21, 2013

isolation retreat 76th day

excerpt: Jens Peter Jacobsen, Niels Lyhne. A Project Gutenberg of Australia ebook. *

“Niels Lyhne … was not in his poems; he merely put the verses together. But now a change came over him. Now that he wooed a woman and wanted her to love him–him, Niels Lyhne of Lönborggaard, who was twenty-three years old, walked with a slight stoop, had beautiful hands and small ears, and was a little timid, wanted her to love him and not the idealized Nicolaus of his dreams, who had a proud bearing and confident manners, and was a little older–now he began to take a vital interest in this Niels whom he had hitherto walked about with as a slightly unpresentable friend. He had been so busy decking himself with the qualities he lacked that he had not had time to take note of those he possessed, but now he began to piece his own self together from scattered memories and impressions of his childhood and from the most vivid moments of his life. He saw with pleased surprise how it all fitted together, bit by bit, and was welded into a much more familiar personality than the one he had chased after in his dreams. This figure was far more genuine, far stronger, and more richly endowed. It was no mere dead stump of an ideal, but a living thing, full of infinite shifting possibilities playing through it and shaping it to a thousandfold unity. Good God, he had powers that could be used just as they were! He was Aladdin, and there was not a thing he had been storming the clouds for but it had fallen right down into his turban.”

skyscape: Nikon D750 f/8 1/125s 92mm 400 ISO edited Capture One 20

*This ebook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at http://gutenberg.net.au/license.html.

“He fell asleep, and this is what he dreamed.

“The long golden rays seemed to turn into the bars of a cage. Yes, he was in a huge cage! He tried frantically to get out! He beat against the bars! Then he saw what looked like the roots of trees, and brown tree trunks, a grove all around the cage. But the trees moved and stepped about, and, looking up the trunks, instead of leaves he saw feathers, and still farther, sharp beaks, and then bright eyes looking at him. They were birds!

“What he had thought were the roots of trees were their claws, and the trunks of the trees were their legs. But what enormous birds! They were as big as men, while he was as small as a bird.

“‘Let me out!’ he shouted. ‘Don’t you know I am the Emperor, and every one must obey me? Let me out, I say!’

“‘Ah, he is beginning to sing,'” said one bird to another.

“‘Not a very musical song. Too shrill by far! Take my advice, wring his neck and roast him. He would make a tender, juicy morsel for our supper.’

“‘Oh, let me out! Please, please let me out!’ cried the poor Little Emperor in terror.

“He is singing more sweetly now,” remarked one of the birds. 

“‘Too loud! Quite ear-splitting!’ said a lady bird, fluffing out her breast feathers and lifting her wings to show how sensitive she was.

“‘If he were mine I should pluck him. His little yellow silk trousers would line my nest so softly.’

“‘Oh, please, please set me free!’

“‘Really, his song is growing quite charming! But one can’t stand listening to it all day.’

“And with a great whir and flap and rustle of wings the birds flew away and left him in his cage, alone.

“He called for help and threw himself against the bars until he was exhausted. Then bruised, panting, his heart nearly breaking out of his body, he lay on the floor of the cage. Finally, growing hungry and thirsty, he looked in his seed and water cups, drank a little lukewarm water, and ate a dry bread crumb. Now and then birds came and looked at him. Some of them tried to catch his pigtail with their beaks or claws.

“Next day the Little Emperor was thoughtful. Could it be, he wondered, that a little bird’s nest was as dear to it as his own bed with its rainbow coverlets and its moon and stars was to him? That a little bird liked ripe berries and cold brook water as much as he liked ripe peaches and tea with jasmine flowers? That a little bird was as frightened when he tried to catch its tail in his fingers as he was when the birds tried to catch his pigtail?

“And then he thought of how he had felt when the lady bird had wanted his pantaloons to line her nest, and, hot with shame, he remembered his glistening jewel-bright blue cloak made of thousands of kingfishers’ feathers. It had made him miserable to think of their taking his clothes, but suppose his clothes grew on him as their feathers did on them? How would he have felt then, hearing the bird say: “I should pluck him. His little silk trousers would line my nest so softly’?”

“He went to bed thinking about his little brown bird, and before he shut his eyes he made up his mind to set it free in the morning.

“Then he fell asleep, and once again he dreamed that he was in the golden cage.

“Whir-rr! One of the great birds flew down by the cage door. With his claw he unfastened it – opened it! 

“Oh, how exciting! The Little Emperor tore out, so afraid he would be stopped and put back in the cage!

“Oh, how he ran across the room and through the open door! Free! He was free! Tears rushed to his eyes, and his heart felt as if it would burst with happiness.

“But it was winter…”

cited: The Dream Coach
by Anne Parrish, 1888-1957 and Dillwyn Parrish, 1894-1941.
New York: The Macmillan company, 1924. Copyright not renewed. 

68th day of self isolation 

Skyscape photograph Nikon D750 f/8 1/400s 135 mm 400 ISO edited: Capture One 20

“Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?”

sunset

“… The unpardonable sin of the supreme power is that it is supreme. I do not curse you for being cruel. I do not curse you (though I might) for being kind. I curse you for being safe! You sit in your chairs of stone, and have never come down from them. You are the seven angels of heaven, and you have had no troubles. Oh, I could forgive you everything, you that rule all mankind, if I could feel for once that you had suffered for one hour a real agony such as I—”
Syme sprang to his feet, shaking from head to foot.
“I see everything,” he cried, “everything that there is. Why does each thing on the earth war against each other thing? Why does each small thing in the world have to fight against the world itself? Why does a fly have to fight the whole universe? Why does a dandelion have to fight the whole universe? For the same reason that I had to be alone in the dreadful Council of the Days. So that each thing that obeys law may have the glory and isolation of the anarchist. So that each man fighting for order may be as brave and good a man as the dynamiter. So that the real lie of Satan may be flung back in the face of this blasphemer, so that by tears and torture we may earn the right to say to this man, ‘You lie!’ No agonies can be too great to buy the right to say to this accuser, ‘We also have suffered.’
“It is not true that we have never been broken. We have been broken upon the wheel. It is not true that we have never descended from these thrones. We have descended into hell. We were complaining of unforgettable miseries even at the very moment when this man entered insolently to accuse us of happiness. I repel the slander; we have not been happy. I can answer for every one of the great guards of Law whom he has accused. At least—”
He had turned his eyes so as to see suddenly the great face of Sunday, which wore a strange smile.
“Have you,” he cried in a dreadful voice, “have you ever suffered?”
As he gazed, the great face grew to an awful size, grew larger than the colossal mask of Memnon, which had made him scream as a child. It grew larger and larger, filling the whole sky; then everything went black. Only in the blackness before it entirely destroyed his brain he seemed to hear a distant voice saying a commonplace text that he had heard somewhere, “Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?”

cited: G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday (The Project Gutenberg Ebook)

Note: “This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at www.gutenberg.org.”

Photograph created with Nikon D750 f/89 1/40s 68mm 400 ISO and edited with Capture One 20

Safer at Home: 5th day plus day 46

…the fairest dreams and the deepest longings do not add an inch to the stature of the human soul.

Jens Peter Jacobsen, Niels Lyhne Trans: Hanna Astrup Larsen, Project Gutenberg of Australia
sunset… April 28, 2020

“She loved poetry.

“But the poems! They teemed with new ideas and profound truths about life in the great outside world, where grief was black, and joy was red; they glowed with images, foamed and sparkled with rhythm and rhyme. They were all about young girls, and the girls were noble and beautiful–how noble and beautiful they never knew themselves. Their hearts and their love meant more than the wealth of all the earth; men bore them up in their hands, lifted them high in the sunshine of joy, honored and worshiped them, and were delighted to share with them their thoughts and plans, their triumphs and renown. They would even say that these same fortunate girls had inspired all the plans and achieved all the triumphs.

“She lived on poems, dreamed poems, and put her faith in them above everything else in the world. Parents, sisters and brothers, neighbors and friends–none of them ever said a word that was worth listening to. Their thoughts never rose above their land and their business; their eyes never sought anything beyond the conditions and affairs that were right before them.

“Why might not she herself be such a girl? They were thus and so–and they never knew it themselves. How was she to know what she really was? And the poets all said very plainly that this was life, and that it was not life to sit and sew, work about the house, and make stupid calls.

“When all this was sifted down, it meant little beyond a slightly morbid desire to realize herself, a longing to find herself, which she had in common with many other young girls with talents a little above the ordinary. It was only a pity that there was not in her circle a single individual of sufficient distinction to give her the measure of her own powers. There was not even a kindred nature. So she came to look upon herself as something wonderful, unique, a sort of exotic plant that had grown in these ungentle climes and had barely strength enough to unfold its leaves; though in more genial warmth, under a more powerful sun, it might have shot up, straight and tall, with a gloriously rich and brilliant bloom. Such was the image of her real self that she carried in her mind. She dreamed a thousand dreams of those sunlit regions and was consumed with longing for this other and richer self, forgetting–what is so easily forgotten–that even the fairest dreams and the deepest longings do not add an inch to the stature of the human soul.

cited: Jens Peter Jacobsen, Niels Lyhne. A Project Gutenberg of Australia ebook. *

sunset…April 28, 2020: Nikon D750 f/8 1/30s 45mm 400 ISO edited Capture One 20

*This ebook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at http://gutenberg.net.au/license.html.

Safer at Home: 4th day plus day 46

What with one thing and another — that cup of coffee (which must nowadays be drunk with reverence, for each day it may be our last)…

Trans: A Pomerans, An Interrupted Life The Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941 – 1943, pp. 82
sun set

“… Nowadays there are hardly any accidental relationships left; you have a deep if subtly different relationship with each person, and must not be disloyal to one for the sake of the other. There are no wasted and boring minutes any longer, one has to keep learning how to take one’s rest between two deep breaths or in a five-minute chat.

“…It is a good thing from time to time to feel the emptiness and wariness in yourself for a moment or two, just to recall how things used to be and how they are now. The tree outside the house seemed a lifeless lump of timber stabbing a dull sky. But the feeling of deep unhappiness lasted for only a moment. The day seemed to start out so bleakly yesterday. But after an hour of calm and concentrated work everything was fine again.”

cited: Trans: A Pomerans, An Interrupted Life The Diaries of Etty Hillesum 1941 – 1943, pp. 82-85

Nikon D750 f/8 1/30s 105mm 400 ISO edited Capture One 20

Safer at Home: 2nd day plus day 46

Sony RX1003 f/1.8 1/200 8.8mm 80 ISO edited in Capture One

“Camus taught us that ‘the only way to fight the plague is with decency’. Whether it is saving the sick and preventing infections, like Dr Rieux, standing up for the most vulnerable, or simply, helping our family and others survive, we are all called on now to find our inner strength, the strength of our forebearers.

Sony RX 1003 f/1.8 1/160 8.8mm 80 ISO edited in Capture One

“For tomorrow the sun will shine.”
cited: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/sun-shine-war-time-lessons-father-200421085457048.html