It is never a case
of the absence of love.
As long as there are eyes seeing,
there is the slow drift to beauty,
the sigh of relief of finding
our dearest hopes confirmed,
and this is love.
As long as there are voices singing,
there is an invisible, potent thread
connecting the very heart of the world
to the very heart of our selves,
and this can only be love.
As long as there are hearts breaking,
there knowing we are in the wake
of a full surrender to love,
and now, a day for new surrender,
nothing to do, everything to feel,
and this is full, complete,
sweet, never-ending love.
And love makes love.
In breath, each moment,
to the last.
– tammy takahashi
We’re 15 years into the millennium!
Wondrous. Wonder. Awe. Reminders of LIFE.
I rarely leave the house without my camera, even if I’m in a cranky mood, or just walking to the supermarket or taking stuff out for recycling (a fairly complicated process in Japan that requires a fair bit of walking – well worth it!)
You never know how the sky is going to turn, or whom will be suddenly be doing what, or how the sun might lighting a flower to look like a fairytale, or what visual feast might appear before you.
Life is full of momentous occasions, the kind you expect and prepare for, and also the kind you can’t possibly anticipate — and we’re doing ourselves a great service when we can make a point of being present for every last second of it.
This doesn’t mean having a camera strapped to us at all times, of course. Image-making just happens to be one form of expression that gives me a great deal of joy. I’m always infinitely happier, it should be said, when I manage to carve some time to sit and observe my breath, when the only universe I have access to exists behind closed eyes. There’s nothing “only” about this, in my modest experience!
But most of life is lived with open eyes, and this is no small opportunity to have them open with full attention to the moment at hand, so we can see that behind/underneath our desires for how the world should look/be/appear/treat us, there is a humming, thriving, perfect world just as it is.
And just as we are.
It exists whether we have the thickest cloud or happiest rainbow filtering our view on any given day, and it’s our privilege to be able to find it.
I took the photo above on a crisp, sunny winter day. I walked by, at first absorbed in one interior drama or another, and something about the scene caught my eye. I turned and saw this man sitting on a bench at the park closest to where I live. From my view, he was caught in the “frame” of this ancient, strange play structure, and instinctively, before I reached for my camera, I took a few steps backward to frame the man in the center ring.
I couldn’t help but think: how happy we would remain if we seized every opportunity to make any of the infinite, small adjustments that are fully in our power to make, to manifest moments of always-beautiful and always-changing perfection. It could be as simple as remembering to take a long, deep breath; or opening our eyes just a little wider with a heart that is just a little more expansive; or expressing gratitude for the air that gives us life, and the people who give us the great honour of practicing love.
Happy New Year, dear everyone, and may 2015 bring you a world full of joy and passion, peace and magic.
The Shakespeare sonnet below has been in my life since I was 13 and our visionary, absolutely brilliant English (and French) teacher, Mr. Wilson, made us memorize it, long before we could possibly know what it was about.
I tore it apart, sounded it out, learned new words (livery?), and reveled in its rhythms. Sometimes I thought I got it a little bit, and then it would be gone. All I could hear were its melodious tones reverberating in my head because of the way repetition can make the most familiar words strange.
A few years later, I visited my elementary school and Mr. Wilson invited me in to say hello. Without warning, he prompted me to recite the poem. I knew he knew I would still have it memorized. Which I did.
I can hardly believe I’ve reached the impossibly faraway age referred to in this poem, and that it’s still etched so deeply into me.
I love the way the poem asks us to take a look at ourselves as we change, at the nature of change itself. Parts of who we are bound to fall away. This is the nature of things. We become stripped, bare, a gaping, open thing awaiting our discovery.
I love the way Mr. Wilson, one of my foundational teachers, allowed us, in our earliest of teens and barely out of childhood, to play with an unfathomable future, to have a taste before understanding would becomes possible. So that it would.
I thank him from the bottom of my heart for encouraging me to make my own magic out of words, before I really knew how delicious and powerful they could be.
When forty winters shall besiege thy brow, by William Shakespeare
When forty winters shall besiege thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,
Thy youth’s proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tatter’d weed, of small worth held.
Then being asked where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasures of thy lusty days,
To say, within thine own deep, sunken eyes,
Were an all eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty’s use
If though coulds’t answer, “this fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse.”
Proving his beauty by succession thine.
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see they blood warm, when thou feel’st it cold.