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Posts tagged ‘year-long project’

Week 15 // Surrender

Portrait_Week15

I’m in Hawaii this week and next visiting a friend, so this week’s portrait is from the beautiful island of Kauai! I wish you could see it here – lush rainy jungle the likes of which I’ve never seen. Powerful coastlines, ancient volcanic ruins, and an immense canyon where you would least expect it. It’s one of the lesser inhabited islands as well, so there are many areas where it feels almost as if you’re the only people who have ever been there. I would venture to say the spirit of this place rivals the Grand Canyon for me – which is my favorite place on earth.

I’ll have to post some more pictures soon just from the hikes we’ve done, but for now… the portrait…

I stumbled upon this incredible location right down the beach from our hotel Friday morning last week. We’d tried to book several other hotels with no luck. Being that I am a firm believer in how the universe and those in spirit guide me… I have no doubt I was led right to this spot to capture my next image. I went out early in the morning while my girlfriends were grabbing breakfast, just to climb around on the lava rock and take some pictures… and my jaw dropped when I came across this broken-heart rock – split almost evenly three ways.

In the journey of grief, to lay in our pain is to lay also within our love. The heart may be broken, it may feel a pain that is unbearable, but it is only because that is where our love resides so deeply. Losing my fiancé has taken me on a journey of learning to find acceptance of my pain… learning to surrender into what is broken. It’s never an easy thing to do. I can always feel the cracks and the breaks beneath me. Learning to accept today does not mean I’ll be able to accept it tomorrow necessarily. It’s a constant exercise to practice in order to find some level of peace.

This image also reminds me of surrendering to something greater than myself – be that called God, the universe, or my spirit guides. A medium I visited once told me – when I feel the most lost and the most in pain – to lay myself out on the ground and spread my arms open to the sky…and to lay this way and pray. I’d never thought to pray in such a way before (and was never really big on praying to begin with before Drew died), but I have done it many times since my visit with her and there indeed has been something powerful about it for me. It feels like I am physically giving myself to some greater whole and I end up always feeling comforted and connected instead of isolated and alone. This image reminds me that – in the raging waters of life, in the pain of a broken heart, there is still a space of peace to be found. I need only be still, and open my broken heart, and love will come through.

If you’re new to this project, you can read more about it in this post.
Please share
 with anyone who you feel can relate to the imagery, my hope is that it gives many others a visual for something they are going through in their own lives.

 

2014: A Year of Self Portraits

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Although I’ve taken hundreds of self portraits since Drew died, I hardly ever share any of them. The above photo is in fact one of the only portraits I’ve shared that is deeply related to my grief. I took it just 4 or 5 months after he died. This scarf made me feel both powerful and protected at the same time…. very important feelings when your whole world falls apart around you. It also made me feel close to him. As a pilot, his love of flight became infectious and deeply inspiring to me… and so anything flight related became a real symbol of hope for me after he died.

This photo represented for me the in-between – not in my old life and not yet able to be in any kind of new life. It is a part of the journey we all must go through when enduring any kind of loss. This photo for me represents my incubation from the world… the time in which I needed to be sheltered in order to become who the person who is able to step forward into a new life one day.

A few weeks ago, after another man’s story inspired me, I shared this post on Widow’s Voice, where I write weekly. In the post, I shared several very private portraits I had never showed anyone. It felt REALLY vulnerable to do, but the response was wonderful and seemed to help many. It got me thinking that there might just be some power to sharing more of this.

So…. My plan is to do a year of self portraits – one a week – to explore my individual journey through grief more deeply. In order to focus on the true emotion and not get hung up on the technical, I am choosing to the full series as photography – a media that I am very comfortable and experienced with already.

My goal is to use both the photo-taking process and journaling in combination to begin to dig deeper into my own grief and myself going through it, to see it from different angles, and to allow myself to be seen and heard doing so.

I’ll admit as I type this, there is something about announcing “I’m going to photograph myself for a year” that feels entirely self-centered and irksome. The old demons come up, saying “Who do you think you are? Who will care about a year of pictures of you?”. Well… for one, I will. I want to know what I will gain from this, learn from it, how I will heal more, and how it might help others to do the same for themselves. I figure that’s a pretty darn good start right there.

So, I’ll be sharing my first portrait a week from today, and every Monday for the year, along with some of the journaling that happens around each image *Shudders at the thought of this!* So vulnerable! But I’m trusting anyone out there reading to be kind to what I give – as I am most certain that most people will be. Until next week… wishing you well.

Making Art in the ‘Burbs

studiopic2Tonight I wanted to give a little love to a fellow artist who has been a wonderful support to me through this past year and also well before that… I feel a bit like she has watched me grow my wings over the years since I first began my 12 Months of Creativity project in Jan 2011.

Laura Wooten did a year long project all her own, which began in January of 2012. She decided to take the brave journey of creating a piece of mixed media art every single week – for a year. To make it even better, she decided to use her own surroundings as her inspiration… gleaming scenes and stories right from her very own neighborhood. This always intrigued me and struck me as incredibly brave – partly because I was at the time living in the city and often made the excuse that there was nothing interesting or stimulating to photograph around me. No excuses for Laura!

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She took what was all around her and created beauty with it. At the end of the year, she had 52 beautiful pieces that all came together into one giant presentationof awesome… all of it filled with memories and personal life stuff. I urge you to go check out her latest blog post where she shares about the whole journey, what she learned, the challenges, and so much more.

To wrap this up, I wanted to share my very favorite piece she did throughout the year… which was based on a true occurrence of a hot air balloon landing in her neighborhood! Yep I’m officially a believer in looking all around you for inspiration now. Congrats Laura on finishing a wonderful year-long project, and thank you for being an inspiration!

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