Do what you love

Been re-exploring my love for photography this new year and took a photography class with a friend at the Garfield Park Conservatory. I’m also committed to being more creative and investing myself in doing more of what I love.

I enjoy focusing on vibrant colors, textures and unique patterns. I especially love capturing water–moving or still drops–it reminds me that life is fluid and regenerative and growth is everywhere. I appreciated being surrounded by supportive and inspired folks eager to improve their skills and harness their creativity in this medium.

Here are some of my favorite shots:

The Sun

I’ve come to rely on the sun

The way a child does its mother

So when the clouds move in

And the sun is nowhere to be found

I must trust it will return

And it always does

Flickering before beaming

Filling all shadows with shades of yellow

Orange

Citrus rays skip across the sidewalk

As we stroll

One foot after the other

Hand in hand

The light is in us even when we can’t see it.

On Being Free & Grounded

I’ve been practicing mindfulness today and this idea of being free and grounded keeps circulating in my thoughts. I imagine a bird flying in a bright blue sky with an anchor around its torso, weighing it down as it struggles to soar. Then I realize I’m projecting and really what it means to be both free and grounded is having the ability to fly but landing whenever you need or want to. Having a deep sense of self that allows you to know who are and what you’re capable of. And not letting anyone or anything get in your way.

It’s too easy lately to fall into this irrational state of being where even my imagination has been influenced by the negativity in my life. As I strive to rid this toxic energy from my life, I remember this line from Sylvia Plath:

sylvia plath

Rain

It’s half past midnight and I keep staring out the window at the bare swaying branches glistening beneath the orange lamp post. I close my eyes and a moment with my daughter earlier in the day replays in my mind. We’re walking in the rain and singing the “rain rain go away” song. Despite the meaning of the song, it’s clear that neither of us want the rain to go away. It’s cold, but soothing and kind of amazing if you really think about it; the way water nourishes the earth, but can cause growth and destruction simultaneously.

She extends her arms out to catch the raindrops in the palms of her hands and tilts her head up to watch them fall. I smile, “You are so brave, little one. You are the ocean in a tiny drop.” Somehow it feels natural to recite poetry to my near 2 year old daughter.We walk inside and she says goodbye to the rain. A testament to her recognition and gratitude in something bringing her joy. I think to myself I will do anything to make sure her spirit is never broken.

When I was younger, I used to watch the rain from the living room window. It would pour down into the street, cars would drive by with their wipers on, people scurried by underneath umbrellas like the rain was something to fear. Water would build up on the side of the road, drops of rain diving into the puddles with lightening in the distance breaking through the clouds. I’d listen to the pitter patter against the awning, feel the thunder rumble inside me and remember that I was still alive.

Unpacking

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I’m striving to become more aware of what my body is telling me and making sure to not only notice what’s happening inside me, but also around me. I’m constantly being reminded that I have to trust my gut and follow my heart. What I’m realizing through overdue introspection is that I do neither of those things consistently and if I’m being completely forthright, I rarely do them. This needs to change.

All that to say, there’s something significant about these 3 things that kept recurring in my mind today–I’m not sure how or why yet, but I can feel it. I’m still unpacking what they might mean, but very much welcome these “signs” and the creative energy flowing through me.

  1. Humming the Sesame Street theme song most of the day. Kinda weird, I know.
  2. The stories that hands tell and how they show love.
  3. My favorite poem by Li-young Lee, “Early in the Morning”

 

 

Still I Rise

The first book I ever purchased was “Poems” by Maya Angelou. I brought $10 to school that day because I had been looking forward to the book fair for weeks–I must have been in 5th grade. I circled the aisles and something drew me to this book with the teal cover and photo of a woman of color that resembled my grandmother. She looked sassy with her short volumized hair and red lipstick, gold jewelry. Her smile was gentle, but fierce.

I picked it up and flipped through the pages, reading a couple of the poems–I was captivated. I wanted to be as strong as she was; I wanted to grow up to be phenomenal and always rise. This poem reminds me that, even at a young age, we can trust what our bodies are telling us and connect what’s in our heart to our mind. That despite the distractions and darkness that blur our focus, we are always capable of rising. Again and again.

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou1928 – 2014

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Listen to the Whispers of your Heart

It will not lead you astray.

I’ve been determined to silence the noise and just listen to what my soul feels/what my heart says. (It’s amazing how the body instinctively knows what you’re feeling before your mind has even begun processing anything.) And it’s been going something like this:

Live life in a big way

Let it all flow through you

Every breath is proof that you’re alive

But not evidence that you’re living

The sum of me is not dictated by you or you or you

I am the sun piercing through hidden spaces

Revealing that light and darkness can coexist

Accepting that sometimes the universe conspires to make you see

That when we begin to hide the parts of ourselves that are dying

It’s when we most need to set ourselves free.