June 03, 2011
Employed occasionally to photograph corporate events, I joke it is my job to make 50yr old women look 39 and slim 240lb men to 175lbs. Subtle digital Photoshopping is an art form.
Daily we're exposed to obsessive efforts to alter reality. Beyond the digital darkroom that renders models, actors and musicians into airbrushed versions of perfection, they sport implants, sculpting, liposuction, botox, lifts, peels, collagen... need I go on?
We've created a culture where fake is perceived as real. Sadly, in the quiet, not always so confident, chambers of our self-image, we believe ourselves less attractive and less amazing than we ARE.
I took photos of a friend who remarked how great the photos were but lamented they showed their age. They could not see the compelling character, beauty, wisdom, warmth and gentleness I and others are so drawn to. Just looking at the photos, we want to know them!
We don't need to paint the pig!! It is precisely who we, ALL of our quirks and foibles included, that draws us to others. When we allow others to see our flaws, we grant them permission to be REAL, flawed... and dearly loved.
Unapologetically and unrepentantly be you! Because when we see the truth, struggles, victories, vulnerability and realness in you, we are so incredibly attracted to and comfortable with you.
You Look Like Rain by the band Morphine puts it this way:
Your mind and your experience call to me
You have lived and your intelligence is sexy
I want to know what you got to say
I can tell you taste like the sky cause you look like rain
Have you looked in the mirror? You look like a pig. And damn, you're sexy!
June 02, 2011
I've been privileged to collaborate with my father, a talented author. I write essays and prose (and brochures for my clients); he has written numerous books and textbooks. While our writing styles differ, we both love to write.
Since he retired, he's devoted more time to writing. He's called on me to design book covers and layout and illustrate the interiors. We even wrote a book together, Voice 2x2, a warm and humorous comparative of our two voices, side by side, in a series of essays in response to the same questions.
As much as we like to write, we love to measure things. With our little weather stations, we both keep daily track of the rainfall as an example. We used to count steps walking to school but we got over that...
My latest project was assisting with his autobiography with the photos he selected as illustrations for key memories. While his life contains joyful discovery and experiences, as the last 10 years evolved, I found it incredibly painful to process. I had to stop and take a break for a few days as I found myself weeping. These pages held poignant recollections of people I love that are no longer alive and I found myself grieving all over again. Like my Uncle Les. And my grandfather with whom I share an incredible love for what can be grown in this earth's generous soil.
Then, I noted something sweetly startling. My father is consistent. Recounting his first 24 years, he took 2,805 words per year. No different in the last 11; he used 2,811 words, an average of 7 words a day.
His memorable experiences, influences and impacts expressed in 7 words a day! Wow. If our most meaningful experiences can be summarized in 7 words a day... what 7 words did I use yesterday? Did I bring joy to anyone yesterday with just 7 words? What impact will I have today with just a few warm words to a friend, client or store clerk.
What 7 words will define your day?
June 01, 2011
A friend sent me a curious text message, Where are you?
I answered, somewhat informatively about my whereabouts.
No, he responded with a wink, asking again, Where ARE you?
I smiled, finally grasped what he was asking, and replied, I am here, in THIS moment, right now.
What my friend so generously reminded me is that living in the moment transforms us from dully existing to fully living. It means we choose to be fully present drinking in every precious raindrop life offers.
As Thoreau contemplated in Walden ...I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived... I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life...
Ah, there is another underlying gift as well. Being here, fully present in each moment, painful or joyful, empowers us to align our perspective. Never underestimate the transformational power a positive or grateful focus can have on every moment in your life.
We cannot control all that happens to us. We possess the power to choose how we experience it. Or as Andy Dufresne said in Shawshank Redemption, Get busy living
, or get busy dying.
Where are you? What are you focused on?
May 31, 2011
We need and yet dread rain. When a friend of mine didn't want to jog in the rain, we giggled together when I replied, It's just water. We won't exercise in rain, yet when finished, we'll shower off the sweat in water.
Rain quenches thirst. Rain gives life. Rain lets us appreciate the sunshine.
This month, I wasted too many tears on an abnormal mammogram and a botched biopsy that left a temporary lemon-sized lump in one breast (not the one-sided boob job I wanted). I never felt more alone than when I drove home from the hospital holding the steering wheel in one hand and an ice pack on my breast with the other. I felt scared and sorry for myself. I wasted precious hours mulling anxious thoughts on career & income. Then a girlfriend reminded me to put on my big-girl panties!
Like you, I am not truly alone. But we all feel that way. There are just these moments when we want to connect with others to share our joy or grasp a friend's hand or lean on a shoulder for the pain.
And sometimes, we believe others have a life that is somehow more better, fulfilling and content than ours. They don't. What makes us human is that we ALL have lives of joy and pain, sadness and excitement, gain and loss. Like the ebb and flow of tide, there's high points and low points. But each life is full and runs deep into the ocean and eagerly along the shore.
In the past few weeks, I've regained momentum grabbing life by the gonads and living in the moment. One morning, that meant walking in my garden taking pictures like this one. I've explored and traveled experiencing joy, giggles and life with friends I've not seen in a long time.
Openly sharing my pain enabled my friends to tell me how they struggle, too. Then the sweetest raindrops fell. Treasured emails and phone calls of joy and encouragement. A friend I haven't heard from in a long time, called me to tell me I mattered in their life. Another emailed to say they thought I looked beautiful in my latest Facebook photos. Another called with the funniest thing they just experienced. Oh how these things quenched my thirst!
So, I'm writing again. My Facebook page can stay light and airy. But here, I want to blog, share prose and photos of what I experience to help us all keep sight of how connected we are. It's not just water. These raindrops are life.