Soulumination

Garden of Crystals

This morning I was headed off to Soulumination for a morning retreat on dealing with grief and loss given by Mark Power from Children’s Hospital. A handful of photographers attended, most of whom I hadn’t met before. The morning involved poetry, journaling and meditation… right up my alley.

This evening, after much procrastination, I opened up my blog’s “new post” page and found a surprise. I had forgotten this quote that was sitting in the blank space for today’s blog entry. I came across it last night as I was getting ready for bed and thought it might come in handy, so I stored it here for reference:

Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes and easy smile is your museum. – Ansel Adams

I stayed up late last night finishing up editing a dvd of images from the Soul shoot I did earlier in the week. I needed to take it out there today regardless, and with the retreat this morning, last night was what was left to me. As I was looking through them and editing, I was transported back to that hospital room on Tuesday. I realized that I spent almost no time thinking about what I was doing while I was there. I must have been operating entirely from intuition. I know that when I walked into the room, I was completely taken in by that little girl’s presence, her vitality and her utter charm.

When I got home and looked at the images, they surprised me. They were really good. I felt as if it had nothing to do with me.  It is as if I stand there with my camera and the images just happen. It seems as though there is some deep human connection in these situations that short-circuits all of my analytical thinking processes which usually cause me to doubt myself and my abilities. When Lynette asked me if I would sign on as one of the Soul photographers, the “Itty Bitty Shitty Committee” – the crew of “haters” and doubters (as my teenagers might say), had its way with me and I was forced to confront my concerns. Lynette still wanted me. With those questions set aside, I marched in and prayed that I would do justice to the task. Each time I go, I am awed by the opportunity; by the children and their families. Though I am there to “do a job”, there is a bond formed. Ansel Adams says “a oneness with your world is your film”. There is a oneness with life that is the bond and we are all there to support and honor life in its fragile and powerful beauty. “Life is your art”, and not just mine. Life is our art and the world is all oneness when we open our hearts and allow it to nourish and inform us. When I do this work, it seems like no big deal to stay up late. What is one short night’s sleep given the chance to finish up a project with so profoundly honors life.

I’m not sure that I got that clearly down in words, but I hope so. My lack of sleep from last night is catching up with me.

I had dinner with Robby, just the two of us, before he went out with his friends for a couple of hours. We talked about plans to look at colleges, trying to figure out how to fit that part in to his soccer and school schedule. He just walked in the door. Everyone is present and accounted for. Now I get to go to bed.

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