Photography: Trish Jean
A few months ago I went to see a wonderful photographic exhibition by Korean photographer Kyunghee Lee (read about her by clicking here). In the statement about her work The Seventh Sense, she said:
2,500 years ago, Chinese philosopher Tao said that “Communication is making a connection to oblivion”. Oblivion is emptying oneself and to be in other’s shoes. When I’m empty, it is possible that the object encountered can come and walk into me. Making connection is to be open to and to understand others. In the process of communication, influenced by the Tao’s theory, I feel the flow of time. Time, which resides in, is constantly changing and proving its very existence, by itself. Time is very important in photography.
I’ve got a lot to learn about photography and about timing, but occasionally I manage to snap a good photo by being there in the right place at the right time. This afternoon I came out of the shopping mall to the car park and saw a picture that just resonated. I took a photo of the picture, not as good as the real sky that I saw, but it does the job and is at the top of this post. The clouds made me think of the static going on in my head but the aerial said to me “tune in”.
I can see why Forrest Gump ran and ran and ran and ran. My head has been taunting me over some mean ironies and steadfastly conducting an inquest into every moment of the past four and a half months to determine how it is that my cautious heart came to make the choice it did and just which parallel universe I’ve been living in, and of course my heart is just weeping and the two of them won’t shut up. It’s pretty pointless so presumably my head will at some point give up the ghost, or depending on your interpretation of the lyrics, give up the goat! I don’t get tired of hearing Colin Hay talk about how Men at Work’s Overkill allegedly includes references to goats appearing and fading away!
I’d like to keep playing the static and actually turn the volume up…oblivion anyone?! But that’s not really useful. Life moves irrevocably forward.
I was thinking the other day that if I could take the flashes of my life that have held joy and promise and stitch them together by the control of my hand and the depiction of my vision, that story would be worth living. But it isn’t how things work, and think how much of the experience of living we would miss if we only wanted to be there for the good bits and it was all at our behest! If my life was going to be a patchwork quilt of only good stories authored by me then picture it, just a pretty pink and white patchwork quilt…that so doesn’t work for me! It would have to be left, undisturbed on the bed rather than party to the real stuff that we feel and cry about and smile about and laugh about and wonder about. It would also be like denying that there are challenges in our communities and opportunities to make a difference in our own and other’s lives.
Brene Brown says The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant ‘To speak one’s mind by telling one’s heart’.
Courage then is expressing what our heart has to say. I have to admit, hard as it is, I’m enjoying the challenge of tuning in and listening to my heart and not always being in my head, where I could often be found when I was a workaholic busily working away. I value my head, but my heart will often offer a different perspective and purpose. So if my head can become oblivion, maybe my heart can reach my mouth.
I’m a great listener, but I’m not always a good teller of my stories, not out of my mouth anyway. What’s going on for me is more likely to find its voice in ink…in my writers/artists journal or in a blog post. Occasionally too a poem I publish on the blog will be about me or have as a watermark the events of my life. Often though they’re fictitious. Yet they do require me to have the ability to walk in another’s shoes or as Kyunghee Lee says: Oblivion is emptying oneself and to be in other’s shoes. When I’m empty, it is possible that the object encountered can come and walk into me.
As a writer I really love those moments where emptied of my reality, I am completely present in the story I’m crafting. I’m in the landscape and sometimes as I’m imagining I do a 360-degree turn in place and time, creating as I spin. I am the vibration of the emotion, I swallow the tinny, bad taste of nastiness and glow with the good bits.
But back to the reality of my life, going irrevocably forward, and where there is so much going on and much to be a part of…
It’s been amazing hasn’t it, watching the excitement of Pluto’s images arriving? I just love that there’s a love heart on that planet. Put it out there Pluto! We can’t have too much love! Yes I’m a fan of love (you can read about that here in Evoke: Love is a Lighthouse).
Someone poured love into me when I really needed it, even if it was just through an emotional and imagined experience when running in the ocean pool one night. It’s an amazing blessing and I’m blessed to have so much of it in my life. I’ve got a big heart and there’s plenty of love for me to give as a blessing to others too.
It’s not hard to extend ourselves and be a blessing to other people. You can probably bring to mind straight away how you do this for your family and friends and perhaps even in your community. As a Christian I have a calling to be a blessing in the lives of others. I think it’s a privilege to make a profound difference for someone. Think about when it’s been you experiencing that difference. What was the blessing? How do you reach out to others to impact their world, your world, our world?
I’m a fan of mythology and it’s been about my world in abundance lately. I just this week discovered the Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park, Sydney. I enjoyed working out which mythological figures I thought are depicted on the fountain. Artemis has been in my mind in recent weeks, and Diana (the Roman equivalent of Artemis) was on the fountain. So too Theseus had featured for me, and yes, there he was also on the fountain.
So I like that Pluto (named after Pluto/Hades, god of the underworld) the planet also has connections to mythology. And it’s nice, the idea that Charon, one of Pluto’s moons and Pluto are in fact double planets. (Charon is named after the ferryman of Hades, subject of a blog post Don’t Pay the Ferryman: The Capricious Whims of Fate here and a poem Which Side the Skin here) Perhaps that’s good company! They have a synchronous rotation, caused by something other than themselves.
Thinking about that and oblivion, or rather, vast distances such as to Pluto and Charon, and about conversations and communication and other’s shoes…where does that all take me? It takes me back to storytelling. This week I’ve decided that I’m going to do an Acumen course called Storytelling for Change. You can check it out by clicking here.
Bill Shore said that Most failures in life are failures in imagination. Storytelling is a bridge to the imagination, whether it be because the story is imagined or because the story gives light to things possible, creating new imaginings by its crafting and telling and retelling. So, can we use storytelling to remove boundaries and open? Can stories bring into existence, create or connect through communication, that which we need to extend ourselves as blessing in the lives of others?
I have no doubt about the power of storytelling. One of my favourite stories at the moment is about a man who ran…yes, Forrest Gump! No, run Forrest run, but I’m talking about Matt Jones, who ran ten sub marathons in ten cities around the world to start a conversation about how we can use our networks to impact on child survival.
The conversation has commenced, and you’re invited to be a part of creating the story that unfolds next. Catch up on the chapters you’ve missed at the 10 City Bridge Run blog here, and watch Matt’s latest video here. You’re welcome to join us in the online Acumen course too.
Please consider being a character in this story, there’s even the chance to be a champion…just as you are, as a citizen of the world, there are new pages we’re yet to write on.