Here’s something I haven’t done in awhile, our monthly inspired 10 on 10 post where (the sometimes) seven of us riff on a word or a photo. And when I say us I am referring to the sisterhood of friends slash photographers whom I met in 2011 at Shutter Sisters Photo Camp (and Camp Oasis the following year.) After our self hosted trip to Tofino we continued the party online. Of course life quickly swept us away to new jobs, new projects and pretty soon the group went quiet. It happens. You have the best intentions and then before you know it life rushes in with its sweeping current uprooting everything and by the time you make it back to shore everything has changed. But every now and then one of lights a little fire, and like a homing beacon we are drawn back in to regroup reconnect and confirm that no matter how crazy life gets we always have our virtual safe place. This month Debra suggested the word “Go” and I knew this was my chance to start writing again in an attempt to unblock myself.
At first I pondered the idea of a new beginning, I told myself ‘hey Lindsey this is a prompt that could getting you Go-ing again, you need it, you need something to get you back writing again. But then I remembered that really the reason that I haven’t been writing is because I have felt bound by grief and what I really struggle with is letting go.
Sometimes I feel defined by my grief and struggles with it.
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need. – Tao Te Ching
Last month the blogging community was hit hard with the crushing news that Ryan, a 3 yr old with his momma good looks and unmistakable ginger locks from dad, was struck and killed while chasing his frisbee into the street. The last photo of him in his mom’s instagram (@babyboybakery) was taken just hours earlier as he and his curls ran through Disneyland. I placed my phone down. I couldn’t bear it. I cried for them. Hard.
Two weeks later I spy another hashtag #flowersforoliver I click and immediately I can’t breathe. It’s Irene (@irenenam) Her 15 month old suddenly and unexplainably passed away in his crib. My arrhythmia kicks in. Irene, a founding member of Shutter Sisters, a group that I consider absolutely instrumental in how I shoot today was one of the first people whose photographs really pulled me in. I wanted to shoot like Irene and I immersed myself into that community which eventually lead to Mortal Muses and deep friendships with the very women who join me today in 10 on 10.
This one really hits hard. I am at a total loss. I begin to read passages about death and the why’s, and the where’s God in all of this. I posted a photo on Instagram about my struggles with attachment.
“Sat outside tonight and was reminded of words by @kmaezenmiller on love, letting go and zen gardening I read this morning describing the flowers as ‘subtle and selfless, appearing and disappearing, part and parcel of life’s perennial display by this definition everything is a flower’ I’m struggling with the attachment to know why these things happen to such good people.”
I go silent for a few days, processing, praying for those hurting. I can’t imagine discovering more suffering but no sooner then I launch the app I am hit with the reminder that this is all a dream…. my friend Allison aka @wunderali (we met at a local Instameet), posted a request for prayers her husband was in critical condition with multiple injuries including TBI (traumatic brain injury). Its happened again. Oh, God was my first thought, the last photo she had posted was of her husband Vernon working on a Vespa. I have this sinking feeling he has been hit by a car. My chest tightened, I had to take several very deep inhales to snap myself out of the wave of panic that was enveloping me. Why is this happening? I don’t think she knows about Lily and the similarities. This almost feels like reopening an old wound that refuses to heal. I go to bed praying for her, for Ryan and his mom and dad for Oliver, for Irene, for humanity and their enduring suffering.
His friends and family build a site, sansoxygen, (named after a font he is designing, a man after my own heart!) which is like caring bridge, the pro version. It is everything I imagined I would do in the face of tragedy but didn’t. I have a deep appreciation for her ability to find the words or the images that speak volumes. She is incredibly talented and has so much respect from the photo community already, I hope they will endure for this will be a long haul. Ali knows this is a marathon and not a race. Having to let go and let others help will probably be the hardest thing. I think that was one of the hardest things for my sister. People send her cards with the words, let go and Let God. Those simple words still reduce me to tears. We are so fragile aren’t we? I mean really when you strip away all the ego armor we are so vulnerable and exposed. What else can you do in that situation but let go.
I share these feelings with you not only so you know why I’ve grown silent (I tell myself its a growth spurt) but to be a ripple, to induce the butterfly effect so that the thoughts of love and healing reverberate across oceans and penetrate through walls. So that those people who are struggling may feel for a brief moment the suspense of pain and suffering.
My mantra today:
I will continue to write and use my camera as I learn and grow from these shared experiences.
image of Ryan (from @babyboy bakery) with my monarch made with the Diana App.
You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself. – Alan Watts
I’m pretty sure after reading this you want to switch to some lighter reading, I promise you will have a good ride by following along our blog hop today, go visit my friend Debra at Manifeisty Photo she’ll show you the lighter side of the word Go and if you want to go beneath the layers of pretty and toil around in a bit of a darker place you know where to find me.
I hope to be back soon.