Wednesday, June 20, 2007

slowing down

tin can reflection: rock rose

After almost 10 months of posting a new photograph daily at my Flying photoblog and before that, East Lansing Daily Photo (no longer exists), I can feel my pace slowing. Maybe it's a phase, but I feel that intense photographic energy ebbing. And the daily practice of visiting several photoblogs is losing its pull.

Eckhart Tolle talks about three states of mind that are preferable for looking at the world. In other words, if you can find one of these for any circumstance, you will have peace. They are acceptance, joy and enthusiasm. You can't always be thrilled with your circumstances or find joy in them, but you can accept them. Sometimes acceptance even turns into joy, and I've experienced that. Finding joy in something mundane that I used to find tiresome is a great feeling.

The enthusiasm one is a temporary state, he says, for certain projects or visions. I think that's what I had for photography and the photoblog. I was enthusiastic for almost 10 months! That's actually pretty startling if I think about it. I don't think I've ever had such a long attention span for anything, well, except maybe quilt making. But it was always hard to finish one after I'd designed it.

So, I think I'll post a photo every other day, or when I feel it. If I've learned anything in the last 3 years, it's that I get to decide my own pace, what's right for me. I'm glad to have learned a bit about photography, enough to go forward and express myself in it as I do with poetry, without being compelled to answer a daily call.

And hey, Don plans to put a wood floor in the atelier this summer, so maybe the next thing is painting on Grandma's easel in that little building that feels like the center of the universe.

What I long for is human interaction and love, artistic expression, shared ideas, and finding ways to make the world more like heaven than hell. There is joy.

tin can reflection: geranium (pelargonium)


mystic rose said...

these two pics are mesmerising. didnt realise you were an avid photographer. Ruth, what camera do you use, if you dont mind me asking?

and a lovely post.. acceptance joy and enthusiasm. Yes, I see it. Wonder if detachment counts? Like you look at something beautiful and just enjoy it without wanting to possess it, or limit it to yourself?

Ruth said...

Hi, Mystic Rose!

Thank you. I use an Olympus SP 500UZ - a pretty good digital, but not an SLR (single lens reflex).

I think the three states are more for our own circumstances than for objects in the world that we observe. But I'll think on that.

I like what you're getting at though. Possession is such a Western/European thing, I think. I recently read the emigrant novels of Wilhelm Moberg, in which the Swedish settlers in Minnesota experienced plains Indians walking into their homes unannounced and uninvited. They didn't know the concept of ownership, that this is mine and that is yours. They would just walk in, sit and stare, warm themselves by the fire for a while, then leave. It's pretty remarkable when you start being objective about how we think we own things.

Rauf said...

Mystic Rose, Ruth has an Olympus. It is not the camera which matters but the person behind it and the imagination that matters most.

You pour all your energies in your writing. writing is an obsession for you. One fine morning you would
wake up and take your camera seriously and you would start expressing yourself with this instrument called camera. Take your time and make the best out of this summer Mystic rose.

Ruth and i used your page for a debate, now we'll use her page and fill it up.

Rauf said...

Ruth's response was not there when i started typing the comment, Ruth's response is longer, that shows my speed of typing. i am too slow

Rauf said...

Ruth, i wanted to rest for a while, have coffee and a smoke and then write a comment here, with mind at peace.

i find holes in all philosophers. i don't agree with acceptance part.
Enthusiasm yes. My friend has money. He was obsessed with movies,
i advised him against it. i was with him when he made his first one. part of it was shot in my house, as my house had old traditional look, now it is all gone Ruth. Many others wanted to shoot in my house but the first experience was pretty bad.
Any way the movie which my friend made turned out to be a miserable flop. Flop is an understatement.
just two or three people in the theatre, i was one of them (out of courtesy) the movie was a torture.
That did not discourage my friend.
He had money, and borrowed some more money and made another one. i was not with him this time. That was rejected too. Bigger flop and an excruciating torture. Still in debt of first two movies he made a third movie, which only increased the level of torture. i think CIA should get hold of his movies. i heard he is planning a fourth one.
because of political connections of his father, his creditors are not bothering him. He talks well and gives them hope. Acceptance or no acceptance people follow their obsession.

By the speed with which i am annoying people, i would have no readers left for my blog. but i will continue to write. The blog gave me a lease of life. i will not wait for acceptance. Photoraphy was not a part of it as sometimes i use very bad pictures to make a point. Your enthusiasm has not comedown Ruth, you have lot more things to do.

mystic rose said...

thank you, both!

yes, it is true that I like writing, and camera is sort of a fancy thing for me that once in a while i am inspired to use it. But the pics I take are totally without much creativity i think.

Ruth, that is remarkable what you said about Indians. I also ahppen to know, from my own personal experience, that some nationals are like that... esp the eastern bloc, and some of the more poorer(materially) nations. I had a russian friend who would come, help himself to the things in the fridge, or just say i want to borrow this(any hting that tok his fancy) for a while and take it. It did not bother me, in fact, I enjoyed it, the lack of constraints, and also that he felt free and at home with us, perhaps becos Im from India.

The Inidans were childlike in their curiosity and in their need. That is so precious, that openess.

Ruth said...

Dear rauf, thank you, I did not divulge much about what I meant by "acceptance," so I want to explain a bit more.

What I mean by acceptance, and what I think Tolle means (and please don't rule him out as a "philosopher" because his message is so simple I don't think he could be qualified as that), is accepting my circumstances, not BEING accepted by others.

If I resist my circumstances, in the resistance is suffering. This does not mean I won't try to change things that need changing. But when I CAN'T change something, it is better to accept it than to resist it. It's what you wrote in your last post, I think: adjustment.

Ruth said...

Mystic, in the past year my biggest lesson has been to stop creating false boundaries. Time, class, whatever makes walls between people. Used to say, "Oh, it's 12 noon, my lunch hour, please don't bother me." Well, not out loud, but in my head, and that caused tension in myself. When I don't think about time that way, or people, I can accept whatever happens and flow with it. When I greet every moment with joy, circumstances become a surprise, a revelation, a connection with people that would otherwise be a separation.

Ruth said...

rauf, would you please explain what you thought I meant by acceptance and what you don't agree with. I didn't quite make the connection with your film making friend. Did my explanation change what you thought I meant?

Rauf said...

i had a hit counter on my blog Ruth, which i removed after a week, thought it was pretty silly. i don't want to know if i am accepted or rejected.

Your work at the university is appreciated and you are accepted, so you remain there. Otherwise you would not stay there for a minute.
Any artist, musician or a writer wants his work to be accepted.

After a series of rejection a man would think of changing his field.
If he persists, it is his problem.
There have been many stories of initial rejection and acceptance and success later on. Those are the lucky ones. Not all are lucky.
Steve Job's book is famous. Every one wants to read. i say it is misleading. He is one lucky guy.
but who would read a book on a guy who couldn't make it. a book of failures ? A book of failures is a better guide in my opinion. i would read that. We know about Socrates Plato Aristotle, Moses, Jesus because they were accepted, though with initial resistance. There could have been better philosophies which we never knew about because they were not accepted. My friend still believes that he deserves an Oscar, perhaps there are a few who agree with him.
i remain in a shell because what i say is not accepted by the society, so i withdrew myself. blog has given me an oppertunity to be heard. No one accepts that the environmentalists are barking at a wrong tree. i seek help of the priests, whom the society accepts. They can make the society understand that we are facing extinction. they agree with me but they refuse to add environmental issues in their surmons, for the fear of rejection and loss of Church membership.

Yes it helps Ruth, i do things whithout knowing why i am doing. i refuse to have a passport. i resist the idea of carrying a mobile, gave up faith, strange eating habits, now i understand that i don't like having boundaries. photography occupies very little space in my life. most of the time i sit and observe animals and birds and think. how i wished i was an animal Ruth.
We have created boundaries we have created complications. We go after acceptance and success, which would bring more comforts thus complicating our lives. i advised Mystic Rose this morning to write for herself and not for others.

Rauf said...

Ruth, now i know why i removed the hit counter from the blog, thanks to you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ruth, I tend to fall in love with things, activities, hobbies, and then at some point the interest fades. I don't regret my enthusiasm for these things, though. Each activity gives me skills that I can take with me into other areas of my life. As a high school student, I was very active in theater and wanted to pursue it as a career, but during my first year of college my interest in this faded. I am grateful I have had those experiences, however, because they've made me the confident, outspoken person that I am. I used a lot of those "acting" skills when teaching, or even now when interacting with the public. Your photo interest will continue to serve you well.

p.s. perhaps you could take up letterboxing with me? :)

Ruth said...

rauf, the acceptance I am talking about is not being accepted by others. I'm talking about accepting my own circumstances. An example is sitting in a traffic jam. I have a 9am meeting, it's 8:55, and I'm in a dead standstill in traffic. I know I will be late. Resisting this situation would be yelling, swearing, road rage, etc. But accepting it and not resisting it would be keeping calm, realizing there is nothing I can do to change the situation, and letting it go.

I agree that we should not worry about being accepted. Yes, we have to fit in to be acceptable in our job. But this is not what I was writing about in my post. I was writing about accepting my own daily life as it comes and not resisting it.

Ruth said...

Heather, you make a good point. These interests can contribute to the rest of our life. Hmm, letterboxing, let me think about that!

Rauf said...

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Ruth, i am not talking about this acceptance of circumstances. if we don't accept, our life becomes a living hell. i am talking about same adjustments in my post too.
But my existence, my life, my work being accepted by others is a vital factor which has a great impact on my mind and i am doing my best to come out of it.

Ruth said...

Thank you, rauf, for clarifying! I just got "hung up" on wondering if we were missing each other. I'm glad we weren't! I'm sorry to beat that one to death. :)

I now understand, and yes, it has been a struggle for me my whole life too. I was a minister's daughter, living in a very small town. We were my father's arms and legs. It mattered what people thought of what we did, because it reflected on our father. I don't think I was connected with my heart or brain for many years! I think I was like a puppet. It was very difficult to come out of that and learn to think for myself.

I think in Eastern cultures people suffer this in similar ways.

I have always appreciated that Niebuhr prayer. Thank you.

Rauf said...

my life is a big contradiction Ruth, i give pictures but never ask if they like the pictures, i don't care if they are accepted or not. But when i give pictures to children i am very particular to ask if they like the picture. Their acceptance is very important to me. Like wave and particle theory i keep changing. Monday Thursday and Saturdays i am a man, rest of the days i am a woman. Some days i am guided by mind, some days i am guided by my heart. which i think is pretty silly.

mystic rose said...

what you wrote.. in reply to my comment, that is such a subtle shift in thihnking or attitude, and makes a huuuge difference. :)

I havent read all of Rauf's comments, but growing up in India, I can say that that is how we naturally are or were, at any rate. And that is the reason why perhaps he doesnt understand the need or the success of people like this in the west.
lifes gotten a lot more busier and complicated here, and its wonderful people like Tolle can point out this little 'block' esp since we are not always perceptive.

Rauf is a sweetheart. Ive never known a person so giving nad open hearted.

Ginnie said...

So interesting, Ruth, to follow this. I'm glad I've come in on this post later than I normally would.

Yes, of course, you need to follow your own flow and not really care what other people think. Those tapes in our heads comes from the same place! You know I understand!!!

Ruth said...

Mystic, I thought of that too, that we are just starting to be more open to the freedom at the heart of some Eastern philosophies here in the West. For people who grow up in an Eastern culture, it might not be trustworthy because so many misuse it. But it's the heart of the teaching that can be freeing, not the gurus themselves or any particular philosophy. For me it's about peeling away the layers of "truth" that have been laid on me and my perceptions that keep me from seeing things as they really are. The same thing could happen in India for someone who doesn't think for themselves, who follows something for the wrong reasons, or a guru who tries to manipulate for person gain.

But yes! We are so needful of learning to live in the moment here. We have become slaves to what comes next, preparing for all the days ahead.

Yes, rauf is a dear friend from whom I've learned things in the past year, I can't even remember what I thought about certain things before "meeting" him in our blogs. His perspective has had that much of an influence on my thinking. I had to laugh when I read what he wrote about acceptance so nonchalantly: "if we don't accept, our life becomes a living hell" as if it's so normal to see life that way. Many people here never understand that! rauf is utterly unique.

I'm glad I met you through his blog! :)

Ruth said...

Ginnie, yes, I always know you'll understand, soul sister. :)

Jennifer Eddie said...

I always get passionate about projects then a few months later I lose the impetus - not sure why. Now I have learned to accept that it's better to act upon the creative urge when it arrives than to push yourself to do something and end up frustrated at the result. I will soon have a summer house in my garden which is to be my art studio. I hope it will inspire me to be more creative than I have in the past but if not I know that I can just sit and look out the windows at my garden and still find joy.

Ruth said...

I think you're right, Jennifer. I'm learning as I get older to go with the flow, accept it as it comes and goes.

Ruth said...

BTW, Jennifer, we converted one of our little old outbuildings to a studio. Don's putting in a wood floor this summer, I have my grandma's easel out there, and I'm hoping to venture into painting next. That's kind of scary for me, but the point is to keep working on it.