I have spent the past few years unraveling myself. Gently brushing out the cots and the knots of some pretty colossal perceptions that may or may not have been a reality. While I have done other life-building things like losing myself in the woods for 3 weeks or traveling to the other side of the globe to wander and wonder, the place I have done the most work to get my head straight is right here in a small, humble corner of my bedroom underneath some magical morning light sitting on a folded blue blanket.
This corner brings me more peace and angst than I can express. Some days I have avoided it. Other days, I can't seem to remove myself from just resting here quietly and gently with my breath. Because some days, my breath is all there is to focus on.
One of the hardest things I have ever done is meditation. I remember the first time I tried it. I read about it in a magazine about 15 years ago and decided to give it a whirl. All I could think about at the time was "is my child going to wake up?," or "wow, my head really itches." Like most people do, I spent a lot of time in my head the handful of times I tried it.
A few years later, I found myself on the other side of the world. Riddled with jet lag and angst over leaving my life and indulging in something for myself, I found myself sitting on a bolster in the middle of a rice field in Bali. With a gentle breeze floating around us that felt like cotton balls up against my prickly, moist skin, I was told that the first thing we would do was meditate for 20 minutes, sitting in silence, not moving, resisting the urge to itch anything or move very much. I started panicking. Would someone be watching? Would I get in trouble if I had to itch my back/hand/arm/foot? I am good at a lot of things, but sitting still for 20 minutes is not one of those things. I practice for a full week out there and somewhere along the way, off and on, meditation became something I needed. The silence. The stillness. And mostly, the breath. Steady, gentle, constant, deep breath. Fulfilling breath. Life affirming breath.
With much practice over the past years and a lot of trial and error, meditation has become part of my self care routine. While this is a blog about photography (in theory), I cannot stress enough how important self care is. - to my career, my mental health, and my family. It is paramount to the quality of work I put out into the world and the quality of myself I put into my life. Believe me when I say that for years, I have been on auto pilot. I had to be. And truly there is nothing wrong with that. It's about surviving.
But somehow, this time of self reflection, while often painful and resulting in tears, has also been a monumental thing. It had allowed me to grow and change and uncover the things that were shaping me. It has allowed me to rewrite my story. It has been a harbinger of change, and a beacon of light in the most difficult times, gently holding my hand through it all, whispering to my heart "Here is where you belong. Here is where you are whole. Here is where..."