Over the past 8 months, I’ve
-managed- (for lack of a better word and a nearby thesaurus, lol), to start walking, I mean REALLY walking…miles at times, become a proficient “beginner/apprentice” at yoga, immersed myself in meditation and photography.
Prior to that time, I was 90% bedridden. Given a terminal diagnosis about 5 years ago, I lost everything I loved and had worked so hard to attain; and I laid down and gathered bed sores, hip problems, and flaccid muscles. I was deeply intoxicated with severe depression; something I’ve lived with since childhood, but had relatively managed to keep at a level I could function with, and mostly functioned quite admirably; not many people knew of it even…other than those closest to me.
There are lesions on my brain and I, a lifetime bookworm, lost my ability to comprehend complex thought or read a book of any heft whatsoever.
I’ve now read one book since my diagnosis in 2002. That accomplishment occurred about 2 months ago and now I’ve joined every book club out there and have amassed enough reading for a lifetime I think….lol.
More importantly, I’ve discovered the photographer within. Having a background in graphic manipulation/design and a low level but relatively constant love for taking your ordinary “memory” pictures; those that freeze a time and place in your life that you don’t want to forget….yet oddly (or not) it never occurred to me to go …deeper….into photography.
Until about 6 months ago.
I read somewhere…and never forgot it…that your first 10,000 shots as a budding photographer are all garbage….and I don’t know who the famous quote came from…wish I did…and somehow that never left me.
I was not and am not ever in a “race” to reach that “magical” 10,000, yet it made perfect sense to me.
Perhaps on a more specific and individualistic level, that quote may or may not be relatively true, but I believe it to be an inspiration….a sort of test to determine one’s
-true- niche in this particular realm of “profession” . Almost a test of sorts to see —where you are— after that 1st 10,000 shots….
Where you are.
This isn’t about me reaching me that 10,000 “mark”. Even having reached it, I only feel a deeper hunger, addiction, or calling to the capturing of images, the manipulation of images, and now, through meditation and sometimes even through dreams…I’m finding layers that keep baring the fresh fruit of new ideas and concepts.
This miraculous and profound time in my life where I’m at an age where things begin to shift to a more enlightened perspective, or at least a deeper hunger for such, I am even more blessed by being a spectator of the rehabilitation of a damaged brain that was once thought to never have that hope.
I believe that if I were to have this near-death experience, subsequent life of bedridden melancholy, and loss of everything….to this new life of recovery, at a younger age and time of my life, I would not have the capacity to foster, appreciate, & acknowledge on a profound level as I do now.
We so often ask “WHY?” or “WHY ME” or “WHY NOW?”
I believe…there are reasons, if we’re open to seeing them and receiving them and meditating upon them. I beleive in my heart of hearts that without meditation,; a total emptiness of mind…without the discipline of at least that….then we are, on some level, victims of an overwhelming life experience without the deepest capacity to be a spectator without preconceived ideas and notions driven into our minds from birth.
I am a miracle…(but so are YOU).
Yes, we are ALL miracles. We ALL MUST find the miracle of our own lives and reach an enlightenment that surpasses everything we’re taught and everything we hear all around us.
Then we’re responsible to one another from there on out….to be a voice. A voice that reflects the truest state of things, and a voice that often only speaks through imagery to convey to the world around us, the world we are all connected to; a thought, idea, an abstract concept, message, and/or reflection through personal interpretation.
Words are used as well to give a message to the world and words are altogether another facet of this higher consciousness communication/s.
Once upon a time…I was a writer. And, once upon a time, I was a good writer and was getting published but breast cancer struck along with one other tragic life event and I closed that part of myself off forever.
That was in 1991.
I’ve mostly — listened — since then. One good thing I gleaned from my father was that “children should be seen and never heard.”
Perhaps that’s not a “good” thing but I’ve mastered the fine art of making lemonade from a lifetime of very…sour…lemons.
What I finally took from that back in my early 30’s was that I wanted to listen to the world.
Thinking was my “forte” and I even attracted a nickname for myself back then and sometime I still am reminded of it, all in good fun, to this day. That word was “Ruminator”.
Perhaps I was perceived as ruminating but more accurately, I was listening…and thinking about what I was hearing…on so, so many different levels of
-things- in this life.
Today, I’ve come to a place in my own travels in life, where yielding to and fostering of my brain rehabilitation, and the miracle of recovery, is on the top of “the list” of things in life to accomplish.
Although it may sound like
-one thing- it branches out and touches so many other features of life.
Although practically impossible to explain to others exactly what is going on in my brain, it’s most certainly…—- GOING ON — and vestiges of this process include things that
-appear - to be things other than what they really are.
These include but do not encompass all:
LENGTHY periods of time to get from point A to point B: For example. All of this time I’ve — not
- been on Red Bubble (or Flickr, myspace, facebook, blogger, etc for that matter), would —seem- to indicate that I’m certainly …not…immersed in my photography. Yet just the opposite is true.
EVERY SINGLE DAY….bar NONE…is FILLED with working with my images.
Yet, why am I not popping new images onto the site/s everyday? Or every week? Or weeks??
THAT…is most likely
-the— most prominent consequence, at this time in my recovery, of my brain re-wiring, re-GROWING (literally), re-integrating it’s “files” and “programs” .
I seem to process….overall…quite slowly.
I’ve found myself apologizing and apologizing and apologizing….—-endlessly— to so, SO many people, Groups, etc….and the inability to explain what is going on within my brain is leaving the impression that I am either disinterested, unable, unwilling, not THERE, not WITH IT, not involved……
This is a profoundly disturbing “predicament” for me.
On occasion, even, I have “lost” a “cyber friend” or two as a result of a misinterpretation of where I am at.
This hurts me….but I cannot be angry….I can only realize that when it all comes down to the very root of things, it is
-- I -— who must be able to look in the mirror every single day and KNOW I did my absolute very best that day.
This “root of the matter” experience has an effect on many other areas of life as I live it.
It teaches me that although I have an unfathomable LOVE for humanity overall, and the same for those individuals involved on ANY level in my life; I still have to duly recognize that I must be ok…MORE than ok…within my own self.
For this sense of being will emanate outward and reach those around around me and sustain them until I can reach them again and be in that…place…where I’m “back” to what others may perceive as
- being present -
Yet I am ALWAYS present.
With YOU here on this wonderful and loving environment at redbubble where some of you have had SUCH a profound effect upon me that only in time will you truly…know this truth when one day you hear from me, just one on one.
I find those of you here on this site….so precious to my heart. I hope that this writing will somehow remind you of that. Please…NEVER ….EVER…think…that Valerie has disappeared. She hasn’t. She won’t.
I’ve landed on a new plane of existence that I’ve not experienced quite like this. It’s a combination of my brain rehabilitating….and MUCH of that…MUCH….is due to the daily yoga and meditation.
The rest is due to photography and graphic creations.
I’m overwhelmed with a quiet joy b/c I have a
- knowing -- deep within me of the fact that I’m on my way to unbelievable success in life.
During meditation or yoga, I’ve lately experienced something new. That something new is the subtle seed of inspiration planted within my quieted mind and suddenly a new concept, or set of concepts literally just comes to me and starts growing.
I’ve made a point to write these down….and when I look back and re-read them, I am amazed….and deeply humbled in awe of what lies ahead of me if I keep doing what I’m doing….if I keep going in the direction I’m going.
I’m ….so…filled with gratitude for my pain and losses and hardships in this life….there have been so many….b/c I am at the literal DAWNING of the deepest realizations I’ve known in my entire life.
And I don’t think reaching these moments of enlightenment would’ve happened any sooner in my life than now.
Please always know that I HONESTLY think of you, my new friends, on redbubble….almost daily. I WANT to get on here and upload the thousands of images I’ve worked on and I also want to look at everyone else’s work….so much….but it’s a process for me and I MUST allow my brain to recover in the manner it needs to….and I don’t want that to be interpreted as ignoring, not being a a part of, or not involved with, any of you or the “cause” : creativity and expression through enlightened ideas amongst and betwixt one another!
I have ….Great….ness…..ahead of me.
Do not interpret that as arrogance…please…..please.
What I mean by that statement is that what I’ve been processing, accumulating, preparing for, etc….is slowly coming together and I refuse to rush it for the sake of ANYTHING.
Stick with me. I need and love you all and YOUR GREATNESS.Knowing me requires the deepest of patience when it comes to things as like response time….but I will get better. I will continue to heal.
I have a message of sorts….to offer in my work,. as MANY of us do….and each message is as important as the others; only different.
Please do feel absolutely free to contact me at my email address if you need to reach me sooner than the turn-a-round you get from me on here.
I genuinely love you all.
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
– Steven Covey
Meditation, My Brain Rehabilitation, Yoga and Photography