Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Walking to Look (Self-Portrait Wednesday)

On days when I walk
for the sake of seeing,
the act of looking
consumes my consciousness.
- Jan Phillips

Walking for the sake of walking is a zen experience.
The rhythm of left foot-right foot-left foot-right foot
just naturally begs for a repetitive mantra.


works for me.

And when I
settle into my body
and focus on the rhythm of my steps,
my breath and my four words,
I walk my way into a light trance.

In that state,
wisdom and guidance bubble up.
A sense of well-being envelops me.

The landscape around me
becomes part of my meditation,
a contributor to the sense of harmony
emphasizing the whole,
the unity, the energetic connection
of between me and everything, everywhere.

Walking for the sake of looking
is something all together different.

Yesterday, with the "marine layer" of clouds
dissipating and patches of blue peeking through
I felt the urge to walk.

The meditative kind of walk.

But just in case
I stuck my new little pocket-sized
12.1 megapixel Canon Power Shot SX200
in the pocket of my jacket
and headed to my favorite
scenic place to walk.

So much for walking to walk.

The walking to walk
became walking to look.

And that is a horse of a different color.

When you're walking to look,
everything is shouting for your attention.
Instead of settling into a tranquil trance,
you find yourself working up a frenzy of excitement.

At least I do.
The act of looking
consumes my consciousness.

Although the little Canon
has a digital display
rather than a viewfinder,
and I'm really a "through the lens"
kind of girl,

I figure I see everything
through the lens
of my very special way
of being in the world.

And even though I'm showing you
only the three self-portraits,
reflections of my body self,

not the other magical shots I took,
images that may be
the most exciting I've ever done
(from an artistic, painterly viewpoint)

each image I capture
is at its essence,
its very center,
a glimpse into who I am
and how I inhabit my world.

Every photograph
is, in that specific sense,
a self-portrait.

I'll show you some of the "not-me" self portraits soon,
but not today. I need to savor them a little more
before I send them out into the outer world.


deb did it said...

hey, that's fun! and I especially love that last one! can't wait to see the rest of your hidden self! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.....

Anonymous said...

I agree with deb did it. you are; your words are.

Lynne said...

I know what you mean about the repetitive mantra of walking. There is a Zulu tradition of walking on a wheel which I often think of... the idea is that you make your journey seem easier by imagining your feet on a wheel. I have heard music that mimics the sound of the wheel as it goes rhythmically goes round and round... really beautiful.

Meri said...

I can imagine the sound of a wheel creaking or the squeak of the sole of a broken-in walking shoe. The repetitive sound would add to the regular cadence. Listening to drumming can also induce trance for me. I think there is something about a regular, repetitive rhythm, the 4/4 time particularly, that synchronizes brain waves into a meditative state.

Thanks! Are you doing a self-portrait today too?

You can't see, but I'm toasting you with a raspberry-mango margarita. (If you haven't seen Deb's self-portrait today, Everyone, check it out. It's way different from mine -- isn't it interesting how the same "assignment" can yield such unique interpretations week after week?)

sperlygirl said...

i love, love, love the reflections - so poetic and yet so revealing. beautifully done meri!

ELK said...

reflections always thrill me and these are no exceptions...BUT your poetry is what left me happy to "walk" over here to see you

r said...

i love your reference to holding something within...savoring it.
it is a form of mindful reverence..
sharing has another joy all of its own.
both equally important.

Delwyn said...

Hello Meri
these are fun portraits - revealing just enough for us to get a feeling for who you are and your writing does the same, it speaks succinctly and eloquently and pulls us closer.

I find that I am getting adept at doing both kinds of walking. I often pace out on a walk deep in the movement and the pulse of the walk and my mind and spirit falls in sync, but then on the return I let my camera loose and allow it to hunt for details, moods and perspectives that I did not necessarily see on the way out.

Oh what fun...

Happy Days

Reya Mellicker said...

Fantastic self portraits! I love them all.

I, too, love a nice long walk.

Enjoy your Thursday, too, Meri!

Bee said...

I always try to remember to "look" more when I walk, but the movement seems to take me somewhere inside of my brain. I'm aware, and yet not.

I really enjoyed your meditation on walking . . . and some of the pictures you took along the way. Looking forward to these "magical" ones you refer to . . .

couragetocreatewriteandlove said...

i am tempted to join you in this fun self portraits