light, and its importance


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I was drawn to this beautiful photo by Carrie Hilgert who took it at a recent wedding. As a woman with Asian blood surging through my veins I recognise this photo so very well; the mehndi on the bride’s hands she would have had applied so very diligently the night before her wedding 💒 accompanied by her hopes and dreams lighting up her soul alongside the bright 🔆 and happy future she envisions waiting quietly and patiently for her.
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The Hindi word “Mehndi” is used to describe the henna plant, the act of henna painting. It is also a way of making the sacred visible, and communicating with a higher power. Religious and cultural divisions aside, there are also other myths surrounding that reddish-brown tattoo. One of the most popular beliefs are the deeper the colour, the stronger the bond between bride and groom.

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The candle and its light serves to remind us that darkness is ever present but so is light. And Light, light is ever so important in all our lives. We cannot live without it. Our souls crave it all the time. When I lie on the grass with my face turned towards the Sun ☀ I feel all my cells and atoms in my psyche come alive, become alive once again. And there’s more, I feel a sense of peace, a communion and union with the world around me. That everything’s ok even if it’s not. And for that brief, special moment in time, I feel held and comforted.

Carrie is right when she says that Light is so very important. There is a wonderful quote that says:

There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle.

How true. We long for the Light and I’d like to think that the Light longs, equally, for us. It is our Home, the illuminating answer to our questions; more so when the night has been unkind.

So thank you Carrie, for this special reminder and in turn, paving the way for the urge to write, to come forth once again, from its place of sleep.

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beauty, rising from the ashes


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The Love themes for this month seem to be overflowing for me at present.  I am discovering that there are many stories to tell and that somehow, in some mysterious way, these stories are finding me in wonderful, unexpected ways.

Last night I found this wonderful picture of a Heart (posted above) and I knew that I wanted to know more about the creation and more importantly the person who created it and her story.

There is always a story behind everything we create and express.  Something must always come from something.  So I sent a note asking if I could write about her work and her creations.  And she wrote back.

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Her name is Antonella.

A few weeks back we had connected over a letter found in a park written by someone who has lost someone dear.  Funny how paths can cross sometimes.

I asked Antonella if she would be happy for me to write about her Heart and the story behind it.  She said “yes”.

This is our dialogue that took place last night:

justme:  I write a blog and if you were willing I’d like to write about your work, your creations, especially the Heart.

Antonella: you can write using my heart but please I would like you to use my watermarked pic.  This Heart has a special meaning for me and it is a result of a painful Love.  It took me years to express what my Heart feels like and how long it too me to be where I am now.  It is a Heart of a Survivor.  I thought I could not live without him.  I consumed myself until my Heart almost died of Hope.  Although my Pain, I still have the courage to LOVE.  What else would you like to know?

I noticed whilst typing this out today that the words of “Heart”, “Love,” “Survivor”, “Hope” and “Pain” that Antonella wrote were all written in capital letters. This, to me, symbolises how important these values are to Antonella (note: ‘him’ is in lower-case, symbolising that some processing work has taken place).

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Some of us, (not all), can connect with this type of Pain.  I know that I can, as I have.

It is a kind of Pain that is all-consuming. It takes over everything. All colours become grey. Your senses are more fragile than they have ever been. It is a Pain that threatens to rip your heart right out of your body so much so that you struggle to breathe. Each breath you take, is laborious and painful, and so difficult (and at times, seemingly pointless).

You wonder why your heart has not stopped and why (and how) it continues to still beat, day after day. It is the kind of Pain that seeps, deep, into your bones. Every part of you aches. You are in agony and darkness. And even after time, which in all honesty has been pretty much senseless, has lapsed, and you think you’re stronger, you know traces of it still run deep in your veins as you are able to feel its presence in your every-day. The Pain is sedimented in your psyche, in your soul. It follows you like your silent shadow; your familiar companion. It is a kind of heartbreak that never leaves you but somehow it breaks you open in ways you can almost feel grateful for. But only later. Gratitude comes, but much, much later.

After all, it is the cracks within us that allow for the Light to come through.

It is our journey through fire (and pain) that allows us to come out the other side, beaten and bruised, but a little wiser and certainly more connected with our fellow human beings, who suffer as we do.

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Our eyes see what we now resonate with.

Antonella also said to me: well behind everything I do there is a story, an event…I turned angry feelings into creativity and if this Heart can put a smile on someone’s face, then it mean I have a good use of my energy.  Creativity has given me wings to fly 🙂  Please if you can use what I have sent you.  Thank you for wanting to write about my Work.  Spread Love with your beautiful words because the World is craving for it 🙂

And what I would say to her, here, now in this blog is this:

Thank you Antonella for sharing your story with me. It has certainly put a smile on my face and I am sure others will connect with it too. The Heart you have created is a joy to look at for it is truly Beautiful.  I do hope that you go on creating more wondrous delights and share them with the world. The world is hungry for your work. Be like the Phoenix, rising from the ashes for as the story goes, the phoenix is a mythical bird with fiery plumage that lives up to 100 years. Near the end of its life, it settles in to its nest of twigs which then burns ferociously, reducing bird and nest to ashes. And from those ashes, a fledgling phoenix rises – renewed and reborn.

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So there it is — another story. And now I turn it over to you. What have you learned about going through hard times? I’d love to hear…

Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the soul and heart of another person. In those transparent moments we know other people’s joys and sorrows, and we care about their concerns as if they were our own.”

~Fritz Williams

my heart


Photo taken by contributor Carrie Hilgert, a photographer and portrait artist in her thirties from Northeast Kansas who was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After venturing into digital photography, she became interested in documenting her life with self portraits. This became particularly helpful when her life started to fall apart due to depression. All her other creative outlets left her, but she could always process her very dark feelings with self portraits. While she is doing much better now, she maintains compassion for those going through these hard things and hopes that her photography can give an honest insight into something that makes most people feel very isolated and alone.

About this photo:

“This photo is titled ‘Can You Feel the Beat of My Heart Beat Through Me?’ This is from a series on fear and uncertainty. Fear seems to be a recurring theme in my life, no matter how hard I fight it. Fear of abandonment, of not being noticed, of my mental illness consuming me, of what people will think if they see the real me, of losing my creativity and worst, of getting to the end of my life without having let all of the wonderful things inside me come out. This shot is about that heartbeat that is crying to come out. The passion that is breaking through the shell I built for most of my life..”

Find more from Carrie at her blog or flickr.

My Heart.