Friday, September 17, 2010

cajamarca weddings and simple truths

here are a few photographs from matt and laura's incredible wedding in cajamarca, peru this past june. i didn't officially photograph the wedding but i did manage to take a few pictures that i think hint at the total love and joy that this wedding evoked from everybody. it was such a total marrying of not only two people who really love each other but also two different cultures (there were about 80 americans and 80 peruvians in attendance). i love it that each wedding i go to these days is a little different but each one is so perfect for the couple.

and here is an excerpt from the david foster wallace's commencement speech that he gave at kenyon college in 2005. it's wise, insightful and totally inline with what i think yoga teaches us to do--have a bit of control over our thoughts and use this to give life the benefit of the doubt as much as we can. in hindsight, its also a somewhat tragic speech because he brings up suicide a few times in the speech and then he actually did end up hanging himself in 2009 after battling with depression for 20+ years. still, i think he really does have an enlightened perspective here. it's really good, unpretentious advice for living as happily as possible:

Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship--be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles--is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clich├ęs, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful, it's that they're unconscious. They are default settings.

They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the centre of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about much in the great outside world of wanting and achieving.... The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

corn chowder and zucchini bread.

remember a few weeks ago when corn was super cheap? well, i overbought and saved it from going bad by making america's test kitchen's corn chowder with a few loaves of zucchini bread for a little last-minute dinner party. that was right around the time that i got my 100mm macro lens so the result was some pretty food photographs which i took and promptly forgot about until now.

this last week was busy. i am adding new classes, teaching an outreach class at the really cool breakfast program for the homeless called thrive dc (nicknamed "the 930 club" because they one of the later breakfast programs in dc) and starting back with after-school kids yoga classes at shaw outreach ministries (we had our first class on wednesday and the younger kids were out of control, literally running around in circles, yet so adorable that i couldn't get mad). plus i'm teaching a new happy hour (emphasis on the happy :) yoga class at quiet mind yoga on fridays at 5:15pm.

i'm also getting ready for my first art show in 10 years at yoga district's bloomingdale studio. i am showing 10 photographs along with the work of the amazing abstract painter and fellow yogini, hope hodges in a show called "motherscapes: contemplating the feminine in nature" which opens on october 2nd (come to the opening from 8-11pm--it will be an amazing night).

following in this creative thread, i am going to be a co-facilitating a three month workshop on the artists way through quiet mind yoga along with brandice rodgers where we will explore the connections between creative unblocking and yogic philosophy as a way to live your real life as beautifully and creatively as you do in your dreams.

and i have my art classes which are time-consuming and challenging and totally rewarding (i smile each day when i finally get to nova after my hour long commute because i am actually doing this, actually taking real concrete steps toward this big dream of mine that i can't even quite name but is pulling me closer and closer to something.)

and i am taking pictures (the ethopian family is flying me to atlanta this time for milkey's sister's wedding in november), and cooking healthy food (today i made this fusion green bean casserole/vegan mac and cheese thing that turned out pretty nicely) and keeping up my own yoga and writing practices and cleaning the house and practicing thai massage and spending time with loved ones.

i love it all but ohmygosh, it hit me this week just how much it feels like some times. its such a fine balance between fully enjoying everything i've created sometimes and then others feeling like it's caving in on me because i have spread myself too thin. i was feeling the latter on friday afternoon and it took many deep breaths, subbing restorative yoga and finally pizza and a beer from red rocks to come back to myself.

it was such a relief yesterday when my photo job canceled because of the rain and because i already had my zip car and spaworld groupon that was about to expire, i drove myself out to spa world and spent two incredible hours in the pools and saunas--just me and this body of mine and giving it some space to let its guard down for a while.

i think as a result of that (and tea at the o street mansion with adam and a chat with my incredibly wise friend cj--it was an amazing sunday) today i am centered and relaxed and i feel overwhelmed by the fullness of my life and how it continues to expand and attract the most amazing people and experiences but its from this vantage point that i can really consider the best ways to take care of myself--when i need to say no and when i need to push through and how to not feel guilty for taking time for myself.

the most important thing is living my life with joy. i know this but i forget it when i start to make my decisions based on obligations and what a "good person" should do and then i always suffer. but it never takes too long to come back, especially when i have a good practice, good friends and a dog like this one to hang out with.

thanks for reading this rambling posting! i am going to put up some pictures from kali and trace's wedding real soon. xoxo.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

laguna azul.

legend says that not only mermaids, but a two hundred meter long worm live at the bottom of this laguna in the northern jungles of peru. i dont know about all that but i do think its the closest thing to heaven on earth that i've seen.

avett brothers song from their great new album.

summer and bluegrass are always such good friends.