About Me

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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Reverb10, Day 25: A shot of living in relationship

Prompt: Photo - a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

The author of this prompt is Tracey Clark:
Expressive Photography: The Shutter Sisters' Guide to Shooting from the Heart

Bita Saffary and I, August 2010, PEI, Canada
  This photograph is of me and a good friend of mine back on Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, Bita Saffary. I do not remember who shot this photograph. It was taken at the wedding of a very close family friend this past summer on PEI. the reason that I chose this photograph is because my relationship with Bita represents me being who I strive to be.

In trying to choose a photograph that best represents me, I contemplated the many amazing photographs of me in spectacularly beautiful landscapes. Being out in the natural world is a very important part of who I am, but in most of these shots, I am alone. I also contemplated choosing a shot taken while I was on pilgrimage in Israel this past spring, because I felt so close to my spiritual truths when I was there. I chose this photograph because the most important things in my life are service, friendship, relationships and community.

Bita and I have known each other for over six years now. We taught spiritual education classes to a group of children in our community together for almost two years. We volunteered as teachers of English as a second language together for a while. We have done spiritual study circles together. We have traveled together. We have prayed together. Even now, living on opposite sides of the continent, our friendship continues because we support each other in our individual endeavors. Our friendship is based upon serving our community, and learning and growing spiritually, mentally, and emotionally as we serve.

Teaching the children's class back on PEI was one of the most meaningful forms of service that I have ever been involved in. It was humbling. The children undoubtedly taught me far more than I taught them. I watched the children transform and grow. I learned to work collaboratively with Bita and Michael (the other teacher that taught with us). I learned to turn up when I say I will, and to keep working at something even when I am confronting challenges. I learned to develop deeper and more meaningful relationships with my community members. I learned to give without expecting anything in return. I learned to trust other people more. I learned to that leadership means learning to let others lead. I learned to listen. I learned to put all my my heart into my service. All of my joy and excitement.

Serving my community with Bita taught me that what I value most about myself and my life is how I live in relationship. I do value my time alone, but the most valuable experiences in life have been the ones that involve interacting with other human beings and the natural world. I exist as a whole person within my relationships to the land, the sea, the people that I share my life with, and God.

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