About Me

My photo
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.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Reverb10, Day 8: Beautifully living in relationship

The prompt today is: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful.

The Author of this prompt is Karen Walrond. She has a very cool looking new book out called The Beauty of Different, and you can check out her engaging website at http://www.chookooloonks.com/

This whole last week has been about getting better at seeing and celebrating the beauty in myself. I am very good at seeing the beauty of the natural world, and the beauty in my friends, but for some reason seeing the beauty in myself has always been more challenging. I am part of a women's reflection group, and the subject we are reflecting on this week is compassion. Instead of doing a traditional entry today, I decided to make a more visual representation of what makes me and my life beautiful.

I wanted to make a collage of sorts -- representing my life. When I started reflecting, there are so many things that make my life beautiful. I gathered just a few of these things to include in this sculptural collage! I did not have a piece of poster board large enough for this project, so I used a dress as my canvas. At a certain point my collage extended over the borders of my dress. I considered confining it, but realized that my life is all about reaching out beyond borders and artificial limitations, so I let my images and words radiate out beyond the edges of my dress.

Because the image is so small, here are some close ups of various parts so you can get a better look!

I think the images are interesting on their own, but there is a story behind each one, so if you like reading lists, read on!

My collage is composed of things, places and people that I love. The photographs represent my family, my community, my work, and places that I love. In the top left there is a photograph of my family. Below that is a photograph of an awesome young woman that I taught spiritual education classes for children with for the last two years who still inspires me on a regular basis. Below that is one of my best girlfriends from Cyprus. Below that is a photograph of the rose gardens in the olive orchard at Bahji in Israel, considered by Baha'is to be the holiest spot on earth. At the top right-hand corner of this photograph is an image of my friend Shirin, who is a singer, and an amazing actress. It was an advertisement for one of her one-woman shows. Next to that is a print of one of my all time favourite paintings of Lake Keitele, by Akseli Gallen-Kallela. The painting is hanging in the National Gallery in London. Below that is a small original piece of artwork by a friend of mine and amazing painter, Joan Cullen. Joan travels all over the world creating art, and I find our conversations always stimulate my creative process! Next to that is a photograph of myself and my former boss and good friend Raymond Loo on Springwillow Farms on Prince Edward Island. We have just finished a long day of harvesting strawberries, which was one of my favourite crops to harvest despite the mosquitoes and the sore legs. Raymond would let us stop every now and then and enjoy a few berries, straight from the field, still warm from the sun. Three of the five photographs along the right side are of my very best friends -- three on Prince Edward Island, and one in Cyprus. Above them are photographs of me in the two places I am happiest -- on the farm and swimming in the clear turquoise waters off of Cyprus. The painting on the right side was made for me by one of the children in the children's class I taught on PEI as a going away present. I have it hanging on my bedroom wall, and it makes me smile every time I see it.

Other things in my collage are: my Baha'i prayer book; carob pods from Cyprus; an ironwood turtle carved by Seri Indians in north-eastern Mexico, where I studied for a semester; a sea-urchin that I found on the sandy bottom of a bay I love to swim in, in Cyprus; a horse-shoe that I found on Springwillow Farm in Canada that my boss said I could keep; my farming boots; the skeleton of a cactus limb from Arizona; a book of poetry that symbolizes my love of reading and writing poetry; a travel book to capture my love for exploring the world; strands of turquoise and coral beads --my favourite materials for jewelery; an Indian statue to symbolize my new found love for yoga; a cutout of Frida Kahlo, because I love the woman and her art; a couple embracing that symbolizes intimacy; my Greek dictionary, because I love the sound of Greek rolling over my tongue, and I have so much more I want to learn; one of the head scarves that my grandmother wore when she was dying of cancer, because it reminds me of how close we were, and what a blessing she was in my life; a wedding bride's bouquet thrown by my high-school geography teacher's wife that I managed to leap into the air and catch as a flower girl when I was about 8 years old -- I have no idea how I managed to keep it so long, but it represents my dream of one day getting married! I also have a photograph of candles burning in a Greek Orthodox Church because it reminds me of the smell of hot wax, and the cool stillness within the old churches in Cyprus; two saints -- one from Cyprus and one from Spain; a paintbrush that represents how much I love to create visual art, even though I do not do it very often these days; a piece of sandstone from Prince Edward Island that reminds me of the importance to me of a deep connection to place; a washer that was used as a pendulum at a community workshop to demonstrate the power of thought on motion; a metal box, because many years ago I gave a friend a hard time about opening the metal box of his heart to the world, and ever since I have noticed that maybe I need to work on opening my own a little more; a rosary that I got at San Xavier del Bac mission in southern Arizona -- a white mirage that rises out of the desert; a picture of lemon and jasmine flowers floating in saucers of water, because they make me think of the aroma of citrus and jasmine vines in Cyprus; a note from a friend telling me to never settle for second best that I have had on my fridge for almost six years; a compass given to me by a good friend and mentor after I served as group navigator for a multi-day hike that I took part in as a child -- it also symbolizes staying true to my heart and internal sense of direction; a 50 Euro note that my boss in Canada gave me when I left Prince Edward Island, to encourage me to keep following my dream of returning to the Mediterranean and buying land to farm; a photograph of my first best friend as a child in the US before we moved to Cyprus -- Michael Harris -- who I have tried and tried to track down over the years and have still not succeeded in finding; a Bible given to me by one of my best friends, who is Catholic; a dried rose given to me by a man I loved many years ago, that reminds me both how powerful it is when you focus on the best in another person, and that letting someone go gracefully is sometimes the purest act of love. And of course my journal and pen, which symbolize my love for the writing process.

Creating this piece of artwork made me realize that the beauty that I cherish most in myself is my relationships and love for the land and sea, and the people that are my friends and family. Isolated from the people and places that I call home, there is nothing remarkable about me. It is living in relationship to the world that creates a life of beauty for me. What makes you/your life beautifully different?

No comments:

Post a Comment