Day 4 - Taking My Heart Out for a Walk
I think the coffee isn’t working. This is a very private issue for me. It’s like my binky, and I’m afraid if I talk about it or even show it to you that you will try to take it away from me.
But I’m trying to be a grown-up, and grown-ups with binkies are their speed bump.
So I’m going to talk about walking instead.
I am incredibly lucky because even though I don’t have a regular job and even though I don’t pull in a regular income, I get, because of the kindness of friends, to live in a beautiful condo by the beach. Sometimes things are so big feeling the appropriate amount of gratitude is easier to skip over than embody—your body, for example. My body. My living situation. The fact that I can inhale and exhale without a ventilator. I don’t even think about that!
I do one meditation from Reggie Ray’s book Somatic Descent(it’s on Audible and I frequently use the various mediations—especially if I can’t sleep) where he has you focus on the tension in the joint of your big toe. What?! Who knew there was tension there! But, if you focus and feel, you often realize that, yup, there it is. And then because you have felt it, you can let it go.
When you pay that close attention to something, something like your big toe, you fall in love. You appreciate that you normally don’t even feel your toes: they just carry you places and keep you from toppling over.
Paying attention is the best. It’s my favorite drug, my favorite way to get out of my head and into something bigger. Almost every morning I walk for an hour or two and look for things to photograph. I am a couple of blocks from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and the ocean and in the other direction I am a short walk from downtown Santa Cruz. There is so much to look at I could live here a thousand lifetimes and still miss most of what is happening.
I take a lot of pictures of flowers because I think they are beautiful. Pretty simple. I like to look at the sidewalk, at the sky. I like to look at people’s house. I look at the ocean, at the boats, the surfers, at the people walking along the beach. At people. I rarely take a shot of someone’s face. I like the outline of bodies and the bigger picture when it comes to people. I take closeups of flowers and longshots of people. I like the invisibility of taking pictures. It’s not about me. It’s about what I see. If I have to make my presence known by asking permission to take a picture or trying to take a picture before the person reacts, then I am thereand I don’t have the same meditative experience.
I love looking at my pictures. I think they are beautiful. They are like little love affairs: I saw you. They are also like little prayers: thank you for existing.
Something happened yesterday. I was doing a massage, and it was near the end of the session. I put my hands on my client’s back, and I went into my heart to do some Reiki, and I felt the love in my heart pour down my arms out my hands into her body. It felt like warm water rushing down my arms only there was no water, just the feel of it. My hands got hot and I had to work at breathing because I was afraid if I moved the energy would stop. It felt so good.
Today as I was walking and looking for things to photograph, I thought about my heart. I thought about how when I let it feel, it loves everything. It doesn’t worry or think about money or food, it just is. So today I took my heart for a walk and I let it tell me where it wanted to go and what it wanted to take pictures of—and as soon as I made that decision, I saw these people exercising by the lighthouse. It looked so funny and joyful, and I took the picture I used here.
This morning I interviewed Tony Suau, a Pulizer-prize winning photographer who is now working on a documentary called Organic Rising. I’ll be writing up our talk today and will post it soon. I loved talking with him about photography and film and organic food, and I’m excited to write that piece and get it to you.
That’s all for now.
See you tomorrow.