Beauty is all around us. It exists in a cracked cement floor, the rough edges of a century-old picture frame, a blossoming bud that others call weeds, a single brush stroke in a painting you hate. It can be something small or entirely grand. It just requires the ability to see it, appreciate it, and just let it be.
All of these photographs were taken during my recent trip to Indiana. I was invited there by Janet Wakefield to attend The Journey's Being Retreat during the third week of August, 2011. It was a transformational experience for me, one that as a whole I will not forget. I met amazing executives who work in youth services/work across Indiana, had engaging conversations about politics, organizational and workforce development, marijuana legalization and personal growth, and played quite a bit. I found myself lost in moments of transcendence, which quieted my often racing mind. And it was also exhausting. Presence often is.
During the first day of the retreat, we were tasked with just being for 30 minutes. Then, we were supposed to journal for 15 minutes. Finally, we got into triads to share our experience. I used the entire 45 minutes to be. I was absorbed in time and unaware of its passage. As I stared at my journal hoping to write something, I realized I remembered little of what transpired. And I was struck with the thought, "Nothing is as beautiful as the moment you forget."
For me, it is not about denial. (Thanks to Willis for helping me articulate that!) Rather, it is about integration, about letting it all consciously seep in to your unconscious self. To find the beauty of forgetting requires an acute presence, an openness to the world that seems almost unnatural especially in this age of constant doing. It means slowing down and not judging, describing or analyzing. At its core is being.
After that exercise, I became hyper aware of those things that most do not notice and thus cannot forget. Rather, they are caught up in doing something and never be. In some small way, the loss of forgetting is tragic for it means it will never be integrated, it will never affect your self.
This photo essay is those tiny moments and minuscule spaces. As I was snapping these photographs with the only "tool" I had, my cell phone camera, people kept asking me "What are you taking a picture of?" I was struck by how unique it is to look at a broken fork lift chair and see its beauty. And it strikes me too that my cell phone was my camera for how often do we use it to communicate and transmit beauty? Or to just be?
So please look at these photos and notice them. Try to let them be. And hopefully as you let them be you experience the true beauty of forgetting.