Tag Archives: TED video

With New Eyes: The Photography of Chris Jordan & The Responsibility We All Share

chris-jordan-midway

Plastic grocery bags & ziplock pouches piling up. Numerous bottle caps of various sizes. Mesh fruit bags & bands. Vegetable rubber bands. Labels & stickers. Where do they go? Maybe we should take notice.

I read a great quote the other day: “What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness” (quote by Jean Jacques Rousseau)

How kind are we being when we take things for granted? How wise are we being when we destroy lives & disregard the environment?

I found Chris Jordan‘s work in January of 2012. I posted several of his photographs on my AimeeLovesYouXo Facebook page that week. Then, just over a year later, a friend sent me an email with a film that Chris Jordan completed about his MIDWAY project:

We can never be reminded enough. We can never be told enough, or shown enough. Every day, every moment, is opportunity to wake up to our own madness. The world will not wait for us to come around. Now is always the time.

In the world of form, change is inevitable. There is no escaping change. So instead of acting as though nothing is happening, or everything can stay the same — why not say “Ah! An opportunity to explore change! An opportunity to evolve. To begin again. To see with new eyes. To feel with a bigger more expansive heart! To exist with a greater awareness. What a gift this opportunity is. What a gift responsibility & a need for change is. Thank you for this gift.”

When we look at the state of the world, the state of mankind, with gratitude for the work that needs to be done, it’s a lot more empowering than guilt, shame or blame. (Plus, being in a state of gratitude just feels a whole lot better, & its way more productive.) We live in a very important time. I feel lucky to be alive as so much is rapidly changing. I feel fortunate to be able to look at my past actions & say to myself, “What was I thinking?” It means I have actually witnessed the evolution of myself. I have witnessed a transformation. An expansion of awareness. And if it is liberating & powerful for me, imagine if this is happening to everyone at the same time. How could it not be exciting? How could it not be an opportunity? How could it not be a gift?

Let’s take advantage of this opening to see, act, hear & feel with greater awareness. Let’s share with each other & help in any way we can. Let’s take responsibility individually with ourselves, as well as collectively with each other. We’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s up to us to make it happen. Day by day, moment by moment. Everything counts.

….And before I go, just remember: Plastic bags & other plastic packaging can take up to 1,000 years to breakdown, so even when an animal dies & decays after ingesting a bag, the plastic re-enters the environment, posing a continuing threat to wildlife. Packaging now accounts for 1/3 of all household waste. Please be kind. Please consider this. Always.

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My strength is trust & out of this trust …I live.

I had some doubts when I wrote last week’s blog post. The interesting thing is that doubt was about adding the word trust. (*laughing to myself*)

I wanted to add this line to the blog post last week: “This is what it means to trust.”

This is it in context: “The point is, you are not forcing anything happen. You are not making anything happen. It’s just happening. — You are active, but you are not doing. You are allowing. You are letting go in order to be moved. This is what it means to trust.”

I was essentially saying that being & trusting are synonymous.

The idea of editing that sentence out came about because I felt that the sentence was just hanging there, sort of out on a limb at the end of the paragraph, without a previous mention that ties it in, or some sort of explanation to make sure people knew why I thought the word trust was so significant.

In the end I decided to trust that it should be there, I did not edit it & I left the sentence in the blog post.

Today (written Monday, October 24th) I found a lengthy quote from Hermann Hesse while surfing on the internet. The quote hit home to say the least & felt very appropriate with where my mind has been this week.

I would like to share it with you. Its title is: Trees.

It’s from the book: Wandering — by Herman Hesse.

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”

[The photos I decided to included in this blog post are of three people I greatly admire: portrait of author Hermann Hesse, as well as naturalist John Muir (aka Father of the National Parks) & Galen Clark protector of the Yosemite Valley & the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.]

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Additional information about trees, specifically Redwood trees:

My most beloved place to be is Muir Woods National Monument in California, ask anyone one in my family & they will tell you that my heart lives there. The sacred Redwoods I experienced in Muir Woods have never left me, because I have never left them. I felt something with them that was truly unforgettable.  Just the thought of them alone brings me to a greater awareness & knowing. This connection I have with trees is the other reason why I was so moved by what Hermann Hesse wrote & decided to share it as a blog post.

To get just a glimpse into the majesty of Redwoods, this TED video embedded below goes into great detail about them. It echos in a scientific way, what Hermann Hesse expressed so eloquently through a feeling.

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Filed under awareness, great quotes, oneness & beingness, unlearning