Friday, October 10, 2008

Stepping out of the comfort zone

Last night, while watching "The Office" (what can I say, I'm addicted), we saw an ad for yet another violent movie that I would never watch in a million years. My husband likes to tease me about my reluctance to watch such movies; he actually enjoys the adrenaline rush, and likes that there are problems to solve, bad guys to defeat, and that the good guys always win in the end.

But for me, any adrenaline rush triggers old memories of panic attacks (not fun). And I KNOW there are bad guys; I don't need to see them on screen. And I also know that in real life the good guys do NOT always win -- and that real live bad guys are occasionally inspired by TV and movie violence to new heights of cruelty. So I just don't see the point.

But down below that essentially intellectual politically correct rationalization, the real reason I don't like those movies is that they remind me the world is not safe. And though, as a female and particularly as a mother, I know that with every fiber of my being, I don't want to think about it unnecessarily, and certainly don't want to dwell on it for 2 hours of my life that I could spend doing other more productive or relaxing things.

The other reason, I suspect, is that I am a very visual person, and images of violence -- like the images of Italy I've been sorting through -- have a way of planting themselves in my brain and filling my dreams long after the first viewing. And frankly, I'd rather be dreaming of Italy than of violence.

Thinking of our discussion last night about violent movies, I find myself wondering this morning why safety is so important to me. Because my photography seems pretty safe, too. My images tend to be balanced, peaceful, often "pretty," rather like the movies I prefer to watch. And they are certainly so in comparison to those my photographer daughter shoots -- she likes to use black and white film, and shoots gritty urban scenes, frequently at unusual angles.

And while I get that that's a style, and certainly more in the current fashion than my feel-good stuff, I also suspect -- since she watches programs like CSI in SPITE of the fact that they disturb her dreams -- that she is more comfortable with -- and intrigued by -- the less safe side of life than I am.

This morning I was reading again in The Wise Heart, but today it ventured into what, for me, also feels like unsafe territory: the visions and mystical experiences that can come with extensive meditation -- and occasional drug use. I do understand that such things happen, and I could claim a mystical experience or two for myself. But I am wary of any practice for which that becomes the goal or the defining moment.

Part of me knows that the wariness comes from having lived with my first husband's relentless and often marijuana-fueled search for those experiences. And another part of me wonders (probably hearing his voice from all those years ago) if I am just too contained, too boring, too tightly wrapped; too desperate for safety.

Which is why today I show this image from Capri. I took several pictures of this little shop because the colors pleased me. But I really wanted it to rest on the hats, so I decided to do "an Ali shot." After all, as my friend at the gallery likes to say, "An amateur borrows good ideas; a professional steals them." Surely theft from a daughter isn't theft but rather a matter of inspiration?

The good news is that I like this angled shot the best of the ones I took of the scene. The bad news is that I initially decided not to put it on the web because, like the Burano shot I shared a few posts back, it breaks some rules.

But now, thinking of my husband and his movies, and of Kornfield and his ecstatic experiences, I feel a little foolish for even thinking that posting this poses any kind of risk. Yes, it's a step out of my comfort zone. But a very small one. And maybe it's important to do that once in a while; to take little risks, to try something new. It's a way of saying I'm alive, I'm still growing, I'm still open.

So I've taken mine. What tiny step will you take today?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree, I don't have enough time to do all I want to do already, and I certainly don't want to spend my time on horror and fear on film. There is enough of that in the real world.

Thank you for your pictures and posts of Italy. Sounds like a wonderful trip.