Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Notes on Yielding...

This photo, like the ones from both blogs yesterday, is also from the ferry waiting line. I suppose you could ask why I was spending that time photographing flowers instead of talking with my daughter, but -- well, it's like this:

1. My husband was in the car, too, so it was a three-way conversation.

2. My daughter is also a photographer -- in fact, she's majoring in it -- and, OMG she showed me some of her most recent work yesterday and it was AMAZING: Gorgeous black and white hand-developed photos. Anyway, it does mean that she understands that impulse to capture things "on film."

3. ...and the part of my brain that takes pictures feels very separate from the part of my brain that talks, so it actually wasn't that hard to do both at the same time.

In fact, I suspect that one reason I like this series of photos so much is that my thinking brain was busy talking with her, and quite disengaged from the photo process. So as I was letting the camera pass over the flowers and looking for images, I wasn't being at all analytical, I was just shooting whatever felt yummy.

This picture, for me, definitely falls in the yummy category. I think that if I had been thinking I would not have shot it: it's very busy, it doesn't have a clear center of interest, and no matter which way I rotate it it always looks like I shot it from some other angle. But I still find it -- after the fact -- extraordinarily pleasing. So whatever part of me was shooting saw something my conscious brain pretty much misses altogether.

Which is something we humans keep forgetting: that there is Something -- maybe something in us, or something beyond us -- that knows more than we do. Our egos have this amazing need to control everything, but if we can set them aside once in a while there is SO much more out there to be learned and expressed.

Which is why my reading today in Tolbert McCarroll's book (Notes from the Song of Life) is so perfect: the chapter/lesson is entitled Yield. I could give you the whole piece -- it's not very long -- but I need to leave soon to catch a ferry, so I'll just give you a few bits:

"You are always planning and organizing the future. When thing go contrary to your master plan you stiffen and resist. Be careful. In a high wind only pliant things will survive. The rigid tree will break off. The tree that yields to the storm never loses its connection with the ground which links it to all other forms of life.

...To yield is not to avoid...to yield is to meet the onslaught, to realize that any pain comes from your own desires, to remove the wall of separateness between you and your troubles, to dance with the onslaught, to open your arms and to use the power that is hurtling toward you.

Often when you stop protecting yourself you will find that your great problem was in reality a great opportunity. The usual price of admission to a new leevel of living is your self-will. If you stop writing your own ticket you may find there is one already waiting for you.

...Every time you strive to have your own way you bring discord into your life. Once you start striving there is no end to it. Others will strive with you. Nothing will go right. You will have no peace.

...You spend much time in worrying about little things, in deciding between this and that. Be more accepting of what is sent to you. Do not attempt to form life into your shape. Conform to your home, the earth. Then you will know your place, and your heart will be light."

And when today's Rumi poem arrived, I knew this was what I was supposed to write about --

Except for dying, no other skill avails with God, O artful schemer.
One Divine favor is better than a hundred kinds of personal effort:
such exertion is in danger from a hundred kinds of mischief.

Rumi, Mathnawi VI, 3837-3842

Well -- gotta run! Have a rich, colorful -- and yielding -- day!

1 comment:

karengberger said...

This is beautiful, and I needed it today. Thank you!