Sunday, August 1, 2010

Imaging a new dream

Here's another of my images from that foggy morning on the Bainbridge waterfront. This is one of a series of sculptures overlooking our marina system, and I suspect it calls to me today because I've been reading David Whyte's thoughts on the power of imagery.

One of the exercises I was to do last week for my coursework was to sit with a partner who has a life question and just see what rises up.  Her job was to come up with a question, and then we were to be quiet for 5 to 10 minutes and see what images and thoughts intuition might bring our way.

Her images were fairly literal: she saw herself with a group of people, collaborating; there was laughter, and a whiteboard, and she was facilitating a discussion.  My images were much more fanciful: I saw her doing lots of different fun resorty kinds of things: dancing, wearing pink, sailing, walking in grass on the edge of a beach...  Not completely surprising, since she has spent her life in the hotel business, but still a stretch...

And what we learned, talking about the intersection between her thoughts and mine, was that she really lit up at the idea of working at a resort hotel in Fiji, of all places!  Not that she was deciding to shoot for that, but I got the sense that together our two sets of images gave her something she could dream about.  And the exercise is not so far from one that David Whyte recommends in The Heart Aroused:

As managers faced with an overwhelming situation of complexity, we could take a step back from the situation by asking our deep psyche for an internal image to guide us through the labyrinth we face.  This can be done with a minimum of fuss, simply by sitting back in our chair and closing our eyes for a moment.  Having asked for an image, it can, with a little practice, appear spontaneously.  The task as a poet is to make the internal image appear whole in common speech.  The task in the workplace is to create the circumstances or product held in the image.

I find that incredibly exciting, and wonder if there's a way I could be using my photographs and/or poetry to invite people into these sorts of spaces; spaces where they can relax and play long enough to listen to the longings of their deepest hearts.  It reminds me of a time when my spiritual director gave me a pad of paper and crayons and told me words were getting in the way: I needed to go on a long ferry ride and DRAW what I was feeling.  I did it, and the results were not only healing and amazingly useful, but some of those images live with me still.

So why this image today?  I suspect it's really simple, just a reminder, that I am at my happiest when photographing boats in fog -- and yet, perhaps the sounds, and scents, and stillness could be recreated in other areas of my life, and I could carry what a friend once called "my deep-water joy" into the workplace.  That may be a dream, of course -- but at the very least, I can share it here, in this place, with you!


Maureen said...

I, for one, think you could make tremendous use of your photographs and poetry for the purposes you describe.

Joyce Wycoff said...

viva la dream! Love the idea of your using your images in your work ... they are so magical, I think it would be a gift to your clients.

Kathleen Overby said...

Love the heart rock. The little boy in Sixth Sense sees dead people.......I see hearts. Everywhere and in everything, all the time..... Made me smile.