Connection pt2

05/15/2014

Manzanita

Well, this subject took awhile to get back to, this idea of connection. If you didn't see the connection pt.1 or forgot what it was all about, you might take a look at it here first. We all of us, at some point feel the pull of desire for connection, but - connection to what, and why? There is of course the universal desire for connection in a social way; it seems like we look for it continuously either through family, social groups we join, our relationship to a community, the longing for a partner. We long for connection to some one, some thing, some process that helps us feel that we are not alone, that we truly do belong and have meaning; a validation that we are indeed here and that it matters. In reality, that which we seek a connection to; that thing other than or greater than ourselves, is really no further then a heartbeat away. Not being a very religious person myself, I can't help but recall from my old days as an alter boy these profound words "The Kingdom of God lies within you", and there are countless others that point the same way back to a deeper appreciation of the vastness of our own unique inner experience. I think that's the connection we're all yearning for; to truly accept ourselves even when we are feeling unacceptable.

Several years back I had an epiphany; an honest to god, consciousness changing experience that has caused me to look at this process of my photography a little differently. Early in my photographic life I used to think (when I was thinking I was a pretty cool dude) that I, Patrick Turner alone, had some special ability to see the thing-ness of a rock or tree, and that if I looked at it long enough, I was able to discern the whatever it is that lies there inside ... it's soul: to see it's beauty and hopefully capture it, and to be honest - I wasn't at all sure I was being very successful. When I'm out photographing in nature I move very, very slowly, paying close attention to what I'm looking at, and what I'm hearing. My antenna are turned up to full power searching out little glimpses of magic; it's kind of like a treasure hunt - looking for little visual clues that something, something is here. I've thought a lot about this 'why' of photographing and what truly is happening when after really looking at something I experience a change in how things appear, moving from banal to sublime right before my eyes. If a rock or tree is indeed inanimate, not alive, especially not in the manner of animals and humans and therefore cannot poses a soul, what is happening during this transformation, because something is most definitely happening! Try it yourself. Go outside, make yourself comfortable and just look at something for several minutes. Don't think about anything else, just look. Notice the shape of it, what separates it from it's nearest neighbor. It's pretty amazing really! If the beauty that I'm witnessing does not live inside that thing (and it's just me and the thing here), there can only be one other place that that transformation is occurring, and that is of course right inside my own self. You can't appreciate beauty outside of you, if it doesn't already live inside of you. It's not about something greater than ourselves, because that suggests something outside ourselves; it's with an understanding of and an appreciation for, the greatness of our own individual uniqueness and how we experience ourselves and the contribution we make to this experience we call life. It's about knowing, really knowing, respecting and fully appreciating our own, unique sparkle in the great mosaic of life. If we are able to make that connection, even if for just a short time each day, we also open ourselves up to a greater appreciation for everything else. In a word - we become grateful.

So my epiphany was the start of a new way of viewing my photographic (and life) experience. But for a new life to begin, there first needs be a death, a letting go of the old one. Not everyone loses their way along their solo journey through life, at least they don't think so, but for those of us who at some point along the way are keenly aware that they have indeed stumbled in to that dark wood , it can be terrifying and paradoxically invigorating. Living on the Frontier of your life is risky, but energizing as well and that's where real growth finds you. To quote Oedipus "I look around myself and all is ruin, and yet ..... life is good!"

For Connection part #3 click here