Maybe it’s the time of year. Maybe it’s the economy. Whatever it is, it is pretty clear, people are posting and talking about their pictures more on facebook and twitter than I’ve noticed before.
As I am working on an idea centering on food and why and how I eat, I came across a picture of a little girl lying on a mirror. I can’t really see her face except for in the mirror. And what I notice most is her smile. She seems pleased with herself, playful even. And I reminded of the value of pictures.
In some of the posts I’ve read about pictures or the comments, it is interesting to see how many people look at their hair or their clothes or the person they were with and say “What was I thinking?” And it is funny. Looking at the pictures is fun. Brings back memories.
But there are a few pictures, defining pictures that truly capture moments. Not things we did or people we were with or the places we were. They capture us living our promise. Those are the pictures I value most. They stop being pictures and become mirrors of “who we are meeting who we want to be,” of wonder meeting a moment, of the gifts inside of us.
Part of my process then includes putting these defining picture in one place to replace the mirror in which I might see age and wear and neglect. That is the main reason you will see me post pictures of myself from back in the day– it is my smile, a smile that too often has gone missing.
All my life, I’ve had the ability to see the promise in people even they’d lost sight of it. I believe in people, but I believe in them because I see that little kid in them, the little kid the girl sees in the mirror. It’s not the fright of an inner child, but the promise of the little kid, the Calvin in all of us waiting to play. I can walk through the grocery store and see that kid in so many people. I see it in their eyes and, if am lucky, I see it in their smile.
Yesterday I asked what you would do if someone handed you something so intimate only you could care for it? Well, in a sense, that’s what I am doing for myself, what I am offering you. Take some time to find those pictures of promise, where who you are met who you want to be. See if you’re smiling. I bet you are. If you were an athlete playing your sport, check your eyes and see if they’re locked in. If you’re a parent holding a child, maybe you’ll understand that your promise is their promise. Maybe it’s in their smile and your stillness as you share it with them, the purest form of listening.
Laugh at the clothes and the haircut. It’s fun. Dis the guy or girl you dumped or who dumped you, but don’t miss the reflection of who you are now, who you are still.
National Geographic photographer Sam Abell said it best when asked why he named his book of photographs Stay This Moment:
“Stay this moment. It’s the heartfelt, passionate feeling when life is achingly beautiful or funny or poignant. Powerful you might say.”
Power is energy doing what matters well. Your promise is still there, in that smile, in those eyes. Let it out. Live it.
Use the mirror in the bathroom to make sure there’s nothing to worry about as you walk out the door. But look into those photographs for the pictures of the promise and mirrors of the moment. See the stillness of the smile and think about what Joseph Campbell said about eternity.
“The central point of the world is where movement and stillness come together. Movement is time, but stillness is eternity. Realizing this moment of your life is actually a moment of eternity.”
And in another post I’ll tell you the story behind the above picture. It actually made the newspaper!!!!! But I use this pic because that is how I see my promise– the curly hair, the eyes, the smile, the face. That is me. Time to let him out again….