This past week I had some tensions arise in a very important friendship. My friend and I are both portrait photographers. We have very different approaches to our business and to our photography. Tensions and insecurities built between us. Tensions on my side coming from trying to learn how to do right by myself and not make myself small while still being considerate. Each day my emotions would ride a hypothetical roller coaster. On Sunday afternoon, fear gripped my heart and I felt so overwhelmed with it.
Since I had talked the situation out many many times already with other friends and family, I decided the only relief I could offer myself that would really help, would be to pick up my camera for a meditative adventure.
First I went to a patch of wildflowers near the golf course near by. Patches I had driven by many times the past few weeks.
The golf course had mowed around the patches-leaving these 3 plots of wildflowers near the entrance to the parking lot.
Sitting in the grass and focusing my mind and heart on finding beautiful details, eased my mind and coaxed my heart to a better place.This next photo is titled 'troy" from this portion of the song by Sinead
(Oh, I love you
God, I love you
I'd kill a dragon for you
And die

But I will rise and I will return
The Phoenix from the flame
I have learned
I will rise
And you'll see me return
Being what I am
There is no other Troy
For me to burn)
I felt a bit restricted and distracted being between a parking lot and a road with a lot of traveling cars, so I decided to get back in my car and drive to the nearby soccer field. To feel the expanse and allow my heart to open as widely as possible.
I sat in my car and started writing on the only scrap piece of paper I had in my car:
Sitting at the open field to feel the expanse. Do all the goals peppering the scene take all that away? Can I focus on the sky and all that is open instead?

i spot a monarch butterfly on milkweed and ask myself if this is a sign?

maybe I should get out of the car with my camera and capture th elesson it has to offer.

Instead I reamain seated and taunt the faitfulness of it.

i wait until my glance back finds no orange wings to land on.

my eyes dart in search

not accepting that I may have lost the chance
that opportunity is not so fragile, so fleeting

my pen glides across the paper
i pause and glance again

I catch the expanse of orange wings

should I get out now?

What if once I make the effort and approach it is gone?

I get out of the car and approach the thicket that was left unmowed along the side of the field. The milkweed is about 8 feet into the thicket.

I capture these photos:what is sweeter, the nectar that feeds growth or the growth itself?

The monarch opens it's wings when bees approach. i watch to see if it will move. Instead of moving it seems to stay embraced with the flower, which provides its nectar. Neither the wind nor another insect results in the monarch leaving what it settled upon. The bee settles itself on the same flower and begins to gather as well.

So much fear and loss affects my inner perspective. I come to the flowers, the monarch, with camera in hand, to find my message, my truth. To allow my heart to burst open.

Two dear friends across the country also helped me see the focus was on scarcity and to shift to focus on abundance may change the whole dynamic.

many emails back and forth
time and reflection
messages from the flowers and monarch
insight from wise friends and family
love of a friendship coming from both sides
all lead to a conversation, an openess, truth, and understanding leaving us both feeling 100% supported, free and excited for all the abundance to come for both of us........

Have you taken a mediative photography retreat to get clear on an issue? I would love to hear about it and see the photos.

If you haven't, I ask you to try it and share it.

Every one who shares will receive a 4x6 photo of their choice from this post. You can share in the comments or email. make sure to leave your address and choice of photo.


Blogger kristen said...

wow, this post speaks to me as though it's a mirror. i had a shift in an important friendship that i didn't see coming and i've been wallowing in sadness and stress ever since.

this morning i thought of grabbing my camera as i took myself on a meditative walk on an unfamiliar path. i left my camera because i knew i needed to be in my thoughts and afterwards, i felt and still feel more clear, resolved and focused.

8/05/2008 1:04 PM  
Blogger megg said...

hey you -

Not being a photographer, I don't do that very often. But once I did. I took my camera and went for a very long walk, trying to capture the essence of the world around me - holding on to and noticing the tiniest details while surrounded by enormous beauty was quite healing for me.

Butterflies have been visiting me too this week. Must be a sign of goodness to come. A metamorphosis completed.

Wishing you lots of love - SEE you so SOON!


8/05/2008 1:55 PM  
Blogger Samosas for One said...

As I'm not a photographer I haven't experienced this, but what you said about shifting your focus from scarcity to abundance completely resonated with me. Have you read any of Martha Beck's work or her blog?

8/05/2008 5:22 PM  
Blogger Deirdre said...

I've taken time at a state park, wandering in and out of rooms finding detail and light - all the while searching for that quiet moment when the world drops away and the stress leaves my body. It works. Everytime.

8/05/2008 5:58 PM  
Blogger mccabe said...

no one can take away
your magic thea.
it is too strong and
beautifully you. :)

i can understand
where conflict would arise...
women are so complex anyways
let alone two close girlfriends
with the same (or similar) career.

i believe in you always.
everything you do comes
from you heart.

love you
mccabe x

8/05/2008 7:09 PM  
Blogger Boho Girl said...

thank you for sharing your sacred space in the field, my friend.

i feel honored to be a witness, not only to your eloquently written word but the beautiful images you captured along the way.

it warms my heart to know that you two worked through this. i am inspired about your focus on abundance and that you two will marinate in the belief that there is enough for each of you to spread your wings and fly truly madly deeply.

you don't need to send me a print, as i am honored to already have some hung on my walls at home. i plan to purchase more of your art...

i love you.
toe to toe.

8/05/2008 9:15 PM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

...it is so beautiful to get the chance to "hear" you & your artistic process via words & images this way...thank you for this gift of a post.

8/06/2008 12:20 PM  
Blogger pERiWinKle said...

I read your comment over at Christine...and want to say...

I'm so happy that you listened to your inner voice...that you made yourself BIG in a small and tender way...but in truth.

You are magical!



You are Thea Coughlin Photography!

It is what it is Love, and YOU.ARE.IT! ;-)

I'm proud of you...and happy for you that the two of you could talk about it all...

I'm thinking...stop wondering and thinking and looking at others art thinking about your own...and just step out, lift your chin and be proud of your own art!

YOU are magical!



Soft! and Tender!

And you are absolutely GORGEOUS! oops... I meant your photos! :-) xx

Love you xx

8/09/2008 1:06 PM  
OpenID starrybluesky said...

I think you expressed the situation very eloquently - and it is something that many people can identify with. As a photographer I am "out there" photographing and contemplating as I do so..but have never really set out to expressly resolve a situation through doing it. I'm going to give that a go this week with something that I am currently dealing with. Thanks :)

8/10/2008 1:20 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

it's funny, but the only thing that ever calms the worries of my mind are my paint brushes. it works every time.

i've been thinking about you, thea. i need to practice the fine art of time expansion so that i can have more time to correspond with you. i was realizing yesterday that i had a full conversation with you about this in my head...but never actually sent the email!

8/11/2008 8:05 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I loved this post! Recently I was visiting the home I grew up in. I was feeling a little sad (homesick) one afternoon. The house was empty excluding me and my sleeping boy and it was raining outside. I got out my camera and went snooping around the house. I opened up the door to my 17 yr old sister's room and started snapping away. She was away at bandcamp, and I was missing her. As I snapped away, I realized how much I really don't know about her and her passions. This photoset, although not the greatest in quality, helped me feel a little closer to her. I have yet to share it with her :) Thank you for letting me share it with you...


8/13/2008 4:46 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

oh yes.... I've grabbed my camera and run away in hopes of finding some clarity.

just recently a post on my blog was about the trip I took to the zoo...all by myself, no kids with me..... and I LOVED it !!!

isn't it amazing what being behind a camera can do for our inner souls???

8/13/2008 11:32 PM  
Blogger Pink Dogwood said...

The cosmos are beautiful. What lovely images.

10/12/2008 11:56 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home