Contemplative Photography & Reflections

Floating to the Center

“What you will see is love coming out of the trees, love coming out of the sky, love coming out of the light. You will perceive love from everything around you. This is the state of bliss.” -Miguel Ruiz

Tonight I am grateful to have kayaks and ready access to two different bodies of moving water to which I can bring a burdened heart and mind and invite the water to work its magic. It begins with the sensation of floating, weightlessness. But there’s more.

I rarely feel less lonely than when I’m alone on the river or creek surrounded by the sounds and movements of the natural world, removed from the human drama that weighs so heavily. Nature absorbs emotions wondrously until all that’s left is serenity and love.

In nature, we are never alone. I have learned this from animals, sunrises, flowers, and the list goes on and on. This evening, the sunset was absolutely dazzling. The colors along the shore were extraordinary. The sound of acorns plopping into the water was constant and sometimes indistinguishable from the tapping of a redheaded woodpecker. But sunlit oak leaves – THAT is where the magic was late this afternoon. They commanded my attention and ushered me back to my center. And I am ever so grateful.

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After paddling for a short time, there is a place on the creek where I come to rest in stillness, and my heart becomes a net that catches sermons of love drifting through the air. I open a small notepad and take dictation.

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In this place, I know that we must be kind, first and foremost to ourselves, by practicing self-care without ceasing to love – and (ultimately) to love everything and everyone: the full catastrophe. Here, I appreciate the value of growing a warm heart that doesn’t break when handled carelessly, that acts without holding others’ wounds and grace against them, and that respects the responsibility of others to do the work that is necessary for them to evolve. I realize that everything I experience, however unsettling, is an opportunity to discover the still point and cultivate compassion – and that I am the only one responsible for my happiness and peace of mind. Here, I know that sensual pleasure is a mere shadow of spiritual joy and am filled with the joy and serenity that are readily available when we stop wrestling with or running from life and embrace what is.

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Oh, to be clear and free and floating in stillness warmed by the late afternoon sun! Here it is all so simple. The sunlight twinkles on the water like water lilies of pure light flashing on and off.

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How blessed to be still, to whittle the complexities of life down to the bare bone of this present moment by letting go of stories and assumptions. To be less afflicted by the gravity of the world and the tyranny of the conditioned mind. I wish I could give this gift to everyone. God, help me to love the best I possibly can. Make me a channel of blessings and light.

That is what it feels like to float in this sanctified solitude.

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I can’t be so naive or condescending as to believe that what works for me will work for everyone, for every mind has its own history and design. Rather, I must do it myself and share, hoping some of the energy will be transmitted through the images and words and make a positive difference, however small.

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The photographs in this blog (except for those attributed to other owners) and in my Flickr photostream are available for purchase as prints or cards through my Etsy shop by selecting a “custom print” in whatever size you prefer and indicating either the name of the print or the blog post and order in which it appears.

© Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this website’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography (river-bliss.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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