Who am I? This is the million dollar question, no? If this was the American game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” the audience would be useless for this question and I could phone as many friends as I like but they would not have the answer to this one. They will have their own opinions, which are completely subjective, viewed through the lenses of their personal experiences. This is the question that throughout history has both driven people to the brink of madness and others to genius and some to both simultaneously. This question is the one that started my conscious journey. I say “conscious” because although I have been on the journey all along, I was not always a willing or cognizant participant.
In April of 2015 I asked myself this question and for the first time gave myself time and space to consider it. By all accounts I was what the Western World would describe as “successful.” I had two happy, healthy children, a beautiful and extensive network of supportive family and friends, a thriving career in a booming industry in which I was in high-demand, and an income with the trappings to match: property, cars, a designer wardrobe, a designer dog, meals out wherever and whenever I wanted, luxurious vacations – all of which I generously shared with those in my life. I was not only living the “American Dream”, as a child of West Indian immigrants – I was the “American Dream.” I was the image that is sold to the world of all the things that you can have and can be if you can just make it to America and work hard.
Two months later in June of 2015, with the eternal existential question no longer buried in my subconscious but searing a hole in the forefront of my mind accompanied by a burning desire to sweep the forest floor in the presence of a monk, I walked away from all of it. My work is an ever-expanding body which encompasses the awarenesses I have received since that time. It is as dynamic as I am and as we all are. My fables, poetry, short stories, philosophies, memoirs and photographs are divinely inspired by nature, the universe, scientific and spiritual concepts and, by my fellow man, who I recognize as mirrors that provide continuous opportunities for growth and enlightenment.
Perhaps someday I will have the answer to the question of who I am, but today I take comfort in just knowing that I am on the right path. A path which is made clearer daily by confirmations I receive in the form of lampposts – people and proverbial signs that light up and validate that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. It is in a space of unconditional love provided by the universe and fostered by my family and friends that my journey began and so it shall continue as I strive to create that space for all I connect with whether in a physical place or through my work. Who am I you ask? I am acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, love and kindness. I am also judgment, intolerance, shame, guilt, fear, hatred and everything in between. Today I am all that you want to see and all that you do not want to see in yourself, as you are for me. In this moment which is the only moment there is, I am everything and I am nothing. I am now.
The Lotus Blossom as a Symbol
I rarely look immediately at photos I take of nature. I don’t actually like to take photos because I consciously know that the act of taking a photo takes me out of the current moment, so I don’t want to squander the moment even further by looking at a photograph when the real thing is right in front of me.
I typically will forget that I have even taken photos, so it is not until much later in the day or the next day when scrolling through my phone that I see what the lens has captured. For me, it is a somewhat detached process. The act of “discovering” a photograph is in itself a discrete moment, separate from the moment of taking the picture and therefore worthy of my full attention and gratitude. And because I rarely can remember what, if anything, I was thinking at the moment of taking a picture, my photos, free of memories and not tied to specific points in time, have their own identities. I have had some amazing images present themselves to me in my iPhone!
Living and traveling through SE Asia, I see lotus blossoms everywhere. I came across this particular lotus blossom in Mui Ne, Vietnam. It was alone in a pot rather than in a pond surrounded by others and it was so heavy that it was on the ground; the stem no longer able to hold the weight of its very full bloom upright.
Several weeks after taking the photo of the lotus blossom, I stumbled across it in my phone. When I zoomed in on it, it became even more beautiful to me because it was not as “fresh” as I had originally thought. It was clear in the photo that the aging process had begun, and it was dying a very beautiful death. Some of the blossom’s petals lilted and their edges were darkening and curling. The “skin” of the petals had begun to thin so its “veins” were more pronounced. The blossom was ageing, but somehow it was better defined than it probably had been in its prime and it certainly had a lot more depth. I could not and still cannot help but draw comparisons between my body and spirit and that of the lotus blossom.
The symbol of the lotus blossom is ubiquitous these days to the point that the flower’s image and reference to it is almost trite. However I cannot deny that it is also symbolic of this stage of my journey as I strive to be like the lotus blossom: “…symbolic of purity of the body, speech, and mind as while rooted in the mud, its flowers blossom on long stalks as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. It is also symbolic of detachment as drops of water easily slide off its petals. “(Padma: Wikipedia)
My dear friend, light coach, editor and web designer suggested we use my photo as the favicon for the website. We used the original and then reformatted it in different colours and effects throughout the website because no matter what filter one uses, I am, as they say in Thailand, the “same, same but different.”