As this current bout of swirling fades and my sense of security settles, I’m off in the mountains of New Hampshire for a long weekend away to write and work on my book. I’ve been looking forward to this time to get outside my normal surroundings and typical routine in the hopes of gaining some fresh perspective and rev my creative mojo. So while I’m away and travel is on my mind, I thought I’d return to playing catch-up from our summer European adventures.
We had planned to go from Barcelona to San Sebastián, and during our four-day span there, take a day trip to Bilbao. Unfortunately, we had some train issues and needed to re-route our journey to head to Bilbao first for a half-day and then off to San Sebastián for our planned time. Our primary reason to go to Bilbao was to see the Guggenheim Museum. Being lovers of art, we wanted to see the installations inside and outside the museum, but we also wanted to take in the architectural masterpiece created by Frank Gehry. And friends, it did not disappoint.
The exhibits inside were equally as spectacular, but photography is frowned upon. My only regret of our visit to Bilbao was that we had such little time and no space to explore the old town and its charming streets. Seems like the perfect reason to go back.
Amidst the recent swirling, I’ve been reflecting on my one word for the year. Secure. Not only is this my word for the year, it is one of my core desired feelings. It is how I want to feel, what I want to manifest, and the place from which I want my life to spring forth. This word has been a guidepost for me this year. When I can’t see the forest for the trees, when I’m in the thick of the swirling, I reach for it time and time again.
I have often looked to others for this feeling. Wanting to be seen, heard, held by another to feel secure. And as much as I need the love and support of others — as much as we all do — I’ve been reminded recently that this feeling, this desire, has to come from within. That at the end of the day, I’m searching for my own internal place to rest in all that secure embodies.
Then, as I was driving home from the grocery yesterday, an old favorite Indigo Girls song “randomly” came on…
“Secure yourself to heaven.
Hold on tight, the night has come.
Fasten up your earthly burdens,
You have just begun.”
That’s right. This journey, in so many ways, is in its tender dawn. I have just begun. And that sense of trust, feeling rooted and secure, will come. It will come.
I’ve been swirling for the past few weeks. Most days have felt like a struggle. Getting out of bed has been difficult. Pushing through the day has required inordinate effort. I’ve been looking forward to the end of the day when I can come home, change into my pajamas, and pour a glass of wine, with far too much gleeful anticipation.
I’m having tumultuous dreams and flashback images of my mother. A dear friend’s wife died, bringing up all of the feelings associated with the knowledge that friends my age shouldn’t be dying and that I, too, will die. My tendencies toward existential crisis lie just below the surface, and needless to say, have been spilling over. My self-efficacy regarding writing a memoir, telling my story and telling it well, has been dangerously circling the drain. Oh, and Mercury was in retrograde. I can’t see the forest for the trees.
I have been stuck. In a fragile, emotional, crying-three-times-a-day funk. For a few weeks. But I’m coming out of it. I’m clawing my way to the surface. I have to. I need to see the big picture. I need to remember that life is short and I will die, and to use that knowledge to embrace the life I have rather than retreat from it. I need to remember that revisiting my past opens old doors, and that dreams and flashbacks are part of the process. I need to remember that I’ve never written a memoir before, that this is all new territory for me, and that my self-efficacy will grow as I keep writing.
Yes, I’m shaking the devil off. Casting off the stuck-ness. Starting to glimpse the forest again.
I interrupt my re-capping of our summer travels to Spain and Paris to share some of the instant photography shots I recently unveiled for Autumn Polaroid Week. For this now twice-a-year extravaganza of all that is wonderful about instant photography, I saved a few of the portraits I took of my amazing friend, Melissa, to share. I posted my very favorite black and white photos of her that I took during our shoot in Oregon, but was hoarding these color images shot on IMPOSSIBLE Project film to share last week for Polaroid Week.
Amidst the colors and the vibrancy of Barcelona, I found some stolen quiet moments. In a three-week traveling adventure, and in the everyday routine, a space of calm and solitude is welcome.
Both images shot using my Canon AE-1 camera on Tri-X 400 film, scanned by Indie Film Lab.