My computer crashed December 30, 2016. I was taken off guard. I use a Mac and erroneously believed it was immune to the mischievous malware and adware that takes out its competitors. Luckily, I back up. In fact, I back up and duplicate a lot. Unfortunately the Genius’s told me I could not simply transfer my main back up since that is where the problem was embedded. So, I gathered together my hard drives and began the excavation process. Each terabyte was layered with years and years of photos, documents, financial records, emails and personal essays. I was put face to face with a hard fact: I am a memory hoarder. Apparently, part of my own internal hardware is wired to fear loss! In years past I had tried to sort through it all - several times - but the process was too daunting. This time my motivation was stronger: I had no computer. So, I bucked up. I was determined to use this crash opportunity to not just rebuild my computer but to clean out my memory house as well.
There are many "duplicate finder" types of software. I used one of them and plowed through all my documents in short order. Deleting duplicates was completely satisfying in a way a good spring cleaning of a garage is. Encountering those photos though, well over 15,000 digital images, duplicated over several hard drives, was another story. The process was so emotionally overwhelming I was wholly tempted to bulk delete. I lack that type of courage however, so I continued. Hours dissolved into days, days into weeks, weeks into more; I found myself diving in and swimming deep through the archives. There were so many trips to beautiful places, family holidays, pets, friends, even hard copies of me as a baby that I had stored digitally. And of course, there were myriad training and school pictures. I lingered the longest with these. Even those that appeared to be duplicates were often not. Any number of series that were shot sequentially and looked the same at first actually revealed interesting nuances within a correction process: a hip adjustment, an eyebrow lift of dawning awareness, a glint in an eye of the "ah ha!"
In all of them each image catapulted me back to the very moment of its capture. Every photo, even the apparent duplicates, cracked open a feeling inside of me. So many people, so much nature, so many memories. Joy, pain, hope, loss. Beauty, absence of beauty. People I loved who are with me still, others who are gone. People who have hurt me; those I have hurt. I deleted a lot. Some memories I didn't care about remembering, some images were just too painful. And yet others - I kept each one in the series, wanting to treasure forever, each eyebrow lift, each sparkling glint, each precious second. Click by click, a flip book of my life emerged.
As I bared witness to my life I became grateful for this unplanned opportunity to dig into the memory archives. Records of hard lessons then are juicy and even funny stories now. And let’s face it, those hairstyles! These images told me my story. They reminded me of where I started, where I am now and of this strong life I have. They refreshed my foundation and beckoned me into my future. In many ways, this new website emerged out of all that. It too is a story. It is a story of what has been, of what is now. It is a story of welcome, of what is possible for everyone. When you see these pictures I have chosen, see a story of how, within the container of practice, the arc of one person's life, of all of our lives, can emerge intentionally, joy-filled and resilient.
May the spirit continue,