If I should die soon
Tell my children to look for me in India.
In the prayer bells
Ringing out over the Ganges,
In the tablas beating their rhythm over the
As the red sun melts into purple sky.
Look for me on the sand bar in Benares
As the dogs creep closer to the fire.
To the ghee filled bowl burning brightly,
And the flower offerings bob drunkenly downstream.
See me in the sari clad women sprinkling Ganga water on strangers, blessing them.
Let them feel my arms wrapping them in each soft shawl they try on, and every white dress they see.
Sip me down in their lemon sodas, quenching their search.
Seek not but find me in the tuberose offering at Saraswati’s feet,
Or the monkey’s soft “coo coo” at their door.
Let them find joy in the calf’s jingle bells and the soft white spot on their foreheads.
Step on the soft sand of Rishikesh and know
I was happy here.
I am going back to India this November! Julia Myers Patterson and I are co-leading a group of men and women to Rishikesh, India this November for Diwali – the Hindu Festival of Light. This is a dream come true for me to be able to experience Diwali in all its exuberance and share my passion for India with this group and to co-lead with Julia – a woman who holds space with such love and peace. To learn more about the trip, see our Enlightened Tours website for all the details.
So a couple months ago, I called Kirsten Boyer to see if she would be open to taking a photo of me for a flyer to use on the India trip. I’d seen her work and thought she does lovely things with light and I was thinking possibly she could take a nice, professional head shot of me. As we were brainstorming on the phone, Kirsten asked me if I had any interest in making a short informational video for my website – something for people to watch and get a better feel of who I am. “Oh…like a virtual business card?” I asked. “Yes!” Kirsten exclaimed. “Sure, why not?” I answered. And that’s how a phone call with Kirsten about a head shot for a flyer becomes an entire website with 5 (five!) videos and some of the best pictures I’ve ever seen of myself.
I’ve been wondering what is going to come of this…why a website? Why now? The noticing part of me is watching…observing…curious to see what will evolve. Kirsten was my midwife. She might be uncomfortable with that title, but I’ve thanked her all along for inching me along, seeing a bigger picture (no pun intended.)
Working with Kirsten is a special experience. She has an amazing eye – she can take a cloudy day, a clump of weeds and a self-conscious model and get this:
One of the best parts of working together was getting to hang out with Kirsten. I miss her now that the project is done. I’m busy cooking up new ideas so we can hang out. Maybe I can carry her camera equipment 🙂
Don’t be fooled by her gentle demeanor. It’s a tribute to Kirsten’s personality that she is as approachable and mellow as she is, but she knows what she is looking for in a picture and she’ll direct you. Your best bet is to enjoy the ride and trust her eye. It was creatively inspiring as well as heart opening to work together. She modestly claims that we “co-created” this project. Not so sure that’s how I would describe the long hours we spent with me blanking out in front of the camera and her coaching me to talk about why I’m so great. (aargh) There were definitely edgy parts for me about being the subject matter of all of this – a website about Me, starring Me, all about Me! Kirsten was just the right mix of support and heckler; reflecting my gifts and believing in them, and also helping me laugh at myself.
Kirsten put many hours into this project and I think the videos are amazing. When I die, you can play them at my memorial as a tribute – they’re that good! When I watch the “Spirit” one, I always cry and I have to remember that I’m still alive.
I really do feel like Kirsten saw a better ‘me’ – and captured it on film. The Me that I want to be – that I’m striving to be. She raised the bar and I want to be that person that I see in her photos. I’m becoming…evolving…into a brighter self. I am forever grateful that she was part of this unveiling in me. It feels alchemical.
I wish I could gift everyone I know with a session with Kirsten. She’ll take photos that will make you feel beautiful, she will put you at ease and you will get to banter with a fine, saucy wit. I hope there are things in her life that make her feel as beautiful and radiant as she is.
Today, in The Morning Blessings, I read: Life here is precious, for we are love and light evolving as beauty and joy each and every moment. Today you can begin to feel this divine Selfhood by being who you really are. Each time you look into the mirror, go beyond your personality and see the divinity that is within. Make it a point to see yourself as Spirit in all you think, say and do.