Stillness overtook me in the midst of busy-ness.
My spirit conspired to make itself heard, to dive under the choppy surface and dwell in stillness for a bubble of reprieve.
Last week marked a milestone birthday. While I had some angst about the number, it is a privilege. Thankfully, I have a loose relationship with numbers. What I measure my life by is the sparkle in my eye & the fire in my soul.
Stillness feeds both. And it opened me to be able to put words to perhaps the most important work I am creating. It excites me to mark this birthday as a birth-day to begin to share it with you.
"Fractured" is a personal photographic series I began at a workshop last fall with Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey. I thought when I started exploring this theme in my life that it was about my outer circumstances & the inner fragmentation I felt from my life's frenzied pace along with the disconnect between my soul & assorted choices/actions.
That week in 2017, I promised myself that in one year my life would look different.
It's funny to me how I can be so sure I know what an exploration is about at its beginning. And in diving into it, allowing it to become its own truth, I can come to experience it in a fully surprising way.
One year later, my life may not appear much changed on the surface. But my inner Liz is blooming.
He asked me where I was in my work. I sputtered my answer but I wasn't even convincing myself. I was hiding. I pointed towards circumstances in my life that seemed out of harmony. I said to myself, when those change, I will feel whole again.
I plunged into lostness. Not even knowing how to answer the question. But making images from that feeling, that energy of not knowing. Not fully knowing myself anymore.
A dark passage.
Our work, our images, are a mirror of our inner selves. Lostness is a scary place to be. What is true of myself anymore? Have I held on to stories, identities that have become stale?
Where do I start? How will I know the truth anymore when I have been hiding it from myself?
I had no answers, but my images were milemarkers along my expedition of longing for integration. Putting my pieces together. I captured most of my series in spaces of transit. In hotel rooms and hallways. In the swirl that kept me off my balance. Maybe there I would find a clue.
Every time I saw me in that transitional space in a new way, every time my heart quickened, I knew I was meeting myself in that moment. This series is my soul work.
What I now know, what "Fractured" is teaching me, is while my outer circumstances may look remarkably similar to their 2017 state, my inner voice is no longer hiding. The restraint that muffled my expression when I feared it might be "too quirky/outlandish/esoteric/childlike... too much" was my fracturing. I am coming to know wholeness as not hiding. As being authentic with myself in feeling my truth + expressing what is meaningful to me. Period.
It is for me a lifelong inquiry. "Fractured" may be a constant dialogue with myself. Where might I be hiding?
Does this resonate with you?
I share a few images from the series here. One has been chosen for a show this fall by juror Elizabeth Avedon. I am honored my voice in one frame spoke to her.
One year in, I feel closer to starting than finishing.
But what a gift, to inhabit being a beginner, to energize by beginning. WOW! We might find ourselves... anew.
I am grateful to be living into my voice, thanks to photography, thanks to all the mentors in my life, & thanks to everyone who shares their journeys. The underbellies, the shadows, the rawness, the smallness. We may all feel fractured in our own ways. I am eternally thankful to David Alan Harvey for asking the question I didn't know to ask, and I mightily resisted answering.
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