Sippin' freshly brewed ginger-lemon tea...my mama's magic elixir that kept my siblings and I healthy as wee ones and beyond. *YUM* (thank you, mum!) The taste sets the perfect tone for retrospective contemplation as I look back over the last year...as I measure my internal and external evolution...as I observe my own growth with a newfound sense of awe and genuine wonder. I have arrived in a place I never thought I'd know...a place where days pass fluidly...though incredibly full and busier than ever, there is an effortlessness now to their passage...something gentle and unforced woven through...a graceful center in this whirlwind of surreality my life has become.
The last year feels so full and magical that I simply haven't been able to wrap it in words, nor have I really had time! Suffice it to say that...I truly feel that I am finally walking the path I was meant to traverse this lifetime...with strength, rather than fragility...each step firmly planted...less and less tentative as I settle into a place of deep trust...as I honor the fears of my past for the lessons they offered and bravely set them aside. This life...feels like a dream...far more enchanting and beautiful than anything I ever could've imagined it might someday be. Are there challenges still? Absolutely...but the way I now face and embrace them has evolved into something far more grounded and wise than past selves have been capable of.
I have so much gratitude simply for what is...with a recognition of my own will and awareness of my choice to be here, in this place of strength, now.
So...how did I get here?
As succinctly as possible, I'll recount my soul's journey...
In late February, I flew to Costa Rica to perform with my dear friend, Elysha, at a sweet festival called Envision. My purpose for joining her was to sing on a collaborative track we'd created the previous December (for inclusion on a compilation called Spirit of La Selva)...but, once there, I simply could not put my camera down. I was so inspired, not only by the festival itself, but I found myself enamored with colors...taken by faces and expressions in a way I hadn't been for quite some time. As I meandered through the festival grounds, a strong, nameless, intuitive impulse began to unearth itself within me. I made a silent decision to follow it...not knowing, really, what it meant...only that it had something to do with why I'm here on this planet. And that, clearly...had something to do with my camera.
So...I sharpened my focus...blurring out all would be distractions...giving my own life the kind of clarity so prevalent in my photos...with a singularly crisp focal point that stands out against its surroundings...softly graceful. I made my work my lover then...offering all of the attention I've so often misdirected towards men to my work instead. I set my sights clearly...and, with the help of my awesome friends, Geneva and Brendan (one of the organizers of Envision)...I earned a spot as a house photographer for Symbiosis 2012.
The summer that followed became a blur of festivals...of setting up and disassembling tents...miles and miles and miles of driving...meeting and falling in love with whole tribes of people who collectively create this beautiful culture of transformative, temporary communities. And, while my place among them was immediately established as that of welcome witness and archivist, the form of my witnessing naturally shifted from photography to videography when I joined an amazing team of documentarians in July. I entered their ranks first to offer my gift of isolating moments...not knowing how quickly and easily I would transition into a new way of seeing and relating to light.
The documentary, called The Bloom, explores the unfolding culture of transformational festivals that is blossoming all over the world, with a strong foothold in the Pacific Northwest. Here is a preview of what's to come:
Stepping into that role felt fated, somehow...and, in line with my earlier intuition. Traveling with them...creating a little family of sorts...learning from and guiding one another...we have, each of us, so committed ourselves to our task over these last 5 months that I've honestly had little time for anything else! And yet...my inclusion in this ongoing project has opened so many other doors for me.
In August, I had the honor of attending an intimate festival in Oregon called Beloved to both shoot stills for the festival itself, as well as film for The Bloom. It was there that I first truly stepped into this new way of seeing...conversing...dancing...with light. I felt so seen myself...so recognized for the gifts I carry...so supported ...bolstered from what felt like every side...so much so that I began to believe in myself a little more. I was so moved by this festival, so enamored with the community I'd found there, that I decided it was time to move to Portland.
I live in a home full of amazingly creative souls, all of whom nourish me daily. I've been here now since mid-September and I absolutely love it, despite the grey skies and rain! I'd have been perfectly content to remain all winter, but I've had adventures that pulled me from this place. In November, I flew to Costa Rica to spend a couple beautiful weeks filming two of my gorgeous friends, Blakely and Sofiah, doing what they do so deliciously.
Somehow, since my return from Dominical (just in time to surprise my beautiful family for Thanksgiving) I also managed to film and edit a kickstarter for a local artist named Jonathan Brinkley with the invaluable assistance of an awesome, budding photographer/videographer named Ryan (THANK YOU!!)...all while helping The Bloom Squad prepare and launch our series preview!
*please consider backing this heartfelt musician who deserves all the support he can get!
To top it all off, I just finished editing shots from a NYE event here in Portland called Inspire Truth, and I'm currently working on a video for my dear friend and roommate, Flora Bowley, that follows her through the process of creating a painting, start to finish, filmed over the course of one day (what a beautiful marathon that was!) I can't wait to unveil the vibrant story we wove together that day...so eager to share the candid glimpse she's given me into her radiantly colorful, creative mind!
So...what's next? If you can believe it, things are not even close to slowing down. I depart this fair city once again in just ONE WEEK! I'm off to Bali to create yet another dance of light (which I am also incredibly excited about) with a beautiful artist named Margot, of Leom Designs. I'll remain there for a month, co-creating magic with her...annnnnd...just because I can...I will also be having some clothes made. For all of you who have coveted the jacket I designed while in India, stay tuned...it's finally happening! And, hopefully, I'll be making a few other designs as well...why not bring those ideas out of my heart and give them life? I have a couple other playful ideas that may or may not manifest while I'm there. We shall see...I am open to trying pretty much anything at this point!
From Bali, I'll head back to San Francisco for a painfully brief 6 hours before catching a redeye back to Costa Rica to shoot stills and film Envision 2013. I'm coming full circle, quite serendipitously! Then, if all goes well, I'll be staying for a bit to film another Danyasa Yoga Teacher Training in Dominical during the month of March.
Following that.....well.....wow. I've got a few ideas. One that involves flying to yet another South American country and hiding out for a while...hopefully without touching a camera for at least a month.
I am beyond grateful for the blessings of 2012. I honestly never could've predicted my life would unfold as it has...did not imagine I'd be traveling so far and wide...could not have guessed how completely video would charm me into falling so in love with it...
And so...the adventure continues. My life, is so incredibly charmed...
Seeing with heart...listening with eyes... ~zipporah~
*To see shots from all the festivals I mentioned here, please visit my Facebook Page!