Thursday, October 24, 2013

BLOGTOBERFEST13 (Day 24): Mark Nepo and Lisa Alexander Streib collide in my life

LOOKING INTO TWILGHT. Is aging a minus or a plus? As we gather years, looking into the twilight, are we diminished or enriched? Does the result depend on the attitude we take and the fears we confront? (model, Hallelujah Truth, and photo by Lisa Alexander Streib)
Hallelujah for the mix of emotions, for the fears, the courage, the confusion and certainty that wax and wane in my life.  Mark Nepo quotes Melody Beattie in his thought for the day entitled "Weakness":

Our strength will continue if we allow ourselves
the courage to feel scared, weak, and vulnerable.

--from The Book of Awakening

Nepo encourages us to embrace and experience the variety of emotions that enter our lives. He says that "these things make us rich, not weak--if we are willing to face them squarely." It is by doing so that we can situate ourselves in our AUTHENTICITY.

Being in the prime of my life at 55, without children and between careers, I find myself feeling vulnerable--in a curious place INBETWEEN "this" and "that." 

On Sunday, Lisa Streib, a photographer friend of mine (see yesterday's blog) encouraged me to "pose" for her in Oakland Cemetery here in Atlanta. We talked of Georgia O'Keefe and the various unbeautiful photos that she allowed to be taken of her over the course of her lifetime.

 Aging makes me feel vulnerable. Gaining years, weight, and wrinkles cause me to feel less confident. How do I embrace these culturally "perceived" negatives and transform them into self acceptance?

Allowing Lisa to photograph me is one way. The images she took of me are honest. They make me honestly look at myself heading into the "twilight" of my life. Mark Nepo ends his meditation on weakness this way:

"I am humbled to admit that the only difference I see on Earth between being strong or weak is the honesty with which we face ourselves, accepts ourselves, and share ourselves, blemishes and all."

That's Coffee with Hallelujah. SOUL BLOG with me and tell me what fears you are embracing squarely.


  1. No one ever said growing old was easy but we who are strong will endure and pass on a legacy of strength.You are one of the strong ones. Be proud of all you have to show and give the world.

    1. Darlene, it pleases me that you consider me one of the strong ones. Without having children, I some times ponder who will benefit from my journey? Who inherits my legacy?

  2. Ruth, I think the photos are real and honest, quite lovely. I understand where you are in life and am struggling with the same issues. I am four years ahead of you on this path and going through a similar scenario since my art directing career layoff four and half years ago at the height of my artistic powers.

    Since that part of my life ended I have been carving a new path in fine art and illustration while watching the aging process in the mirror every day and feeling those vulnerabilities you speak of that come with the aging process, yet not allowing it to restrict my progress in any way. As a man and determined artist (read hard-headed) I will move forward in my creative self, aging be damned. I embrace the aging process and feel it making me stronger every day in my resolve to pursue my life's passion... art.

    BTW, I never looked at the many O'keefe photos as "unbeautiful". I actually found them quite beautiful, especially the nudes. I always admired her determination, will and artistic nature, and agreed with Stieglitz' statement about her earliest drawings, "Finally, a woman on paper".

    Press forward with strength and resolve.

    1. Don, I really appreciate your taking the time to write me here on my blog and share your experience with me. I agree with you about the aging process making you does take a shift in perspective though, one that, for me, needs to be constantly managed.

      I also agree with you about the O'Keefe photos (and especially the nudes). I meant to use quotation marks for the word "unbeautiful." I think we all crave the kind of honesty that portraits of her offer us. Can we accept the imprint that our physical journeys imprint upon our faces? What will others read when they look on us?