Still, What I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled–
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing–
that the light is everything–that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

-Mary Oliver

Oh, how I do.
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Last night at hot yoga, as we were moving into extended side angle pose, our instructor said “Turn your gaze upward. Your heart follows your gaze and your body follows your heart.” As we contorted our bodies I was stuck immediately by how much this motivates me as an artist. This is a perfect metaphor for my creative vision and one of the main reasons I pick up my camera. To lead my heart. Toward gratitude. Toward wonder. Toward being dazzled. Another way of saying it is found in Matthew 6:22- “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy your whole body will be full of light.” The eye is the lamp. Not the mirror, but the lamp. Where I choose to look and what I choose to see affects my very being. It’s the way I am made. It’s the way you are made too.  There are days when I can see is where my life is lacking–my husband, my children, my house, my paycheck, my wardrobe. They all disappoint if I am looking to them to satisfy me or complete me in a way they were never meant to. On those days Joy is a distant country and I choose instead to take up residence in the land of Grumbling. It’s not pretty. It’s actually absurd, considering my white, upper-middle-class, very blessed life. But, as they say, pain is relative. And so it feels real, all those complaints make a delicious meal for a while. Before they rot my gut and their cancerous roots threaten to tangle us all.

Other days, when I chose to be dazzled, when I chose to see that I am perfectly imperfect, beautifully human and Beloved of God because of Jesus, all is Grace. And I can be dazzled by the richness of life. When I turn my gaze, my heart does follow.

Gimme some sugar, Sugar!

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