Reflections – Saturday, July 16, 2016

Carol A. Hand

Yesterday’s topic for photography raised conflicting emotions for me. I needed more time to sort out my thoughts and feelings.

Bliss – “perfect happiness, great joy.”

In a world where violence often rules and millions suffer, I feel deep sorrow and guilt – an undercurrent even when I experience moments of contentment and joy on ordinary days. I realize I have only known bliss in my dreams or imagination. I wonder. As an empath who awakens to the reality of the world as it is today, how could it be otherwise?

How can I express this meaning of “bliss” through a photographic image? I thought of the connections that bind us together, reminding me of a dreamcatcher.

WP dreamcatcher 1

A gift made by a dear friend (Northern Cheyenne)

WP dreamcatcher 2

A gift from my brother when he was rediscovering his heritage

WP dreamcatcher 3

An antique earring…

Imagine the web of life. Each of us is a tiny bead at the intersection of the threads that connect us to others. Each unique and irreplaceable, perhaps feeling alone when we forget that we are an essential part of a larger universe. At those moments when we realize our connection to others, we know we are part of something more powerful and mysterious than we can fully understand or articulate.

I’m reminded of molecules, atoms joined together that are transformed into something totally new, like water. Two distinct gases (oxygen and hydrogen) joined together into something we often take for granted. But it really is a miraculous process to consider.

In the past, I worked to make dreams and visions of what could be a reality by creating projects to raise awareness and reweave a sense of community. Sometimes, for fleeting moments, the projects worked. And then, they dissolved in the light of day.

Now, most of my dreams and imaginings aren’t blissful – they’re constrained by the context of a different reality. I’m not sure that I would survive very long in this body otherwise. But moments of blissful possibilities still do come. Now, I try to keep those possibilities alive by spending time writing and gardening, and sharing with those who come into my relatively reclusive life, especially my grandchildren.

For me, it’s the closest I can come to bliss until our connections to each other and the earth are remembered and strengthened.


(Photos shot with a Canon Power Shot A560. It’s a more complicated camera than my Sony Cyber-shot, but this WP course provides me with an opportunity and the motivation to learn something new.)


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17 thoughts on “Reflections – Saturday, July 16, 2016

  1. Beautiful post, Carol. I love the detail and colour of the dreamcatchers – so far have only seen them on photos. Touched by your thoughts on the threads of our lives – merging with others to form that indescribable, indecipherable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol, you never fail to express thoughts or ideas that resonate with me in some deep way. And this post is my evidence!

    Unity. Oneness. Wholeness.: Humanity and Nature together, and yet retaining our unique individuality, this is what I believe was intended from the beginning. And until this becomes reality once again, there will be some of us who evidently can find no permanent rest, who cannot fully enjoy the bliss that is a part of living this life.

    Wonderful as always, Carol!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Imagine the web of life. Each of us is a tiny bead at the intersection of the threads that connect us to others. Each unique and irreplaceable, perhaps feeling alone when we forget that we are an essential part of a larger universe.”
    ~ Thanks for another soul-searching post, Carol.
    ~ Thanks for reminding us that we are each part of the web of life. In our quest to dominate Nature and the world, we fell victims of our own sense of grandeur. Our disconnectedness, our suffering, our violence towards each other are but consequences of our ignorance.
    ~ Gratitude and blessings for a kindred spirit ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with you Carol.

    Your words “imagine the web of life .. threads that connect us to others. Each unique and irreplaceable…more powerful and mysterious than we can fully understand or articulate…” Bliss indeed.

    I remember almost 3 decades ago when I was first really got to know Charles Brandt. He was facilitating a retreat on Spirituality and the Environment, and Charles’ spoke of Joseph Campbell’s counsel, “to follow your bliss.” Not at a face value, happy, happy, happy kind a way, Charles said, but rather to become the person we were meant to be. The life long journey of discovering and becoming “our true self”(Tom Merton’s phrase).

    Accompanying bliss is suffering of course…. as you say “a world filled with violence…” As Thich Nhat Hahn often describes the paradox “You can’t have the lotus without the mud.”

    It’s never been easy, though I’m on the path…I get lost sometimes. Thanks for sharing your own path… maybe in working and sharing and being together (like Hydrogen and Oxygen, and all the atoms) we (the earth) can find our way. Much thanks to Carol, with peace love … Bruce

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for sharing insights from your journey and the wisdom you’ve gathered, Bruce. “Accompanying bliss is suffering of course.” So true. Blessings and peace to you, too. ❤


  5. There are many attractive mind or body places people want to be in. Happy, healthy, comfortable, satisfied, pleasured, and of course they want to experience bliss. The folly is chasing after these things; it’s like chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They only exist if the rainbow exists and if one is the rainbow. One of my Teachers, El Issa, who was a shaman some thousand years ago in this area, went to great lengths to teach me the essence of inner peace even in the most horrendous of surface turmoil. I needed to give myself a purpose so that in time I would “disappear” and become the purpose. I chose compassion, or to put it another way, I chose to become a compassionate being, an avatar of compassion. When “we” express ourselves compassionately we experience bliss through the sorrow and the joy compassion naturally attracts to itself. Bliss in sorrow? Yes, because the compassionate are detached, have no expectations of either reciprocity in giving love, or success in whatever their compassion leads them into. The compassion itself is the “reward” if I may put it that way. Compassion is the only antidote to the fear, the desires, the confusion of special relationships that fall apart, the losses from changes we have no control over. It is also the antidote to pride should we experience success in some personal endeavour. Compassion is the way to love, and the end of violence and fear because compassion accepts without the need to be accepted. In fact compassion has no need as it feeds, not from the social environment but from that nebulous “source” of life from which ostensibly we had to emanate.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow, Carol, this is greatness! ” “imagine the web of life .. threads that connect us to others. Each unique and irreplaceable…more powerful and mysterious than we can fully understand or articulate…” Lines like this are remarkable and profound. You touch me in deep places my friend. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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