I’ve been feeling creatively depleted lately; in an attempt to break through the block, I’ve been going through my journals, favorite books, and old pre-iPhone, pre-digital photos. I’m finding some beautiful creative connections among these beloved treasures, and I’ll be sharing selections from them occasionally for the next few months, in a project I’m calling “From the Archives” (such a unique name, I know!) I’m a bit nervous about sharing words of my own, so I might lean heavily on the words of my literary and spiritual mentors to begin 🙂
“Joe and I flew home to America in the same plane, and on the way he told me about Prague, and his Prague had no relation to the city I had seen and heard. It just wasn’t the same place, and yet each of us was honest, neither one a liar, both pretty good observers by any standard, and we brought home two cities, two truths. For this reason I cannot commend this account as an America that you will find. So much there is to see, but our morning eyes describe a different world than do our afternoon eyes, and surely our wearied evening eyes can report only a weary evening world.” -John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley // Peru, 2008: where I truly met Mr. Steinbeck, and where the @kiva_microloans borrowers stirred up a truth in my soul that I strive to live out every day. May we listen to each other’s truths; truly listen.
“Of one thing I am sure–I have a soul, and it knows more than I can presently comprehend with my mind.” – Shirley MacLaine, The Camino // Photo taken August 2006, somewhere in northern Spain along the Camino de Santiago.
“This strong, silent place interrupts confusion, rage, depression, and just now I feel more at home with the landscape than the people.” -Joan Anderson, A Year by the Sea “What am I going to do with these battles in my head? I can’t silence them, I can’t fight them, I can’t ignore them.” -me 2/26/08 // Photo taken February, 2008, near Nebaj, Guatemala
“I have a billion thoughts but I’m too tired to recall any…. …Within ten minutes of starting today I wondered what the hell I’d gotten myself into. Then I settled into a good pace and was okay. Then about six hours in I went back to wondering what the hell I was doing… …I ate lunch with the ovejas, set my bag in the most poop free area I could find. Beautiful.” Random selections from my journal on Day 1 of my first Camino across northern Spain. Before beginning my walk, I was striving for deep and profound in my journal entries. But after 30k with a 40lb pack my exhausted mind had other plans 🙂 8/26/06
“I know my truth but fear its implications for my life. My truth today leaves me alone, heartsick, lost, and broken. Who would choose truth with such consequence? … …the paradox of satiable loneliness.” -my journal, February 2009, Somewhere, Tanzania .
“It is such a mysterious place, the land of tears.” -The Little Prince // Photo taken in 2004, White Sands, NM. (Film, scanned from print). I fell in love with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s words in the fall of 2004, in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I had read them before but they had not resonated. One day, I just felt them differently. And they’ve been a part of my soul since.
“I was born lost and take no pleasure in being found.” -John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley // Photo taken 2009, northern Spain along El Camino del Norte/Primitivo pilgrim route. Wild horses, roaming free.
“There’s something to be said for sitting by the lake and enjoying its solitary beauty in peace and tranquility, letting life happen around you and observing silently.” -my journal, 3/1/08, sitting by the shores of Lake Atitlán in Panajachel. Photo taken same day.
“I like the dark part of the night, after midnight and before four-thirty, when it’s hollow, when ceilings are harder and farther away. Then I can breathe, and can think while others are sleeping, in a way can stop time, can have it so – this has always been my dream – so that while everyone else is frozen, I can work busily about them, doing whatever it is that needs to be done, like the elves who make the shoes while children sleep.” ― Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius // Northern Spain, 2009, along El Camino Primitivo.
“We must never stop dreaming. Dreams provide nourishment for the soul, just as a meal does for the body.” … …“And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams–we have refused to fight the good fight.” -@PauloCoelho, The Pilgrimage // Photo taken August 2009, northern Spain
“When a woman rises up in glory, her energy is magnetic and her sense of possibility contagious.” – Marianne Williamson // Copenhagen, 2008
“If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?” -Malala Yousafzai // Dar es Salaam, 2009
“I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” -Malala Yousafzai // Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala, 2008
“No other pilgrim I spoke to could explain why he or she was walking. There had been an impulse, almost a compulsion, that had guided us to drop our lives, put everything in suspension, and come to Spain, and none of us knew why.” … … “A surge of loneliness rippled through me. I knew it was because what I had experienced would be incomprehensible to anyone I shared it with.” … … “It is as though our experiences together stand isolated in time, precious and unvisitable again.” -Shirley MacLaine, The Camino // … Feeling nostalgic, feeling the familiar voice whispering to my soul… Photo taken 2009, along el Camino del Norte, Spain.
“In, out Deep, slow Calm, ease Smile, release Present moment, wonderful moment” ― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching // Photo taken 2007, along the Inca Trail, Peru
“Sometimes my day is crammed full of people and talk and yet I have the feeling of living in utter peace and quiet. And the tree outside my window, in the evenings, is a greater experience than all those people put together.” – Etty Hillesum, Etty: The Letters and Diaries of Etty Hillesum, 1941-1943 // Photo taken 2001, Big Bend National Park, Texas. Film, SOOC
“Those were good days. They were serene days and quite undemonstrative, like the best days in one’s life… Nothing happens; one simply lives and breathes and wishes for nothing more, and nothing more.” – Halldór Laxness, Independent People // Photo taken 2004, Venice – scanned from 35mm
“Time is a funny thing. Now that I am engrossed in life there is never enough time… I never saw the possibilities and promise that twenty-four hours actually offer.” … … “I’m coming to see that life is not a lesser thing than I imagined it to be. Rather, it holds more than I have time to seize. The big secret is that everything doesn’t happen in youth.” -Joan Anderson, A Year by the Sea // Photo taken 2009, Zanzibar
I post about one archive per week. I’m in no shortage of archived photos and have an overflowing stack of underlined books to share. Follow along on my Instagram.