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Moving Forward

winter sun  
burning tired eyes
 
clears vision
 

冬の日光 疲れ目に焼き付き ビジョン晴れる
f
uyu no nikkō, tsukare me yakitsuki, bijon hareru




“Another years over and what have you done”, I posted on FB Dec 30.
Then I said, on a scale of 1 to 10, I give myself a 5. Fair enough I guess.
12月30日FB でこの言葉をポストしました。
「また一年が終わり、[あなた]はどんなことをしたのだろうか?」
1から10のスケールで、私は自分自身に5を与えるでしょう!まあまあかな。。

and Now….それから……..
"Moving Forward" 「前向きに」(今のところは英語のみ)
Jan.1, 2017 2017年1月1日元旦

Making progress towards something, now a senior (nearly) but young at heart, always telling people I am stuck at 33 years old, the age at which I “retired” to the country life, which is not retirement at all but the beginning of, or continuation of, a never-ending-story as I am fond of saying. So here I sit, New Year’s morning 10AM at the sunny and toasty dining room table, putting down a few thoughts.

Trying to start off “good”, I awoke fairly early and did my meditation before the sun came up. Not super cold today so was able to do it outside under the cherry tree in my usual spot. Last year, I went to the beach to see the sunrise, but this year decided to be “home” in “my spot”, my center of the universe from which I hope to start each day and make a difference in the world.

Though its nice to have the sunrise right before or about half-way through the meditation, this time of year it doesn’t hit my spot until nearly 8AM, so I was in the “shadows of the gods” so to speak. After meditation, I did take two cameras and make a few shots of the symbolic first sunrise of the year.

Now the plan is to have a slow day, with some reflection, and relaxation. I am always amazed by serendipity and synchronicity and being in the right place at the right time. But I like to have guidelines and rules since “rules are for fools”, they say! I like to have a plan. Maybe it’s my temperament to want to make good use of my time, not just my personal time, but to keep my place, to hold my place in the flow of time. And somehow finding that balance point between my will and a greater will which in traditional language I call Divine Will.

So no matter what the new year’s resolutions and goals are, its good to imagine the affect they may have on me and the affect on the whole greater picture.

Here is the short list that should keep me occupied well into the future:

Things to work on:
- the need for better quality sleep and relaxation to recharge mentally and physically (spiritual enlightening dreams would be a bonus)
- the need to better handle the regrets that come in daily life and hang around too long like unwelcome guests — ah the quest for perfection is a good goal but it is a continuous journey
- the need to stay personally sensitive without having sensitivity turn into regret
- the need to channel cosmically felt sensitivity into compassionate action

Things to stay committed to:
- a diet that is good for me, the planet, and all living things
- kindness, big and small…I really enjoy the mini stories that happen
- generosity, big and small, local and global
- keeping the garden as a bridge between humans and raw nature, pretty as a picture, and as metaphor for life

Things that don’t help:
- lack of confidence in what I am doing, even if I think its good and right
- forgetting the bigger picture
- feeling alone…(counterpoint: we are all in this together, so listen to a bird song, a favorite singer, or an inspirational speaker; feel the wind and know that someone somewhere is caressing you)

Things that do help:
- find a phrase or image that inspires, describes, pushes, mirrors, stretches my intentions and will….Remember it with repetitive practice.
- stop and feel the stillness and also keep moving.

As a Buddhist prayer that fits everyone says:
“Be Well, Be Happy, Peace”

Edward_Levinson -1010024


January 1, 2017


Morning Looking 朝に見るものは

Morning Looking (日本語は写真の下です)

What do you look at first thing in the morning?
Perhaps still sleepy, do you look out the window to see what kind of a day it is?
Do you look at the face of some loved one who lives with you?
You get up, wash your face, probably make a cup of coffee or tea.
But then what?

Do you peer into the sky? Face the sun?
Look at some green trees or plants, some colorful flowers?
Close your eyes again for a moment, imagine
some inner landscape to greet the new day, to get grounded or ethereal,
whichever is necessary for you on this day.

Or do you wake up, reach for your favorite device and check-in to that world?
I make it a point to avoid those screens for at least the first hour of the day,
that quiet time where it seems easiest to tap into
the source of inspiration and the inner voice.
I don’t always hear it and I may miss a few days, but
its always worth it to make the effort.


Related Reading: "Whisper of the Land” Chapter One “Morning Meditation”

Edward_Levinson_summer memory1
(see one more photo below Japanese text)


「朝に見るものは」

朝一番、あなたは何を見るだろうか? 
たぶんまだ眠いだろうが、窓から眺めると、今日はどんな天気だろうか? 
一緒に住んでいる愛する人の顔を見るだろうか? 
起きあがって、顔を洗って、たぶんお茶やコーヒーを一杯入れる。
しかしそのあとには? 

空を眺めるか? 太陽に向かうか? 
緑の木や植物、またはあざやかな色の花を見るか? 
ちょっとの間、もう一度目を閉じる、ある内面の風景を想像して。
この新しい日に挨拶し、自分自身を地につけるか、天にのぼるか、
どちらがその日のあなたに必要だろうか。

あるいは、起きるとすぐに好きなデバイスを手にし、
その世界にチェックインするか? 
私は少なくともその日の最初の1時間以上は、スクリーンを見ることを避ける。
その静かな時間が、インスピレーションの源となり、内面の声が一番入りやすい時だ。
いつも聞こえるわけではないけれど、そして時々その特別な時間を逃してしまうが、
しかし努力することは常に価値があるのだ。


参考:
「ぼくの植え方」岩波書店 第1章 「あさの瞑想」

Edward_Levinson_summer_woods_RE
Both photos are "Zone Plate" images


Spring Sunsets

日本語をも少し待て下さい。
These days the sun is always finding me. Or is it the other way around? It really hard to say sometimes. Walking on a path in the woods I have to constantly put the brakes on to my purposeful striding - stop, look, take a photo, ( physically and mentally), then smile and march on. “March” seems like a hard word to use, but paired with Soldier of Light it sounds appropriate. It is not just looking at and enjoying the light, but being able to convey it to others. Sometimes when I am watching the movement of the sun crossing the forest or raking across the metallic buildings in the city, I look around and it seems as if most people don’t notice it. Even when I am in a hurry I HAVE TO stop. I WANT TO stop. Who sees who? Who sees what?

In the fall, the setting of the sun is short and sweet, to the point of being made into a well-know Japanese metaphor:

Aki no yuu hi, tsurebe otoshi
“The fall sun sets as a bucket falling into a well”

Makes me wonder if there is an opposite version for a spring season, long-lasting sunset. The other day I was driving east towards home down the two-lane highway known as Nagasa Kaido (translated loosely as “The Long and Winding Road”). A red sunset ball in my rearview mirror seemed to hang there forever, like one of those red laser-pointer dots, following my actions, appearing as red catch lights on unsuspecting house windows and shimmering across water filled spring paddies. So here is my metaphor in the form of a haiku.

Spring sunset
Floats on the horizon
A balloon on fire.

春の夕日
水平線で浮かぶ
燃える風船

Haru no yuu hi, suiheisen de ukabu, moeru fusen

For two days in a row I found myself in the forest, facing the setting sun as it moved in slow motion towards the end of its day, filling me with the coincidental wonder of being in the right place at the right time.

Edward_Levinson_spring_sunset
"Spring Sunset" 1996 (photo from my book "Timescapes Japan" p 19
写真は「タ ムスケープス・ジャパン」p19より



Sensei Sleeps

"The Teacher Sleeps" (photo: 1999) 日本語は写真の下です。
A self-portrait taken while teaching a pinhole photography workshop on the Boso Peninsula coast, Kamogawa. A cloudy day and a two minute exposure time. I decided to take a quick nap.

Edward Levinson sleeping teacher-

「先生が寝る」撮影:1999
自画像。房総半島、鴨川でのピンホール写真ワークショップを教えながら撮影した。曇りの日、露光時間2分、少し昼寝しました。


Into the Darkoom

冬嵐
暗室で篭もる
光探し

Winter storm
Retreat to the darkroom
Looking for the light

fuyu arashi, anshitsu de komoru, hikari sagashi

今日は寒くて、雪と風。。
久しぶり暗室でプリントの試し刷りしました。
コンピュータではなく、アナログのゆっくりの世界。
Very cold today with snow and wind...
Hadn't printed in the darkroom in a long time, so today I finally made some new proof prints. Away from the computer, the slow world of analog.


Edward-Levinson-monet-pin-1