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Visual Meditation

When I practice yoga, the steady breathing and flowing movements help me achieve a meditative state of mind. I find that happens too when I focus my eyes on the arrangement of patterns all around me. They create this visual beat, a rhythm that calms the chatter in my head and my heart.

When I was growing up, there were times of stress brought on by middle-school friendship drama, insecurity about myself, family strife. What gave me the most comfort was to go into my room and rearrange my collection of James Dean memorabilia. I would move the postcards and posters around until they achieved a certain flow and balance, then lie back and admire the rebel perfectly perched on my walls. I think there are many of us who respond to chaos and uncertainty by reaching for some semblance of order.

Today, the causes of the heartache and insecurity are different, but the need to reach for a safe harbor is still the same. I’m glad, though, that my attempts have moved beyond that small room, beyond moving the same pieces over and over. The search brings me to what appears out in the world around me. While this visual meditation brings me a sense of ease, it also opens me up to possibilities, to wonder. Following the swirl of a spiral staircase, I am calmed by each repeating step and I find myself ready for where it will lead me next.

In 2014, I spent three weeks in Mexico for an artist residency. These images are from San Francisco Etla and Oaxaca City. For more images from Mexico, please see the blog posts from Spring 2014.

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