Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cherish Freedom

Still frame from the music video "Kutunza Uhuru"
Music & Lyrics: Mawasi Experience
Video: Elspeth Duncan
The drum group Mawasi Experience approached me recently to shoot a music video for one of the songs on their new CD.

I chose track #3, Kutunza Uhuru, which means Cherish Freedom. This is also the name of the new album.

The video is now complete and, as of last night, the DVD is in their hands. The founder of Mawasi, Peter Telfer, will be surprising the other members of the group tomorrow morning by screening the video after their performance.
Another still frame from the video

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My little Yoga Companion

(I don't have a photo of my Yoga Companion for this post)

Early yesterday morning while doing yoga, out of the side of my right eye I noticed something dark and large (i.e. "large" for an insect - if it was one) running next to me along the wall. Whatever it was ran behind a manilla folder I had leaning against the wall.

I shifted the folder to see if the thing would run out, but it didn't. I kept my eyes open in case whatever it was was in the mood to run onto me. After a short while, I looked in the folder, but saw nothing. I don't know where the thing was, but a few minutes later I saw it emerge: a furry, dark brown spider. It scuttled out of my sight and I thought it was gone for good.

This morning as I was doing yoga, the spider scuttled out of nowhere, ran past my mat and disappeared. Later, as I was holding a meditative posture that required no movement and eyes gazing at the tip of the nose, the spider appeared again. This time it sat right next to me at the edge of the yoga mat, keeping perfectly still.

Thankfully I'm not afraid of spiders. I see them as creative beings and I admire their ability to spin webs. This particular brown furry one seemed to be soaking in yoga vibes and doing her own yoga next to me.

When she had had enough, she scuttled away to wherever her hiding place is.

Just in time too ... as Jasper came in through the window and joined me on the mat.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mantis Power

Source of image
This morning my friend Rosanna called. She said she had found a card someone had sent her and wanted to read to me what was inside. It was about this.

As she started to read (something about if each person is at peace within, the whole world will achieve peace), I happened to look up. There on the ceiling, on either side of my light bulb, were two praying mantises, completely still, praying.

Wow. What a symbol. Just when a friend is reading about individual and global peace: to look up and see two prayerful creatures with light between them.

I took two photos (which are in my camera).

The mantis brings interesting messages.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Touching base

Letters on the wall with the name of the project
Blogging has been sporadic as of late. I haven't even been checking in on other blogs that I normally peruse. Where in the world is Melanie now? What has Henry has been up to and what new art has Lynn created? What awareness-raising adventures has Kelly had as of late?

... etc.

I've been busy and making concerted efforts to keep focused. Every day, as always, I write out my 'list of things' to do. These days the list is up in the twenties, with "little" and "big" things. Yesterday morning it was at 22 things to do. I remained focused and steady throughout the day and got most of it done.

By nightfall, only seven items were left. Crossing off the completed items is a pleasurable feeling, akin to playing Tetris and seeing the boxes disappear.

As I write this, it's 4:25 a.m. Off to Tobago on the first flight this morning (5:45 a.m.) to continue photography for this project.

Back tonight.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What about animals after a natural disaster?

Animal rescue after Hurricane Katrina
In the aftermath of disaster, we hear in the media that people are searching frantically for "loved ones". To some, "loved ones" will also include animals. I was thinking about that yesterday.

Some reading this may wonder: At a time like this, when so many people are dead and suffering, how can you even be thinking of animals?

The reality is, animals (pets and otherwise) are suffering too.

Animal rescue groups are closely monitoring the situation in Haiti

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Do you have First Aid Certification?

Dear All,

In light of the recent earthquake in Haiti, I called the Red Cross today to sign up to do the First Aid certification course. It is $400 per person, 2 days (weekends) from 8 - 4. First day you learn basic first aid and second day you do CPR, etc, At the end you get a certificate, valid for 3 years, enabling you to use your new skills anywhere in the world.

Their next class (last 2 Sats in Jan) are booked but I left my name. If anyone drops out, I'll get in. If not, they estimate the next date will be in March. Maybe then we can all do it together (i.e. if I don't get to do the January class I'll do March).

Are you interested? This is something useful for all of us to do. Some of you may have done it already but may need renewed certification. Not being 'negative', just practical. Whether injuries are as a result of 'simple' daily mishaps or natural disasters, it's good for us to have these basic skills ... to know how to assist in an emergency.


(The above is a letter I just sent out to some of my friends. I am posting it here too because it is something we would all do well to follow up on).

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Anniversaries to me

Heart cloud over Mission Bay, Toco (31 December 2009)

Was just talking to a friend and mentioned the date ... and then it struck me. How could I forget? Today is the 8th of January, my anniversary of two things:

My 5th year of blogging (I started this blog 5 years ago on this date)

My 9th year of no smoking, drinking (alcohol and coffee).

Now is wow.

Blue Moon & New Beginnings

Time lapse of clouds rolling over the Blue Moon directly above us on the cliff
31 Dec 2008 - 1 Jan 2010

As time crossed the bridge from 31 December 2009 to 1 January 2010, I was on a cliff in Balandra with my friend Vandana, who came to visit me for a few weeks.

Below us was choppy black sea with galloping white waves, illuminated by the Blue Moon directly above like a spotlight. We didn't even know there was going to be a full moon that night ... much less a blue one. It was huge and amazing and seemed to have orchestrated itself to be over us at the moment that the year turned. Being the second full moon in one month, blue moons signal a powerful time. It is said that if you have special wishes and desires, this is the time to send them forth to the Universe in the form of rituals, prayers, etc.

Without even knowing, this is what we did.

We went onto the cliff at about 11:30 p.m. and did our own little personal rituals. Being on the cliff was like standing on a finger projecting into the Universe, surrounded by all of the elements - earth, air, fire (we were burning incense), water, ether. We had plastic tablecloths that we lay on, looking up at the stars and clouds racing over the moon The energy was tangible.

At 11:55 we did eleven minutes of a Kundalini Yoga meditation for prosperity. This took us to until 12:06 on 1st January 2010.

Then, inspired by this, V did her own ceremony, with me and the elements as her witness.

It was the perfect start to a new chapter.

When dawn cracked, after doing some meditation and yoga, I went down to the cove and found a large piece of driftwood floating in the water. It was shaped like a bow. I mentioned it to the friend I was talking to on my cellular phone at the time and she said: "And you are the arrow."

I brought it back home with me. It is a symbol of my focus for this year and the many bulls-eyes I will be hitting from now on.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Silence isn't always golden

Girl taking a late afternoon walk in Charlotteville, Tobago - one of the communities involved in the research project
In 2009 I started work as a documentary photographer with a team from the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at U.W.I.

The project on which we are working is aptly named Break the Silence. It "focuses on breaking the silence that has surrounded incest and other forms of child sexual abuse in Trinidad and Tobago. Its aim is generating knowledge and understanding on child sexual abuse/incest and the implications for HIV; empowering women, girls, men and boys to address these issues; and influencing service providers to strengthen their response to child sexual abuse and to understand the linkages between child sexual abuse/incest and HIV."

This article, from which the above extract is taken, explains more.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Miss December

Craft Queen, Artist and Friend, Kris (aka Moka), has been interviewing various creative souls on her blog. I was her Miss December 2009. You can read the interview here.

Now we are in January 2010. I thank each of you for being here and wish you all that you need to grow and prosper as your greatest self.