Crazy Whole Life
When I first moved to the mountains of the Pacific Northwest I found myself entranced by the clouds in the trees. Clouds are something that happens often here, so are trees. We have both in abundance, and both are perfectly ordinary on their own. In all the flat places I have lived the two rarely meet, but on the slopes of these wet mountainsides they do, and it’s magic. Clouds, playing in the treetops, lifting like a curtain to reveal rows and rows of conifers with trails of cloud skirt still curling around their topmost branches.
I spent many, many hours trying to capture the magic of it. I failed. There are things in life you cannot reproduce, that you have to experience for yourself.
Our lives are impossible to capture and breathtakingly beautiful. Life is beautiful, achingly so. But it’s also messy, and ugly, and often complicated. Sometimes it’s maddening (or perhaps that’s just me). But it must be experienced. It cannot be captured, and no one can l ive it for you.
Crazy Whole Life exists for those of us who want to do better. I want to do better than just marking time, checking things off a to-do list (though heaven knows I need to keep doing that or we’ll be out of toilet paper and knee deep in clutter before you can turn around). And I suspect that you want to do better too. There is holiness (whatever that is) in the everyday, in the stuff of life. Mascara might be filled with light and awe, the to-do list might have some actual meaning.
The whole messy, craziness that is our lives might actually, cosmically speaking matter.
If you stick around you’ll find:
- Concrete ways to take better care of your soul.
- Tips and tricks to better spend your time and energy.
- Tools and tips for building some balance in your life.
- Exercises to unlock your creativity and find joy in creating beauty in your life.
- Opportunity to look at everyday things, like your makeup, fashion, or food as opportunities for self expression.
- Free tools for defining your values and priorities.
- Classes and challenges to take you deeper.
It’s a lot, but it’s stuff that matters. So that’s what we’ve got. Make meaning out of the ordinary. Find joy in the things we cannot control. Live, whole and crazy because that’s the only thing I know. You can join me, or not, up to you. But I think if you do, we’ll have fun.
There’s no way to really tell you who I am in a few paragraphs. But I can give you an idea (I hope). I grew up surrounded by the wild fresh water seas that most of the rest of the world insists on calling “Great Lakes.” I can’t tell you if my affinity for the windy place where all the elements meet was born from those wide waters, or if I loved them because it was born in me. But I have always needed big water in my life.
I started taking pictures of those waves, of the edge between water and earth at a very young age. I have had a camera in my hand ever since. The play of light through lens to film and then digital sensor became my canvas and my paint. For me, photography, is more than snapping photos, it is a spiritual practice.
I was trained first as an engineer, steeped in the hard sciences, and math. But after years in that world I found myself longing for mystery, variety, and people. I was trained second as a theologian and poet; and ordained as an Episcopal priest. The Episcopal church is Christian, in the tradition of the Anglican church. It is often defined by what it is not. It is not evangelical, not literal, not homophobic, not anti-woman. I prefer to define it by what it does well, mystery. Within it I have found a tradition that makes my artist’s heart happy.
My own experience with spirituality and religion has been generous, joyous, and supportive. I know that this has not been so for all. In my life, through Christian practice, through Zen Buddhism, through encounters with the natural world, yoga, and a host of other moments I have encountered something bigger and grander than I can express or fully understand. Which is good, a wise woman (Evelyn Underhill) once said that any god small enough to be understood is too small to be worth worshipping.
Whether we call her God, or the Universe, or Divinity, or a higher power, or mystery; there is something bigger than us that we can encounter. And somehow, for many of us, that encounter changes our lives. I have found them/her/he/it in many places. Through the lens of my camera, in a shaft of light, on the edge of a storm, in the bread and wine of Christian Eucharist, in deep water, in friendships, silence, and the families we are given and those we chose.
I love making art (bad or not), teaching, cooking, eating (I love eating), and a really good shade of lipstick.
And my hope is to live life as closely as I can to Joy/Divinity, to live honestly, and intentionally. This is a place for me to share that journey with you, to share my tries and my failures, and hopefully the things I have learned. And together, I hope together we can build something no one ever thought a website could be.