Archive for the ‘Jiangsu’ tag
A beautiful image of a beautiful butterfly taken in China. For me, when I took this photo, it was more than about the butterfly, it was about something more. The problem is, that the words to describe this “more” are tough to find. One thing that I can say is that it is about something close to what is best called soul.
The soul expresses itself through image but is not that image. (James Hollis, Tracking the Gods, 1995, p. 9)
My time in China was spent in discovery of a unique version of “otherness” embodied in the people of China and in the communities that contain them. My time was also spent in discovering more about my “self” in relation to this otherness of China and its people. In the process of growing awareness, there was a deepening within, something that touches soul.
In a way it is much the same as what happens when one takes a song and attempts to go deeper when presenting the song, go deeper so that connection is richer, through the addition of video, the use of images.
I wonder just how much sense this makes for others who read this?
These two guys were happy to have their picture taken while they hauled some rescued wood and scraps from some worksite to a buyer. It was strange, needless to say, to see this type of transportation being used while modern trucks, cars and buses whizzed by. Stranger, was the apparent level of happiness displayed by these two men. I took the photo in January, 2008 in ChangZhou, China about five kilometres from the apartment I lived in for two years.
These men are aware of their lives and see the contradictions in comparison to the lives of others in their neighbourhood. Rather than getting lost in envy, getting stuck in helplessness, they walk forward in shoes large enough for their tasks, their lives. They choose to live with a spirit of happiness rather than slip into darkness, helplessness, fear, and the realm of evil. It is obvious in looking at them that they are not living in fear, for fear would freeze them, shrink them
For the hero, fear is a challenge and a task, because only boldness can deliver from fear. And if the risk is not taken, the meaning of life is somehow violated, and the whole future is condemned to hopeless staleness, to a drab grey … (Carl Jung, CW 5, paragraph 551)
It was a cold January morning in ChangZhou, Jiangsu, P.R.C. As I walked down the streets of the city basically wasting time, killing time, as I had finished marking the final exams and doing all the paper trail administrivia for the city university. The air was pungent, almost acrid with industrial haze. As usual, I walked carrying my camera. Too often I had gone for walks only to miss capturing yet another image for my archives. It seemed as though every day was a special event as far as my camera was concerned.
ChangZhou was/is a modern city, a city that could challenge almost any North American city for shopping adventures, for wide boulevards and spacious parks filled with flowers no matter what the season. The streets buzzed with a mixture of Mercedes, Volkswagens and Toyotas. There were no old cars, no clunkers. No matter which day you would walk down a street you would see people dressed in the height of fashion. There was little evidence that I was in a developing country. Well, at least most of the time.
This woman showed a different face of China, one from a not so distant past. She tells her own story, her story of her home country.
I guess that we all put on a special face when we go out into the public sphere, we wear a mask and act a role that would tell all that we have our shit together, that we are okay. But underneath that mask and the persona, there lies a different story, one that isn’t so pretty. So much for being “civilized.” Truth is, we barely hold the shadows within at bay. The harder we try to deny the dark stuff, the more it seems to squeeze out to embarrass us.
In thinking about this post, I thought back to this photo I took in April, 2008 in ChangZhou, Jiangsu, China. I was taking part in a three-day event with other Foreign Experts who were at work in education in China. Before I get into the post, I do want tos say that risking the two years as a university prof in China was one of the greatest gifts I ever gave to myself… Now back to the photo. I was between sessions, well truth be told, I had snuck out during one of those interminable boring aspects of conferencing in order to wander in the light showers of an overcast afternoon. I took ownership of my time rather than allow an outside force to maintain authority. And in doing so, I found this flower. I was there with it at this point in time, a point in time never to be recaptured.
Each of us loses so many of these precious points in time because we give authority over ourselves to others and to the world. Failing to take the risk because of wanting to maintain approval of other(s), results in loss – loss of soul, a diminishing of self.
If I risk myself, I may lose your approval. If I lose your approval, I will perhaps still be larger, for I will have gained my own approval. (James Hollis, On This Journey We Call Life, 2003, p. 30)