“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
These two images are of the same window but taken from opposite sides. The first, my favourite, was taken from inside the Buddhist temple in Thailand. It fascinated me from the moment I saw it, depicting precisely what I needed- windows of opportunity. It was as if they were taunting me to take the chance, run the risk, ignore the unknowns lurking in the shadows. This was about the time I was in the middle of writing my first novel and began to question the project and my sanity
The second image I shot almost two hours later from ground level and when I was processing the shots from the event that day I skipped over this one. It wasn’t until months later that I realised the juxtaposition of the shots and interpreted them for what they are, opposite sides of the same coin. This image, however, represents the long-term goals I have set for myself, things that are higher and still unattainable.
Enter Ralph Waldo Emerson and his checklist for a successful life. What strikes me most about the list is that it has absolutely nothing to do with material wealth or accumulation. It is emotional, psychological and social condition, moral compass and accountability. So to me this is a life that combines the two windows and guides me towards the core that both anchors and propels forward. Strengthens and calms. Inspires and creates. Finds a voice.
“It is not the length of life, but the depth.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson