Yes it’s the 1st day of spring, the 1st day of September 2016 and Day 365 of my Collaborate project……. 1 year ago on the 2nd of September I had this crazy idea that to help me re-focus my awareness and expand my creativity I would collaborate with the natural world around me……once a day, every day for 365 days.
……..And with great gusto I began!
Gee….wasn’t I naive to the cycles in my life……..and how the impact of seemingly small events or beliefs that I have, in fact hold the key to my greater understanding and awareness.
I found sign posts everywhere in the natural world; symbols and patterns that spoke to me with their ancient wisdom……..all I really had to do was to make time to engage on a daily basis (and some days I was extremely good at procrastinating and avoiding this task).
Sometimes my mind was quiet and my emotions calm; sometimes I was hyperactive, anxious, angry or afraid. As you would imagine in a year every gamut of emotion appeared at some point for me to experience, notice and create with.
As I journeyed through the process I was fascinated by the way I interacted with the world around me, and how greatly even the smallest moment spent in collaboration with nature and communion with the quieter aspect of me, benefitted my wellbeing and ability to expand my perception.
Towards the end of this cycle of time I became less interested visually in the patterns or collaborations I created and more interested in understanding why I was drawn to create a particular pattern at a particular moment in time.
Fittingly…… for Day 365 of the Collaborate project I was guided to this exquisite creature. Sadly he was not alive, but his message held great meaning for me.
Here is the story of my experience:
My mind was feeling expansive after yoga with the lovely Julie Spicer, so I ventured to Saltwater reserve to play and collaborate. As I was driving out of the reserve on the way home, a felled tree caught my attention. I became instantly aware that at that exact moment I had been contemplating the idea of cycles in life and wouldn’t it be fun to end the collaborate experience with an image that represented this.
Maybe the growth rings in the tree on the side of the road might inspire a creative response, I thought.
By the time I had made up my mind to stop, I had driven a good 25 metres past the tree and as the road was pretty well deserted (being the middle of the day) I thought I would reverse the car rather than turn it around in such a narrow space.
I had reversed pretty well most of the way, bar about 5 metres when I could see an approaching car in my rear vision mirror, so I pulled off to the side of the road to wait for it to pass.
In my stationary position I realised I had parked directly opposite an echidna. Initially, I thought he was just resting there, but on closer inspection he was not alive.
I spent a lot of time photographing and pondering the nature of this reclusive little fellow, so that I might come to know the spirit that lived within him and find it in myself also.
As has often been my experience with the Collaborate project, if I respond to an initial gut feeling (such as returning to explore the tree) a greater reward or experience presents itself.
On returning home, I researched the sacred medicine of echidna, to see if it matched my intuitive feelings. The research said that echidna’s energy holds the essence of ‘childlike innocence and humility’ and ‘the power of trust and faith’.
Sometimes I doubt my initial feelings (yes….even after a year), so I always enjoy the confirmation. In true serendipitous style, and just to make sure I got the message the universe gave me another one. As I pulled into my driveway, the last 3 numbers on my car odometer read 222 (for me, a sign from above that an aspect of my life is coming to an end and I need to have trust and faith).
Hehe!…….the perfect image and message to help me assimilate the feelings I was experiencing about today being the last day of my year long Collaborate journey.
If you look closely at the image, there is a piece of grass amongst the echidna quills that I accidently moved when I was touching them. It reminded me of a small sword and I noticed with interest how it had positioned itself next to the broken quill. The words “lay down your sword” came into my mind.
The message for me was a reminder that when I trust in life and follow the pathway that is most beneficial for my greatest learning, I can ‘lay down my sword’ and stop battling as I choose a more intelligent or spiritual way of being in the world.
Although I have completed the last day of a year’s journey, the process for me will continue (albeit in a varying capacity).
I know that to maintain a healthy understanding of my experiences in life, I must cultivate a level of curiosity that challenges my assumptions. So hopefully you will join me in my future creative endeavours as I continue to honour the wonder of life and the appreciation of each new day as an adventure of discovery.
PS……..stay tuned as I continue to post the last 40-50 days of the experience and gather together some words that will hopefully try to add to the visual pictures of those experiences.
Many Blessings Ali x
Collaborate365 – a project where I collaborate with the natural world to create an ephemeral artwork once a day for 1 year
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