Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lessons from Suffering

My life was forever changed at the time of the birth of my daughter. I became a Father and I became a man who would keep a secret.

The reason I started this blog was for my daughter, who was born 5 yrs ago. I wanted to leave her a body of archival (searchable) work that she could look back upon if she wished. I wanted this body of work to represent to her who her Father is and to understand the “how” and the “why” of me.

I was diagnosed with a disease and handed a newborn baby within days of each other.

Confession: I am a healthy person who suffers with long bouts of illness. In between periods of health where I am clear minded, clean bodied and full of energy, I suffer for months, in truth a season, of illness. Seasons that start off at Thanksgiving and does not end until Easter. This is not about holiday depression, it just happens to be the season of my illness. I have an autoimmune disease. It starts off with fatigue, then a cold, then flu, next an infection leading to long periods of being in bed resigned to repeat this process over and over.

This blog is a love letter to my daughter that I titled “Working Portfolio”. In keeping this journal I have kept my illness a secret. I did not want to share with her that Dad is not Superman. I wanted to share with her the significance of showing up daily to life. A life I lead with purpose, effort, love and humor.

This illness is suffering (at times) in which it affects my entire household, not just me. It affects my extended family. It affects my community of friends. It affects the entire whole of my being.

I want to share some of the things that I have learned living with an autoimmune disease. Future writings will most likely not be about life with an illness. But at this time I wanted to be truthful to who I am and to my daughter and I wanted to write down my life lessons learned.

Lessons I learned from suffering:

Suffering is just that, suffering, nothing more.

Suffering is mindfulness; it gives you the ability to experience a singular moment.

Suffering is a journey through your interiors, it show you the tiniest details of yourself.

Suffering is perspective, it gives you the vision of foresight to see the next fifty years of your life.

Suffering is a balancing act of every moment of wakefulness.

Suffering is not art, it is not fuel for creativity, it is not divine, and it is pain.

Suffering is awareness

Suffering awakens you to your place in this world…and that is good information to know.

I am not a preacher, just a photographer who suffers at times with bouts of illness. For the bulk of this illness I am a functioning addict of wellness. I get up, shower, drink coffee, do yoga, sit on a meditation mat and go about life creating lots of photos.

Not allowing the shadow of this illness be any more than that; a second shadow that I carry with me. At times the darkness of that second shadow overcomes me, becoming strong and overtaking me. Then I suffer.

Then I get up, again, as I promise to you that I will always do.