June 30, 2014

How Breaking Up Broke My Camera (& Taught Me How to Let Go).

photography summer picture camera hobby interest

Last summer, during my impending  separation from a thirteen year relationship, I went to the beach for several days to try to get a better grasp on the entire situation.

The massive voice in my heart, the one that resounds knowingly in spite of what chaos may ensue boomed, “Let go…let go…let go…” and so those days on the beach, I came to clarity.

It was time to let go and move on.

Almost as soon as I made that decision, my camera fell into the sand and began acting strangely. It still worked, but it wouldn’t zoom in and out and refused to respond to any manual settings.

At that point, I pretty much stopped taking pictures with it. My life changed so radically during the months and suddenly it became less imperative to document every detail. Everything had changed focus.

Breathing was enough. Discovering new love amid the chaos of grief was way more than enough. Letting go of my family as I had known it was enough. Trying to navigate the highs of release from an outmoded relationship and the lows of sorrow and chaos was enough.

Suddenly I didn’t need pictures, or updates or phone calls or texts.

What I did need was to create ceremony, my way of making sense of the world. Many moons passed, waxing and waning and I created many ceremonies of letting go, clearing as well as stepping more firmly into my own inner growth of love, power and wisdom that follows a separation. Recently I did one final massive fire ceremonyashes and burned a great many papers of the past, old research, documents that had connected us in the past; it was time to let it all go.

There were so many papers that the fire went on for hours, burning and clearing. I was amazed at how many papers served to document a relationship that was over.

The following morning after my huge fire, a few of my self-marriage vows had escaped the flames and floated around the now huge pile of ashes. One that floated out over and over during the fire ceremony was “I vow to be patient with myself.”

The next day, in the gorgeous light of the afternoon, I brought the ashes to the river of Kolekole which means ‘to talk story’ or ‘raw, scarred.’ Healing with the waters of Hawai’i is so precious. With the help of my friend we released the ashes into the waters, watching them swirl away.

I happened to have brought my camera and, moments later, for the first time in 10 months, it started working!

Suddenly, the zoom worked again, the manual settings worked and I could take photos in every way possible, as if the camera had never been broken.

How curious!


I have always secretly thought that our electronics, like everything in life truly have the mysterious capacity to reflect what is going on in our life.

I have many stories of electronics acting in peculiar ways, responding to Reiki healing, or capturing light in unusual ways however these incidents, so markedly tied in with the ending of a relationship was an especially strong mirroring of my life situation, a pronounced time of letting go, clearing, releasing.

Lava Flows on the Big Island of HawaiiAs I burned away the old over and over again this past year, burning my ego up in the flames of transformation, transmutation I recalled the incredible Indian story of the sage Durvasa who cursed the gods.

In order to recover from the curse the gods had to churn the ocean of milk to recover the nectar of immortality.

As the gods churned, first many beautiful things arose, including the wish fulfilling tree and divine goddesses. However, just as in our own life, when we churn seeking the divine bliss within, there also arose a nasty, disturbing substance called Halahala.

In an act of self-sacrifice, Shiva ingested the halahala and held it in his throat. The substance was so poisonous and toxic that it turned his throat blue and he is known as the blue throated one.

As he held it there, he was able to transform the poison into mantra, the sacred song.

Inspired by this act, I think of the own demons I face in my life as I seek to ever nourish myself with the inner nectar of true love, power and wisdom. As I continue to churn through this process, a great many treasures are revealed, as well as very intense negative thoughts, emotions and feelings.

Many of us can relate to this; that when we first start our spiritual practice, it seems so wonderful, peaceful and harmonious at first. Our teacher may even feel like a beloved, as we start to devote ourselves to the higher practices of compassion and wisdom. Inevitably, though the dark demons of anger, sorrow, rage, jealousy and fear come out of their dark corners, ready to be brought to the light and dissolved in the fierce radiance of Love.

This is not easy!

Just like Shiva, we can learn to take in that poison and transmute, but holding it in our throats, truly mastering right speech, right action, right thought requires immense will, effort and support.

As I work each and every day on bringing my own thoughts, speech and actions in alignment with truth, joy and a loving presence, I am inspired by Shiva’s intensity and ability.

We live in a toxic world, a world that is brimming with pollution, disease, poverty and sickness; a clear indication of a world out of balance. This sickness is a powerful reflection of our own mind states, a deep thirst for the true nectar of dharma and the clear radiant light of compassion.

Each of us can choose over and over again to transform our negative, judgmental, angry selves into wise beings through the process of transmuting that poison into mantra. Transforming the old papers into ash; composting the decaying paradigm to turn it over into new earth. Who knows, at the very least you might repair a few electronics along the way!

Love elephant and want to go steady?

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Editor: Renée Picard

Images: Flickr; courtesy of the author

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