By Diane Joy Schmidt
I put together a series of photographs I took over the years of major appearances of spirit and coincidence in my life. That magic I experienced the very first time I put a camera up to my eye, that very first insight, has remained with me. What I realized at that first moment was that, how, just by framing, putting a frame around a slice of reality, I am creating the picture, and creating the reality I experience.
One constantly chooses how to experience one’s own reality. For me, this is a creative act. When I make a photograph, which feels different from ‘taking’ a photo, avidly, like a hunter—there, while the resulting photo may be attractive, may have captured a moment, may prove my skill, it doesn’t provide nourishment, it just says, ‘admire me.’
When I am in the flow, usually when I’m driving, an intuitively-guided selective attention takes over, and in looking over these photos, I see how the same message keeps being delivered – that the world is a giant mirror, it’s sending messages all the time, and that a sense of humor makes life livable, gives it taste. I also see that I am being looked after and cared about – that the universe really does care about me.
Nature is speaking to me all the time, and is consciously aware of my presence. The ants are busy cleaning and arranging the earth’s surface. The birds appear and flick their approval. The coyotes stop and turn to look at me. Even the meticulous spiders weaving their webs outside my door are indicating the presence of the creative spirit.
Somehow the usual slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are passing me by, and today, in an unselfconscious way, a moment of grace and balance, I am grateful.
A couple of examples:
I was driving along discussing the problem of black/white, either/or, right-wrong thinking, without any shades of grey, and was just saying to someone, “Oh, right, right – I get it!” when the next moment, this bright red pickup truck appeared and caught my attention. The license plate? “WRONG.”
I wondered, is God a neurotic Jew, or just playing George Burns today?
Another example: I had just bought a single stick of Panda licorice at Keller’s at Montano. I had never tried it before. As I was driving up Coors I bit into it, when suddenly I noticed the license plate of the car in front of me, “PNDAFRK.” Much later, I also noticed that the Panda Express restaurant building appears in the photo on the right.
I thought, now, what the heck would be the question that answers this?