“I don’t know what’s worse: to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you’ve always wanted to be, and feel alone.” Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon
“I have arrived. I am home. In the here. In the now. I am solid. I am free. In the ultimate I dwell.” Thich Nhat Hanh
“The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential.
It seems to be constantly in the process of change: Yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.” Paulo Coelho
I met Woodie today on a busy street corner in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I’ve seen him before but never gave him anything, and tried not to look at him when sitting at the traffic light.
Watching him standing there in the rain with his homeless sign, I decided to stop this time. I introduced myself, gave him money for lunch, and asked if I could take a photo. I didn’t ask him his life story because it’s none of my business.
I read an article a while back that the Lancaster City Council was considering an ordinance that would ban panhandling. City merchants also petitioned the city to do something about it, they say it makes customers uncomfortable and chases away business.
“When people give money on the street, it makes the panhandling problem worse,” Dan Jurman, chairman of the Mayor’s Commission to Combat Poverty told the Lancaster Newspaper.
The article went on to say: “There’s also the valid argument that in many cases, cash given to a panhandler amounts to nothing more than a quick drug fix.”
Woodie told me he was hungry, if he gets a beer or two with lunch, or a bottle instead of lunch I have no problem with that. A man is asking for help and I decided to give what I could.
“Your job is not to judge. Your job is not to figure out if someone deserves something. Your job is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, and to heal the hurting.” Joel Osteen
“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” Havelock Ellis
In The Art of Happiness the Dalai Lama said: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” In other words, take the dog for a ride.
The key to change is letting go of the fear.
“To be and not to be are just two ideas opposing each other. But they are not reality, and they do not describe reality.”
“We all exist as part of a wonderful stream of life.” Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear
“Sometimes we find that we like our thoughts so much that we don’t want to let them go.” Pema Chodron
“To manage your mind, know that there is nothing, and then relinquish all attachment to nothingness.” Lao Tzu
It’s been said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity. But it’s also been said that if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
So I was at Walmart this morning and I remembered a photo I took of a horse and buggy back in early March (Overexposed at Walmart). I had overexposed it accidentally but decided the result was “more interesting than all the other shots that have histograms like the Himalayas.”
There he was, the exact same horse and buggy in the exact same spot (the horse knows the way) so I shot him. And again I overexposed but purposely this time, converted to black and white and called it art.
I did the same thing slightly differently and expected the same results, so this is either a variation of insanity, madness or a combination of both. According to one definition, insanity is the state of being insane while madness is the state of being mad. Oh.
In his Pulitzer Prize winning book The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker wrote: “The road to creativity passes so close to the madhouse and often detours or ends there.”
I’ve been to the madhouse and although I didn’t bring my camera, the photographic possibilities were endless. Maybe next time.