Look at those little feet just curled up against me, head back, eyes closed, arms raised, fluffy tummy ready for a warm hand. That’s Casanova. He is in a moment of Bliss.
And look at me. I am in my own moment of Bliss. You can see it. At least I think you can. The fire was warm, we were having a lazy cuddle in the middle of a nice long visit in San Clemente, CA, when my friend Kim grabbed the camera and caught this moment. As I look at it I am struck with how visceral a memory it evokes in me.
What is so precious to me about this photo is not the composition or subject, it is the witnessing of my own Bliss.
You would think that because I experienced this moment first hand, that I would remember the blissful part of this visit. But emotions are ephemeral, they lack permanence and somehow without the photo, I had forgotten how the warm inside-glow had felt.
This got me curious and I started to look through my photos. How many would bring back this flush of feeling?...a moment of resonance with myself and the memory that it portrayed? How many were simply documentation that captured that the moment had happened, but not what the moment had held?
It became a project. I labeled a folder “Bliss” and I took the better part of a very rainy afternoon to scroll through the thousands of snapshots. Family. Places. Artistic. Occasions. Travel. Nature. Friends. Bliss.
The Bliss folder is slim, but there are photos in it. And what a discovery - looking through that folder is such a different experience. With each photo I feel an immediate rush, a “whole body remembering” of the time - the feeling, the temperature, the taste in my mouth, the words on my tongue. Smells, intentions and my emotions seem to be called forward all at once. While I might be fuzzy on the details of the scene, there is a different kind of remembering that is going on. It comes to me like an intact movie, experienced from the inside out, my own virtual reality.
I’ve decided that that is the folder I want to grow. Of course that means that those are the moments that I must pay attention to, stay present in and notice in the first place. I must first be aware of my experience of bliss, before I can relive it.
Bliss Hunting. My newest photographic challenge.