Prelude: I originally wrote these words about a year ago. The seeds Nancy planted in me were to “get beyond the handshake,” and “shoot from the heart.” Ostensibly, these were meant to encourge and deepen my photography. Little did I know (or she?) that they would change my life and deepen all my relationships. I use these concepts in my teaching and mentoring and find that they blend and lend themselves well to Beginner’s mind and other Zen states one can experience while photographing, with the heart practices of Vipassana.
It was, as things often are (or appear to be), an accidental encounter. I had wanted to take a workshop with someone else but for some reason couldn’t and ended up in the rain, in the deep woods and holler’s of Georgia. I’m talking the old south here of long slow drawls, yellow ribbons tied to trees, plumbing for three water fountains in the public square and deep fried food in Azalea country. She and I hit it off. Two teachings Nancy gave during that encounter were: 1) get beyond the handshake and 2) shoot from the heart. A third she passed along as if in passing which has grown invaluable to me is: “when you receive a gift – dance with joy.”
Getting beyond the handshake was what Nancy did when she met a person or when she sat on a riverbank to photograph reeds and reflections. She engaged the world with curiosity and excitement! There was passion in her eyes and fire in her heart. She was open to the energies of others and she gave deeply and freely of her own spirit. She nurtured her students with cookies and wise bromides and of course with her breath taking images. But mostly I think, for me, she planted the seed idea to learn to shoot from the heart. This teaching eventually took root – a teaching I held onto in my own photography and made visible by practices learned at the locak Dharma center – now starting to flower……now starting to show its fruits.
…..Nancy loved the metaphor of dance. She loved music and laughter and the ocean and the images she created have spark. Impact. Energy. Light. Heart. Beauty and joy. One night around beers she told us of a friend who would dance about and shout with joy when he photographed something surprising. When she told us that I wanted to feel light enough – free enough – joyful enough – and loved enough to be like that guy too. I couldn’t then……
Nancy loved beauty she loved movement and textures and she loved swirling colors. We were close for a while then drifted apart as our paths took us in different directions. Reading Nancy’s words left upon the screen of her web site I see that down the road both of us found peace and wisdom in following the path of heart. Nancy planted a seed of joyfulness in me and when I next photograph this spring with joy I will dance and shout….Namaste, Nancy
I was given this image above last spring of 2012 and when I saw it on the back of the camera I knew and I danced!