Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
― Mary Oliver
Rhododendrons seemed to have moved into my neighborhood like a swarm of Olympic athletes each eager to show off their blooming colors: be it magenta, lilac, white with pink edges or the deepest shade of purple.
Like a clueless observer I stand with my mouth agape, easily swayed between the exuberance of indigo and the innocence of pure white. All of a sudden walking down the street turns into a task of picking a favorite child – however do I choose?
“I don’t feel very much like Pooh today,” said Pooh.
“There there,” said Piglet. “I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.”
― A.A. Milne
It is remarkably easy to lose oneself in being busy these days. Amidst the blue screens, street noise and ever-changing traffic lights, days pass without proper notice, until we wake up and a year or two has quietly slipped by.
Yearning to relax and enjoy life yet feeling the immense pressure to be busy successful, we bury ourselves in a pile of work, hoping to make ourselves feel less alone in the company of busyness.
What are we running from? Why is our society so afraid of being left alone with nothing to do, no company except your very own colorful daydreams? Or is it our inner demons we are more afraid of?
My love for reading began when I was ten. My best friend and I would walk forty minutes through the city to get to the nearest library where we would spend hours perusing their offerings, reading summaries to each other to see what story we wanted to read next and checking out books by the dozen, coming home with sore shoulders from the press of the stack.
“You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any miseries, or any depressions? For after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing inside you.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke,
As a society we are conditioned to avoid suffering. Just walk through the self-help section of any bookstore and you’ll quickly glimpse titles like “Happy 95% of the Time“, “Happiness: Your Route Map to Inner Journey“, “How to Be Happy” and “Be Happy Now“, just to name a few.
A frog in a well does not know the great sea.
– Japanese proverb
Falling in love with a country is much like falling into the proverbial rabbit hole. One minute you are walking in the woods unsuspectingly, the next you’re speeding down a deep tunnel, looking around you and wondering how you found yourself there.
In my lifetime as a photographer I have photographed many things. From product to landscape to people, I have had a chance to experience variety and see how the light interacts with trees, human faces, pieces of jewelry, you name it. After all, photography is all about light.
“Within every woman there is a wild and natural force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing. Her name is Wild Woman but she is… An endangered species.”
— Clarissa Pinkola Estés
“Are you Yuliya? The photographer?”, someone asked behind me as I was strolling my local farmer’s market in search for the perfect raspberries. I turned to locate the source of the voice. I was met with a young woman with long, curly hair who was surrounded by flowers in her market stand. She was smiling.
“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.
Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”
― Brené Brown