Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ponder This Sunday: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Here is another Twyla Tharp exercise from The Creative Habit. Take a family photo and study it. "What do you see in it that is...similar to your life today, to the person you've become? What is vaguely similar? What bears no resemblance or suggests nothing memorable? What ended up the opposite of what you see? " The idea is to look at the photo of your young self and connect with it in terms of who you are today.

I see a girl who loves to wear knock-about clothes, jeans and T-shirts. The same is true today. I see the future yogini, knees bent, hands on knees. I see someone who loves to laugh and who, for the most part, is an optimist. Someone who is playful, as I still am today especially in my creative flair. The chair behind me is very much a chair I would have in my house today. I love hardwood floors and oriental carpets and dining rooms too. I see someone who likes to bend down and peer at things, observe and respond. If someone is sitting in a chair I usually bend down to be on their eye level when talking.

Here I see a side of me that likes to look neat and tidy. Today, though, I rarely dress up. I look like I am holding back at the same time as I am moving forward. One shoulder back, the other forward. I often feel that way as an adult. In fact, there is a part of me that holds the adventuresome me back.

Here I see the "ham" in me, on stage up front and center. I love to be the focus of attention and maybe I am doing a monologue? Again I am smiling, my eyes look bright and shiny. Even today, when I talk I know I become animated and sparkly. I am inquisitive and interested in the world around me, especially in other people. I am wearing a hat and as an adult I am often seen wearing a beret. In the photo my right hand seems clenched. Perhaps I was holding something. As an adult, I often walk around with my hands folded in like that. In fact I have made it a "task" of sorts to try to keep my hands open and toes uncurled and jaw unclenched.

I wish there were more of this aspect of me in myself today. She looks like she can take on the world in a very accomplished and sure way. A future CEO or something. That would be the opposite of how I am today. Maybe these two photos represent the two paths of my life, the one taken and the one not taken. Or the one waiting to be taken. :)

How about you? Do you have a photo of your younger self that you might reflect upon? If so, post it on your blog, let me know about the post in the comments to this post and I'll link to it here.

Some bloggers who have posted childhood photos. You may have to scroll down a couple of posts as I can't seem to make the link work when I put in the correct day of the post. :)

Katie Jane
M. Heart
forever young


Britt-Arnhild said...

Suki, what a great exercise.

I did almost this the other day, together with family :-)

sukipoet said...

Thanks Britt-arnhild. It was a good exercise for my spirits.

Mim said...

This is a priceless excercise. I'll find one, or more and try the same. I do find it hard to see something with fresh eyes when it is so close to me, but will try hard...

Cris in Oregon said...

Sounds good. will have to ponder this. I have an old photo in mind too.

Kim said...

Hi Suki,

This is a great post! I love seeing little Suki! Isn't she the most adorable little girl?...And she appears to be very mischievous, too! That that smile, oh it is as though the humor is bursting forth!

I really like the idea of this exercise. I have loads of photos of myself as a child, but I do not have a scanner to share them. I will see if I might be able to photograph them and let you know if I can get any of this up on my blog.

As always, you are giving me another chance to see exactly what it is I need to know about myself. Thank you so much, Suki!

Annie said...

It seems scary to me for some reason. perhaps because some of my childhood was scary, but I will let you know if I do it. You were a darling child :-).

Honour said...

Suki, what a great exercise! I love that idea. I don't have a scanner so can't share my pictures, but I will report back. I go every Sunday to my parents' house for dinner, so I'll take a look-see for what I can find. I see a lot of mischief in those little girls' eyes? Do you still have that? I agree, you were a darling child! I'm sure there is still some of her in you. Thanks for sharing.

human being said...

i see an angel
whose laughter
all the sleepy words
in my heart
and mutes
all the howling sorrows
in my mind

sukipoet said...

Hi Mim. Yes, it is hard to see anew when it is so familiar. For me, thinking of looking for the current me in the past me helped me see these pictures in a new way.

Cris, you have shown some pretty cool photos of yourself with your pets. In a way, that post was sort of looking back at the young you and showing how you came to love animals so much.

Kim I dont have a scanner either. And in fact the top photo was a photocopy of the original photo. I took photos of these two photos to post them on the blog. Does that make sense? I have lots of me too, others that I prefer, but all are in storage.

Anne, Im so sorry to hear that your childhood was scary. Sometimes its better not to look back. My mom had a very hard and disturbing childhood and in fact has few photos from her youth plus rarely tells any stories from her youth. So I understand that desire not to sort through the past.

sukipoet said...

Honor, as I said above I dont have a scanner either. I just took a photo of the photos with my digital camera. I only occasionally have mischief in me. But according to my mom, I was a difficult child, read mischievous So nice that you have dinner every. Sunday with your parents. It must mean a lot to them and yourself too.

Human Being, another lovely poem. Laughter that awakens words and mutes sorrows. Laughter can do that. I must remember and laugh more.

Melissa & Emmitt said...

hi suki :)
i found your wonderful art and blog from following links on marianne's blog. your atered journals are wonderful.
i love this post. it really touched my heart.
it is so nice to meet you.

Patti said...

Such a very cheeky and confident little girl you were. I might try this exercise also.

Thanks for the Birthday wishes :)

Elizabeth said...

this is charming - what a wonderful way to reflect on oneself and our attitudes to the world.
I think you will have all of us doing it.
Now all I have to do is find a scanner!I see from others comments that you took photos of the old photos -I'll give it a try.......
Have a lovely week.
All best wishes.

sukipoet said...

Hi Melissa thanks for stopping by and for the kind words on my altered journals and the post.

Patti,I agree that I look confident. I wonder what happened. Maybe I have always LOOKED confident but not felt it inside me. Dunno. At the point of these two photos I was an only child which soon changed.

Elizabeth, hi good to hear from you. Yes, it was a good exercise. Even though we grow and change throughout life, that connection to the past is always there, a part of us too. Interesting to reflect upon it. Thanks to Twyla.

Cestandrea said...

Suki!!! What a sweet beautiful girl you are! Thanks so much for sharing your pictures and the beautiful writing, what a great exercise this is! It now comes to my mind that my dad gave me this picture which I showed on my blog together with some peonies a couple weeks ago, where I am wrapped in a men's trenchcoat, a pipe in mouth and reading a newspaper. Now, your exercise gives me something to think, lol!
How lovely you are, Suki!

sukipoet said...

Andrea, you mean a picture of YOU smoking a pipe?? I must have missed that. Thanks for looking, suki

m. heart said...

hello suki, i ventured over here from kate's corner and felt so inspired by your challenge and post. here is my look back...

m. heart said...

ooops, sorry, my link may be too long. the post is on my secret notebooks • wild pages blog.


What a beautiful child you were/are Suki!
I peer inside to see your child self,,,,,and it's still there,,,in the most good way!

I have a scanner, but the only photo I can think of is one where I was two, and didn't want my picture taken.
I'm still much that way today,,,,,I run the other way. I'd much rather be the one behind the camera.

San said...

Beautiful post, Suki. The exercise is a brilliant one, as is your insightful observation of the two photos of your younger self. I agree with Babs--you were carrying that light back then and it's accompanied you right up to the present.

I am quite tempted to do this one myself. I will also look at Katie Jane's post.

katie jane said...

Suki, as usual, you have stirred up a hornet's nest of excitement. How fun! I hope you get to look at M. Heart's blog, Secret Notebook, Wild Pages. She is linked on my sidebar. She has a really lovely post and I think you will enjoy it.

Anyway, thanks for the memories.

katie jane said...

Oh, I forgot to tell you how much I'm enjoying your book. I'm already halfway through chapter two, and this is a really good book! Thanks!

sukipoet said...

Hello M. Heart. Thanks for stopping by. I added your link without the dates, that worked. Love your blog and your post-- sitting among all those pine needles. Pine needles are some of my favorite things.

Thanks babs. Well, I guess that photo of your younger self coincides well with your now self. Thanks for your kind words.

Oh San, thank you. Those are lovely words. I do hope I can always carry the light. Let me know if you post a photo and I'll put in the link. Take care, suki

Katie Jane, you are very welcome. I keep thinking of your 20 year old photo, with all that red hair!!!! You were and are gorgeous. Thanks, I did read M. Heart's wonderful post. I love the stories that come out of looking at the photos. Be well, suki

Karen Mowrey said...

Suki, found you through m.heart, and love this exercise. So much I had to stop everything and dig up one of the few photos of me as a child, my mom has most of them. I started to laugh when I realized out of the few, this was one favorite enough to stay with me in my adult life.

Thank you for such a fun exercise!

atomicvelvetsigh said...

hi its my first tim here at your blog (i think) and you have such a lovely view of everything from that top of the mountain. how i would luv to live simply in such a nice place..

sukipoet said...

Karen, thanks for stopping by. I love your childhood photo, the artist!! I have added your name to the link list but as I explained on my blog when I add the correct date/day it doesnt seem to work so it's just a link to your web-log page.

Hello Atomicvelvetsigh. Cool name. Thanks for stopping by. Probably in some hidden part of myself I wanted to be here. It IS great in the summer. Isolated in the winter. Be well, suki

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