Identity

Holding Pattern

Galia Alena Photography Sydney Harbour Bridge
 I'm sitting here in holding pattern for way too long now- moved out of my old house, my old home and my old country, sitting in the new country waiting to get into my new house, waiting for my furniture to arrive so I can re-establish my cocoon and finally exit the land of limbo.
I've said good by to the fair city of Sydney- I will miss your cafes, Gardenias, the fabulous Thai restaurants, I won't miss the traffic, the rudeness, the congestion, or the inflated house prices.
Galia Alena Photography Queenstown


Asked Again

Asked again
I’m asked “How are you, what’s new”
Reluctant, I hesitate
stumbling to reconcile the triviality with
the enormity of the question.
“I’m good, not much” i answer
thinking of how I struggle to stop time,
how the light has changed as we move towards summer,
my days extended,
how the sweet ripeness of mangoes delights me
and the morning hours are never enough
how I cry, how I smile, how I love.

Come, sit with me by the pool,
hear the breeze ripple across the water,
watch the light move by and the shadows move on,
hear the stories of my days
in silent stillness
then you’ll know how I am and what’s new.
This is the sight and light of my life.

Balance- the Holy Grail of the 21st Century

The Elusivity of Balance
Or
Balance- the Holy Grail of the 21st Century
    My idea of balance, the balance that I seek is calm, tranquil, level and serene, an ideal. I never find this calm and tranquil balance for very long and wonder if it is like the holy grail, a legend, a myth and all this time I have been on a wild goose chase searching for something I shall never find. When I do find it will I even know what it looks like and is it something I can hang on to. Is balance a verb or a noun? I think for too long we have sought the noun when in fact it is the verb we need.

“To keep your balance you must keep moving” Einstein
    I feel more that I disappear into the depths of one thing or another and are not able  to find this “balance”, this harmonious and mythical place where things work together. My life is more like a pendulum that swings from one direction to another and then back again. Giddy I look around to steady myself as I swing another direction. Somethings get neglected while I swing in another direction and then back again to be reconnected.
    I wonder, is not the pendulum of perpetual motion not a form of balance? Could I not claim my life, myself is balanced as long as I’m swinging? Perhaps it is better to continue swinging, searching for that center balance and in the process be balanced, than to find stillness, to stop off balance? So I take console in the fact that perhaps my life is more balanced than I think it is.
    Maybe what’s missing is a clear goal, a point to center my gaze on like dancers do when they spin. Perhaps then I would find my calm in all this perpetual motion, this oscillation.
    Finding ones goal, purpose, ones point on the horizon, that’s the tricky question and often a moving target.
    What is this balance, this ever so elusive balance that we seek? A goal made more weighty in modern times when we are supposed to be able to have it “all”. The weight of “all” is heavy, no wonder it is tipping the scale off balance, tilting it towards ever more busyness, in our endless task of acquiring, achieving, obtaining, maintaining. All a lot of busy doing and not a lot of being. We do motherhood: driving, carpooling, organising, rallying, working- when do we get to just be a mother.
    When I’m out of balance, not just a little bit, but a lot out of balance, I feel myself reverberate, like a tuning stick struck. I vibrate either side of myself trying to catch up with or slow down to myself. I can see myself just out of focus, refracted all around me like some dark halo. I step and I hear the echo of my step as I try to catch up with myself. Almost like one foot in this world and one foot in some parallel world, just out of sync and only vaguely visible through a foggy window.
    I try to calm myself with yoga or chi gong, be in the moment, the current moment and my invisible arms reach out and grab hold of bits of me, pulling them back into my center. Making me feel more solidly grounded in this world and less like a shadow that may disappear as the sun shifts the light, casting me away. Then I return to the demands of my day and a screaming child evaporates this state of calmness. C’est la vie- it begins again.
    Balance is not only three dimensional, it is four dimensional in its complexities. Balance of the personal external things, work, family, motherhood, diet, health, leisure etc with the more complex inner things, calm, centered, desires, flowing energies, creative spirit, joy, gratitude and then out to balance the larger external, the planet, humanity, the environment, karma. Always so many balls in the air.
    Balance isn’t something you can tick of your to do list, synchronise with you i-phone. Balance requires deep introspection- everyone needs to find their own point of balance. The point where    you find stillness in the perpetual movement. You can not seek someone else’s definition of balance and hope to meet your own. Balance can be held for a moment- but what about when you string all those moments together? Practice, choices, priorities. Balance requires trial and error and surrender, it is both a passive and an active practice. And it is a practice, a journey, something you do not find but something that you choose and do. At the very least, balance in a dialogue you have with yourself.
“There’s no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves”  Frank Herbert

Best of 2009 Challenge


So in Australia we are normally a  day ahead, but I guess in this one we are a month behind. While the rest of the web community is busy with new projects and so on, for me it is holiday time with the kids on school holidays, so not a lot gets down. Here is my rather belated Best of 2009 Challenge started by Gwen Bell. Some of them were instantly obvious and others required some thought and deliberation. It's been such an interesting and new year that in some cases it was impossible to narrow it down to a best. It is so late that Mr MckLinky is closed. Perhaps I should start on my 2010 list now.

Best Trip: This one is such a tough call as 2009 heralded the beginning of much travel but of course it was January in Vancouver which put on a stunning show of snow with its 40 year record of snow fall. We were so lucky.


 Best Restaurant Moment: Five Islands Restaurant, Koh Samui, Thailand, for my birthday. A magical day and night that started with a long boat trip, snorkeling, and ended with a banquet and a magical light show from the setting sun.

Best Book: I will not die an unlived life” by Dawna Markova, this one surprised me. I have read many books along these lines over the years but this one really touched on some truths at a time when I needed to find them. Will be read and re-read, quoted and turned to as needed.
May we all find the courage to offer ourselves fully to what has heart and meaning for us... May we all find the soil in which the seeds of our dreams can germinate...                     Dawna Markova

Best Night Out: The Stanley Park Train through the snow and Christmas magical display. This night brought all the magic of a childhood Christmas to my children as the snow flakes fell on my eyelashes.

Best Workshop or Conference: Unravelling with Susannah Conway. Susannah is a joy to unravel with, as are all the friends that I meet along the way.

Best Blog find of the year: Well this would just have to be blogs in general. Until 2009 I didn’t have time at all for finding and exploring blogs so a whole new world has opened up to me, filled with kindred spirits, new friends from all around the globe and much joy and inspiration. Thank you.

Best Moment of Peace: Early in the morning while the rest of the house sleeps and I can potter around quietly in my own thoughts and dreams. Bliss.


Best Challenge: Downsizing the studio was definitely the hardest thing I have had to do for along time.

 Best Album: Bliss Baby If you work with babies all day like I do (or if you have a newborn baby) you will  understand why. Anything to help settle a baby.

 Best Place: Snow, under the snow: British Columbia.

 Best New Food: Caper’s Pumpkin Pie- although technically I discovered it at the end of 2008, I searched for all of January for more of it and have been obsessing over it ever since mmmm….. Should come with a warning- "Is addictive and requires copious amounts of cream."

 Best Change made to the place where I live. The best and worse change made to home was to bring the studio back home. Still have such mixed feelings about it.

 Best Rush: Discovering traveling without children again.

 Best Tea- I don’t know about tea, I’m a coffee girl. But I do like the idea of tea so I’m always buying tea cups. Here’s the favorite of 2009


 Best Word or Phase: Without a doubt it was a quote which I took on early in the year and kept reappearing throughout the year all over the place, in case I hadn't paid attention the first time:
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.  Anais Nin

 Best Shop: Etsy. Like blogging this is a whole new experience. My aim with my own Etsy shop is to somehow sell enough to cover the things on Etsy that I buy, so far I'm losing. Love having beautiful handmade things and the bonus of finding surprises on the doorstep- Christmas all year round.


 Best Car Ride: and the scariest. Sea to Sky highway in British Columbia.

 Best New Person: So many new people, all wonderful, have come into my life this year. I guess the best one is the old/new me that has returned allowing room for all these other wonderful people.

 Best Project: Back to me. This year has seen the start of many new projects, but all of them are part of the larger project of reconnecting with my own artistic voice, one that has been stifled over the years or motherhood and mortgages. So glad to see it coming back. So curious to see where it might go.

 Best Web Tool: Flickr. You’d think as a photographer I would have discovered this sooner but I was always too busy. Now I am enjoying connecting with other shooters around the world and being inspired by so many wonderful images and artists. It's a full time job exploring Flickr.

 Best Learning Experience: The process of downsizing the studio and all the space that opened up as a result.

 Best Gift: Our families Christmas gift to each other- a month in Koh Samui together.

 Best Insight or aha Moment: It was a year of insights, mostly about finding an authentic me and following my bliss and energy and a lot of it was fueled by this quote which was quite an aha moment (& a proverbial kick up the butt- thank you). I know I am always going to be my own worst critic and never know if what I am producing is any good, but still I must keep doing the work and (armed with the Nin quote) be brave enough to put it out there.
My love of music, words & creative expression... is the morning songbird at my window saying "Wake up & get moving. The world won't wait for you to decide you are brilliant. Get up and work anyway."  Stephaine Lee

 Best Social Web Moment: Secret Santa with my unravellers.

 Best Stationery: Journals, for writing, painting, playing, pasting, discovering.


 Best Laugh: Teary teary laugh with Haneka in my art class- thanks girlfriend.

 Best Resolution: 300dpi of course, perfect for printing.



Who Am I?

Who am I? If I listen really quietly will something come? Who am I? Does this question really have an answer?
Who am I? I am GB. What I is GB? GB is J’s partner, a fun loving, playful partner.
Who am I? I am Lulu and Angel’s mother. I snuggle with them in the quiet dark peaceful moments and rally them in the busy daily chaos.
Who am I? I am friend, both loyal and fierce.
Who am I? I am a photographer. I get paid to take photos. 
I get paid to make images.
Who am I? I am a photographer. I express myself and mould my world through photography. I shape the world to my inner vision.
Who am I? I am an artist. I express, I play, I experiment, I paint my life and I tread softly, sometimes boldly, off the well worn path. I make my own path stumbling, hesitantly yet bravely, through the bracken of the world.
Who am I? I am an explorer. I explore the world and myself, I explore both the new and the known.
Who am I? I am a creator. I create my world, my house, my family, my life. I create images and stories and other things that inspire my whims.
Who am I? I am woman. I walk around with the knowledge ghosts of those before me, who suffered in silence or who suffered out loud but were not heard but still managed to love. I honor them by being heard. I honor them with my gratitude and enjoyment of life.
Who am I? I am a dancer, I dance through my dreams and sometimes I dance when I’m awake.
Who am I? I am a dreamer. I dream with my eyes wide open, I dream with my eyes turned inward and turned outward. I dream with my words and thoughts, I dream with my images.
Who am I? I am the here and now. I am the pen that glides across this page. I am the moment.
Who am I? I am the past. I am my past, I am others pasts all converging to bring me here and now.
Who am I? I am the future. I am my future, I am their future. I create the future. I chose the future.
Who am I? I am quiet, I am loud. I sing, I dance, I cry. I cry tears of joy, I cry tears of sadness, I cry tears of anguish, I cry tears of pure bliss. Sometimes I can’t see through the tears.
Who am I? I am possibilities. I am the possibility of my dreams, of my choices, of my future.
Who am I? I am struggles, I struggle against the boundaries of identity, of who I am, of who I should be. I struggle with the weight of possibility, of choice.
Who am I? I am a traveller.  I am the journey. I travel down the road to me.

Bring Back the Green


As I turn 40, a process that doesn't happen over night, I glance around my life and wonder where I am. So busy the last decade raising babies and providing for them, which means busy with work too. I look and wonder where am I? Shouldn't I ask who am I? Isn't that the usual question? I don't know. I think I have always known who I am  but I think that the who I am has just gotten a bit lost in all the day to day busyness. The masks I wear to run a business have fused with my own skin, my own identity and I pry really hard to pull them back and reveal the real me even if only to myself. Little things of a former me creep back, perhaps its the turning forty thing, perhaps its that my children are at an age when the clinging to my skirt gels looser and looser and whilst they still need me I can take my own independent steps again while they are taking their own. Perhaps it's that I've been doing what I've been doing for work for over 10 years now, a decade, a lifetime, my son's lifetime. So I look and reflect on it all and I wonder where did I go in all of this. This full life, this full of life that I love, this full life that I am so grateful for.
I look in my wardrobe. So much blue and grey, even a little pink. Blue's not my colour, and certainly not grey or pink, yet I see so much of it hanging there. Where did it all come from? It's green I love, green that brings out my green eyes. Greens and rich earthy colours, chocolate brown and dark golds. Where are they? Whose clothes are these I wonder? Where are my clothes? Where am I in this wardrobe?
Sure I can blame the fashions. Blue is always in, always more popular and readily available. Blue is the colour they say you should wear when you first meet someone, great for business. But I think maybe I just didn't notice, distracted and swept along by life. I bought the readily available blue. Dressing the masks I forgot to dress myself.
So now, a pact with myself, no more blue- not in clothes anyway. & thank goodness there's always black, whilst I bring back the green, bring back myself.