Updated 06 June 2021
Still in the Stream is about maintaining a low state of agitation while the waters of life flow around you. The images and posts here foster that ideal.
Most people’s lives are filled with activity and stimulation. For most people, this is desirable and rewarding and makes life enjoyable and meaningful. For others, especially for highly sensitive people, it is easy to become over stimulated by normal life and to crave calm, quiet, peaceful environments to enjoy beauty, reflection, and introspection. Contentment for many people is in finding the right level of stimulation and ways to cope when there is too much.
I’m one of those people and this site is a creative response to my search for a level of stillness that enhances a state known as Sabi. I define Sabi in some detail here, but it is only one of the elements I’m interested in that comes to us when we slow down, notice, and appreciate what is actually going on.
For 7 years, from 2007 to 2014, I paddled 100 lakes on Vancouver Island seeking sabi in the ancient tradition of kanjaku.
Kanjaku is a Japanese word that joins leisure or idleness (kan) with loneliness or stillness (jaku). Lonely idling, or leisurely stillness. This was the term that the renowned Japanese poet Basho declared should be the state in which “one’s mind should stay.”
Peipei Qiu writes in Basho and the Dao:
“Sabishisa in Basho’s poems is often not a landscape infused with the sentiment of loneliness but the fundamental tranquility found in the harmonious fusion of the external world and the poetic mind.”
Not merely loneliness, sabi is a mood experienced in solitude, that fosters a clear awareness. In this state nature is accurately perceived through the serenity of poetic vision and a type of Kenshō is possible.
My exploration of sabi increased this kind of vision and started my journey out of clinical anxiety towards freedom.
In the process of writing two books on Wabi Sabi, practicing Kanjaku, and applying skills gained in Schema therapy I shifted long held beliefs and ways of thinking. From 2015 to the end of 2018 I used what I had learned to successfully manage my anxiety and reduce my own suffering. I would not say that I’m fully recovered. My neural sensitivity and need for harmony means I will always require more processing time and stillness to maintain equilibrium.
Beginning in January of 2019 I devoted more time to a deeper exploration of truth and beauty. This exploration has been with camera’s in nature.
In 2020 my goal was to develop the metaphor of lenses, perspective, and the meditation on scenes, settings, and the process of capturing still images – stills.
I didn’t achieve that goal because things went a little sideways with Covid, my work, and other events beyond my control. In 2021 I’m finding myself revisiting old themes, including Sabi, and Schema therapy. My journey continues…
click the links on the top right or in the menu to explore further.