"Earned wisdom is organic - earthy and authentic; not fettered or smothered in anything synthetic. It is dynamic - it has movement and captures many aspects and facets. It is evolving - like interest in a bank, it morphs and changes as one gains more insight, experience and perspective. When you touch it, you feel it in your bone. It permeates your inner essences, resonating in every aspect of your self." - Mary Benson
This woman...this photo
When I really look into this photo, it brings tears to my eyes. I have known Mary for over 30 years, and to me, this photo shows the world the wise woman I know and love.
- The powerful and steady stance of her legs against the rough surf and waves;
- how she stands firmly in the full depth of her body against the crashing waves surrounding her;
- yet, she is willing to move forward;
- standing upright when the world seems tilted;
- the composed equanimity of her face as she gazes towards the sun;
- the glow of light that seems to emanate from within her.
I see all these things...and so much more.
And in my opinion...this is what a portrait of a mature woman should be about...celebrating her presence in the world, her BE-ing, her story.
I want to take portraits that allow the world to see the Light, beauty, strength and story within the mature woman.
Last week, I introduced Holding the Bones, a personal photography project sharing the earned wisdom of women over the age of 60. This week I spill the beans...explain the who, what, why, where, and how of the project.
That title? What does it mean, Holding the Bones? The title just popped out from my deepest memory during an email conversation with my dearest friend Mary, the lovely wise woman in the photo above.
It is a metaphor, steeped in histories of other cultures, buried deep in my experiences with elders and mystics in those cultures. Perhaps, the easier way to approach the metaphor is to talk of some physiologic purposes of bones.
- Bones protect important and delicate organs.
- Bones are the framework for the body.
- Bones are levers - making use of forces generated in a beneficial way.
- Bones make the cell structures that carry oxygen and fight infection.
- Bones buffer the body against excessive chemical (acid-base) changes.
Bones support and provide the anchor for strength, nourishment, protection. They hold their important power and purpose within the vessel of the body.
What better way to describe the role of wise women in any community? in our lives? The wisdom keepers "hold the bones" for us.
They provide support and anchor us with their strengths and their protections. They nourish us with their presence, with their wisdom, with their knowledge, with their hearts, with their hugs...and sometimes, with their cooking (Grandma Hazel's apple pie...ummm). They hold the space for us to breathe deeply, to experiment in our own lives, to learn our own wisdoms.
The project is open to
- any woman over the age of sixty,
- who is willing to be photographed for the series,
- willing to share one piece of earned wisdom that is most important to her,
- and signs the model release form.
The project will end when sixty women have been photographed.
The photographs will be composed in a setting that highlights the particular wisdom message of each woman. The photograph and wisdom quote will be shared on this blog and website. The possibility exists for a book that celebrates the wisdom of women over age sixty.
Each shoot will take place in a setting that is local for each woman. Specific details will be determined by the content of your particular wisdom. We'll nail down those details in conversations prior to the shoot. (Just know - I don't climb mountains. So if your wisdom involves mountains, they'll be "way, way back" in the background - not up close and personal!)
Because women over sixty rock. (Oh hell yes!)
YOU - gorgeous older woman sitting over there - YOU deserve to be celebrated - NOW!
YOU - mature woman who has earned wisdom - the world wants to hear your wisdom - NOW!
How would YOU like to be portrayed? How do YOU dream of being photographed?
Have YOU ever said this, "I don't like how I look in pictures?"
Do YOU own an incredible portrait of your self?
Because it's time for YOU to exist in your own printed history!
If you are a woman over the age of 60 and would like to participate in the project, send me an email with your contact information and your pearl of wisdom.
Once I get your inquiry, I' ll contact you and we'll talk - a lot. More information about all those logistics will be shared in our conversations and will be posted to Holding the Bones.
I am asking for your help, please...
Share this blog post and information with everyone you know. Help me reach out to that world wide diversity of wise women.
Are you a woman over age 60 and would like to participate? Email me, please!
Do you know a woman over 60 who has some wisdom to share? Contact her, show her this blog post, print it out and send it snail mail - get it to her anyway you can.
Until next week...Expect the best; anything else is an adventure!
Rock on Ladies!
Please share your thoughts and comments with us. And please share on your social media in order to reach all those other wise women! Thanks!