Friday, May 28, 2010

What sense is this?

What sense is this
that a simple mask
has the power in an instance
to open a door to safety, freedom and joy,
to soar, wings fully outstretched
heart open
in this moment
no longer a prisoner
to my limited beliefs
of who I am?
(Picture taken by my friend Deb Sudul)

I’d like to pre-warn you that this is me thinking this through on the page so you will have to bare with the confusion as it spills out willy nilly.
It was so striking the immediate feeling of freedom putting  the mask on that I knew it deserved further contemplation.  It was as if my ego judgments of myself and others no longer existed. It made me reflect on my use of the mask and people who use vices such as drink, drugs, overeating to get the mind chatter to stop.
Then I thought of Delyn from who in her post today talks about Wabi Sabi which is the Japanese Art of finding the beauty in the ordinary.  (see youtube video below)
With photography, that is if I give myself lots of time, I will slip into a zone that I would describe as Wabi Sabi where there is a definite shift in my awareness.  The reason I bring this up is that when I put the mask on I immediately went to an altered state, I was the beauty.  So, I am figuring this out as these words come. 
How do I have Wabi Sabi for myself without a ‘mask’?  How do I accept the natural cycle of growth and transience within myself.  I wonder if it is even about going after seeing it within myself or is it about seeing it around me and that translates to seeing it within? So now another question arises – if photography sends me to Wabi Sabi then why don’t I do it more?  It is like exercise-it’s uncomfortable to start.
It isn’t clear yet but there are rumblings going on within that I trust will lead to more sense of this.
Happy to hear your reflections.


  1. Hi Maggie

    this a an interesting experience that you have told us about. When I was working with women's groups we ran a mask making workshop where we made plaster masks and decorated them to represent our new emerging selves. You have a lot of inner work happening here. It will be interesting to see where it leads you.
    Thanks for the video. I have seen snippets of the book's beautiful illustrations but now want a copy for myself.

    Happy days

  2. Oh dear, Maggie, I don't understand any of it. Why did putting the mask on set you free? It is as if being in hiding could set you free. I associate hiding with being unfree.

    I hope you will find the answer to your questions and I will have to find the answer to mine.

  3. i like this picture.

    and yes, why is exercise so hard to start, but so enjoyable when you get started?

  4. Reading Friko's comment, I can understand (I think) her perspective. When you first told me that's how you felt with the mask, I tried to imagine feeling the same way. And I could, except that the reason for feeling free wasn't entirely positive - because it involved hiding my true self. When I put the mask on, I felt a bit like a voyeur , safely hidden from everyone else but able to watch everything happening around me. It was cool, but it felt a bit furtive.

    True freedom, to me, is being unmasked, and unashamed, or unconcerned with protecting myself. Having said that, I think I'll start right now writing some more stuff that 'un-masks' me. We should do coffee and talk about this more.

  5. Hi Deb & Friko - First, Deb, I think we had a different experience of the mask. It did not, does not have any feeling of hiding or negativity at all- quite the opposite. The mask allowed me to step into a place of non-judgement. I'm sure both of you have had a simular experience where some burden or self judgement was dropped and you felt the freedom that came with that. Whether it be a care-taker or mothering etc... It wasn't about me wanting to walk around the world wearing a mask to be free but the mask gave me a taste of what non-judgement feels like and for that I am grateful. Your comments are appreciated and actually help me get clarity. Thank you for your frankness.

  6. Delwyn- I was introduced to the mask in a dance class and it had a profound effect on most everyone. This mask experience did help me step into a place of seeing the beauty that is- the wabi sabi way of seeing. I did feel like I was exposing myself in a confused, not quite sure what happened which felt vulnerable but it felt safe to be vulnerable, powerful actually. Always glad to have you drop by.

  7. Kamana - welcome here. I am a 6'1" woman and for me to spread my arms out fully, freely and confidently felt liberating. I agree with you about exercise.

  8. Maggie, this is cool. I think I can understand the feelings Friko and Deborah wrote about the mask. But even though I didn't completely understand how you felt in the post, I sensed what you later wrote in your comment about judgment. It's like removing your ego from the scene, which is something I read about in Osho. Being an observer.

    One of my favorite possessions is a book called The Wabi Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty. I hadn't encountered the concept of wabi sabi before a friend gave it to me a few years ago. I recommend it.

    I think I can imagine how your height of 6'1", combined with the mask, would give you a sense of freedom. It's extraordinary to me how various aspects of our bodies contribute to how we perceive and feel we are perceived.

    I really enjoyed this.

  9. Ruth-Well said Ruth. My post was unclear because I was still unclear of what happened.
    Will check out 'The Wabi Sabi House' thanks for visiting and for that tip.

  10. Oh Maggie - thank you so much for sharing this and alerting me to this post in your comment on my blog.

    What most don't realize is that we are literally constrained and inhibited by the limited persona we parade around in. We are so much more than we know - and it seems the mask allowed you to step outside of any imposed, contrived ways of being to experience something so much more expansive and free. I totally get it and applaud you for such daring and wisdom.

    I think you could be describing an experience of transcendence - where you transcended ego limitations and felt the boundlessness of who you really are and always have been.

    I find this post to be very exciting and inspiring!

  11. P.S. Love the links to Delwyn's post about wabi sabi and Mark Riebstein's book. Have to get it! Thanks.

  12. Bonnie -yes, you got what the experience was about. Thank you for your feedback. It feels so good when once in awhile the penny drops, the light comes on and all is well.

  13. it seems many of us are thinking similar thoughts today, as you read from my post in learning to be who i was and not the mask...there is freedom in the anonymity of the mask...i think it is bought at a high cost of our selves though. or maybe thats just my took a long time for me to learn to love myself. i was a late bloomer and in all honesty i hated myself for being different...but then again it was becasue i was comparing not appreciating...

  14. Hi Brian- welcome here. I read your poem about being more true to who you are and really enjoyed it.
    It seems that some people get the experience I had and others see it as hiding behind a mask. For me the experience instantaneously presented a 'comparing free' space.
    Yes, I would say I have lots of self judgement but this really was a nirvana experience that transcended the ego.

  15. Hi Maggie, wow. You are really into self awareness...I'm impressed that you used this mechanism to find your feelings... somehow when others can't see us as they know us it frees our minds to clarity.

    You have a fascinating blog.

    This might be too shallow for you, but I do a little writing meme on Saturdays that I think you might enjoy. It's called Saturday Centus.

    Your creative side might enjoy writing to a prompt!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  16. Jenny- I will check your Saturday Centus out.
    Thanks right back at you.

  17. i love this post.
    thank you
    thank you
    for sharing this.

  18. Very interesting post. I find masks fascinating and the idea of wabi sabi, too. This image is stunning. Really, really wonderful!

  19. Hi Maggie,
    Wabi Sabi... what an interesting concept, and one that I've never come across before. I did a movement class a couple of years ago and found that wearing a mask enabled me to work outside the box, but it didn't facilitate a wabi sabi experience, from what I've listened to and read in your post about it.
    For me, I get that wabi sabi moment when I sit by the pond, watching tadpoles and dragonflies. The beauty that is so enveloping in that moment is also so easily missed. I try to practise being present in my life, and in that being present-ness, I am much more able to access overwhelming peace, joy and gratitude.
    I look forward to reading more from you.

  20. I often wonder who the real me would be if I didn't know anyone and started all over..not that I want to but I think I might be a bit different than most people imagine...

  21. Jenny- Hi. Do you mean using the blog medium to find self awareness? Yes I am surprised at myself too. Putting my photos out in blog land and my thought processes has opened up a part of me that I've kept to myself so it feels freeing.
    I will check out your Saturday Centus. I don't see myself as a writer, more of a pour feelings out on the paper kinda gal. Love your humour on your blog Jenny.

  22. Chritina and Relyn- you two are such great kind hearted souls. Always touched by your visits.

  23. Elloa-hello. I popped over to your blog and see we have a lot in common, the biggest ACIM.
    Welcome fellow seeker. Looking forward to following you and learning more about you.
    In peace

  24. Ain't for city gals- I wonder too about the beliefs we carry around about our selves and others that are limiting and who would I be without those beliefs. Glad to see you pop by.
    Enjoyed popping by your blog. Your hubby still talking on the hammer?

  25. I'm just checking out this other Maggie that I keep seeing in comments all over the place!
    Love the picture. I have a mask like that too.
    The picture seems to depict a yearning for freedom......held back.

    Nuts in May

  26. what an awesome photo! and i can see a connection between putting on a mask and looking through a both cases you are behind something and made to look through an opening which takes away your peripheral vision and makes you focus on a smaller area. it also puts a sense of distance between you and the subject which in turn makes you feel somewhat invisible. i'm not that good when it comes to describing my thoughts, but I hope you can catch my drift! ( i think we're on the same page!)

  27. Ooh..i hope you got that last comment...i hit a key, then poof! i did get the approval statement but i never got to do the word verification.

    btw...i'd like to see more posts from you! :-)

  28. Thank you for stopping by my reading blog. I am glad that I could suggest some of my fave reads! I am very interested to read about wasabi. It sounds like something right up my alley.