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Reflections on God

Read this quote this morning and it resonates deeply. For the first 25 years old my life, I basically avoided God. I didn’t like the word, it was bathed in blood and carried so much weight that I didn’t like or understand. It had so many expectations around it, that I had no interest in including in my life.

 

But over the past few years of working diligently to go within myself, discover who I am, what this earth is, what this cosmos is, what this life means, I continuously return to the simple realization that all is one. The earth, the air, the plants, all living things, my body, they all coexist together, inseparable.

“God illumines the mind and shines within it. One cannot know God by means of the mind. One can but turn the mind inwards and merge it in God.”

-Sri Ramana Maharshi

My lungs are full of oxygen, the iron in my blood comes from minerals in the earth absorbed by plants, the nitrogen from stars the exploded eons ago. My DNA from countless generations of men and women before me. And in this way, through hours of deep contemplation, I discover that, while my body manifests and exists for a set period of time all of the things which make it up are infinite.

In an infinite cycle I am food, then waste, which nourishes soil, Which nourishes plant life, which nourishes me. My body itself will one say decompose and nourish the earth. I am my parents, and grandparents and great grandparents and children and grandchildren. My DNA spreads out infinitely in both directions. I am atoms. Billions of atoms which existed before me as oxygen and then as carbon dioxide, atoms which were iron, nitrogen, carbon, calcium existing for eons – billions upon billions upon billions of years before me.

In this way I am infinite. In this way I live on, long after this body has decomposed. For this reason I no longer fear death. Because death is an illusion.

In this way, I realize that I am God itself — the infinite itself — manifesting for a blink in time, as a human. But while my form is carved from the divine I am also contained by it, and surrounded by it in every living thing. Everything that is manifested around me. Everything which used to be manifested, and everything which is being dissolved back to unmanifest.

kendra coupland meditation

 

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Healing | Self Love

I have never been a religious person, though I’ve always sensed a presence of some sort of universal energy that I could only describe as “God”. I do, however, believe that this energy hears our every wish and desire, and that with it’s blessings our wildest dreams become reality. So I’m going to come out and share something really personal because I feel in my heart of hearts it’s important to say out loud.

After a violent sexual assault in my teens, that I didn’t speak about until adulthood, I spent a great deal of my youth in isolation and depression. In fact, in 2006, I climbed into the Granville street bridge, in tears, ready to jump.

I remember standing on the ledge, in tears, looking down at the water below. Cars stopped and people were getting out asking if I was okay. It felt like I was in a circus, suddenly all of my pain was on display and I almost felt pressured to jump in the moment. I climbed down, panicked. I prayed. I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t believe in god. I just sent out a desperate help me into the universe.

Brad and I were engaged at the time, and I had phoned him from school earlier that day, in distress. Suddenly, to my complete surprise, despite not having given him any idea of where I was he came rollerblading up the Granville street bridge. Still the memory feels like a dream. I will never understand why he left work, got on a bus when he had a car, and started rollerblading towards the bridge. I guess he thought I would check in at the hospital and when he went there to check and I wasn’t there he felt I’d go to the bridge.

In the end the police were called, and I was checked into a psychiatric ward to be treated for depression. In that ward there wasn’t much to do. I wasn’t allowed outside without a pass and escort, and I wasn’t allowed to sleep all day which was the one thing I wanted to do. I was, however, allowed to make art. I was allowed to colour, read, paint, make jewelry, draw, play piano or guitar, watch movies, or write. Aside from that there was an exercise bike and a meditation/mindfulness class. So needless to say I spent many long hours making art in the art therapy room.

One day while making a little pair of earrings the therapist asked me if making art made me feel good, and of course I answered that it did, and she asked me if I’d like to make art every day for the rest of my life and make enough money to live and I said I would love that. She handed me a little pamphlet on pottery classes in Vancouver and left.

The reason I am sharing this is that looking back on that moment in my life it was a pivotal moment because in that moment of desperation I sent out a call of help into the universe and a response echoed back to me. I know without a doubt in my heart, that I am where I am today because of where I was then.

In some ways it seems very simple, but that single prayer lead to a chain of events – meeting the therapists who helped me recover from sexual abuse, but also who introduced me to the idea of becoming a working artist, and empowering me to pursue that dream despite having the belief that it wasn’t possible at the time. If that wound hadn’t surfaced as depression I would not work towards healing it. If depression hadn’t surfaced I would have never met that occupational art therapist. If I hadn’t met that art therapist Brad may not have bought a camera to encourage me to find healing through photography. If I hadn’t had that camera I wouldn’t have pursued professional photography. If I hadn’t gone to school to pursue professional photography I wouldn’t have shot weddings. If I hadn’t shot weddings I might have missed out an opportunity to examine what it means to be human and to love. It was as if, in that moment of desperation on the Granville Street Bridge I asked the universe to intervene in what felt like an out of control life, and suddenly all of the pieces began to fall into place quickly, and stepping stones began to align around me for me to walk out of my suffering. And as I pursued the path of what feels good and right in my soul (ie; my stepping stones) more pieces began to fall into place, and each time I look back at the road I have walked I find my awareness of these stepping stones expands, and I see each step more clearly — how certain people have come into my life at just the right time, or certain events have unfolded and just the right moment, all leading me to where I am now. I dont know if that’s God. I don’t know if when we utter a prayer it echos out of us as energy bumping against and affecting every atom in the universe until a response bounces back. All I know is that the universe hears us. It doesnt always respond the way we think it will, but it hears us, and it responds.

For the first time every I feel gratitude for all of the events of my life – even those which have caused me some suffering. Because each has lead me to the awareness I have now.

treea

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Christmas Hampers

Really interesting & humbling  experience yesterday dropping off our Christmas hamper.

Just a day of really mixed emotions: sacrificing some healthier foods for cheaper processed foods at the grocery (ie canned soups & pasta/sauces) was extremely frustrating for my sister and I. It was eye opening how being on such a restricted budget really limits how you can shop and what you can eat. (Granted we did gift certificates for perishables so we didn’t buy any) you can feed a whole family for under $10 with an old El Paso taco kit, whereas buying the ingredients to make fresh tacos from scratch is way more pricey especially if you have to buy spices. Not to mention time consuming if you are working overtime trying to make ends meet. Healthy eating would be a huge battle for those with income struggles. Yet those with low income would be the most affected by illness caused from long term poor nutrition. What a catch 22. But do you buy more healthy, or just get what you can afford to feed your family?

Second emotional hurdle: I actually felt really anxious & apprehensive about delivering the basket. Would the family be deserving? Did I have a right to judge? What if they were just taking advantage of the system? What if they were neglectful parents? How would they react? Would they be grateful? Embarrassed? Unperturbed? Shaking these feelings and apprehensions was easier, because deep down I knew I wasn’t giving for any other reason beyond it being the right thing to do, because we have enough, but still I had to remind myself of my core beliefs through some of the surface bullshit.

The last one was actually coming face to face with the family.

The dad stayed inside. The mom came out, and there was a little awkward small chat. She expressed gratitude but looked teary and tired and wouldn’t make eye contact. I’m guessing, but I think she was embarrassed, and I too felt a little shame. Not as if I haven’t worked my ass off for every penny that I have, but that it took me 30 years to realize I have been fortunate enough to have had more than I ever needed for the past 30 years. How many times have I thoughtlessly let leftovers or produce go bad in the fridge?  How many times have I bought an extra pair of shoes at the outlet centre just cause they were cute and on sale. How many different colours of nail polish do I own just cause I get bored with my natural nail colour?

I live in a society where none of those things feel like luxuries, but they most definitely are. Those things are our day to day life but for millions across the globe they are out of reach.

Last night was sort of an ugly wakeup call & reminder for myself. I think I have avoided giving in abundance like that because it’s like having a mirror held up in front of me where I really have to face what I’ve become – which is a functional member of North american society who has failed to move in sync with the universe and her soul’s calling.

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