Saturday, December 5, 2015

Transforming the Pictures of Our Mind

In my last blog, The Setting, the Shutter, and the Power ofResolution, I talked about my 2015 New Year’s resolution. It's about translating 35mm film photography to my new digital SLR camera. The blog is more than that though; my story is a metaphor that unveils the face of opportunity when we are faced with the challenges associated with living with chronic pain and illness. 

A Universal Language

Most of you reading this blog know I am a writer of self-help books. If you have read any of the four books in the Broken Body, Wounded Spirit: Balancing the See-Saw of Chronic Pain series, co-authored with Jeff Miller, PhD, you know each day offers an exercise or a tidbit of information to inspire new ways for managing daily challenges. Each day begins with a picture chosen to convey a feeling on the topic at hand. They are positioned to do one of two things, reflect on our own treasured moments, or provoke us into action. A photojournalist knows the impact images have on him or her personally and in the hearts and minds of everyone who sees them. The language spoken through photography is universal.

“A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, 
for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably.”

― Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

The Influence of a Title

Titling a picture seems like such a simple thing. However, it has a powerful impact on how the photo speaks to us and it provides infinite possibilities for bringing life into focus. While my title may be different from yours, it still reflects a personal journey and allows us to explore our feelings. You don’t have to be a photographer to do this.

Find a favorite photo, name it, and then write a few words about the feelings it brings to surface. You might not remember the date, or even the circumstances surrounding the photo, but you will remember how it made you feel.

The power of photos is evident; they have become a visual experience that is shared across social media. When our emotions erupt, we find camaraderie as human beings. We can share our journey, photographer or not, the connections are universal.

Looking Beyond Clouds

The Embodiment of a Pain Advocate.

This picture is from Broken Body, Wounded Spirit: Balancing the SeeSaw of Chronic Pain, Winter Devotions. I chose this particular photo for day sixteen, "Advocating for Pain” to represent several things. Living with chronic pain and illness can cloud our judgment. It can bring about tumultuous feelings, and sometimes cast a shadow over our desires. But, it’s more than that to me. This picture also represents a ray of light in the darkness, the promise of a bright sky, and treetops that lift our spirit upwards. For me, the telephone lines represent the connection and power we have to make a difference through advocacy. So, ad hoc, after the fact, I shall name this picture, “The Embodiment of a Pain Advocate.” 

What would you name it, and why?

Unchain Your Imagination

Experts tell us the power of a photo transcends all generations. So, next time you come across a shared photograph think outside the box. Take a moment; be flexible in your thinking.

Years ago in an effort to raise my endorphins through laughter, I began a photo journal of animals. I saved them for my personal enjoyment and I named them something that would spark the laughter that became buried by pain and illness. I resurrected my inner goofiness through laughter and photographs.  

We are born with an imagination and when we use it wisely, we loosen the grip chronic illness can create. Unchain your imagination. Share the creativity that lives within you.

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."  
Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Health Central Chronic Pain ProAdvocate

Celeste’s Website:

Learn more about what you can do to help your body function to its potential in the books you can find here on Celeste's  blog

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