Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the fourth of my photo essay series featuring images from YourCreativeChord’s newly designed 2020 nature photo calendars. The calendars include monthly self-care themes highlighting strategies for nurturing your creativity and inspiration. See more of my nature-inspired
I got my Trek road bike the year my brother tragically died in a car accident. Our final conversation was about bicycling. John was an outdoorsman who loved hiking, camping, and cycling.
He was 12 years younger than me, so there was a large gap of time after I’d moved from Kentucky to Florida, when our interactions were limited to my visits home for holidays, or when he and his now ex-wife visited me in Florida.
I’d just moved back to Kentucky from Japan when he drove down from his Indianapolis home to spend time with me. Basically, we didn’t know each other as adults, so he made an attempt to connect.
We sat in my parents’ office while he yammered on about the fun of camping and cycling, urging me to make plans to do both with him as soon as possible. His enthusiasm was always at the forefront of his personality. He also knew a lot about bicycles, so I took notes on bike companies and local stores to shop.
He died a few months after that chat, a few days short of turning 29 years old.
As part of my grief therapy, I determined to buy a bicycle to honor his memory and his love of nature. I went to the store he recommended and bought this bike.
Whenever I ride my bike, I feel John with me, like the kid he always was to me; eager for me to pedal faster, go higher, fly over hills and explore the back roads to see new adventures through his eyes. I don’t go as fast or as far as I did when younger, but I still enjoy everything about cycling that John talked about in our last conversation.
This picture is my bike on a short break as I snapped the sunrise over Kentucky Horse Park, just off Iron Works Pike, where I’d cycled from Legacy Trail, Lexington.
This scene feels like my life swelling up with healing energy from breathing the cool morning air. Lexington’s signature rolling bluegrass hills and quietly grazing horses permeate my soul with familiarity and an unparalleled aesthetic.
This photo reveals the profundity of the universal force within life, surpassing time and physical boundaries, connecting me with my brother’s heart, which feels to me the same as my own.
I’m alive in this setting, with eternity enveloping my life. My mixed emotions are always worth enduring for the spiritual cleansing effect that cycling through nature yields.
I can’t help but think my brother knew the impact cycling would have on me. The spiritual, compassionate connection I feel through immersion in nature while cycling is our unbroken link.
My bike rides enable me to absorb value from both the suffering and joy of life. Although painful experiences happen to us all, this snapshot represents the rewarding depth of richness and inner strength gained from the dramatic cycle of life and death.
There is beauty even within our suffering and loss, if we are willing to open our hearts to find it there.
May your wheels always roll forward as you feel life’s gentle breeze on your back.
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Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the sixth of my photo essay series featuring images from YourCreativeChord’s newly designed 2020 nature photo calendars. The calendars include monthly self-care themes highlighting strategies for nurturing your creativity and inspiration. See more of my nature-inspired
These delicate pink and white swaying petals seem to drip emotion as they hang like fragile hearts from their thin branch. The softness of these sweet flowers seems to magically open the hearts of viewers.
The dangling pastel gems are a poignant reminder of how vulnerable we are as humans. How everyone, no matter what background or history, has their own inner struggle. Each story is equal because human suffering is relative to the individual’s perception.
These gentle, bleeding hearts point to the importance of suspending judgment from anyone, because we cannot see their past journey or the battle they may still be waging within. We can’t see what’s inside someone else’s heart unless they share their story with us.
These bleeding hearts herald us to be sensitive to the perspective of others, especially when they seem shadowed by misery. If we all wore our emotions on the outside like these pink and white delicacies, perhaps we’d be more open to listening, less quick to react with negativity, more willing to join together in compassionate solidarity.
Whatever’s in our hearts, whether our intent is sincere or clouded by negativity, the effect can be felt by others. What’s in our hearts decides our joy or misery. The heart is where success and happiness begin. Neglecting this, our lives easily become shrouded in the lower worlds of greed, anger and stupidity, causing us and those around us to suffer.
The power of the heart is extraordinary. The vast potentials existing in our lives, or all the phenomena of possible outcomes, are determined by what kind of intent or prayer we hold within our heart.
Polishing the heart is the first step toward being able to become happy and empowered. This is the way we get stronger and more able to help others tap their potential. This is the persuasive influence of the human heart.
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