A Ship to cross the Sea of Suffering

"Real happiness is found in the struggles we undergo to realise our goals, in our efforts to move forward." Daisaku Ikeda

10 Day Blog Challenge Day#6

Holy Mackerel! This was one mighty segment of the challenge! It took me the longest time to reflect on these ones, and to at least limit the rambling. It is so nice to acknowledge those in your life who have made a huge impact,  Similar to one of my first ones, but this goes far more in-depth: so without further adieu today’s challenge is:

Five people who mean a lot (in no particular order)

1 – Julz – You are the friend I’ve had the longest. I met you when I started working at the supermarket during my final years of attending high school. My dad had been working in the butchery department for years, so once I turned 15 I was able to work in the Deli – The only thing that kept me going back, aside from earning money of my own; was you. Having someone to look forward to, outside of my hellhole routine at home was bliss. Later spending hours on the phone with you! My sanctuary {Such a teenager thing to do.} You are a friend I had bonded with over music! Sharing the complexities of life, and how music and lyrics really spoke to our souls.  And now we live apart yet together on the journey and rollercoaster we call life. The gratitude I have for your companionship and open heart through these years could never really be expressed truthfully through meager words. So my service and loyalty to you as a friend can only prove my respect and thankfulness for your presence in this world.  You are very important to me.

2 – Brian – My mentor, my darling friend and personal mentor in life and photography. I met Brian (now 73 years old) four and a half years ago shortly after meeting Star; meeting him at a performing arts academy, that star was training in at the time. He taught photography at a tertiary institute for 30 years and also became heavily involved in bodywork, and documenting dancers and arts. I’ve always loved documentary styled pictures, so when we met he encouraged me to get out there and just start taking pictures. Never minding that the camera I had at the time was a point and shout *cowers in shame* His encouragement to get out into the public and use my creative eye to take pictures of people really helped to shape me, and integrate me into a creative world I could be a part of. There are SO many different stories I could tell you about our times together but I will leave that until another day. Brian helped me gain my first exhibition of a documentary series called “Motion A’Flame – A Body of works” In collaboration with Bellbird and one other local artist. Even though I don’t have the camera out that much at the moment, I still feel so proud and thankful for the opportunities and skills Brian has helped me to develop. I have such a soft spot for him in my heart, and hope that one day I can revive our photographic company and vision. I try to call him on the phone as much as possible.

3 – Bellbird – You are such a beautiful soul. You are the youngest in this family equation. But having just turned 21, now flying on your own. At your party when everyone was giving speeches I felt this tremendous realization fall over me. You are the link to the point of change in my life. You were the light I invited into my life, in order to protect you. In my darkness I saw you in danger, and wanted to provide a safe place for such a delicate bird. Through that act, and our bond – your sister came into my life and I have been forever grateful since. I found two sisters who no matter what happens in life will always be part of my heart and my light in this world. Without your presence in my life, I would not have been with Star to travel this path, nor would I have experienced such a pure and healthy example of what whanau (family), and the true feeling of love can be.  It’s taken me many years to come this to realization, but our journey of growth together had always been inevitable. Thank you for challenging me and testing my consciousness. So much love for you.

4 – Marion – You were an absolute inspiration to me! And taught me so much about resilience, and determination to keep doing what you love! For about three years of my life between 16-19 I had been on a government payment because of my mental health and posttraumatic stress disorder. In the final year I had received an invalids certificate deeming me so sick that I couldn’t undertake work. But through my psychology appointments, and psychologist Corrine she convinced me to start volunteering at a shop I really liked.  That Friday I was rostered to meet Marion the manager at the time. Both Corrine and Marion had known each other for years. Marion was kind enough to take the sickly me on, racked with nerves and anxiety, pale and bogan. None of that seemed to bother her. She could tell I had a true passion for helping out, and a blinding curiosity for the world we live in. Marion was about mid 40’s and had traveled extensively. This shop was all about giving back to disadvantaged producers through fair trade, so Marion’s passion for educating her customers and wider community was so inspiring. She taught me that even I could make a difference. She taught me how to teach others the same thing: Like a domino effect. I guess that’s how inspiration works. Over time I became employed by this organization, and under Marion’s management learn’t how to assist her in managing the place. Unfortunately she had been suffering from bowel cancer and over the few years that I learn’t and worked along side her she just began to deteriorate. All the way through, until one day she just couldn’t get out of bed. She passed away after my visit to her on new years of 2009.  I firmly believe that without the support and full belief in me, from Marion I don’t think I could have gone as far as I did with that portion of my career. Her death and my experience of losing a mentor this way really shaped me. Strengthened me in many ways, knowing what I am capable of.

5 – Corrine – As mentioned in the above segment, Corrine was my psychologist for many years. I admired her quirkiness’ and patience with me as I toiled through the layers of trouble in my life as a teenager. Without the long term fostering – that eventually led to me accepting voluntary work I would hate to have thought how I could have wasted my life away on an invalids benefit. Somehow I managed to lift myself out of helplessness and create some value in my life by helping others and sharing why it’s so important to do so.  Corrine will always be someone I think of often, in appreciation of someone’s dedication to helping me out of my cloud.

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