All posts by Moni

I am a Children's Librarian living in the Portland, Oregon area. When I am not Children's Librianing I like to play with cameras and film. I also like playing the ukulele, knitting, and hiking.

I am a seeker

I am going through a term student program at my sangha and our first retreat was a week ago. Those of us attending had to prepare a presentation about ourselves. In preparation for this presentation we were to write three outlines: A historical outline, A karmic outline, and a spiritual outline. The exercise was interesting. It was fascinating to see what bubbled to the surface. I thought I would share my spiritual outline on my blog.

 

  1. I was born into a Catholic family. I did all of the Catholic things: I received communion at the appropriate age, I went to catechism classes, we went to church every Sunday, and I can even still to this day recite the Nicene Creed by heart.  I had a pleasant experience as a Catholic. I was interested in God and prayed often. For me praying was “talking to god.” I started this habit early in life and it continued throughout most of my life, up until fairly recently. *

    Me on my first communion
    This is me at my First Communion, featuring a very interesting light leak.
  2. I became a born-again christian when I was 22. I had a very powerful conversion experience and I was very “gung ho” about following Christ. I read the entire Bible. I would spend hours studying the Bible and praying in tongues. I am actually really glad I had this experience because it was probably the only way I would ever read the Bible and I am glad that I read it.

    This experience led me to a Pentecostal church which was not a good experience for me. I think this church might have even been a cult. I left that church when I went to University and slowly drifted away from Christianity. It took a long time to “cleanse my brain” from the brainwashing that occurred from that experience. A lot of fear was planted in my at that time. I remember the day when I actually questioned the divinity of Christ and I didn’t feel fear. That was an incredibly good day.

  3. When I got to the place where I was able to question Christ’s divinity  I explored other religions and was drawn to Buddhism. I have been reading about Buddhism for a number of years but have been a bit shy about jumping in with both feet.  I think this is because of my experience with Christianity.  I might always be a little gun shy because of that experience.
    Buddhism resonates with me. It allows me to look at other beliefs without guilt. I am a seeker, I have always been a seeker and I will always be one. Buddhism supports this aspect of myself and I love that.

*At this point in my life I don’t believe in God. I guess technically I am an atheist, though I am still very spiritual.  Can you be a spiritual atheist? I do believe in something inexplicable that connects all beings together. If that is God, then ok. I believe in whatever that is.

“Do not indulge anger – cultivate equanimity. In the realm of the selfless dharma, not contriving reality for the self is the precept of not indulging anger. Not advancing, not retreating, not real, not empty. There is a brilliant sea of clouds. There is a dignified sea of clouds. “

- From the Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts.

(note to self: Every time I read this my mind is boggled.  contriving reality for the self? what does that even mean?)

 

Lazy Afternoon

Lazy Afternoon

Every once in awhile I will look at one of my photos and I will say to myself, “Monica, you’ve made a pretty good photo there.” I can probably count on one hand the photos I feel really and truly good about. This is one of those photos. I really like it alot. It helped that when I took it I was hanging out with two very talented pinhole photographer friends of mine, Donna and Gretchen, and that I basically stole their composition. :) Well, copy-catted them anyway.

We had such a great day! I swam in the lake with a unicorn mask on. It was fun!

this was made with my Zero Image 4×5 camera and a 120 roll back. Ektar film.

Darkroom fun! Finally.

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Way back in April I talked about my home darkroom project. Well. The dream is alive! A few weeks ago I made my first print! I And last night I worked on my second print, which is featured on this post.

I have been making contact prints from my 4×5 zero 45 shots. This camera is very challenging on many levels and making prints adds a whole new level of challenge, but I am enjoying it. This is not the best print in the world but I like it. Darkroom prints of your own photos are infinitely better than negative scans, in my opinion.