A couple of weeks ago I was watching a Youtube video and the speaker (a well known and respected teacher and author) posed this very question : if you had all the wealth and materials you could need for a comfortable life and you had absolutely nothing to worry about, what would you do with yourself?
So I contemplated this and pretty quickly my imagination filled with the image above, that of the cover photograph of Tapestry by Carole King. One of my older sisters had this record when it came out in the early seventies. I was charmed by the photo then and it captivates me still. Back then when I was maybe seven or eight I remember gazing at this image and feeling very drawn in to this lady`s world. To my young eyes she seemed safe and steady and kind. I imagined that the big window was high up in a tall building and that she could look out over bustling city streets (though in reality this was not the case) and I especially loved that the person taking the picture of this famous singer wanted her cat in the shot with her. I was completely drawn into the frame by the cat looking straight at me. (album released 1971, photograph taken by Rock photographer Jim McCrary).
Cut to 45+ years ahead and I still love this shot. It invites the viewer to create a sweeping narrative around it purely because it is so lovely. Sure, she is our incomparable Carole but if I look past the identity and the stellar accomplishments and just notice the woman and appreciate the detail : minimal if any makeup, hair loose and flowing, lived-in jeans. The simplicity of this shot conveys so much. The scene feels effortless and uncontrived, devoid of fuss and complication. There is a sanctity to it. It feels to me a space where no difficulty, no instability, no conflict exists, instead it is a haven replete with love, contentment and bliss. I see a person deeply settled, whole and free of illusion, a woman nourished by her creative essence as expressed in the handwoven tapestry she holds, ensconced in her creativity and removed from the drudgery of the mundane everyday. To me she radiates a beautiful vibe of forgiveness and acceptance. She has weathered her storms, this girl, but her catharsis has delivered her into a place of quiet, self-sustaining strength. Self-possessed and sovereign she knows exactly who she is.
For me, the tapestry she holds represents the richness of her lived experience – the lessons learned and wisdom gleaned.
Last but not least it is still the cat that really hooks me in, chilled-out like a zen master and staring straight down the lens, engaging the viewer and lending this photograph a disarming appeal. Truly an enchanting picture.
If I wanted for nothing and I lived without shackle to the matrix of money this is absolutely how my life would look and feel. Without a doubt.
How would yours look?
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