A photo-blog of "thought-images", depicting some aspect of being human. The story is in the photo with supporting words.
I try to find and show a little of the magic that helps to make our world a better place amid all the chaos, anger, and trouble.
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Alan Brigish (brigishEYE)
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So begins my 8th decade. What a ride it has been, and that ride isn’t slowing … I have learned that less is more, so I’ll keep it brief by giving you a 2-minute pictorial tour of our year.
Having married in December, Theresa and I rented an AirBnB in Newport
Beach, California in January for 6 weeks. It was a delightful home just
96 steps from the longest, widest beach I’ve ever seen. Definitely a
good way to start the year,
Coming back to the Vineyard in February and facing a long and cold few months wasn’t appealing. So we escaped to Tulum in Mexico. It began as a honeymoon on the beach in a gorgeous resort. I manged to check the Great Pyramid of Chichen Itza off my bucket list (Very impressive). Then, Theresa and I both got COVID, and we were quarantined to our room for a week. Returning home to March’s last gasps of winter was a great relief.
For my birthday, Theresa and I celebrated in grand style in a terrific hotel, The Cliff House, Cape Neddick, Maine, high on a cliff overlooking the ocean. My birthday was memorably marked by a magnificent lunch in a gorgeous seaside setting followed by a gigantic New England storm and then a rainbow, all in a total of one hour. It was an unforgettable day.
For the 3rd consecutive decade, all my kids and grand kids joined us on the Vineyard for a grand birthday celebration. I feel blessed to have a healthy, happy family of kids and grand kids. As I write this all is well with Cy, Hal, Jackie, Dan and Katy. And, my grand kids Ashley, Jake and Kevin continue to bring light to this Oupa.
For seven years I have been planning to take Jackie’s family to Africa. Finally, it happened in August when we all flew to Kenya for 10 days. The thrill of showing my grandchildren the magic of the bushveld was fully realized. Their delight was multiplied by mine, as I have never tired of it after countless safaris. And the camp was one of the finest I have experienced.
As we celebrate married life after one year, Theresa and I have brought great comfort and new energy into our own, and each other’s lives. Theresa injects new energies in a myriad of ways, not least of which is the bird (and squirrel) feeder outside my office window. At any given moment I can sit back and watch an entire production inches away and captured on my iPhone.
As we see off 2022, many of us with mixed emotions about our world, it seems clear that our generation needs to hand over the reins to the post-baby boomers. The age of the millennial is at hand.
As I photographed the new moon rising last February in California, I was reminded that just as the moon’s phases cycle every 28 days, beginning with a new moon, everything in our existence is cyclical. Energy is by its very nature, cyclical. What goes down will rise again. Change is at the heart of our existence.
With blessings to all of you friends and family of mine. May 2023 be a standout. We deserve it!
After I got my two shots of the Pfizer vaccine, on March
17, Theresa and I headed for Hermosa Beach in California, south of Los Angeles.
Being out once more in the “real world” was exhilarating, and despite a nagging
shortness of breath, I was rejuvenated by the sunshine, the variety of food,
and company of friends and family. But, on our way back home I began to feel
really sick and within two days found myself in hospital with bacterial pneumonia.
For the next two months I tried to rid myself of the infection that put me in the hospital twice. I was miserable and my energy had evaporated. Add to this, a growing ache in my left hip was diagnosed for replacement, so even if I had the energy to walk, I was unable. By the end of May, I was feeling awful, and a CAT scan confirmed a lung abscess, requiring a surgical procedure, as we dropped everything to head to the emergency room of Mass General Hospital in Boston. Theresa was amazing, taking full charge of my well being both in and out of the hospital. After five days we returned to the Vineyard and began a slow process of healing and regaining my energy.
Pain from my hip got progressively worse and on September 8, Theresa and I headed back to Mass General for my fourth limb surgery in the past five years – one knee, one shoulder, and both hips. It seems amazing, but I was literally walking (with a walker), just hours after my left hip joint was replaced with a fancy piece of plastic. I was released from hospital after only one night and once home on the Vineyard began an intense hours-long daily regimen of physical therapy that continues to this day. Slowly, I am regaining my mojo.
In May, when we reached Boston for my admittance to Boston Mass General hospital, our dear golden retriever Zach, who had struggled to breathe for many months, was really suffering. We had no choice but to manage Zach’s illness from afar and within hours we had him taken by our dog sitter to the vet’s office. He was given palliative medication, but with a diagnosis of a tumor growing in the throat area, it was clearly a matter of time. As I lay in my hospital bed with my own breathing problems, I experienced close alignment with Zach’s suffering. We were so happy to see each other when I returned home, and I knew we had little time together. For the next week, Theresa, Zach and I were inseparable.
On June 6, Theresa’s birthday, Zach found his peace. We were devastated for this was a very special being that knew only one thing – love.
I have been the proud “owner” of seven golden retrievers –
Simba, Fabian, Nadia, Shayna, Rugby, Jeter, and Zach. But owner is not the right word. It’s more like each of them chose to own me by
capturing my heart. My life was
transformed in so many good ways by these special creatures that have the body
of an animal but the soul of an enlightened being. For that is what these dogs are – sentient
beings, filled with unconditional love. Zach
is missed every day, even as this year closes.
My interest in frequency medicine, or more accurately
vibrational healing, began when I first appreciated the soothing qualities of certain
music and the energizing effect it had on me while exercising or dancing. Thanks to my deep interest and early
scientific and engineering training in the theory of electromagnetic and
gravitational energy, I’ve tried to keep up with practical applications.
I pursued many leads looking at all kinds of techniques,
gizmos, and machines that lay claim to balancing the nervous system. I have
come to believe, unequivocally, that stress is the primary cause of disease and
that by introducing regular (preferably daily) stress reducers to our daily
routines, we can live a better, longer life and look forward to a peaceful
death. Meditation is the best way to achieve peace in this lifetime, but I wanted
something that would turbocharge my ability to reach a state of “quiet mind”.
A few years ago, when Theresa and I saw the inventor of a sound and light chamber called the Harmonic Egg interviewed on TV, we were intrigued by her concept. The geometry of this Egg is a seven-foot-long dodecahedron (almost the shape of an egg), made of soft wood with high quality loudspeakers mounted in its two ends and a transversely placed zero gravity chair for an individual to sit in the center of the Egg. A sub-woofer underneath the chair adds deep bass and together with the geometrically designed shape of the Egg, concentrated sound envelops the person restoring homeostasis (a technical term for calming the nervous system). The Egg comes equipped with an array of custom designed musical tracks and two sets of lights above and below the chair that enable a color or a color sequence to wash over the individual. Built into the chair is a soothing vibrational capability while the individual sits in the Egg for a 40-minute session.
Below are photos of the Harmonic Egg, and one of Cy, who is
ready for his own session to begin.
After a yearlong discussion with the inventor, we met her
on our way back from California, and by June, our own Harmonic Egg had been
installed in our newly created healing studio, situated in the basement of our
home, in my old photographic studio, which I dismantled several years back. Theresa
and I set out to create a space for healing, embedded within the Earth, to
block most of the extraneous energy fields from phones, wi-fi etc. that abound
on the surface. The centerpiece of our space is the Harmonic Egg. (For more
information, see www.harmonicegg.com).
Now, after six months of experimenting with many different types of soundtracks, light combinations, vibration, and length of time, I can report without equivocation, that the Egg has been very helpful in aiding my recovery. Often, I will go into it either anxious, angry, tired, or in pain. Always, I come out with a renewed sense of calm and awareness.
The Egg is meant for our own use and our family and friends
who are interested in exploring its potential to aid in healing the body and
accelerate awareness. Over 100 of these installations exist or are on order in
North America and Europe.
Breaking the tedium of the various lock downs, we had multiple visits from our children this year. Cy visited four times. Camp Jabberwocky this year was only for a week versus the usual 4 weeks during more normal times. Cy has been out of work since the start of COVID, so recently we managed to get him into a local art and entertainment workshop that he attends three times per week. He is coping well, all things considered.
Katy, Hal’s life partner decided to close her
multi-lingual pre-school program to spend a year back in Quebec, dealing with pressing
family matters and reconnecting with her old life. Hal helped her move and
visits often. Likewise, she returned several times to be with Hal in
Virginia. We spent a glorious week
together on the Vineyard in the early summer with Katy and Hal. She will return
to Virginia next summer. Hal continues to work exclusively under contract for
Clinique in New York, ride his motorcycle, play his music and undertake a
myriad of handyman projects at which he excels.
Jackie and family are doing as well as they can with three school-going kids who have lots of activities. It was challenging for them at times all being home under lock down. It was especially stressful for Jackie who is, like Joyce, a fantastic mother, and took it in stride when she contracted a moderate case of COVID and had to self-quarantine. Amazingly, no one else became infected. Ashley (18) finished high school in style, with great grades and as co-captain of their winning volleyball team. She started college at Northeastern in Boston and is loving student life. Kevin (15) continues to shine in school, in baseball and in life. He’s probably the tallest in the family now. And 11-year-old Jake surprised himself and all of us by easily placing first in a local robotics competition, then 3rd in a regional follow up and is now 3rd seed (out of 60 entrants) to compete in a state championship to be held in 2022. He likes school and baseball and has exceptional curiosity on the world around him.
INTRODUCING THERESA’S FAMILY
We had several visits here by all of Theresa’s family at different times. Except for Ashley and Shawn who live in southern California, the family all hail from Minnesota. I feel blessed to have been accepted into this exceptionally tight and pleasant family. I have found to my great surprise and delight that my family size has truly doubled. And we all get on so well. How good is that?
THERESA AND ME
As you may recall from last year’s Brigonian, Theresa and I had decided it was time to be married; to make a serious commitment to our relationship and our definition of unconditional love. On a pleasant day on December 4, we were married by my dear friend Susan Klein, with another dear friend, Sandra Washburn as witness (and photographer). The little ceremony was held at our home surrounded by flowers, symbols of our love, music, and gratitude for the remarkable journey that brought us both to this time and place. We hope to hold a commitment ceremony in 2022 with all of our children and their families. It will be a big year, for I will celebrate my 80th birthday in May.
REFLECTIONS ON THE PAST 20 YEARS
Twenty years ago, on September 11, my life essentially took a very radical turn. Dodging a bullet on 9/11 caused me to leave the world of business and focus on my passion for photography, travel, and spirituality. Jackie and Dan got married and produced a magnificent family. Joyce and I moved home after 35 years in Connecticut and began a new life of “retirement” on MV. I was 59. I took up yoga and meditation. I read voraciously about new thinking in the fields of anatomy, biology, astrology, energy in all its forms, and ancient history. I undertook a great deal of reflection trying to understand my emotional make up, indeed, the emotional make ups of all humans.
My legacy will be my family, my writings, my photographs,
and the effect that I had in my interactions with other humans. I will leave
behind no great monumental achievements except for a life lived through
synchronicity and by grace.
Our planet has become a shrunken version of its previous
self, and it is common these days to complain about the state of the world in
general, and America in particular. The
world is exactly what we have made it, subject to the collective karma of
mankind. What is missing from these discussions is that change and entropy are
the same thing. Nothing stays the same. The laws of physics are quite clear that
entropy – the nature of things to decay, is inevitable. I have concluded that my
“purpose” is to slow that entropy down in many small ways, to create what order
I can from the chaos surrounding us.
When I stop worrying about how bad the future will be, and focus on the
here and now, I am playing a part in slowing the entropy, reveling in the release
of suffering caused by angst about the future.
And on that note, I’ll end this rather lengthy Brigonian by telling you that all things being equal, Theresa and I will fly to southern California (Newport Beach) on January 2, where we have rented a cottage for six weeks not far from the beach. We feel strongly that it’s time for change and that 2022 will be a better year for all of us on this planet as we embrace change and the new reality.
With best wishes for a splendid holiday season and
especially happy new year.
I took this photo of the World Trade Center back in 1970 on my first-ever visit to New York.
COVID-19 has vividly reminded me of 9/11 all over again. But this time it has affected every human being on the planet. Rather than dwell on the awfulness, allow me to report on some of the better things that happened to Theresa and me this year.
Less than a year after our first meeting, Theresa and I found ourselves in various forms of self-quarantine, lockdown, social distancing, etc. This forced intimacy provided us with a perfect opportunity to get to better know each other, every single day.
Notwithstanding a yawning chasm between us in terms of background, daily living continues to be a wonderful learning experience for both of us. This January, as we celebrate the second anniversary of our first meeting, we are very grateful and so appreciative of each other. Theresa and I share similar feelings about family and also food tastes. She is masterful at whipping up a perfect meal, often with vegetables from our garden which she has nurtured with care and respect.
Cy, Hal and Jackie, and their families are all well and safe. I was lucky enough this year to see all of my kids, some more than once, and all the grandkids right here on the Vineyard. Theresa visited Minneapolis to see her family and as a bonus, her daughters Ashley and Lindsay came to us for a long weekend.
The big family news was that granddaughter Ashley was accepted, early decision, to study business at Northeastern University in Boston. It is an experiential, research university built on a tradition of engagement with the world. I can’t wait to see her more often and talk about the in’s and out’s of business.
Kevin, almost 15 is a delightful and highly intelligent student with great grades at his new high school and an easygoing and kind disposition. Having his baseball season severely curtailed did not help, but he is coping with grace and humor.
Jake, now 10 years old is a live wire, filled with curiosity and opinions. He is a terrific all-around student, with a passion for science, like his brother. Of course, this fills his grandfather with joy, having had a similar awakening to the subject at about the same age.
Cy has been unemployed and locked down since March. This pandemic has been tough on him. Cathy his caregiver has been marvelous in helping to keep up his spirit, as has Emmy, his camp counselor with whom he communicates every day. Cy visited the Vineyard three times, one of them to be with Emmy who flew in specially from California.
Given the restrictions this year, my restless soul began writing another book, this one based on my genealogical work undertaken on and off for twenty years. Having discovered some fascinating stories about some of my ancestors, I had a strong desire to put them in writing for the benefit of my children and grandchildren. I set out to write that history coupled with my own autobiography. The Kovno Legacy is now almost complete and I hope to send it to the printer later this year.
As I wrote, looking back year-by-year at my life, I kept finding a new self, re-inventing and adapting to new circumstances. This very deep dig was helpful in understanding the trajectory and outcomes of my life. Truth is there is no one “self”.
I also found great pleasure, this year, descending into numerous intriguing rabbit holes. For me, it is pure fun to explore metaphysics and subjects such as the nature of consciousness, neurobiology, ancient history, quantum reality, energy in all its forms, astrology, astronomy, etc. Theresa encouraged me and gifted me a subscription to the Gaia channel with its extraordinary catalog of alternative thought. And, of course, where would we be without Netflix and Prime Video?
Zach, our much loved golden retriever turned 12 in October. Although he’s quite markedly going deaf, and has breathing issues, he still has much energy and is always ready at 4.00 each day for a walk in the woods. But most of the day, he spends his time staying close by and keeping a watchful eye open over us.
We stand at a pivotal time in history, one that will be remembered for the health, economic, social, and political upheavals that will resonate well into the future. I am deeply offended by the suffering caused by maniacal and uncaring political leadership around the world. The upside of the world of disinformation that now envelopes us is that we must seek out and develop our own truths. We must sift our incoming newsfeeds through a critically fine filter to know what to believe and what not. And, that is a good thing!
I am hopeful that, as the saying goes, “this too shall pass”. Green shoots are beginning to appear. A renewed sense of community is developing as families talk to each other and find new ways to stay connected. The tired political class is fracturing. Millennials are fired up and scornful of the leadership and the lack of action on climate change and social justice. The saner politicians now have a once-in-lifetime opportunity to reform the American system to once again become a major example of reason and liberal democracy.
So, it is with a certain optimism that we send you our fond wishes for an auspicious, safe, and healthy 2021.
Alan, Theresa and Zach
PS: As I go to press with this issue, I am happy to tell you that Theresa and I have decided, come this coming September, to get married with a small family ceremony on the Vineyard. More information to follow ………..
From the Jardin Majorelle to Andre Heller’s magical Anima garden. From the historic art in the Musee de Marrakech to the ceramic tile mosaics and painted wood of the Bahia Palace. Marrakesh as an art destination is clearly happening.
Art in Marrakesh, or at least what I saw of it, seems mainly to begin in the modern era, although the strange contraption below is a camel sasaddle on which the rider squats. Can you imagine?
Signs of the ancient Jewish civilization are few and far between, although we did visit an old synagogue that is still in use annually when Jews from around the world come to celebrate their heritage with intent to themselves.
The video below is a 1:12 minute tease. It just meant to tantalize and make you want more. Start it by clicking the play button; Click the symbol to the left of the vimeo logo to watch it full screen.
Photographing people on the streets of many Islamic countries can be challenging because of the Koran interpretation by some – that a picture cannot fully depict God’s creation no matter how accurate it becomes. I am never comfortable invading other’s spaces. But, as a street photographer, I still have a job to do, no matter how challenging. So, I found myself having to curb my instincts to seize the moment and try to be respectful.
I worked to capture some sense of the people on the street, and the juxtapositions of tradition and modernity, old and young.
These video snapshots are just that – captured moments of fleeting time, presented not, as a slideshow where you can ponder individual images, but as parts of a whole cultural ether that enveloped me as I strolled the streets and souks of the fabled old city, and went into the villages of the High Atlas mountains. [3:24 minutes long].
Hit the symbol to the left of the vimeo logo to watch this full screen.
Color. I’m obsessed with it. I still marvel at my first photos taken on a ludicrously expensive roll of film in 1955.
I’m equally drawn to the geometry of the design, and the textures of my subjects that give them a sense of 3-dimensionality. Moroccan, like many cultures, thrives on these elements and walking through the souks of Marrakesh, it is on full display.
Here then is my first of three music videos, The Colors of Marrakesh, made from 24 images, and taking 4:40 minutes.
I just arrived home from another fascinating trip after an active year. Looking back, I’m astounded by how busy I’ve been, and how much I have learned – from healing my body to friendships, from feminine aspirations to modern, moderate Islam.
I went with a friend, to Morocco, specifically, Marrakesh. I can’t recommend it highly enough for its pleasant people, its proud culture, its growing infrastructure, its beauty, its dazzling colors, and its romance.
We stayed in a boutique riad (hotel) in the old city (medina), called Riad Romance, run by a couple of young Moroccans. We both said that never in our lives were we so well treated with extraordinary hospitality.
We never once had a meal in the town that was nothing less than excellent, and some were extraordinary. I am sorting through hundreds of photos and will post them here in a short while. It was a great trip.
Yes, we had a good time,
even if we did decide that we did not have a future together, and parted
company upon our return. I learned a
great deal from her. We parted on
excellent terms. So much for Riad
Looking back on the year and a fun visit to Hawaii with another friend, we visited Oahu and Hawaii, staying for several nights on top of the volcano, Kilauea, that erupted 3 months later. I took this photo one evening. Whew! A little too close for comfort!
Then, there was a 10-day
silent retreat and my shoulder surgery.
I’m glad to say, 9 months later, that with three orthopedic surgeries
behind me in the past 2 years, I feel blessed to have a renewed and active
life. At this stage, every healthy day is as good as it gets.
There were three visits to have fun in New York City. On the last one, I was joined by grandson Kevin. Then, Cy and I did a road trip to visit Jackie and family in NJ, Hal and family in Virginia and my brother and family in Washington DC. My family is all well and thriving.
Cy was the star of his own show celebrating his 50th birthday at Camp Jabberwocky. Here he sings “Fame” from the title of the show. Cy just returned from independently traveling 800 miles by train to see Jackie for Christmas and Hal for New Year. Joyce’s amazing legacy is proof of what is possible.
Talking of Joyce, of course, you know that we published her memoir in summer at a fun-filled celebration at Camp Jabberwocky.
I am so happy to have left the intensity back in Morocco, and look forward to a quiet month or two on my beloved island home. What a perfect time to say goodbye to 2018, and to reach out to you, and wish you, as I do for myself … a year, 2019, of the best health and the best love we can possibly have for ourselves, and those who we love.
A wise person gave me some great advice: “meet everyone with kindness, because you don’t know what burden they are carrying, except you do know that, like you, everyone carries some burden or other”.
Trust the process. Go with the flow. Let life take you rather than you take it.
I am grateful to know you,
and have you as a part of my life. With
love and best wishes,
Come to Camp Jabberwocky on Tuesday, July 31 at 4.00PM
for an inspiring “Happening”
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Learn why Lisa Belcastro says of Joyce’s Way “I couldn’t put it down! Everyone needs to read this book, to see how Joyce’s love impacted not only her family but the world, and how each of us can make lasting changes through love and kindness.”