Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Golden Cage

Here, my mother said as she passed a book to me, I think you should read it. We were sitting in the lobby of her doctor’s office. The jacket read: Ordering Your Private World. Apparently, my mother thinks my inner world needs ordering.

I tried protesting, but she asked me only to read one chapter before deciding against the entire book. Fine, I lethargically voiced, but you know I’m doing this for you. My mother has a tendency of giving me books I would never read, but this is the first time she put her foot down.

There’s a large band-aid where you should begin reading, she told me while shuffling through her purse. That’s my mother. She uses just about anything to mark a page in a book. A piece of tissue. A leaf. And if you’re lucky, you may just find a bookmark. Yesterday, it was a large band-aid.

The chapter was entitled: The Golden Cage. The words were brightly colored from her highlighter and there were pencil markings in the margins. That’s another thing about my mom: She takes notes—tons of notes—in the margins. If there’s a book at my parents’ house where the pages are doggy-eared and look like they’ve been kissed by the rainbow, it’s most likely my mom’s. The author, Gordon MacDonald, writes how driven people are prone to trapped in a golden cage. He described driven people and listed a few of their faults. I squirmed in my chair as I continued reading. I squirm when I’m uncomfortable.

MacDonald writes:
“Why is it that for so many the answer to personal tension and pressure lies not in going to the bridge of life but rather in attempting to run faster, protest more vigorously, accumulate more, collect more data, and gain more expertise? We give attention to every cubic inch of life than our inner worlds—the only place we can gain the strength to brave any outer turbulence.”

I squirmed. On multiple levels. I’m a driven person, so reading an analysis pertaining to me was disconcerting to say the least. Throughout this whole ordeal with my mom, I’ve been striving for answers—calling doctors, begging for appointments, researching her condition. In the same vein, I’m really trying to make photography work for me. I’m doing everything I can to make my life move in the direction I want it to. Then I read the following: “For an inner life fraught with unresolved drives will not be able to hear clearly the voice of Christ when He calls. The noise and the pain of stress will be too great.”

My life, I realize, needs to separate my stress from worry. Drivers and strivers can worry, but when they stress, they become trapped to defining their lives as series of successes. In essence, they become trapped in a golden cage. I refuse to be trapped by the stress I often feel in regard to my mother, and in regard to starting my business.

I won’t be caged and I guess mother’s do know best.


Blogger Eric McCarty said...

Hi Jasmine,
Been bottled up the last couple of weeks in some new ventures I'm looking into. Anyway, the three best photography business decisions I made were made at almost the exact same time three years ago. Went digital, joined the digitalweddingforum, and spent $1200 on a Denis Reggie workshop. Denis' approach seems to be much different from Mike C's, Fong's and others. I say seems because I have never taken Mike or Gary's workshops and wouldn't want to speak for them. I've just seen a couple of DVDs and their websites. I'm not saying better, just different. I can say that there are a ton of great photographers in your locale and they all seem to be heading in the same direction with the same style. Looks to me like a flooded market in need of some diversification. Mike and DJ are so cool that everyone is trying to emulate.

DWF is much larger than OSP, but can be a harsher environment. They both have their pluses. Don't know how this fits in with the Golden Cage. Guess you can figure that out!

11:03 AM  

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