Photographer Joie Takaki is pursuing her dream of building her own business. In this guest blog series, she shares her journey from beginner to expert with us.
As I stare up, losing myself into the deep dark abyss, the expansive night sky soon becomes a metaphoric theatrical screen. I begin introspectively pulling my favourite memories of the past year. The most pivotal moments. The proudest moments. The wildest moments. Somehow, the painful moments and major disappointments also slip through. Soon, like flickers of light, the whole year flashes through my mind. As I revisit these critical moments, I mentally pin each of these, side by side, like a virtual collage, scattered across the night sky; a yearbook only visible by my own memory and imagination. Scanning my thoughts, my mind and focus race from one event to the next. All this mental rushing about somehow leads to a surprising enlightenment. I begin to see something, something that was once invisible, starting to take shape. These mental images start to look like a sequence of events; like a series of points with dotted connections between them. All of which, earlier this year, I could not see. At the time, when they happened, I didn't see it because I couldn't understand it. At the time, it didn't make any sense. It just left me puzzled. Perhaps I was too naive, or too proud, too in denial, or I just wasn't ready for the truth.
Now everything is translucent, crazy clear and focused. My temporary ‘tunnel vision' giving way to the realisation that everything that had happened this past year, had actually been ‘falling into place'. Like watching a video clip replay of your life playing backwards in slow motion. Only in hindsight can I see exactly how everything had been falling into it's perfect position, exactly as it should. I didn't understand any of it at the time. Now I understand. Now I get it. Now everything makes sense. Every happy, bizarre, chaotic, confusing, disappointing, thrilling, dreamy, breathtaking thing that happened this year, happened in just the way it should have. They were meant to happen. Like a chain reaction; cause and effect; if ‘A' did not occur first, ‘B' would not exist.
In retrospect, I can now see that I had to get through all those challenges, all those emotions, all those experiences to discover what I needed to discover, and meet who I needed to meet, to get to where I needed to go.
What surprised me the most was that I burst into a smile! What's this? Was I beaming with glee at the maddening end results of the ugly bits of this year? Yes! Indeed, I was! Then, serenity happened. I was overcome by this warm wave of gratitude. I couldn't have been more pleased nor could I have asked for a better ending. Then I smiled, again, this time even harder.
After this awareness, I started to see that very same pattern in everyone I was meeting. I have been meeting so many interesting and incredible people, living such dreamy lives. But once they begin to take off their layers and reveal their past; their most tormenting moments, their most agonising challenges, hearing their stories, I noticed the connections, of past and present, of cause and effect. It was exactly directly the result of those excruciating moments that lead them to their current ideal life. If Iris did not marry three times, the last one leaving her with a child, and a single mother in her twenties, she would not have met the love of her life and have her favourite person in the world in her life (her daughter). If Victoria had not moved to Italy with her mentor, who manipulated her, took advantage of her, drained her, and kicked her out, she would not have met her soulmate husband in Italy, have the most beautiful children, and start her own company making handmade goods with business partners around Europe. If Ariel wasn't betrayed and abandoned, she would not have realised that she was actually happier without him; nor would she discover how much strength and courage she had, to rise again, to stand on her own two feet, and with no one holding her back, she was actually living the exciting life that she had always dreamed of.
It was only through their heart-wrenching struggles, disappointments, and grief, that gave birth to all the miracles. Only after fighting the most soul-smashing battles, the triumphs arise.
Relating to everything else in life; work, relationships, health, whatever it is you are going through. As soon as you start to feel like the fight is just too much, too unbearable, too fill-in-the-blank. When you want to throw your hands in the air and give up, don't do it. Stop and remind yourself that this very thing is happening as it should. That you have to wait it out. That the prize and the meaning behind it all is waiting for you just around the bend, just on the other side this current threshold.
In your times of darkness, you need to remember to look up at the lights.
And just hold on a little stronger, and a little longer.
Just wait… what you want, it's coming… you just don't know what it is yet…