odd opposites word of the day #6

odd opposites painwhat is the opposite?

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odd opposites. love versus suffering. by- adventureclubviral

odd opposites love

there is a secret about valentines day. as a consumer holiday- it is about consuming. buying more junk and spending more money. for couples-it is about togetherness. mandatory date night and spending shared time. for the lonely- it is a mindfulness of loneliness. longing for company and spending self-worth on a perception of failure.

the secret is that valentines day is about a million different interpretations of love, therefore it is not about love at all. because love is only defined by the lover. or the consumer. by the couple. or by the loner. so if there is no definition of love then what is its opposite?

more than any pair of odd opposites this week, so far i decided that love in opposition to suffering is the most obvious representation of balance and harmony and of coexistent and interdependent. the symbiotic relationship- love and suffering- two different things that need each other to be themselves- make opposites. when there is love there is suffering. whatever your definition of love is.

i define love as existing beyond the physical. beyond the individual or a pair of individuals. love is a presence and we choose to acknowledge it or not. the risk of that acknowledgement is suffering. being aware of love creates the potential to suffer from it. conversely- we suffer because we have loved. and if you have neither, if you really think about it, life is not all that interesting.

anyway i saw a musical play on valentines day called “love is a cabernet.” one of the acts was about a vampire couple. they parodied the polarities of love and suffering humorously- in flux between a lustful dance and a heated argument. i think the above picture shows physical expressions of both love and suffering. he tries to gently comfort her while she appears uncomfortably unappeased.  and nearby, as in all of the scenes of the play, a bottle of cabernet.

odd opposites. chaos versus navigation. by- adventureclubviral


there are few places these days where you observe people doing absolutely nothing. the seashore is where i like to do absolutely nothing and where, predictably, i am surrounded by other people, doing absolutely nothing. at first i thought the opposite of chaos was just…nothing. i think of chaos as infinite everything, in and of itself. chaos is randomness and disorder. chaos is unlimited and illogical, entropic and endless.

it is worth mentioning that i have truly found myself on a sort of odd opposite “odyssey” this week. i play with the word of the day in my head constantly and then set out to document it, so sure about my final choice of odd opposite. setting off for the beach, in this case, i had in mind capturing the chaos of waves, the unpredictability and vastness of the ocean. i got caught up (like Odysseus himself) looking around at fellow beach goers and marveling at how counter-intuititive opposites are. all the humble people, that come to simply gaze, all of them relaxed, calm and peaceful, doing absolutely nothing. all the chaos and randomness and bigness of the sea mirrors the tranquility, emptiness, motionlessness of its observers. as though that nothingness state of being could not exist without looking out at, observing, and experiencing its opposite.

with my photographs i have attempted to exhibit the chasm between chaos and its opposite. looking at the photographs as they came together i realized another odd opposite of chaos. as humans, ultimately managing chaos might mean embracing nothingness (like the beach goers). and then one step towards managing chaos might mean navigating it (like the seafarers).

the first picture represents the chaos of the sea.

the second picture is of a traverse board, one of those nostalgic keepsakes in a glass case for beach wanderers to muse about. long ago the traverse board was used by early seafarers to calculate the number, distance and direction of the ships zig zags. because ships rarely traveled in a straight line, navigators needed to know how often they veered off a straight course and for how long. the traverse board is an early tool of human ingenuity and represents one of the first steps towards managing the space between the chaos of the sea and the ability to cross it.

the third photograph is taken of an inner city billboard. for this sequence, it represents  a ship on course. it shows the ability of explorers to maintain a measure of control over the sea, by recognizing their bearings and determining their direction with simple tools. it represents the ability of humans to minimize chaos in their world- to navigate it- paving the way for more exploration and more understanding.

odd opposites. create versus dissipate. by- theStephALA


create.  a young girl a few houses down the street from me created this cold creature.  she gathered fresh snow, and squished it and shaped it and rolled it and stacked it to create…a snow man!


dissipate.  the disappearance of the man of snow.  a result of neglect? once created, then discarded?  or is the heat of the sun more powerful than the warmth of a young girl’s heart?

odd opposites. create versus collapse. by- adventureclubviral

we create things constantly. of significance or unimportance. things memorable or forgettable, novel or useless. every waking moment we are processing thoughts and generating ideas. every day we stand up out of bed and start to move, the potential of all our ideas- all those intentions and notions- become kinetic energy. as the body wakes up it is able to create things- guiding all those thoughts through all the mediums of life. so in one sense, by definition: to create is to express.

so the opposite of this definition of create is to collapse. when the head grows heavy and the mind gets tired, we retreat back to the bed. the imagination starts to wind down, the mind becomes quiet, knowing that the body must rest from the occupation of creating things all day.

the photoshopped photographs are of myself in motion and at rest. respectively, states of creation and collapse. i got to (so briefly!) experience the sensation of anti-gravity yoga and it was really inspiring! i was so impressed with the possibilities of positions you can create with your body in a stretchy hammock. and that you can simply collapse into it and relax.


odd opposites. strong versus soft. by-theStephALA

IMG_8712soft.  occasionally soft can be mistaken for weak. but just because someone or something is soft does not mean that this particular someone or something is weak.

is soft the opposite of strong?  maybe, but maybe not.  if you are a strong person does that mean you don’t have a soft side?   perhaps you hide it.  as stated so eloquently in the very wise and well known film, the big lebowski, “strong men also cry.”

this stuffed, plush, pillow pet of a bee is just one of many bee expressions.  can a bee be ferocious and strong and even deadly?  you bet.  can a bee appreciate and savor the loveliness of a flower?  i think so.  does this bee want to be your friend? for life!  can this bee still kick your ass?  i’d rather not find out…

odd opposites. strong versus submissive. by-adventureclubviral

i thought of the opposite of strong in terms of posture. i have been reading about postural development and learned that it takes place a lot slower in human bodies than i would have imagined. development takes place from the head downward, as infants you learn to hold your the weight of your head at about three to four months old and when you begin to walk, in the first year of you life, the primary curve starts to form. at three years old the bottom spine starts to become concave. the lumbar curve in the spine is not fully developed until we are about ten years old. as adults when we stand tall and erect, conscious of lengthening the curves in our spine- we feel, thus we appear- strong. when we go to sleep we curl up into that balled up position, naturally recreating the spine of our infancy and innocence. relaxed and submissive.

anyway, regarding the photographs, i went to visit the sea lions at the beach and watched them do a lot of nothing. occasionally one would lift its head and flop around. observing the curvature in the belly and the back of a sea lion as it takes movement on the shore, i decided that the ones that actually got up and moved around looked strong to me. the rest continued to lie there, unprotected, seeming unconscious, seeming unaware… the opposite of strong… they looked submissive.