Sensei Jimmy – “Art Conquers Pain Project”

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From my book, Surviving Breast Cancer...A Few Wonderful Things Along the Way

Magical Moments with Sensei Jimmy

Time and time again, my journeys with flowers have proved to be not only spiritual but also magical.

For example, one magical afternoon, a Jiminy Cricket style grasshopper seemed to stop by to “strike a pose” for me.

Here’s what happened... One summer day, I was walking by my mom’s garden and I noticed this grasshopper sitting sideways amongst the petals of a white dahlia. I sat there thinking he was going to jump away any moment, but he stayed. So I decided to be daring and I ran upstairs and grabbed my camera. I came back down and much to my surprise he was still there!

And so I excitedly started taking pictures of this wonderful grasshopper! Just to give you a better idea of my experience, my grasshopper was a nice size – he must have been about 4 inches long - and I found him to be delightful. Funny thing, he really seemed to have a personality.

To be honest, I still pinch myself - it was all so fun. You see, I couldn’t believe that I had this incredible grasshopper to photograph and that he was letting me photograph him. But even crazier, as I sat there taking side-view pictures of him, my new found grasshopper friend seemed to say, “You know I have a better side.”

About then, magically my grasshopper friend shifted out of his dahlia day bed and turned towards me so that I could get these incredibly great poses of him facing straight towards me - i.e. the one at the beginning of this book section.

This little grasshopper became my mascot and I have affectionately called him Sensei Jimmy. “Sensei” is a Japanese word that is used to signify “master” or “teacher”. And Jimmy is a reminder of our better consciences. So Sensei Jimmy became my homage to the many teachers that have profoundly influenced my life. He is also my reminder to listen to the whisperings of my heart.

But, there’s actually a bit more to this story. I had been truly delighted by the pictures I that had taken so far. My photo shoot with Jimmy had been so magical! And, I was confident that I had some great shots. But then I noticed a dahlia bud just to the left of Sensei Jimmy. The bulb was still really tight and so it reminded me of a globe. Now this seemed incredibly ideal! I thought that it would be too cool to have my little Sensei Jimmy posing on top of the world!

I decided that it would be incredible if this little grasshopper of mine (I had already adopted him, you know) would climb to the top of that dahlia bud because then I could photograph him and have the perfect “Sensei Jimmy on top of the world” image. My mind was quickly rattling off visions of a wonderful wall art ensemble of Sensei Jimmy and his several poses.

As I sat there in my wishful thinking, I was absolutely delighted yet again when my little Sensei Jimmy climbed to the top of the bulb! I was stunned at the miracle of it all because, “my wishful vision was coming true.” I was so excited!

However, there was also a problem. The problem was that Sensei Jimmy had apparently not quite understood my request – while I had wished him to the top of the bulb, I had also wanted him to face me. And now he was facing the wrong way!

I tried to telepathically communicate with him. I wanted him to understand that I really needed him to turn around so that I could get the ideal image of “Jimmy On Top of the World. “ However, he didn’t do it. He just sat there with his back to me.

I was very disappointed at first, but then, I just smiled. I decided that Jimmy was helping me with an important life lesson about gratitude…I decided that I should just be grateful for the miracle photo shoot that I’d already enjoyed with my little Sensei Jimmy. And, I decided that I wouldn’t worry about “getting more.”

I walked away from Sensei Jimmy and that little “top of the world” photograph... Despite how wonderful that decision may been, I will also admit to you that I have since then regretted that I hadn’t taken the picture of Sensei Jimmy from the backside of the dahlia bulb and used Photoshop to put him in his “proper place.”

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