Out Of Pain & Self Doubt Come Love, Unity, Truth, Golden Buddhas & An Appreciation of Tim Walker's 'Gilt Trip'

In my 2014 sabbatical from Anne of Carversville, I missed this splendid Tim Walker May issue editorial ‘Gilt Trip’ featuring Edie Campbell for W Magazine, with styling by Jacob K. It comes as a great gift to me this morning … a feast for eyes and spirit and a vision of the road ahead. In my case, ‘Gilt Trip’ is also a vision of the life road already taken.

The Walker shoot went off in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. It was the ultimate stage set for the British photographer, known for his ‘monumental fantasy-world sets’, writes W Magazine. “When they first saw the pictures, people asked if we had built the backgrounds,” Walker said. “But, in fact, they were beyond anything I could have even imagined.”

I’ve never been to Myanmar, but seeing this editorial ‘Gilt Trip’ just now, took me back to one of the top five nights of my life … a night in Chiang Mai, Thailand when I fell to my knees surrounded by flickering candles and a golden Buddha statue.

Out of great fear and lack of control, came this extraordinary, life-altering, personal experience in the home of a complete stranger.

Beginning Again

2014 was a most challenging year for so many of us. I don’t know about you, but a huge part of me is so glad that it is over. Still, there lies an awareness in my heart that the most extraordinary gifts have come my way — many of them from total strangers. First and foremost is the spiritual teacher Mooji, whose no-nonsense discussions about the meaning of life and our journey as humans, pulled me through in my darkest hours. My dearest friend Iman is responsible for introducing me to Mooji, who metaphorically held my hand as everything seemingly solid around me in 2014 crumbled in the dust.

The details aren’t all that relevant. In fact, Mooji’s greatest challenge to all of us is to let go of the details. They don’t matter. How a grand fall into a painful void of nothingness and emptiness can leave me feeling so energized, happy and full of gratitude for the wonderful life I have lived to date leaves me with no words to explain such a state.

All I know is that a fog has lifted, leaving me a very different woman than I was on January 5, 2014 when I was camped out at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital with my best friend and business partner.

Watching Robert slip into death, no matter how hard I tried to stop it was one of the greatest life lessons ever. The unfolding of events after his departure nearly took me with him. Yet here I am— in bedrock — basking in Mooji and ‘Gilt Trip’, surrounded by not very much, yet rich in the magic of today and a golden hue of happiness.

In reclaiming myself these past months, I also reclaimed Anne of Carversville. Before relaunching the jewelry and gift business GlamTribale in 2015, the last four months have been devoted to reconstructing the best of the website.

I hate messes and this Sensual Rebel channel is a big one right now. Yet, for the first time since 2007, all of me — Anne’s personal stories, political and religious writing, international women’s rights and feminism news — it’s all in one place.

Perils in Political Correctness

For years I worried if writing about sexuality in my Sensual Rebel blog would be an affront — or worse yet — a danger to international women. So they had their own channel. Wasn’t I being disrespectful to poor women worldwide by including stories about American feminism and high-powered professional women philanthropists in the same channel? So privileged American women struggling to be taken seriously in business got their own channel. It went on and on until Anne was spread so many places on AOC that she lost her way in a sea of often irrelevant fashion editorials, style statements diametrically opposed to ‘Gilt Trip’ in execution and creativity. Unemployed or aspiring photographers demanded explanations of why I hadn’t posted their work, until I finally adopted a No Submissions policy. So much for my own artistic freedom; I now worked for them.

No more. Going forward, there is no attempt on my part to be politically correct. As Mooji says, it’s a losing battle. I care about international women’s rights because of my own battle with the Catholic Church. Being condemned as a harlot at 15 by my church in conjunction with a sexual assault (and most recently my mother in a bit of slut shaming) this personal history is totally relevant to my falling on my knees 20 years ago in Thailand.

It’s All One Flow

Life is all one flow, and it’s my flow: the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are not defined by our past,  but it is certainly part of our life experience and psychological. We can choose to dwell on its unfairness and unfortunate aspects, or we can see the lessons and the infinite beauty housed in the simplest of life’s experience — and pain, too.

In letting go and accepting the truth of what Mooji calls ‘psychological conditioning’, we can find peace, nourishment and creativity within ourselves, most definitely from strangers who care about us, as well as some of our most beloved supporters and advocates. 

It’s our own choice to set off on a new life path of remain stuck in one not working. Anne is on her way, as empty a vessel as she can be and work to continue to be. Let nothing fill me up but the symphony of sounds, beauty, creativity and love in the opportunity of everyday living — the good, the bad and the ugly. Let me live without expectations or judgement as a solitary but also truly connected and engaged soul in this great universe. 

Happy New Year to our many friends and readers. Love, Anne