Face to Face

Self Portrait, June 2014.


“Never allow your knowledge to stand in the way of Truth.” — Ajahn Brahm



One humbling experience after another. At times, we stumble over ourselves. Our language is not enough. We are guided to silence, into situations which require the mind to switch off.  When we allow the heart to listen, we find our center. We are shown our truest fears, and among them, our greatest strengths.

There isn’t a single living soul who exists in permanent absence of fear, yet there is a secret to managing one’s fear that can be found through the mere acceptance of it. Coming face to face with it. Where fear has been denied, one must turn back and acknowledge it in order to subtly dismiss it.


Strength and Progress

We cannot grow as long as we exist in denial of what we’re afraid of.  From a very young age, I was exposed to terrifying, painful situations that led me to believe if I pretended to be strong, I would eventually become strong… which only skewed my understanding of strength over time.

To anyone going through something that seems to be impossible to escape —- this is only temporary. There is beauty to behold, and truth to be held where the light intersects with darkness; when you choose to do so, you can and will ascend to a higher vantage point from which a deeper understanding can be embraced, humbling you in the magnificence of its Greater Purpose.


John - June 16, 2014 - 9:21 pm

I feel drugged… your breakthrough binds us. Has this happened before? I don’t think it has for me… You lyricize your insight, which I happened to need but had yet to find. Two vines using each other to grow up into the light…

Hey, I wrote you a poem! Thank you and you’re welcome.

Social Media is not a Prerequisite

I’ll refrain from a lengthy explanation, but I would like to make a statement. Despite the advice of media experts, and even having learned how to successfully market a thriving business online — I no longer hold fast to the notion that social media status is required — for any reason. There are conveniences and inconveniences alike. But reliance on social media is not in harmony with the natural progression of things; a more organic, direct route proves through and through to be more meaningful, and more reliable. No matter who you are or where you’re from, important connections happen as a result of the vibrations [sent out from and received] by the natural forces, energies, and efforts resulting from intention.

This article from the perspective of a 45 year old male is worth taking the time to read.



John - June 17, 2014 - 5:30 pm

I stopped reading my facebook newsfeed weeks ago, so I don’t get the chatbacks anymore. Why did I stop, I wonder… Just fell out of the habit, I guess. I used to jump in and voice my most profound perspectives, but it’s all gone to the past so quickly, and nothing really went anywhere. It was all just ephemeral. How could I turn any of it into anything more than a flash in the pan? I’d post the occasional link to my Facebook group, but now the only one who ever let her voice be known in that group has deleted her account. Michelle, I’m glad to have made the transition to email with you. Maybe we can make the transition to phone?

Michelle (Aurora) - June 17, 2014 - 7:24 pm

John, I really appreciated the dynamic of that group and enjoyed the conversations that were happening before account deletion. I think the world needs more of that type of effort, not just on the internet alone. Your writing and your perspectives on overcoming seemingly impossible situations has made such a huge impact on me. You’re a shining example of what it means to have hope, and create change.

Free Download of ‘Quiet’

Quiet: Collected Works Volume One

There is no phase of life that holds more significance than another, and one’s own evolution is never complete — but it is important to reflect.

The first volume of a very intimate arrangement in the making, ‘Quiet’ features journal entries, prose, poetry, short stories, and personal photography.


Words and rhythm
Pause to listen
Reverberation, it moves
All on its own, no choice but to choose:
This modern approach to courtship falls short.

What good is it to function in accordance with the whole
If the whole is moving away from truth?
I won’t.
We struggle in response to our disapproval,
Yet trick ourselves into believing that it hurts to feel removal;
Deep down we know this isn’t an environment where hearts can love
To full capacity.
And I observe:
How can it be ”love”, that one wrestles in resentment thereof?
Is it truly “love” that merely survives?
Have we forgotten how to grow in love that thrives?
And I refute:
It isn’t in the chemistry alone.
Physical expression grows meaningless
Where our emotions are left without a home.
And I assert:
Love fascinates!
Commands attention,
Love conquers!
What is this meager word “survive” in terms of love?!

Dezy Muncher - June 11, 2014 - 4:04 pm

Deeeeeeep : )

Michelle (Aurora) - June 12, 2014 - 11:42 pm


Edit + Re-Release of ‘Quiet’ on the way


Earlier this year I culminated and released my first volume of personal writing. I decided to pull it and make some subtle changes, thanks to help from an incredible editor who offered this service to me as I had gifted the book in exchange for the years of encouragement and support that I had received. The book will be re-released sometime this week, and I’ll be offering as a free download. As soon as editing for Quiet is complete, I will begin culminating ‘Reflections | Volume 2′ (no details on this yet). I’ve decided that all future releases will continue to be free with the option to donate. However, the download will still be available with or without donation. I hope your week is going beautifully.



Michelle (Aurora)

On Finding a Companion

Photo of me at Silver Lake Dunes, MI. Credit: Amy Parrish


It has been quite some time since my thoughts have kept me wide awake.



Night and Day (fleeting moments between mother and child)

Night and Day. from EscapeToLight on Vimeo.


It seems like only yesterday, I was rocking him to sleep in my arms.

My son and I often explore together, and today we drove 1/2 of the Coastal Ohio Trail along Lake Erie. The trail totals 293 miles of sand, stone, shells, trees, wildlife, big cities, and small towns. We stopped to take in views at Cleveland, Lakewood, Huntington Beach, Marblehead, Lakeside, Port Clinton, and East Harbor State Park. The opening clip shows a photograph on canvas that was taken back in 2005 when he was only 4 years old. He acted so mature and expressive during that session, and it was one of the only times he ever wanted his photos taken.

Checking the camera gear this morning, I noticed on the memory card was [Night and Day's] opening bathtub scene that had been recorded already more than a year ago. In our final moments before departure I felt myself becoming nostalgic toward the kind of time we spent together when he was so young. In the same instant I felt myself curious about the evolution that has occurred, and is still occurring, from then to now to years from now. These days, we’re able to hop in the car and spontaneously end up wherever our hearts desire. Nostalgia and curiosity are two opposite energies that can become so magnetically woven together…. affirming the present moment holds so much value and meaning.

I must admit — although I remained very present and aware throughout the day, putting this little short film together was done so through a fog in my eyes, a haze of happy tears — especially when I found the beautiful music by -DX- on Soundcloud to add to the video. I hope you enjoy the combination of sound and sight.

Here’s a question for other parent’s reading this post today: How do you maintain that “curious feeling” that your kids had at a young age? And if your child/children are still young, how do encourage them to explore their curiosities?


Until next time.. and thanks for visiting


Michelle (Aurora)


How to Experience Abundance

Photo © Michelle Black 2014


Mistaken Value

We have been conditioned to believe we need to acquire more [financially or materialistically] in order to experience more. This could not be further from what is possible. Existentially, we sometimes mistakenly seek out things that can be physically measured in order to experience ‘value’.   We live in a world where the cost of a designer cotton tee shirt can range anywhere from $90 – $165.  The cost of this tee shirt is $35 shy of a 1/2 share of organic local produce (13 week supply of food) — enough nutrient-rich produce to feed 2-3 people for 13 weeks.


True Abundance

True abundance can only be felt through gratitude. Gratitude is not just an expression of thankfulness, but a practice of being. Through consistent daily practice, gratitude helps us stay centered and present, alleviating feelings of need. Ever felt like you really needed that beautiful new ring, finally finished saving up the thousands of dollars to update the already-functioning cabinetry in your kitchen, or had to have that $450 Coach purse that has been marked down to $200? This feeling is a result of a number of things; design shows that are reality-based, constant advertisements on the internet, everywhere you look while driving, and every radio station or television channel… these are essentially brainwashing the masses. We don’t have to participate in these behaviors that are only wasting our planet’s resources.

True abundance can be felt when we’re willing to let go of attachments to material possessions, when we release ourselves from attachments to labels of any kind [ahem... "hipster kid, goth girl/guy, hippie, etc"] — when we let go of definitions entirely and experience things from moment to moment without attaching ourselves to the words we use to define the experience.

Abundance is experienced when we open ourselves to spend time with the little drops of rain that have collected on a leaf after the storm [photo in this article, above]…. abundance is felt when we let go of the chatter in our minds and feel filled up with each inhalation of oxygen provided to us by our Earth. When you share a smile with your child, when the songbirds are still singing after the screaming sirens die off, at every sunrise, beneath every night sky, with every bite of food, with each moment we can sit and rest, wisdom shared, loving emotions felt, every new day… just a few of the infinite ways to experience abundance.

What moments can you think of in your life, when you felt true abundance? Please feel free to share your experience in a comment below:)


Thanks for reading, and see you next time!



Michelle (Aurora)

Life as an Exchange | vlog

Life as an Exchange from Michelle Black on Vimeo.

Julie - May 30, 2014 - 7:07 pm

I loved this first vlog & the story you shared. I find the irony beyond amazing. Things like that make me tear up :) I’ve been following your journey off and on since your conceptual photo days and feel fortunate to get a glimpse into your transformation….always inspiring. Thanks for sharing!



Michelle (Aurora) - June 5, 2014 - 12:55 pm

Thank you Julie! Appreciate your presence and contribution here. Glad we share the joy of experiences like these!

Phantom of Peace

Something more than we give ourselves a chance to be;

I reject your definition of “free”

Take me to the pyramids

Across the big sea…

Phantom of Peace,

Sing your anthem.


Heavy morning, chemical clouds, integrity:

I reject your limitations, power, greed

Take me past the atmosphere

Into the Dark Deep

Phantom of Peace,

Sing your anthem.

Sing without them.

 © 2014