Thursday, July 28, 2016

Midnight Musings

Dear Insomnia,
We seem to have a love/hate relationship.  Your presence allows me to reflect on my days, nights, my comings and goings, my "doings"  Your presence also guarantees I will be tired.  We are traveling, the husband is sleeping soundly.  He will wake at dark thirty ready to start the day.  I will not want him to talk to me...not yet anyway.  I need to wake up slowly and quietly.  This is complicated in a one room hotel suite.  This cold is aiding and abetting you, dear insomnia, both of you can go away now! 

My plan was to write about the beautiful places we have visited.  To post a highlight each day.  I have been away from my home since May 14.  It is a blessing and a curse to be able to travel for this length of time.   Perhaps, I will take the non sleeping time to "catch up."  A snapshot of our days.  Speaking of snapshots...I am averaging about 300 photos a day on my big girl camera plus whatever catches my eye on the iPhone, you know because Instagram.

At this point in the trip I have broken a camera lens on a mirrorless 4/3 has been sent home in shame.  I have lost my favorite eyeglasses due to the call of nature in the middle of nowhere and an attack of mosquitos.  I have shipped home one suitcase full of "stuff" and two additional boxes.  I am finding you can get by with a whole lot less than you think you need particularly when loading and unloading a sports car everyday.  I have lost my pocketknife.  It seems as the days wear on and on and on, the floor space by my feet grows smaller and smaller, however the experiences grow and grow.

So, I was having a thought about our visit to Portland's rose garden and particularly The Japanese Garden...the husband is a smoker.  He is fairly considerate for a smoker.  He lit up while waiting for me in this very Zen environment.  This woman, who I am very sure considers herself very Zen, one love and all (as long as you agree and don't offend) was shockingly rude in such a beautiful setting.  She shouted at the husband.  I could tell he was very embarrassed, he apologized.  He was ready to wait for me in the car.  I was ready to get a little more than medieval with the rude woman.  It costs nothing to be kind.  She was not an employee of the garden, she was the self appointed smoking police.  My Mom always says "It is not what you say but how you say it"  For the most part, we have met the most kind and interesting people.

Perhaps, dear Insomnia, we can come to a truce.  You let me sleep and I write at a more reasonable hour. Thanks, bye. 

Stayed tuned for updated "snapshots from the road" or "postcards from the edge"  Name suggestions greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Don't Take Anything Personally!

People will either amaze you or disappoint the hell out of you.  Most of the time, when you are disappointed it is because someone has projected their junk onto you.  It is time for my annual reading of The Four Agreements.  It changed my life and is a good reminder of some very basic principles.  Ironically, the very person who introduced me to the book is a friend I love dearly who I am seriously trying to understand right now.  What I understand is this,  Facebook Messenger is not the place to discuss important issues... take the time to be face to face with someone or at least make a phone call, there is less chance of misunderstanding.  In reality the issue is not about me or anyone else, it is whatever  is going on in their life. We all have busy, productive lives, obligations and our own junk...much as I would like I cannot always be the cheerleader. In the meantime,  the following is excerpted from the book, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

I am convinced if we live by these precepts, our lives are a little softer with less rough edges.  I read this every year to remind myself of the places I need some softness.  I have often said, sometimes the most exercise I get is jumping to conclusions"  Not making assumptions and not taking things personally...those are my biggest challenges.  Often, you have to step back or move on to allow for growth. Here's wishing you a soft place to land when the ride gets bumpy.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Word of the Year 2015

Many, many years ago, Christine Kane inspired me to choose a word of the year rather than make resolutions.  A guiding word to direct your choices for the coming year.  This is my seventh or eighth year of choosing a word.  Sometimes the word chooses you.  Words must be selected carefully, in other words, be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.

Last year I chose a word that someone, well-meaning, asked if I was sure and told me what that word meant to them.  I second guessed myself and chose a motto for the year instead.  The motto worked okay, however I kept coming back to the word and all of the doubts my well meaning friend instilled.
2014 was a year of doubts and second guessing everything.  It passed in such a blur...I was and have been in a survival type mode...not fully living and enjoying all of my blessings and gifts.  Living life by putting one foot in front of the other one day to the next and hoping for the best is not living.  It is a practice of being ungrateful for all the joy and beauty one can experience.

I have been thinking of a word for days and one finally came to me...again with the doubts.  When feeling doubtful about my word, I grab a jar of words and scatter them, close my eyes and pick.  Intuitively, I chose the word that originally came to me.

My word this year is Savor!  There are multiple definitions.  Here are a few that resonate with me:

to enjoy something for a long time

to delight in

to have experience of

This is the perfect word as it invites me to slow down and savor life.  Savor my experiences.  Slow down and smell the roses.  Stop allowing whatever happens to happen.  While putting one foot in front of the other, taking the opportunity to really look around and see.  My camera and I...we plan to be a better team in 2015.  We plan to operate better together.  Photography has always helped me to "see" more clearly.  I would like to create in a different way than what is most comfortable.

So my friends, I am wishing you a very Happy New Year.   Join me in stepping out of our comfort zones.  While we are rushing about doing all that we must, let us be sure to PLAY and to SAVOR!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

All Creatures Great and Small

Recently,  I took a little stroll on the beach and pier at the Myrtle Beach State Park.  I was having a little quiet time after a frenzied trip to The Big Apple.  Just my camera, the ocean and all the beautiful creatures living there.  I love to watch and capture the antics of birds.  I watched one for some amount of time thinking his bouncing around was rather funny.  Upon closer inspection, I noticed that his feet and a portion of his wing were tangled in fishing line.  I followed him a bit to determine the best way to remove the line as it was wrapped very tightly.  I had absolutely nothing in my possession to remove the line provided I could catch the little creature.  I approached two men fishing and asked if they perhaps had something to remove the line just looked at me and said, "You'll never catch him, it will cut off the circulation and it will loose the leg and then he promptly went back to fishing.  I asked, are you sure..."YEP".  I became rather distraught to no avail, followed the bird a bit and yes, he was fast.  I finally had to leave the pier.  I felt so sad and helpless to do anything.  The little bird has been on my mind and refuses to leave.  Along with the bird, I am reminded of an article I recently read in "The Elephant Journal"  The gist of it is as follows:

A building is on fire, which one of the following do you do...

A)  You are so wrapped up in your own business you do not even notice there is a fire.
B)  You notice the fire, and call for help allowing someone else to deal with it.
C)  You physically assist and do all you can to help.
D)  You set the fire or add fuel to the fire or fan the flames of an already blazing fire.

Given the current state of affairs in our own neighborhoods, country and around the world you can probably see where I am going with this.  Should I have tried harder to get help from the fishermen or at the very least persuaded them to allow me the use of their tools.  Sure, it is one little bird, however isn't all life valuable.  I am dismayed by the amount of disregard for life all around me.  I am appalled by the sheer numbers of abortions (I am not proposing the right/wrong of it here) Unborn children are disposed of as if yesterday's garbage.  Homeless people are treated worse than the dogs roaming loose on the streets, at least the dogs stand a better chance of being rescued.  There are so many examples of hatefulness.  It is not my intent to focus on each issue but to focus instead on what type of people we are or we are becoming.  Who do you want to be a, b, c or d?   We fight among ourselves to be "right"  bashing each other because we are Christian or not, liberal or not and so on and on.  This solves nothing, it only adds fuel or fans the flames.

I want to be the person who is aware and offers what I can to alleviate problems rather than fan the flames.  Who do you want to be?  We are the authors of our own stories.  Everyone has a story and we do not know all the intimate details of each person's path.  Let us each be like the one we most admire, the one feeding the poor, washing their feet and giving them comfort.

If all you can manage is a smile, then do it.  You will never know what it means to someone struggling. We all want to be acknowledged and to know we matter.  My challenge to myself and to you, is this, step up!  Kind is always good.  I wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Winter Solstice!  Whatever your path, I wish you well.  Peace and Love Y'all!

Monday, November 17, 2014

No Expiration Date for Grief

It finally occurred to me why I have been feeling sad and out of sorts lately.  Today, November 17 marks the 11th anniversary of my brother's death.  We were quite the pair and I miss him so very much!

So my dear brother, I am thinking of you today...
thinking of how you could make everyone laugh,
thinking of your kindness and compassion
thinking of your love of adventure
thinking of how you took your role as oldest man in the family so seriously after Dad passed.
thinking of how patient you were with Mom when she drove me nuts.
thinking about how you were such an awesome Uncle and are so very missed by Michelle and Heather
I am thankful for the memories we were able to make
the laughter, tears and arguments
You are such an example and inspiration 
You are my Hero!

A thought of two regarding the life we each live...
We are not promised tomorrow
Waiting around for things to happen is of no benefit...
Live Large
Spread your Joy, Love and Compassion!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Peaks and Valleys

Peaks and Valleys, is all peaks and valleys.  It is very hard to believe we are in mid-October!  I love the Autumn season.  Apparently, the Autumn season is not loving me this allergies including mysterious rash and hives.  So I am on prednisone, which is a nasty little steroid that makes you have road rage and such.  Case in point, some not paying attention driver pulled out in front of me and then drove incredibly slowly (thank goodness I was paying close attention) less than a block later, they took forever turning into the gas station...I was so very close to pulling in and giving them a piece of my mind.  I had to remind myself that this was not my nature and it was the drugs talking.  It was all I could do to get to the office without a meltdown.  The day has been full of annoying phone calls, computer glitches.  You know, the kind of things which do not bother you on most days.  The office is quiet now and I am taking a breather to calm and center myself.  I despise medication of any sort and this one makes me sad, mad and uncomfortable in my own skin.  Only a few more days and things can get back to whatever normal is for me.

When I am feeling particularly peevish I know it is time to stop, collaborate and listen (just kidding, but not)
Actually, it is a good time to center, breathe and give gratitude to our Source, our Universe, our Heavenly Father for the many, many blessings we each have to behold.  So what I am loving today...

The skies are the bluest blue with a slight breeze...the chill in the air...popcorn and pumpkins...the changing leaves dancing on the air and landing in fluffy piles around the yard...the colors...socks and sweaters...onion soup with grilled cheese...any soup or stew on the stove top for the cooling and Nia...apples and homemade applesauce...anticipating a visit from the granddarlings...dreaming and planning...resting, a little turning inward for the cooler months...knitting...reading...pondering...out of season beach days...herbal teas...friends and laughter...people in love...halloween little monk statue by the front door, he stands vigil encouraging each to come in peace and relax...home

I feel better already!  How about you, what pleases you most today?  Peace and Love Y'all!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Making Your Insides and Outsides Match

Recently I opened my heart and made myself very vulnerable by sharing my very personal back story.  It is not the whole story, however it is significant to my growth as a person.  There are so many ways to heal the spirit.  Prior to my 50th birthday, I attended a couple of retreats to assist in the finding of myself.   A friend of mine, knowing of my passion for photography,  recommended a retreat/workshop called Inner/Outer Vision hosted by Catherine Anderson and Jennifer Halls.  It was a huge transformative step! I was reminded how to access my intuition and heal myself.   Passionate photographers intuitively know what they wish to create with their images.  Activities provided ways to access our creativity in an intuitive way.  Creativity heals me.  It is a balm to my soul.  As a child I could spend hours creating a home in a mimosa tree or involving myself in any number of whimsical endeavors.  Sometimes, as adults we forget that "knowing" .  I encourage anyone to seek that which feeds their spirit and helps with healing.  Personally, I love to learn and I love to try new ideas on for size!  It is what keeps me sane and assists with the aging process...learning experiences, creative outlets and adventure...that, my friend is the true Fountain of Youth!  Experiment until you find something that makes you feel alive and happy!  

Another way to determine what you may wish to accomplish is to write yourself a note or letter and stash it somewhere, read it later and assess where you are and where you want to be.  I have done this a number of times and it resonates with me.  The following is a note to myself written at the Inner/Outer Vision Retreat, signed, sealed and delivered to Jennifer to be mailed sometime within that year.  Let me mention it is somewhat disconcerting to see a letter from yourself in the mail, particularly when you have my memory!   The  following is the card and the message dated March 2, 2013:
Hi Lovie,
When you get caught up in the craziness of your days, I want you to pause, breathe and remember the beautiful weekend that you gifted yourself.  The time to just BE, the time to explore photography and see this as a re-awakening of your talents, those revealed and those waiting to be revealed.  Remember the silence of the woods, your own breath, the crunch of leaves and the sound of wind in the trees.
Remember to slow down and Be Mindful!  Love ya bunches, C

I am a little tightly wrapped and this reminder was perfect!  The last five years have been a source of amusement, trials and great personal growth.  I have said it before and I will say it again...Life is Beautiful!
Find your Tribe! Hang with the people that make you feel absolutely alive, delicious and beautiful!  Ditch the Drama!  Practice extreme self care!  The journey is one step at a time.  I saw this painted on stairs...You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step!  

This photo is credited to Catherine Anderson and was gifted in the form a card to retreat participants      
Catherine hosts some wonderful events, trips and offers many creative options at the following website:  Catherine Anderson Studio.  Catherine provided the photography instruction and Jennifer of You Know LLC guided us in the use of our intuition.  Jennifer offers personal guidance, workshops, retreats and a monthly meditation.  The meditations can be accessed on the above website for a small fee.  Jennifer is very generous and frequently offers recordings free of charge.  She is also a fabulous artist.

Namaste Y'all!