Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's All Inside

we don’t have any kids.  or grandkids.  or parents.  or family close by.  this can feel a little sad during the holidays.  i have my moments…. but i’m more and more aware these days that all of that does not guarantee happiness.  or peace of heart.  that it truly is ALL INSIDE.  

 and even if your days are filled with one celebration after another and endless excitement, activity and family gatherings, if you are not in touch with your inner self and at peace right at that spot deepest within you, well… that stuff can temporarily distract you but none of it can act as a substitute.  

 i look around me and see people running around, stressed out of their minds, trying to get to some point when, apparently, it will all come together for them and everything will be right.  i’m afraid that for most of them, that time never comes because they never stop. 

the blessing that i have is the ability to stop.  yes, december is still crazy with all there is to do,  and i’m grateful for these things, but i have many moments to myself in which i can breathe, think about what’s important and receive whatever the universe has to give me.

that to me is the peace of the season and that’s what i wish for for you as well.  deep peace that goes beyond all the fanfare and is the true and lasting source of joy.  yes.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS my friends!!

Visions of sugarplums dance in her head!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Despair and Grace

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.  For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Holiday Story

here’s how it goes down (every year)….  as christmas approaches and everyone is scurrying about, he asks me for a list (and says, “let’s just buy one or two things this year.”)  i say, “you know what i like….surprise me.”  he says, “i have no idea.”  i say, “we’ve been together 35 years, surely you have some clue.”  he says, “ i have no idea.  i need a list.”

i make a list.  i try to include as many interesting, practical or silly ideas as i can think of so that i still won’t know what i am getting.  if i list enough items i start to forget what i put down there.  i try to be as specific as possible to avoid any confusion.

 i put the list in an obvious place and nothing happens for a few days.  then one day, the announcement is made.  this is the day.  it’s all going to happen.  in one shopping spree.  likely at one store…. (no, it’s not the mall!)

after a few initial questions about the specifics of the items, he heads off.  i stay near my phone….. sure enough, here come the calls.  the specifics weren’t specific enough.  what about this?  what about this color?  or brand? or size?  i can pretty well tell that he is starting at the top of the list and checking things off one by one….(forget that only two gifts idea!)

 friends, this used to frustrate me.  i would look around at other women receiving lovely, expensive and very unexpected gifts and be a little bit jealous, you know?  but not anymore.  i’ve got a guy who loves me and wants to please me and this is just his way.  i’ve come to appreciate how special that is and the whole thing makes me very happy.

soon this year’s pile will appear.  wrapped in a rather crude fashion in last year’s paper…can’t remember at the moment what i wrote on that list, so it’s all good.   i can hardly wait!

p.s. supposedly, there may be an additional "surprise" item this year..... the suspense is killing me!

Monday, December 10, 2012

No Words...

when i was up in the mountains recently, i was witness to this.  it brought me to tears.  i don't think any more words are necessary....

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pushing Myself

we used to hike a lot.  before stu’s knees went south, we thought nothing of an 8 -10 mile day hike and even logged about 16 on occasion (pretty sure getting lost pumped up those miles above what was intended…)

 anyway, one of the reasons i choose to go up to the mountains last week was to re-hike suicide rock.  i’d done it a few years back and remembered it as a great experience.  round trip including wandering at the top is about 7 miles.  no problem, right?  well, truthfully, the 7 miles were not a problem, but the 2,000 foot elevation gain… well, that gave me a run for my money!  and blatantly reminded me that i’m not in the shape i once was…


i was very determined, however, and fortunately it was a sunny but cool day.  pretty sure i could not have done it in the heat.  the way up seemed… well, endless.  and although there are some lovely views along the way, the big views are at the end.  so it was pretty much trudging up, up and up some more. gasp.

The last leg...

 by time i finally huffed and puffed my way to the top, my legs felt literally like jelly.  i questioned my decision at several points along the way, but the final destination was oh, so sweet!  i had the whole place to myself.  the views, the quiet, and the satisfaction that pushing and persevering always pay off in the end.  yes. (oh, the way down was a piece of cake!)

Umm... totally get why it's called Suicide Rock! (there's a story, of course)

(keep moving forward...........)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Drawing the Line

“you should always stop eating before you feel completely full
Yasutani Roshi

 in these last few years i have pretty much learned to see the world as a photoshoot.  when i started doing photography, i had some kind of vague feeling that there was a limit to the great shots i would get.  that i would  eventually run out of subjects or ideas for interesting pics.  

well, just the opposite has proven to be true!  the more i tune my eye, the more opportunities i see all around me.  and the more i share my pics and see what others are sharing, the more ideas i have for new subjects or treatments.  just about anything can be visually interesting if you approach it in the right way!

but i’ve decided that there has to be limits.  a cut-off point.  sometimes i find myself in situations where everywhere i look there is something to be captured with my camera(s).  so i have to draw the line.  just stop.  because sometimes the obsession to get the pics can start to interfere with the experience of being there.  i have seen it happen....

this i believe:
some things are meant just to be experienced – not shared, photographed or documented.  because doing that adds a different dimension to the experience.  a dimension of thinking, planning, rehearsing…. all of which can detract from the true zen of being there.

 personally, i find the trend of sharing and documenting every tiny and intimate detail of our personal lives on social media to be over the top.  there are no limits to it and, taken to the extreme, i feel it’s an unhealthy trend.  it takes us out of the moment.  and we need to be spending more time in the moment…. not less (thanks for listening....)

i spent a couple of days hiking in the mountains this week and this was one of the things i was thinking about.  when i was thinking....


Monday, November 26, 2012

Venturing Revisited (part 2 - the Lavender Farm!)

friends, back in January i wrote a post about how i had just finished putting together a presentation for a future contemplative photography workshop and about how i was convinced that, despite my efforts, i was afraid that no one would likely ever come to such a class.  i was blown away by all of the insightful and supportive comments on that post and i let the ideas for the workshop slowly simmer on the back burner….

 well, as you know,  i have been doing some VENTURING this year, in small but consistent ways.  when i had the opportunity to visit the local lavender farm in may, the thought occurred to me that that would be the ideal location for my intended workshop.  in a moment of bravery, i sent an email to the gals at the farm and was shocked to get a positive response back regarding the idea of the class.

we agreed to get together and discuss it, but their busy season was just beginning on the farm and the ball got dropped.  which of course i interpreted as “they changed their mind – they don’t really want to do it after all….”

 friends, it took me 6 months to re-approach the idea and send another emailimagine my surprise when i got an immediate and positive response!!  i met with the activity coordinator and found out that my class is in line with the healing focus they want to promote at the farm.   the workshop is now scheduled for april 20!!  i still can hardly believe it!!

 of course it still will not happen if i do not have enough participants, but i move forward on faith, taking one step at a time…. oh, i will also be teaching the class in a 3-part series at my local artbeat on main street and alta vista gardens in january.  you can read about it here.  

this venturing thing??  it’s good.  really good. (but it wouldn't be as good without all of you out there cheering me on.  that's for sure!!  THANK YOU!!!)