Into trash…

“Creativity is harnessing universality and making it flow through your eyes.” Peter Koestenbaum   The emerging of the “Trash Project”! A few months ago during our daily walks and the change in the energy of the space in which we walk due to the field being fenced in and the woods enclosed behind that fence. Oh there are ways to still get in the woods it is just that our course has changed with Muffin’s ageing, so the exercise path is more our course around the field. Those walks had always been decorated with litter, plastic bags of course, water bottles, coffee cups, beer cans, an occasional childs toy which were left after game. My inner child caused me to collect  those toys, space aliens, soldiers, movie action figures, cars and truck, a little girls barrettes. I even found a cell phone once, I call someone on the call list so they could reclaim it.

Lost Head

Lost Head

All this began sometime ago but the “Trash Project” came about with the boundary changes and the grooming, cutting back the hedges and trees to create the walking path. On those reclaimed area new treasures emerged buried trash. At sometime the area must have been land filled, of course people use wooded areas to dump in for years… I know this all sound awful and sad, in many ways it is. Yet nature has her way of reclaiming what is naturally hers.

The Soldier

The Soldier

I have photographed this area for past 6-7 years now, my portfolio and mission to photograph the beauty all around are  testament of evolutions expressions of beauty. So you all don’t think I walk around a dump, it is not that way at all.  What I hope to express with this project is what I try to express with my nature photos. That beauty can be found in the everyday, just see it. I saw a form of creativity in the litter.

McD bag

McD bag

I had no clear objective I was looking for something creative something different to occupy my time during Mom’s transition. She had gone in rehab, my camera’s shutter release crapped out, iPhoto had malfunctioned, I thought I had lost months worth of work!  I was like oh my God I can’t take photographs, my creative expression, my meditation practice has been cut off!!

The Shape of things

The Shape of things

I had just gotten my first smartphone, an iPhone 4s which I knew nothing much about yet the camera would still allow me to take photos but I wasn’t sure what that would be like. So taking photos of “trash” seemed to be a good test. Plus the filters on the camera, and instagram app allowed for more creativity that I really hadn’t worked with before.  The emergence of the “Trash Project”

the chew

the chew

The first to photographs of found objects, one on sight, the other photographed at home before the Trash Project was truly born. The next three are part the ongoing project! Taken where found, a bit of filter via instagram or iPhone ! I bet you will never look at litter/trash the same again!

A Sense, a sense of knowing…

It is difficult for us to realize that this process of going inside and writing page can open an inner door through which our creator helps and guides us. Our willingness swings this inner door open. The morning pages symbolize our willingness to speak to and hear “our creator”. They lead us into many other changes that also come from the “Universe” and lead us to it “Presence”. This the hand of the “Higher Power” moving through your hand as you write. It is very powerful. “the Artist’s Way” Julia Cameron, Pg.85 *

Image

 

For the past week or so I have been reciting the Basic Principles as well as the Rules of the Road as prayers or meditations! When I begin my body relaxes, my voice even shifts, my heart/soul fills up,  almost to weeping. The joy that those words, those small sentences expresses to my heart is really beyond what language can convey! 

Than I was directed to the opening quote. Upon reading it I knew it was time to write, write again. These pages have had their fits and starts. Hey the blog is titled the “reluctant bloger” after all. Recently it or I have lived up to its name. 

I could have posted simple blogs with just poems/quotes and photographs. I could have filled these pages with daily accounts of the family’s experience of our Mother’s process of dying. The presence didn’t want me to go there. I used Facebook for support, that support was truly amazing! I am grateful for each person’s comments, the sending of healing, and course love. Love kept me sane, the love of complete strangers, well at least non-physical people, stepped up where friends and family would not or could not. In the case of crisis I go into social mode, hospitality mode. I suppose I was still in caregiver status in many ways. Yet finally freedom for the 24 hour caregiver position I had held for the past two years. 

Image

Mom’s going into rehab was her journey “homeward” once there she must have decided it was time. Within 2 months or less, the last week everything shut down. She was constantly cared for my nurses, hospice, family was around 24 hours a day.  The waiting seemed to be endless and longer than the 2 years we had spend together, yet it was her time, her journey that we all had to respect and guide her to and through.  That Monday Morning, which it is Monday now, I had just walked into the nursing home, as I walk up the hallway to her room, I saw the nurses coming from that direction, I knew before they told me. There was a sense of relief. My sister and my niece were there at bedside and had been for the final breath. I am sure a final sigh of relief from mom that she would finally get to the new adventure. Mom loved to travel, her travel took her all over the country, and even to Europe several times. Her new journey beyond this plane. 

Image

I got to the end of the last paragraph, I knew I was done. There is a sense of relief, and sense of new freedom. Of course the story goes on… 

I am Blessed, and I am Love, Jeff

Mediative Question: What has your latest journey taken you through? 

*( I used other expressions for God which Julie Cameron had not used in the opening quote.) 

 

What do you long for?

Last week or so ago, the poem used here today was shared by a friend on Facebook. I said I going to borrow this for my blog for I felt it resonated with my journey at the moment, and some of my photographs would complement in a visual way the journey outward to go inward. 

As I prepared the blog something spoke to me about finding out who Melissa La Flamme is. I am glad I did. Her website intrigued me, the little that I read, so I reached to her via email, and then a bit later via facebook. Where we at once connected via messaging. Making sure all was clear to publish the poem here, that she was a Jungian Psychotherapist who incorporates Shamanism into her practice, was a flash of my not so distant past a vision to create just this type of therapy combination. 

What did I long for, so unaware of a dream set aside. Called out through this poem and Melissa’s own practice. We discussed a possible guest blog or interview later in season, which now I can hardly wait for ! 

I will let the vision unfold: 

 

I AM CALLING YOU: by Melissa La Flamme

 

What do you long for?
How do you call its name?
Listen to the ways it calls to you?DSC_6550

Take your longing to the earth.
To the woods. The trail. The park. Your well-tended lawn.
And if you can get there, to the desert.
And with devotion, give your self to these questions.
Like you would a lover. A baby. A tender green shoot.
Like this, tend your own fragile heart.
Your longing will ravish you.

DSC_7833

You must ravish back.

When you do, your soul will walk you
to the soft, thirsty ground
of your being.

DSC_8122
Sink in,
all the way in.
You will lose your mind.
You will sing to rocks, seduce pine trees, make love
to red earth.

DSC_8590

Songs like this will carry you till
your own song sings you.
You must let them.

©2014 Melissa La Flamme

 

The Art of blogging 201

A few weeks ago I signed up to take part in Blogging 201 Branding, Traffic, and Growth. Day one began yesterday April 15, at 10 am est. I am already overwhelmed ! The more I try to understand, the more confused I get.

DSC_8058

The basics of the first assignment is setting Goal’s. I can I do that! Of course the lesson begins with a nudge, a question: Why are you doing this? 

I am doing this to gain more followers of course, to get clarity, to create a more comprehensive understanding how blogging works.

If your blog exceeded your wildest dreams, what would that look like? I would post at least three time a week, it would continue to be “personal” as well as artistic, and connective. It would not only have followers but regular commenter’s, links, resources.

Those visions into three goals:

  1. To publish at least three blogs a week. Art blog,  personal blog, and feature blog.
  2. To gain 50% more follows in 6 months, by September 15th.  Not only followers, commenters as well.
  3. To be more organised and more knowledgeable about the workings of blogging.

This is not like my regular blogs of course. I wanted to make this public so that in some ways I would be accountable for the course of this process.  Fellow bloggers/followers you are my coaches.

 

Success is rarely created unless you’re having fun at it.

There may not be any quotes to lead off this blog. There may not be any photographs to enhance this blog. There may not be any coherence to this blog, it my wander aimlessly with thoughts expressed as words, “like why hell is the type so small?” Okay fixed that.

To state the obvious it has been months since writing, the reluctant bloger certainly has lived up to his name. It certainly not because he has had nothing to write about, for surely that would be an untruth. The truth of the matter is I have been waiting for the “right moment” if there ever is such a thing? I had ideas of blog I wanted to create, with photos and words, those still may materialize? The moment now happened because I could not find something else to distract myself from not doing the writing. The voice in my head kept say, “it early, there is nothing else pressing, and other distractions you are finding boring. So write, create, just like yesterday when one of the first things you did was photograph the roses from the exhibition reception, capturing their beauty two weeks later. (now here is a lead in if there ever was one)Reception Rose

Opportunity to share photos and to write about the Artist reception for the Photographic Society of Philadelphia’s tribute exhibition which I curated.

On March 16th 2014 after a month-long run of the exhibition the artist reception took place. It was a smashing success, a semi climax to a year and a half long process of promotion, invites, chatting, networking, for submissions of Photographs and Photography equipment and a bit of history the show open the first week of Feb 2014.

Submission began coming in January 29-30, from members of the society many of them I knew, a few were either new members or just new to me personally. The submission process was simple, three pieces each, sizes and genre varied from artist to artist. There is not theme, there is no juried submission, or competition. The mission of the PSoP is to offer the opportunity to photographer of all styles, and ability to exhibit together, to meet, to discuss work, share knowledge of equipment, and technical abilities. This allows for a much more relaxed form of exhibiting.

Mom Viewing exhibition

During the submission process along with Pauline Jonas as was my Mom,  I was unable to leave her at home, plus it gave her a chance to socialize a bit, which is something she was sadly in need of. Her wandering was a bit distracting but also entertaining to watch while she view photographs and met people who chatted with her, kept her company while Pauline and I received the art.

During the course of the exhibition I went to the gallery several times, to view hanging, to take in other works that were still coming after submission dates. The extra visits allowed me to “really” view the photography, admire the work of the members, to readjust the positions of some of the work for better viewing advantage. I used my networking to promote the exhibit with the Philadelphia Inquire, the story even made the Sunday edition!  Next was another visit with Don Brewer for his blog DoN ArTs NeWs interview and photographing the exhibition.  During both these interviews members of the township were interviewed about the gallery in the municipal building. Which created more excitement about this collection.

The interview w Pauline & Kevin

Culminating in a successful  Artist reception of March 16th 2-4: a fairly nice day weather wise, since we had had so much snow and freezing weather, the opportunity to go to a gallery, enjoy art, meet the artist, have a nosh, even view a film on Ansel Adams to round out the afternoon. A pleasure to me of greeting 40-50 people, fellow exhibition photographers, all but two attended. Family, friend, people who had either read the article/blog or followed post on Facebook.

Mom was unable to attend for she had had a fall twice in less than a week, on the second hospital stay Drs. recommended 20 day rehab which she had just begun two days before the reception. She was missed by many, her spirit was there with us.

The Exhibit comes down next week April 2-3 ! This journey has been an amazing opportunity to be involved in the creative world of art in new form, in active creative participation, one that will expand they way I view art/photography and its world!

 

This is a work in progress…

This is a work in progress, a process of uncovering our natural openness, uncovering our natural intelligence and warmth. I have discovered, just as my teachers always told me, that we already have what we need. The wisdom, the strength, the confidence, the awakened heart and mind are always accessible, here, now, always. We are just uncovering them. We are rediscovering them. We’re not inventing them or importing them from somewhere else. They’re here. That’s why when we feel caught in darkness, suddenly the clouds can part. Out of nowhere we cheer up or relax or experience the vastness of our minds. No one else gives this to you. People will support you and help you with teachings and practices, as they have supported and helped me, but you yourself experience your unlimited potential.

From Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears, page 51.

Pema Chodron

Low visual

Low visual

Groggy from allergy medication and then headache experience beginning New Years Eve afternoon, continuing into New Years day after which forced me back to bed. Early morning wake ups because Riley seems to dislike being alone at anytime of the day, continues to cry throughout the night. A dying pet and a Mother with Alzheimer’s is a fact of daily living… it seems I have reduce mom to tears several times in the last few days as well. She going off to her room as early as 6 pm. It is mostly due to trying to understand what she is either doing or wanting to say, listening, explaining, listening, and explaining. For she cannot follow through with task she either wants to do or ask to do, and she is always asking if she can help. Which to me is easier to do myself. The thing is we have both been very independent people, we are much a like, and it begins to rub the wrong way. My task this year is to get her into day care, and/or companion care. I can no longer continue to do this on a regular basis. I had 24 hours free yet being so exhausted and stress filled that sinus and headache were my companions. Plus fear the few hours that I could spend elsewhere would be only a moment of sunlight, appreciated, too soon gone.

A different perspective

A different perspective

I have been consciously aware that I don’t take the camera with me as often as I use too. Part of the fact it has been too darn cold to be out longer than our walks. And the fact that the community recently had fence’s placed around the field we walk through and around, closing in or off part of the wood that we would walk. It is still accessible from a different direction yet so-called civilization has encroached as well as affected the line of sight. I am very “sensitive” to nature being altered by humankind. Some of that alteration is for progress, some just what seems to be forced enclosures!  So yesterday knowing that I was not going to get to Philly to photograph the Mummer’s Parade. I made a point of documenting the first day of the year, in black and white, nature and to make use of the fence as an object of art, which in some ways represents my situation in life at the moment. I had recently thought of doing my black and white photography for a number of reasons. One it is a different challenge, to see in another way, the shadow and light play, winter causes much of nature to be dull and seemingly lifeless. So if I am “forced” to photograph the same thing everyday find a new way to approach it is creative venture. I recall a photographer who lived in the burbs of NYC, who photographed out his window every day for years, the street below him, the light, the season. So why not make what I am doing a more conscious act. Season to season, year by year, different times of the day, weather etc.

repeating patterns

repeating patterns

A lot of this work is already done. For I have photographed the same area for the past several years, some of that you can see by viewing the photography here on the blog, redbubble, and Facebook pages. Even though I consciously did not submit the same views at different seasons they do naturally show up.

Listen to the heart!

“The Heart loves service, humility, hard work, dedication, self-approval and self-trust, listening to Divine Guidance from The Uni-verse which Whispers to us, taking action even though we don’t feel like it, getting up and trying again, not blaming but taking responsibility for the outcome of our lives, empathy, and having the willingness to dig in and get our hands dirty instead of leaving our dreams up to someone else.” Mastin Kipp: The Daily Love Blog

Pine cones

For three days I was hoping to write something less dark, more joyful than what has preceded on these pages. Yet my dance with shadow, my ego is the dance partner who seems to lead. Selfishness is the word or action that poked me this morning. My reaction to Mom’s disease, Alzheimer’s is distressing, and abusive to both of us. I realized the resentment I have about the situation taking up my time, my peace of mind, for I don’t know how or I certainly forget when I am forced to try to explain something a half a dozen times.

My heart may love service but not services that is forced, not service that has no seemingly end. There are moments when I feel boxed in trapped in our prison of “service”.  When I am angry and resentment takes voice I blame others, family, social services, mostly family for not showing up, not really being involved in this life/death situation with their own Mother! It is not about them, or is it? It is about my ego, my selfishness… plus being totally unprepared for any of this.

I don’t feel like doing any of it, I want out, I want to run away. What we need is help, social contact for both of us, people willing to spend time at activities with Mom. Social interaction with support group as well as friends.

Long Shadows

As I continue to write I keep hearing a voice say, you can’t publish this, not this crap again, not all this “pain” this darkness. I am writing what is. I am writing my emotional reactive experience.  Mastin Kipp in the blog this morning also writes this, ” Basically, our dreams need us to get over ourselves. Our dreams need us to take responsibility for them. Our dreams need us to SHOW UP even when we don’t feel like it. They are fragile and need tender Loving care. Dreams take time and are often tests of Faith. Let’s meet the test!”

Dreams may not be the correct word here yet the path to my dreams is to journey through this process, finding the joy, finding the magic.  That magic is in my photography, that magic is that walking with my camera I am much more conscious of my surroundings, much more aware of the magnificent beauty in a drying frozen leaf/plant, the way the soil pushes up at times, the bright blue sky against the bare tree tops, that birds still sing and flit from place to place. The scurrying squirrels leaping and chasing each other in search of a meal. The universe is alive, the universe offers each creature the gifts to live each day.

winter pods

That there is a balance to life even when the balance seems to be way off.  “Dreams take time and are often tests of Faith. Let’s meet the test!”  One of the principle of the artist’s way Morning pages is to “Show up at the page, (show up for life) Use the page to rest, to dream, to try.”  That certainly is a powerful way to be present for life, being awake, aware of all actions, good, bad or indifferent. Show up! Showing up is sometimes the hardest part.

I didn’t write yesterday because I didn’t want to feel, I distracted myself, i was too emotional, feeling shame or guilt for my angry, my madness. These are all part who I am. I could not even respond to the comments made my friends on the last blog until this morning because I was too moved by the compassion and support that was radiating there. I am most grateful for each and everyone for  your words. I bow in humbleness. I feel unworthy.

in the wind

Namaste!

Photos: 

{ This blog was written early this morning, I still doubted whether I should publish it. I listened to my heart}