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.

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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}

Om Shanti

Om Shanti… I am the light, I am the peace of the world. I am the light, I am the peace of the world. I am the light, I am the peace of the world… Om Shanti. Bliss

Tangled

Tangled

I am the process of soothing the fire-breathing dragon! The fire burns of reaction, of unconscious loss, dragon has been wakened to protect its possessions, its family, it’s lair. A stranger has stepped in disturbing the peaceful slumber.

Dragon awakened last evening after coming back from my nieces Christmas gathering. I ignore as many family gatherings that I can. For I am the stranger among them. I don’t know how to be. There is no drama, just family members who spend time together or at least communicate on a regular basis. Of course I am always invited and now it is to bring mom even though I have asked them to pick her up several times during the past year. Christmas is the one occasion I felt that I would/should show up.

spiral

spiral

I suppose resentment is the response that reacted as anger once getting home. With a confused mother, wandering around the house looking for something she could not name.  I wanted to just set with the dogs, I just wanted to be. Riley’s inability to walk has become a sadness almost too unbearable to contemplate. My patience with both of Mom and Riley blooms into confused anger. Poor Muffin sits there looking at me or wants to go outside.

Sleep was interrupted several times with Riley crying which I think I was sensing in my sleep, the night was not restful. 5:30 am was wake up time. Still hearing cries from down stairs, I prepared to settle at the table with laptop, fresh coffee, dogs at my feet. Once I got everything situated, moved Riley in the room with me, coffee hot, computer warmed up, ready to engage. Mom arrives, wandering about, looking for the comb she using for the dogs. I already explained to her it was on 6 am. The dogs are still sleeping, I am feeling anxious, hyperventilating, trying to keep calm, almost in tears.  Trying to explain to mom the hour and my time, etc. She disappears, Muffin ask to go out, a walk will do us good. It is dark and raining, I am in near tears, walking being present, being the moment, trying to recognise and honor what I have been experiencing.  I say prayers as I walk, I have for years, 3rd and 7th step prayer, St Francis Prayer, another I took in from Joel S. Goldsmith readings.

every direction

every direction

Upon coming in the house and once again getting settle, Mom is dressed, getting her coffee. I can’t be in this energy now. I so wanted to sit with the dogs, to blog etc. Yet the TV comes on and mom wanders from room to room. I packed up and returned to my room, my over stuff sanctuary. Let candles,  downloaded photos I took two days ago, viewed them while listening to Bliss: Hundred Thousand Angels.

I love when I am moved by my own photographs, even stunned by them at times! Having a moment. Those moments seem rarer that once before, yet the magic still can happen.  I research Dragon myth and archetype for dragon was the creature that came to mind. The protector, the fire-breathing beast roaring.  Of course poor dragon should not have to be blamed, as well as anyone else. It is I feeling unsafe, unprotected, maybe even up loved, a stranger to myself and to others.

extended

extended

Om Shanti, the vibration of OM was and always is soothing, moving, comforting.  The affirmation: I am light, I am the Peace of the world repeated  for 5 minutes  gives me hope and a bit of peace. I don’t feel that I am either the Light or the Peace of the world but I can find serenity among those sounds.

Om Shanti Om Shanti Om Shanti : I am the Light, and the Peace of the World

Photos: 

Comes the light…

“The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.” – Joseph Campbell

into the forest

into the forest

For about three days now I have been waking up at 4 am. The night is dark, silence except for the mechanical hum of appliances, the snore of one dog and thump of the head of another as they adjust in their sleeps.  The lamp light the illuminates the edge of the table so writing is possible while darkness surrounds.

Beginning to blog again has been the light that shines on my soul/spirit. Winter Solstice begins today, the solstice started for me a few days ago. It began here on these pages, breaking the ice of numbness, breaking the winter silence of a voiceless heart.

I am struggling here this morning:  I missed writing yesterday, I allowed myself to get distracted by distractions, useful ones, and the not so much.

is there light

is there light

I looked for images of  Winter Solstice, along with symbols and meanings  to refresh my mind of what Winter Solstice represents. All Solstice rituals are the foundations of most of our major Holidays especially Christmas and Easter. Creatures of the wild, trees, light and shadow, birth and death… As I looked through images nothing really resonated. I was trying, the search was not natural, it wasn’t coming from my heart/soul. As I walked Muffin just a little while ago, I felt a heaviness in my Solar Plexus and Heart Chakra, I was trying to control the situation, I was not “feeling” the moment.  Walking on the damp ground, moving toward the moon’s light which brightens as we enter the flat field. Standing there in admiration, recalling going up to the meadow each morning a greeting the day, the four directions brought tears to my eyes. I have lost that practice here. I miss those moments, the intention of each part of the day and season.

I know no one can give me that back, and no one can take it away but myself!  It is all up to me, to create the practice, to be part of the process. Is this it?  Is this the way through?

“The winter solstice is a celebration of our spirit being reborn and transformed from inner darkness into light. Spiritually, it is symbolic of allowing the darker shadow side of our personality to come out, to be acknowledged and to be transformed as it heals”. Patty Kikos

a path

a path

The Key is to…

“And what’s funny is that if we take small steps each day, each moment, when we look back, we can be amazed at how far we’ve come. The key is to not let the chaos and the pain stop you, but to realize that they are also an important and vital part of life.”  Mastin Kipp: The Daily Love Blog 

twist of chaos

twist of chaos

The whole purpose to write, to journal is to take those small steps each day. After I wrote yesterday the censor came to visit, saying ” Yo! People don’t want to read this stuff everyday.” I know that and these pages are not for people, they are for me, my personal journey through everyday stuff.  If others receive insight, wisdom, clarity, or guidance good for them!

Through the fog of one of my recurring headaches I stumble on to these pages. The day always begins with attention to the dogs. Riley now infirm, doesn’t move around much, so cleanup is a necessary step. Make the coffee, walk Muffin in the freezing weather. She is such a joy, she reminds me to laugh. If I let her out before I get all my warm clothes on she will just basically stand there waiting. As soon as I walk outside, she falls to the ground and rolls over, rolling about. Seemingly saying “here I am dad play with me. Rub my belly. ” Because we are not going anywhere very fast until I do just that.

Cheeky Muffin

Cheeky Muffin

The shadows of the Moon greeted us this morning at 5:45 am. Grateful for no wind, the trees created beautiful shadows, and picture perfect moments of clouds, moon lit paths… I thought I should have my camera, than about photos already taken I could use here. Breathing the fresh frozen air seem to cool the headache a bit as we walked in the almost silent silvery  moment.

Digging out “the Artist’s Way” from under pile other books which cover many spaces of shelves, desks, and surface,  because I had the sense that  I may need to explain what morning pages are, or maybe just remind myself of their purpose! Distracted by trying to discover the proper use of they’re, there, and their. Oy!

CSC_4893

 

Finding and opening “the Artist’s Way” is like reconnecting to an old friend. There is warm and encouragement in the words, in the process of taking action to unravel or understand the chaos of daily life. The daily life of just doing. Going about from one thing to another without much thought just to get a chore done or a meal made, or a medication given. The sameness of it all is dull, boring, and blocking of much of my creative juice.  Oh god this is difficult, the headache just wants to push everything else out-of-the-way.

Morning pages are to be “three pages” stream of consciousness writing, everyday, for no one else but ourselves. They are to shine light in the dull boring places of blockage, to awaken us to our creativity. There are no right or wrong ways to write your pages.  They are not a story or essay, there are more or less ramblelings of a mad man… it is about recovery of creativity, getting out of our own way.  From there everything else may flow. Or not?

The censor/ego even began to assert itself when there was only one comment to the blog, and then two more when I re-posted on my FB “Nature Spirit Photography page. Which is  underused ! As stated above censor almost caused me not to write this morning, suggesting that no one wants to read this stuff every day. I don’t care.  do I ?

Shadow play

Shadow play

A thought came to me on the walk back to the house, something about is not bravery facing the fear, is not bravery being present amongst the chaos of everyday challenges. The dragon I have to tame is myself, the dragon is part of me but is not me in completion. Dragon is the roaring defense of loss, confusion. The protector as.  Are loss/pain and chaos not the keys to letting go, to moving on, to getting over or through the block?

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