There was a time that each morning I awoke to loving warmth of my two Golden Retriever’s, Riley and Muffin. We would get petted and nudged, roll over, dance in excitedness to see me and to begin their day. Pushing their way out the door, Muffin always first because Riley was a gentleman, but always the protector. Off we would go down the street, to our little woods, what was left since the building of the Great Wall of FedX and accompanying business. The path led along the wall of fake stone front and cement, the fortress wall only went so far, and there was plenty of nature to our left to entertain.
The trapeze act of squirrels scurrying from tree branch to tree branch, High wire jump from tree to tree, chattering all the way. The sounds of birds everywhere, The Cardinal elongated call and sharp whistle informing others of intruder in woods their red flash through the green always gave them away. The chick a dee’s in winter, their little gray tones sitting on branches and following along our path. The call for the Red Tail Hawk informing us from far above that he was there, but disturbed by our presence, circling in deeper and deep turns to scout for it breakfast. On rare and lucky occasion we would get stared down by young white tail deer until one of the dogs would get wind of it, with a bark, start chasing after what now would be a small family of deer, running off along the little paths created by them to get away, disappearing in the brush.
These adventures are multi purpose, the dogs got to run about freely, in a somewhat “wild” area. They would run off this way and that, sniffing, digging, rolling in something smelly. I was always in sight if not they would wait until I was or comeback to look for me. What was I doing observing, observing the light, the shadow. That green was no longer just green it was every hue of green, emerald, forest, yellow-green. The leaves shaped like stars, or maples others of oak brown green, contrast with humus of the ground rich decay of many past season of leaves, wood in branches and whole trunks that had fallen over or uprooted by the weather. In those logs chipmunks flashed by making its chirping sound causing Muffin to go into a frenzy. All this time I am waiting for the view, the right setting, the shadow here, the light just hitting there, on a mushroom or a leaf, a twisted sticker vine, spying little blue flowers, violets, and Queen Anne’s Lace, Mountain laurel, all to be photographed.
Each season provided an never ending evolution of tree, plants, downed wood, fungi and mushroom popping up here and there, the rains made streams and puddles, created stick dams to hold things back, to wade over and to sit in. Seasons changed, the years have unfolded, progress took more of forest, years took Riley just this spring. Muffin who is now older stops and starts, would rather have attention than an actual walk, even though we manage at least once a day to get a full walk. There is always photography happening, I am never without my camera, Nature is my muse, she shines and dance, she sit gracefully, she changes clothes in full view of the world. Life is an impressive, expressive place. Look around, be present. View it from Here.
Do you ever have this feeling of full emptiness? Explain please? It is a sense of wanting to burst but at the same time a feeling lack or something missing. That has been my state of being for the past few days. So the questions lay in, where is it coming from, what do I do with it, is it fixable, changeable?
Hopefully writing this blog will expunge some of the sensation, for one thing I have been keeping a secret, more or less. Last week I agreed to have Solo Exhibit, one that is offered by the Philadelphia Photographic Society, they have asked me ever since I joined to take this on, and I have hesitated not because I don’t have the work, because of the framing situation. All framing size has to be 16 x 20. The photographs can be any size… ah ha! Because that would cause another situation to arise, specially made mats, not going to happen. So 13 photographs 11×14 in mats and frames need to be purchased and put together. Well only 8 do, I have 5 framed and matted photographs already 3 hanging on the walls of the house and 2 in storage. I had three new prints made last week on metallic, which adds a different gloss and shine to the print which I had not tried before, 2 of which will go into the collection.
All of this for an exhibit in a coffee/waffle house in center city Philly. The exhibit goes up on the 15th of April and will be filmed for a youtube page the Photographic society now maintains. Once I discuss this with the manage of Bonte’s, the coffee shop, I am hoping to have First Friday reception in May! So my plate has been full of making list, checking out framers, and frames, choosing photographs, theme is nature. I think a few from the last blog post will make it into the collection.
I have also had the opportunity to work with a photographer on http://www.redbubble.com in the Candid Photography group that I co-host with two others. Tatum Wulff was my choice for featured artists of the month. We emailed back and forth an interview about her work and what drives her, you can view that here.
Last week was a whirl wind of artistic filling the well. Photographic Society Meeting, on Tuesday, in which we were told that the society would have group exhibit at the Plastic Club in Oct and working on a 150 year anniversary exhibit for the Society next year which will be held in Philadelphia City Hall.
Than Friday was back to the city to place a piece “Maple Buds” in a shared exhibit offered by the Photographic Society in Bonte’s at 10th and Walnut.
On Sunday I went to an exhibit of local artist and fellow members of the Salem County Art League, Jack and Sharon Fanning, this collection was held at the Galleria Deptford NJ, the Deptford Municipal Building, where Photographs, water colors and Pottery where on display and for sale. While there I spoke with potter Margo Schreiber who is interested in having her Pottery photographed, so I am going to be in discussion with her concerning that. I also talked to Pauline Jonas about the space and exhibits, she mentioned that the Arts League would be doing a shared exhibit in July. Opportunities abound!
Each of these events offered me opportunity to photograph, to socialize, to enhance and share my creative work with the world around me. With all of that coming in my well is very full, yet that sense of emptiness still seems to linger…
“Genuine beginnings begin within us, even when they are brought to our attention by external opportunities.” William Bridges
I have been trying to get back in the swing of things yet my minds seem to be captured in some muck somewhere. I keep putting off writing because I think I have something else more important to do yet morning pages are some of the most creative, growth oriented opportunities I have to jog the mind, stir the spirit to shine, for creativity to spin into new creations, offer insightful ideas on getting thing accomplished or even just to see everyday chores in a more harmonious light. So here I am, and here we are beginning a new blob/pages.
A few days ago I mentioned/wrote that I thought it was time to move on to the next chapter in the Artist’s Way and I believe it is yet before we do that let’s go over the tasks as well as refresh what week 3 was all about. Week 3: Recovering a sense of power. The topic’s where Anger, Synchronicity, Shame, Dealing with Criticism, Detective work, and Growth. I believe I shared on all of these except for maybe Shame, and experience or emotion I am not aware that I experienced often, and I don’t think I experience with my art/photography at all. There may be some passive aggressive non-verbal behavior from family about my choosing or rather following my bliss to create beautiful works of art, yet I know from the center of my being that photographing is one of the most powerful, pleasurable jobs I have ever had. Photography is a choice, choosing to be creative, choosing to step out of the everyday me to photograph the everyday world around me, to paint with light is a source of balance, of peace, of spiritual enlightenment that shame can not penetrate . So Shame has to place here, maybe Fame does have a place with in the abundance of creativity yet Fame it is another topic for another time.
Some of the activities for this week to inform, to enlighten, to shine light on the past and move into the future where to Describe your childhood room, Describe five traits you like about yourself as a child, five childhood accomplishments, five favorite childhood foods… Now here are chest full of memories to dust off and share with myself.
My Childhood room I shared with my brother Ken, who is 18 months older than I, we had he master bed room once we got big enough to undo the bunk beds, so we had our on side of the room, with matching faux colonial style dressers, desks, with wagon wheel foot and head boards on our bed with a foot locker with cowboy sence painted on the top, and Hop Along Cassidy lanolin on the floor which I think is still under the capture.
On my side I had religious statues on a self, some of them had been my mom’s, some I collected through the years, as I became aware of Saints I wished to honor and or pray with. The statue of Mary, Immaculate Conception and St Theresa where my Mom’s. I was attracted to Mary because I was born on August 15th the Feast day of the Assumption and was my first recollection of honor the Goddess Mother which as evolved through the years. Of course there was St Joseph, Michael the Arch Angel, and the center figure of the Infant of Prague which I had a change of vestments according to season of the church year. These figures in religious life informed my early years.
Later the statues stayed but the wall behind my bed became a collage of photos from Life and Look magazine of famous people, cool shots of Woodstock, in which people where free and frolicking in the mud and lakes, hugging and dancing, just way different then my life had been up until then.
As a child I was religious, I was caring, I thought I was musical, piano, I was sensitive and Loving. I don’t really recall accomplishments, I wasn’t involved in things, I did not do scouts for long, I did not join sports, I prayed and went church until I was teenager… I also began to go to High School dances when I was in 8th grade, dances at the high school that were held by the local radio station.
I don’t recall childhood favorite foods either, I must of like to eat because I was overweight for awhile until I set my mind to losing weight in 7 or 8 grade. I suppose that was an accomplishment?
Well that was a trip down memory lane: I not sure how it informs me of my power but I am sure those memories will stir some sense of who I was to become and who I am now.
Growth Question: How does your childhood inform your present being?
“Realize that you are the child of God, and embody it. Live and act passionately from your divine center of Love.” Andrew Harvey
It is one of those days where crawling back in bed with a good book seems to be the order of the day, weather wise and emotionally. It is gray and chilly. I have been craving sugar for three days, ice cream mostly, which would include many of the items of are not part of a whole foods life plan. Sugar, milk, and ingredients that would not be good for what I am trying to accomplish. I just had to put this out there, it may have nothing to do with anything and then again maybe it does?
I did not write yesterday I got caught up in yard work, and the blanked out the rest of the day it seems. Was I creative, was I present? I know I over reacted to with the dogs, not listening, Riley especially I think he is have difficulty hearing, or has a mind of his own. Muffin cowards when I yell… The spring like coolness seems to make them more energetic and they have been running off changing everything, groundhogs in general, so many times I don’t know in which direction that they have gone. I have found myself yelling for them and at them when they don’t respond to my call. Ok, I am being an overprotective father/mother! And again telling on myself because I do not like that reaction of anger and loss of control.
Today is my 21 year of sobriety !! Imagine that? I remember I could hardly wait for one year, and then when I reached five years what a big mile stone that was. Not for the past fifteen it seem life is not as dramatic, or full of stress, that I learned and incorporated the tools of recovery and use them as often as I remember too. The third and seventh step prayer are never far from my mind or lips in silent affirmation of turning my will and life over to a Higher Power. That I alone have not done this, yes I made self attend meetings, to help others find their path, studied and worked/practice the program with my whole being, it is was and the witnessing of miracles of people so broken, angry, hurt, confused rise above their ego, their self-centeredness to create a whole life. One of action, one of faith in something more powerful than their addiction, more powerful than a our own mind, the mind and power of surrender to the Divine source within. To create self-love, self-worth, self-caring, to be Whole Beings present for life, present for God/Goddess to live the miracle of a sober/clean life.
Oh this did not end with just putting down the drink and walking away for a life of drunkenness. This blossomed into a journey beyond imagination, the search for self-worth, self-love, self-caring did not just happen over night, and is an ongoing journey, a journey to face the fears, the shame, the shadows and even more the real dark of depression, loneliness, to only come out with the strength to walk in the light head held high, with a bright smile on your face. To embrace life from a perspective that is a full view, whole world view.
This blog, these morning pages are a recent occurrence within this journey of awakening, to bare my soul, shine light on the shadows, for I think and I hope I am done walking through the darkness of depression, self doubt, of fear… God’s grace will inform of such silly notions of visiting there again.
I ask earlier here is this creative, have I been creative? The answers is yes, each day I am creative, I create my world, I create my happiness, or my sadness due to the reaction or response to a situation or moment. I create with my art, beauty, I create with the meals I make healthier ways to live, I create Love by being loving to myself and those around me even when angry at the dogs, or confused by my own lack of attention to my self care.
Andrew Harvey in the quote above suggest to “Live and act passionately from the Divine center of Love” if I had not lived that way this whole time I would not be here to write this now, I would not be here to celebrate 21 years of sobriety, I would be here to live one moment at a time fully present, fully breathing in the joy as well as the sadness of life. Full breaths are healing and a continuation of Divine Love in this realm.
I am Love, Jeff
Growth Question: When did you realize you where a child of God?
“An Affirmation is a strong, positive statement that something is already so.” Shakti Gawian
Therefore I will lead this blog/morning pages with a creative affirmation “My Creativity leads me to forgiveness and self-forgiveness.”
Because today I am going to Time Travel, making a list of old people and situations that caused doubt to my creative self-worth.
Mother Superior in Grade school
Sister who taught freshmen art
Easton Mountain Community
So here is my old enemies, written down in my Monster Hall of Fame as The Artist’s Way calls it. Then we are asked to write one of the horror stories from the “monster hall of fame”.
The Art teacher freshmen year in high school had given us a project to do for Christmas, I am not sure what the parameters were at this time. I created a soft sculptor of the Nativity with cones or cardboard support inside of old sheets/cloth that I molded and shaped as Mary and Joseph, and baby Jesus. Arranged in a sense of admiration to baby. Spray painted everything gold, until my fingers and wrist where sore. I was pretty proud of what I created, yet upon presentation the reception of my work was discussed like it was a pile of trash, unrecognizable, and a mess. I was extremely hurt and never took another art class again.
I was a child of what 13/14 years old, looking for at least encouragement and or critical review that would be constructive not destructive any drive or desire to be creative.
So my affirmation for the day is to forgive them and myself to use my creativity as a positive force to experience healing and wholeness in the art that I create and share with the world.
Laurie my Life Coach asked my some questions about a term I used on a previous blog “social hangover” . So I am going to answer her questions here, it will flesh out the meaning and the experience , I hope.
What does it (Social Hangover) mean to you–please be specific?
It means when I return to my own space, usually doing the next 24 hours I feel drained, overwhelmed, in need of quiet and self-reflection. Is there an excess too much in the company of others? Yes, too much 3, 4, 5 way conversation, energy that just whirls around, settling nowhere, yet spinning energy.
Who (typically) does it happen from–everyone you spend time with,or specific people? Not specific people in general, it is usually the amount of people around, at parties, or events that I am interacting with.
Where does it happen? As I wrote above generally in lager groups of people, where I will be interacting with them in a contain space, with a lot of conversation, talking, extraneous noise. I notice when I go to the market/food store I become somewhat distracted, confused, unable to get may bearings. I have to stop and breathe, reconnect to myself and what my purpose is there.
When did you notice this occurrence? I think I first noticed it when I began to be social sober, and a group of us use to go to a diner for dinner, the space was loud, bright, the conversations of five or six of us all going at once. I remember at the time making a comment about it afterward to a friend, that one on one conversations were a better fit for me. I than noticed it more at Easton when we had a group of 40 or so for the weekend and we where constantly in service to them, for three meals a day, interacting with them in area of hospitality . Once the event was over I had to go and seek quiet, and healing in whatever form I could find, walking in the wood, reading, sleeping.
Why does this occur? I think in a part of me is a loner, my mother says as a child I would get back in the playpen, to have my own space, my own things. I believe in someway I was meant to be a Monk. I enjoy the silence, being alone, I enjoy the space I create for myself to Be, to read, to think, to observe.
I am not sure if that really answers the questions but it was a worthy journey to walk down to vision why if feel or act in certain ways at certain situations. As a Leo one would think I would be all out there charming, getting attention, shinning brightly on those worthy of my Leo charm. Yet I am somewhat of a reserved Lion it seems. Yet the Soul Horoscope is suggesting it is time for us Leo to work on our social network, to reorganize what we want from that area of our lives. Something I really am looking into and accepting in bigger doses of time and energy.
“My Creativity leads me to forgiveness and self forgiveness”
Growth Question: Do you hear the voice of your creative enemies when beginning or working on a project?