Tag Archives: forgiveness

There are values in pain…

There are values in pain that are difficult
to see without the presence of a guest.

Don’t complain about autumn.
Walk with grief like a good friend.
Listen to what he says.

Sometimes the cold and dark of a cave
give the opening we most want.



A little over two years ago I noticed my Mom’s mind wasn’t functioning properly and when we had an appointment at the her Dr’s I ask about it. I wasn’t really used to being around mom that much at the time. She had a man friend and they would travel back and forth from Vermont to Myrtle Beach, stopping here on occasion for Holidays and Dr appointments. At that time I ask to see the Dr as well, to check her responses to normal questions. In his office she seemed to have answered correctly, even with being a bit distracted. Mom was not a very good listener, usually ready with a question about something else, maybe it was a way to deflect until she remembered.


Sometime later at her Heart Dr’s appointment, the Dr even came out to me to explain what she was to do for her self-care. He was concerned because she would not focus, and didn’t understand what he was trying to tell her, mentioning he would talk with her regular Dr. when I mentioned that we had discussed her memory issues and he was not concerned at this time.

At that point she went off with Lee, her man friend, I am sure which direction at the time. Her greatest joy was being with Lee and his Shih tzu Billy. She had a whole other family and friends there that she no longer had at home in NJ. Sometime later 3 months maybe she came home basicly  for good. Lee was concerned for her and he was having his own health problems.

Taking this walk with her was not my planned version of end life process, yet I was giving the task of being her caregiver, unprepared in every conceivable way. I began walking the autumn path of grief, anger and frustration with her it was not a happy time.

Continue reading There are values in pain…

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



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

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!



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?

To view and or purchase photos go here



Questions for the questions…

“When you welcome your emotions as teachers, every emotion brings good news, even the ones that are painful.” – Gary Zukav

under the spell

Is lack of sanity an emotion? Have I gone insane? Have I created a Groundhog day event of the life? If so why? What has become so frightening about my life that I refuse to live it. Live it fully once again… These and many other questions may or may not be answered in the what follows today or any-day soon.

I have heard the voice to write like a woodpecker hitting a tree trunk, knock, knock, knock, knock, hammering away the stubborn layers of bark, and hard word to get to the meat of thing.  I mentioned to a few friends that I have been hearing that voice to write, to begin to blog, do morning pages again. Morning pages were responsible for the beginning of this blog. After writing the morning pages for the length of time required/suggested in the book The Artist Way, 12 weeks, Julia Cameron suggest to continue writing morning pages to keep the flow going.

So are these blogs going to be morning pages? It is a place to start, a beginning.  And we can only begin where we are.  So here I am ready to stand before myself and everyone naked through my words. Even trying  write this, flinging off the darkness, the cover of silence, feels vulnerable. So be it.

It is the Holiday Season, and… in the past few weeks I have been journeying down memory lane. First it was joining the Magnolia NJ Facebook page which I thought may be a good way to connect with local goings on. I didn’t and still don’t have a lot of connection with the community I live in.  Even as a child, I seem to have lived or created a different reality to the one outside. Did I have imaginary friends, no not really. I had religion, I was on the search even than.  Well being in this local group opened up closets that have long been closed. Do I even want to go there now?

The first snow of the season opened the doors. Someone was recalling sledding down hills, streets, etc. The one hill I recall was behind my girlfriend’s house, we were teenagers, which went down into the major road. The girlfriend would become my wife in a few years and then my x-wife a few years after that. Well x-wife messages me that her Mother has passed, and she and Mike her husband, and my best friend from our Air Force days, along with daughter are here to attend the viewing, did I wish to join them for lunch? I did. I attended the viewing as well.

The Three

Earlier in the week a member of the Magnolia group posted our grade school graduation photo, we were the first graduating class from St Gregory’s, 1967!  Oy! Even had to locate myself, people I have had no contact with in years. Some I even went to high school, some my first crushes…  Just to meet a two of them a few days later at the Senior Christmas Lunch.

Class of 1967
Class of 1967

These are all unfolding stories, unraveling memories, there was a mention of a young man who had died in a car accident who lived across the street from us, how I remember that young man, the pain of that loss…

What is the purpose of all of these dusty memories? And none of these “stories” have anything to do with my sanity or insanity, or do they?

Each of those memories have expanded stories of course, those stories may get to see the light of day for the may shine on some of the shadows of my earlier life.

For now Mom’s Alzheimer’s is holding steady, I see some patterns which make dealing situations a little more responsive rather than reactive. I don’t think I am very good company for her, and in some way, I think it is becoming abusive. Abusive emotionally and spiritually for both of us.  The day to day routine of going about our day is rather unproductive, meals, chores, a few walks for her if the weather is cooperating. She cleans those house, more or less. Fusses with the dogs. Makes strange combinations of food items, if I am not there to pay attention. Always asking if there is something she can do, when I am doing my own chores, or making meals or baking. I would be nice to have help but help is more like supervising, so it is easier most times to do it myself.  We found some old coloring books, she has begun doing some those pages. Her attention span is not long, even shorter if I am doing something within seeing or hearing distance, she wants to “help”.

As for art/photography: I realized I have not been taking as many photos in the past few weeks, could be the weather, could be not motivated which scares me. I view photographs everyday, belonging to several photography groups keeps them passing across my screen. Events have been difficult to attend, I do have one small photo in The Plastic Club’s Exhibition of “Weather”.  Gearing up to curate a Photographic Society Exhibition in Feb. which could be the project that gets me through the winter.



Welcoming the teachings of emotions has got me to these pages. Is there good new here? Yes the writing, and the exposing. The painful emotions of confusion, anger, loss that come from memories of the past, or even desire for the future while I seek to live in the moment are the lessons of evolving, even though it feels like going backward. It is in the “welcoming” hello emotions set down and chat or come along while I take some photographs or make meals or do everyday chores. What do you have to say to me?

It seems life if full of questions, even questions for the questions.  They seem to be strange traveling companions these “questions”. These too will reveal themselves…

Rarely have we seen a person fail…

who has throughly  followed our path.” Big statement yet placed with honesty, and continual practice of service to a Higher Power through the steady conscious awareness of self in daily readiness to help another human being.

Glimmers of light
Glimmers of light

At 12:00 am today I was led out of a tunnel of darkness, into a room full of light, well really crowded with men and women sitting around a table and lining the walls of a strip mall store, drinking coffee, smoking and chatting among themselves. Actually they were reading from a book,  a little blue book, The 12 & 12, which was either shared with me by the person next to me or I was given one while being shown which page and paragraph they were on. Yes I was late to my first AA Meeting at the Malvern Club House.

24 Years ago today those people in that crowded smoked filled room help me begin to change me life, one day at a time.  Being desperate enough to finely seek help for my drinking which had recently gotten me arrested for public lewdness or disturbance. My lover of the past few years had offered me a ultimatum,  it was him or the booze and crazy behavior alcohol and pot created within me. Imagine I went to my first meeting to save my relationship with another person? Yet I discovered after a few short weeks it was the relationship to myself and a Higher Power that would keep me there, allow me to get sober and be sober…

A moment
A moment

24 years is a life time, 24 years is only a beginning of the opening doors, the unraveling of years of unconscious behavior, ideals, and thinking that kept me in the state of want, the state of emptiness. In that state I felt the need to fill the hole in my soul, the ego needed to be constantly stroked. Every action was caused by those needs to be wanted  to be like, to be the best at something.

24 years of awakening, walking along many paths with many people, in meetings, books, in prayer circles, which for a time included religious organizations, than in spiritual community, who did I meet in all those places? I met myself, I meet myself in the reflection of each person and situation that challenges who I am, who I believe I am and who I am becoming.

24 years of re-discovery, have I throughly followed the path? Sometimes, sometimes not. The quote that begins this blog and is major part of the 12 Step Program written by recovering drunks for recovering drunks, and read at many many meeting everyday sets down the path, offers the tools to use, to a practice of a way of life beyond many peoples understanding. The reading offers bit of comfort with these words, ” We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.”

the imperfect path
the imperfect path

Thank goodness for that, I don’t have to be perfect anymore, and I am not by any means. I fall short every day, yet the main thing is I don’t drink, I don’t use a substance, to dumb me. I walk in the woods, I take my camera, and my two lovely animal companions who show me what unconditional love is on a moment to moment basis. I am granted today, this moment, to be present, each a gift to unwrap and savor, sharing with the world around me…

I am grateful.


exercising your power of choice.

“… through exercising your power of choice judiciously, you can learn to see how you and your actions can work in harmony with the world around you. You may experience the grace of living in harmony with the universe only a handful of times, but the experience is characterized by a feeling of trust and a rapport with your surroundings.” Carolyn Myss

The power of choice

I read the above quote after having read the Fourth Step process in Alcoholics Anonymous: The process of taking an inventory of our lives, seeking the places we find resentment, anger, selfish behavior… and fear. These choices of fear selfish behavior, anger and resentments do not allow us/me to experience the grace of being in harmony with the universe, those choices do not create trust and or rapport with my surroundings, they do just the opposite.

Continual Flow

I say this because I find myself more and more in just those moments of choice, to control a situation, to be get angry because someone needs some or is hovering, in an unconscious caring way. I hear myself in those moments, when I am making a sarcastic comment, getting angry of a diver on the road that is going the speed limit, or even the dogs, when it seems to me an inappropriate time to want to take a walk, in those moments I have to breathe, I have to say how important is this to my sanity and my relationship to this situation. Constantly readjusting my attitude, realigning my self with the Higher Power. For each moment is a moment to learn who I am, or who I am not or even no longer wish to be.

Self-centered, resentment, anger, and fear...

There is some really wise words which when used as action to move beyond ourselves, from  Alcoholics Anonymous page 420 which states, “Perhaps the best thing of all for me is to remember that my serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations.” For I have unconscious expectation of how things are suppose to be, I have egoic reason why, a situation, person, place or thing should act accordingly, the wisdom goes on to say, ” The higher my expectations of other people are (and myself), the lower my serenity. I can watch my serenity level rise when I discard my expectations. But when my ‘rights’ (ego) try to move in, and they too can force my serenity down. I have to discard my ‘rights’ (ego) as well as expectations, by asking myself, How important is it, really?  How important is it compared to my serenity, my emotional sobriety? And when I place more value on my serenity and sobriety than on anything else, I can maintain them at a higher level – at least for the time being.”

For at least the time being, for the moment is just that only a moment, yet when anger and resentment have become present the moment lives on in my energy much longer. Yeah but ego says what about my ‘rights’ what about me, in a flash, you are not important, the state of being is, presence of mind, the action of Love is the state of being. Love of self, to be Love of others, Love to others.

I still have to ask, do I think that little of myself to continue to react in such a manner? The reason for this writing is to awaken that place of serenity, to create emotional sobriety on a regular basis, not a sometime, someplace experience, an experience that is a state of being, Being Love, I am Love. I use to sign off with I am Love, all the time, than something shifted, because what I was experiencing was everything put love from myself. So it was time to “trudge the road of happy destiny” once again.


Once again the practice of choosing consciously or judiciously choosing actions that are in harmony with the world around will offer the grace of serenity, will allow me to be present and leave the present to the past when the next moment comes, and I have acted Lovely from self into the world Lovely .

Question: What are your choices saying about you?

All Photographs are register @ Jeff Stroud. and can be purchased through me or http://www.redbubble.com/people/jeffstroud

sharing the path of beauty and shadow

A path is a way of solidarity , of sharing the beauty with all the others on the way; it is also a sharing of the pain and the struggle with all the others on the way. Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality

Natures Litter

In writing this blog I have share my journey along path and will continue to do so. I don’t do it just for those who read this blog, I do it to illuminate the past and future so I can see where I am now. All to often I get lost in the doing and forget about the being, the being present, the being compassionate, the being loving, the being understanding… Sharing this journey is also helpful in a way that is allowing me to know that I am not alone, it also leaves a foot print or a map so that others can follow, if they choose, or at least have guide, even if they choose to ignore it.

Last night I finally was called to find material to read that was not so dark or challenging as “The Living” Anne Dillard’s novel about 19 century pacific north-west. It is a fascinating read but at times dark, and sad.  Here is a paragraph about the book:

“Annie Dillard evokes the frontier generation of the 19th century in Washington state’s Puget Sound. Focusing primarily on three men and the settlement of Whatcom, Dillard presents us with a brilliant array of characters, their optimism and charity in the face of hardship, as well as racism, brutality and greed. We watch as the inexorable rise of civilization rushes in upon the settlement, changing the region, the lives and fortunes of those who live there.”

Lonely tracks

I realized I was falling asleep at night after reading pages from this book, the stayed with me, haunting me, saddening me, as well as causing fitful sleep patterns. So I chose to find something a bit more uplifting, at first I grab Return to Love by Marianne Williamson because it seem to be beckoning from the books case, in doing that I disturbed other books, one of which was Creation Spirituality by Matthew Fox.  I have read both of these books before, so what was I seeking. Higher vibrational words, directions on the path, reminders of where I have been and where I may like to go.

Not having written my pages/blog for the past week I was feeling blocked, dark, empty, even though I have been active, to a play, to street fairs, yet something felt like it was missing. So I have to be honest, I have truly been off my track, I began drinking coffee, earnestly for the past week or so, and I can’t seem to stop. I began eating too much dairy, too much sugar, my food intake has been not fully nutritious.

There I told on myself! There is a part of my that needed to play in the shadows, it was in many ways an unconscious slipping, yet I remember telling myself one cup of coffee won’t hurt, than off to the races… I thank the powers that be it is not a “drink” but it is a comfort thing, as the sugar, or any other non conscious action that I was taking. I know how good I was feeling, I was getting active, social, creative, and along with that came to need to comfort myself, for some odd reason.  Not writing was part of that place, maybe I was unconsciously aware of shame, that I let myself down, that I have fallen off track.

Now that I have been there again, playing in my shadows, it is time to move out again. Writing and creating, being honest. Matthew Fox writes, “A return to the dark is also a return to origins… part of the darkness is the absence of words and images and the presence of silence.” He does not mean depression per se he means a sense of being in meditation, taking the time alone, addressing the fears, dancing in the shadows for coming out for them the world is that much more brighter, that much more awesome!

Last Friday I submitted a photograph for exhibit for the Philadelphia Photographic Society at Bonte coffee shop at 922 Walnut St. I also was asked to take some head shots for a friends website, and then later in the week she and her partner mentioned that they were thinking of asking me to photograph their three children. Now there is a challenge I have not had yet! And am excited to do accomplish.

Shadow of ...

The Salem County Art League is returning to our space at Beans Coffee Shop in Woodstown NJ this weekend to exhibit there. Morris from the Philly Photo society keeps suggesting I have solo show at the other space that they use for those events. This morning I had wondrous surprise of a message from Terrill that she would like use my photograph “Waiting II” on her blog Unusual Light which she did! I am thrilled and honored for her blog is read by many artist and friends. I had just posted “Waiting II” last evening and was concerned of how it would present it self on http://www.redbubble.com , so my surprise to have Terrill’s message a few hours later was very special treat.

So to leave with another quote from Creation Spirituality, … “creation tradition is decidedly not asceticism, but the development of the aesthetic. Beauty, and our role in co-creating it, lie at the heart of the spiritual journey.”

Growth Question: Along our path how do we dance with the light and shadow to create?

I am Love, Jeff


Joy of an authentic self

Joy is internal, one of the best way to start cultivating it is by getting to know yourself; to know, accept and embrace your authentic self in all areas of your life. Laurie Buchanan

Rowand Pond

The more I take time to write the blog/morning pages the more I see the growth of my Authentic self. The purpose in writing is to reflect back to myself, who I am, who I think I am and who I am showing up as, to shine light on the shadows, gift the self with warm embraces, to allow joy to shine all over the place. I am grateful each day when I get to wake up, I greet the dogs and we go for our walk, each sensation is almost like new, the breeze on the skin, the fragrance of the air, which this morning is green, because it has cooled off, before that the fragrance was earthy, grass, burnt, dry grass, that was crisp to the walk.  The moment now is hearing the sparrows chirping, zipping to and fro across my line of vision, the breeze blowing the corners of the paper I was reading.

I did not write yesterday even through I had the full intention to do so, first the source of my writing was not present, and I had to request a back up, second because of the weather, it was stormy, low gray sky, my out-door wi-fi connection would not stay on. Once back in side, the energy was shifted and the moment was gone. I responded to blogs, I connected to people on Facebook, I ended up going to my room to read and fell asleep for a good hour or so. Which was refreshing but disconcerting too. I did think of writing about the unexpected visit to local ponds and lakes, one of which was once land owned by my paternal Grandmothers Grandparents, the Rowands, who once own a good part of a town which is now Clementon NJ. Opps getting distracted trying to find info on the Rowands. Found nothing this far other than on the link to Clementon NJ and John R. Rowand Mill House. Have to search another time.

Water lily pads

In my Mid-week check in with Laurie concerning the Life Harmony Program I was ask some question based on a blog that I had written on Monday or Tuesday. So here are my answers…

“… Allowing the gift of confusion, pain, to inform me of where the work is that I may need to do, to evolve into the Being I wish to be.”

I very much appreciate that you understand EVERYthing including confusion and pain can be used to inform us of what action steps we need to take to continue evolving. My questions for you here are:

Please share one example of confusion you’ve experienced and how it ended up being a gift for growth. While I lived at Easton Mt Retreat center confusion reigned, there was a sense of spirit and healing but when you got underneath that, the men where being men with all their unclear boundaries and unexpressed rules and behaviors. That confusion lead to my relationship with Nature, with my camera, the healing practice of Reiki.

When I was three years sober in order to stay sober I left a seven-year relationship which was to be the relationship of my life time. ( I thought). The pain of leaving was unimaginable yet to stay sane and sober leaving seem to be the only answer. The pain was raw and rich which offered me a look into who I need to be to survive and I did not belong in a relationship survival.

“The only safety is in the realization of our divine nature, a condition of complete simplicity that cost us not less the everything.”

Please share with me what you feel is the best part of your divine nature. The best part of Divine nature is my ability to Love, Love is divine nature in action.

Please share with me what you consider to be the most simple aspect of you. In spite of the risk and changes that occur in my life, in spite of the moments when I felt depressed and sad, lonely even the simple choice of having Divine Love in my life allowed for me to find the path again. Is Love simple? Yes, when it is truly unconditional!

Lady in red

Another part that Laurie shared with me is this:

“For without taking care of ourselves first, finding our own space, to write, to create, to pray, meditate, learning to love ourselves service is a tool for resentment, it is a block to creativity and block of our spirit to infuse ourselves to be fully present in the world.”

I don’t have any questions about this piece, I simply wanted to make the observation that I’m very impressed with your heart/head process here. It’s like you’ve discovered the internal intersection of head/heart — which is the location that I refer to as the seat of wisdom.

I am most grateful of the feedback and the affirmation that I am on the right path! Thank you, Thank you!
Another piece Laurie ask about was:
Now, all of that aside … any more thoughts on the experienced server position at the restaurant you mentioned the other day? Any more thoughts on creating personal living space in the garage –if yes, wouldn’t it be freezing cold in the winter? Or is it a “finished” garage? Any more thoughts on potentially going on a brief getaway to your neighbor’s place in Maryland?

The answer is that those are still in thought stage, No the garage is not finished, there is electric, besides cleaning out all the years of accumulation, construction work would have to happen to make it livable.

I have not seen the neighbors as of yet to ask again yet it is on my list. I may take a day trip to DC to visit Sherrileen from Gaia and try to see Barbara K too. Yet the “gateway” space would be good.

As for the servers position, I have a big block in venturing back into the restaurant business.

That is where all of that is at the moment.

Growth Question: Did you experience joy in your life?

I am Love, Jeff

For more photos go to http://www.redbubble.com/people/jeffstroud

Open Heart

An open heart is a fertile bed that allows out true nature to emerge and reveal itself. Out inner being, higher self, spirit or divine nature speaks from the heart. With an open heart our bodies become infused with love, light and truth. Richard Ellis


The above quote is from Reiki: And the Seven Chakras. I have added the study and practice of this book to my reclaiming my artist and self work which I am doing with the Life Harmony program. Even through discussion of the chakras for each self are part of the process I have felt the need to explore the balance and imbalance of each Chakras for my own healing as well as to inform my healing practice of what I sense and see within client. It will allow for a more fully encompassed healing and effective treatment.

I feel this comes about because of the quote at the end of yesterdays blog/pages from The Prophet in which I shared my feelings around my experience living and leaving the community,  of Easton Mt Retreat . Since than I have been unraveling the bandages around my heart, trying to find trust and love in my fellow brothers, finding and trusting the love within myself to expand my life once again. These are all tools for doing just that. To take the risk each day to write this blog/morning pages to the  public opens the door to my heart more and more each day.


There are many times I do not follow through on Social opportunities because of my lack of trust, yet I have not had a bad experience in some time. And if I did I would hope that I could stay within my pain and understand it. Richard Ellis once again shares this about opening, allowing the heart charkra to be in balance, The day that love is lost from the outside and instead of retreating we remain in our heart, allow the pain in and stay open to it to the same degree as we were to the pleasure of love, is the day we anchor ourselves in the heart.

This means to show up, take the risk, embrace the joy as well as the pain. To dance with the shadow and the light, ego and essence !

Truly Open

Mom ask my to go with her to her friends 80 birthday party because she is uncomfortable driving due to the fact she is on some type of pain medication for her neck/headache. Which makes her feel unbalanced or something. So that is later today, this morning I am going to go get my hair cut .

Don’t seem to have anything else to write or express!

Growth Question: How do you know if and when your heart is open?

I am Love, Jeff

Self Deprivation for change

Art is a technique of communication. The image is the most complete technique of all communication. Claes Oldenburg

in the details

By mid afternoon I thought I would go mad, the challenge of being inclosed with my mom in the house with the TV flipping back and forth and the sound of inane chatter was quite maddening. The afternoon heat and humidity finally took its tool, and the air conditioner had to come back on. For the past few days we have been doing without, yet the house become hotter than the outside, moving was uncomfortable and mostly unsafe for mom even. So on came the air.

Finding out I can be outside to eat my breakfast, read my mediations to mediate on, then to be able to write within the sound of nature is a blessing I just can not pass  up. The dogs Muffin and Riley ever watchful, of wild creators in the back yards, such a squirrels and birds moving in the grass keep me amused and watchful that they don’t take off at something.

I found out that Salem County Fair has been going on since the 3rd and will end tomorrow, I am making plans to go down to set with folks of the Salem County Art League. I need to get out do something, it would be a good photo opportunity as well. Heat me damned! I will make sure I keep hydrated . Most fair grounds of these kind have buildings that are used for displays and such, so it could be that the league has a place inside?

My Dream House

I just know I need to be and do something besides what I have been doing, going to the fair would be a good Artist date. Which I have not treated myself to in while. It will be good to expend some energy socially and artistically as well.

I am struggling here to find things to write about ! The Reading Deprivation did not go well as we know. I became a TV junkie instead, and then I just went back to reading. The Artist’s Way says the “reading deprivation is a powerful tool – and a very frightening one. Even thinking about it can bring enormous rage. For most block creatives, reading is an addiction. We gobble the words of others rather than digest our own thoughts and feelings, rather than cook up something of our own.” I did not find not reading frightening, I found it boring. I understand the purpose of not reading if one does have an addiction to reading, and that being to find other things to do instead. I remember when I first went into recovery and realized I would not be going to bars anymore, those places where my social life, the fear and confusion filled my being, I was stop in my tracks, what will I do with all my time. Thank you God I learn to find other positive activities to distract me but most of all to illuminate my life in a whole new way of seeing the world. Reading Deprivation works in the same way, it opens a new door in the darken room that has been still by others thoughts and ideas. This action allows for fresh ideas to come to mind, fresh actions to inform ones daily activities. I use reading to enlighten my path, yes I usually read a fiction before bed but I have been known to read non-fiction before bed as well. Reading is only an avenue to capture my interest, to give me some direction, in a forward motion. If it did not I would not be here now writing a blog/morning pages, I would not be recovering my self, selfs. I would be the a truly block artist instead of one on a self-awareness journey.

Gray wonder!

So I just made excuses to keep on reading didn’t it? I think the whole idea is to allow us to move beyond our normal daily routine. A quote in chapter four sums it up “Eliminate something superfluous from your life. Break a habit. Do something that makes you feel insecure.” Piero Ferrucci .

In the past few days I have allow the heat to make excuses for not getting things done or going somewhere. I will break that habit today, I also need to break away from Mom being ever-present. No wonder my sister has and a melt down a week ago and shouted at us all that she would like her house back. She has been frustrated with work, and with the illness of her Father-in-law, and that Jim, he husband has been spending as much time with his father that he can to help him recover and offer support. Their lives have been upset by these events, and having us all under foot I can imagine is frustrating for them. I have ask the neighbors if I could go down to their summer place in Maryland, I did not get a no or a yes, so I will approach them once again. I could use the time away as well, I can read and write, a be alone, and meet new people, have new situations to photograph, giving my sister her house for awhile, her space…

Spirit and material

Growth Question: What do you need to deprive  yourself of to enlighten your path?

I am Love, Jeff