Tag Archives: God

Pandora

once you conquer
your selfish self
all your darkness
will change to light

~Maulana Rumi

I see you

My selfish self has been presenting it self still even when I thought I was through the muck it seems I hit another small patch that keep my mind playing tricks with me. One has to ask though how when I have the intention to write, to practice walking the walk as well as talking the talk, I end up with endless chatter, or numbness?  How do I go days without writing, without opening The Artist’s Way, to speak the Basic principle and Rule of the Road, or any other piece that may enfold me in within my essence? How is it that just doing those simple steps frees the egoic self to experience its Higher Self ? What force is greater than the Higher Power? Fear, anger, not enoughness? I think not, yet I seem to allow those feelings to slap me around, lay on top of me, sitting on my chest.  I am through with this behavior, I am enough, I am not afraid of the little self, I can use anger in a purposeful manner! I am through you hear me!!! Either learn the dance or leave!

Wow ! That was a powerful moment! Conquering the darkness is really not what it is about, it is about shinning the light, being in the light, Being the light itself. Not an easy task, creating harmony takes practice. Getting all the piece to fit together in a beautiful sounding song without the balance makes things go Crash, makes a lot of noise, and pulling in different directions.

I have gotten to this place before and walked away, finding fault, discovering new distractions only to desire to come back to this harmony that I begin to hear, and experience, even if only for moments of time. The purpose of The Artist Way, the Life Harmony program, the blog/pages, the reaching out creatively and socially is to add depth and balance to the song of life, the music of living.

decor

I treated myself to an artist date on Monday to a movie, not just any movie, Avatar 3D IMAX version, I had not seen it the first time so I wished to take the opportunity to view this film as it was supposed to be viewed and created to be seen. I sat there stunned, amazed, moved, touched, sad, angry, and in Love. I sat in the theater giving myself Reiki while watching beauty and destruction dance before my eyes! I had the thought of what the Buddhist express as breathing in the suffering, and breathing out the love…

flittering

Once I got home, and I think I drove home in a state of bliss, I greeted the dogs and went for a walk, camera in hand but more importantly with a new eye, and new vision or at least a refreshed one. Even within the drought conditions beauty of nature finds a bit of water to bloom tiny little purple flowers, the golden rod burst brightly, red and yellow leaves spiral to the ground creating flashes of color in the dryness, and dropping green. Orange, and black Butterfly’s flit here and there, gathering the nectar of the few blossoms they can find, little white moths even share their glory, for a moment I walked in my own Pandora! I have experienced the oneness of nature for a long time through the lens of my camera, through the joy of my being able to experience the everyday evolution that breathes life into life. My ability to take photographs came from nature herself, for she wished to be revealed, she wished to have her beauty experienced not just by nature itself but the care takers of the planet, the people responsible for it continued evolution or its destruction. I don’t take photographs just to have pretty picture around me, I take photographs to nudge people awake, to arouse some emotions, create feelings. I use my photography to tell natures story, for her story has been lost in the everydayness of life, in the commonness, that may cause us to for get to notice the birds, or the huge beautiful tree that stands majestically in your yard or on your way to work.

Shining in the darkness

I guess my artist date did more than I thought it had done, for I thought I lost the energy the film left with me. It had filled the well, inspired, embraced my creativeness to new a presence !

Growth Question: If you haven’t seen Avatar why not, and what the heck are you waiting for?

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


unique expression

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only  one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” Martha Graham

upside down

This quote spoke to me this morning as the day unfolds to the evening of the Artist Reception at the William Way Center in Philadelphia, Pa. in which I am showing 14 piece collection of Photography that is my unique expression of who I am, and who I am emerging to be as an artist. This event/exhibition is a powerful step forward for my work and for the photograph that I am becoming. I am trying to have no expectation of the crowd, the comments, I am only seeking to enjoy the experience. The praise and affirmation are guides along the road to expanding my work, as well as any criticism that may be brought forth. Staying in the moment, honoring the work, honoring spirit for she is what has brought me to this place, has unveiled this creative gift and I am most grateful each and every time I have the opportunity to photograph, to view nature, people, places, and things, through the lens and in physical form that presents it self as a photograph. Earlier this morning I was drawn to lines about sensuality from Laurie Buchanan blog

“Sensuality is something much broader; it’s how in tune we are with our senses. Sensual perception includes the appreciation of beauty and refinement; of simplicity and […]

Laurie’s blog is about the health benefits of healthy sex which has nothing to do with what I am writing about, except in the form that I find sensual healthy pleasure in taking photographs, as well as sharing the beauty and sensuality expressed in art and the art of nature, all divinely created to offer an opportunity to Be awed of the world in which we live.

standing tall

I picked up Mom from 30th Street  Station during rush hour traffic in center city yesterday afternoon, the worst part was the traffic around the station itself, the rest flowed through the city rather well. Taking the local roads once we got into NJ, for the highway was backed up from the the Walt Whitman bridge which traffic I stay out of… gave us time to catch up, make some plans. Mom has consented to attend the Artist Reception with me, now this is an event worth recording, for she has not attended any of the receptions before, and this exhibit being a very important experience in my life will mark a new awareness for her to my commitment to this expression of creativity. I am grateful and honored to have her share this moment with me!

This blog/pages is not what I intended to write at all, I was going to write more about the task involved in week 3 Recovering the sense of power. My thoughts are if I do this work “publicly” it has a different energy that if I do it myself for myself. It shift the energy, it illuminates it in whole other light.

The task for today is to name the habits that “may interfere with your self-nurturing and cause shame.” I do tend to watch too much TV … I find I use being on the internet, Facebook, even blogging to distract me at times. So finding the right amount of time to use these as “tools” to inform and inspire rather then dull my mind or cause me distraction from what is important. Goodness is that all! Most likely not but nothing else wishes to come forth at the moment. or I am not ready to share them here as of yet, I am not sure which?

Waiting

Growth Question: Do you find  your expression of creativity unique? If so how and why?

I am Love, Jeff

Learn By Doing!

“We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way.” John Holt (Educator)

Very Berry

Each morning to set out to write the blog/pages is learning to do something, learning by doing something. Facing my fears, examining my blocks, rewarding my gifts, shinning light on the path before me. The pages inform me of where I have been and where I may wish to show up in the future of Now. And that means sometimes these pages are boring, or difficult. Sometimes they may flow like a spring stream, quick, and clear, fresh and refreshing all the surrounds that flow.

Yesterday I wrought of drought, I wrote of a reaction to a situation, which I have no control over and is non of my darn business. My business is to understand why I was feeling dry, to examine where my reaction was emanating from? Those questions still have no real answers as of yet, for the answer will be revealed in time, through the continued seeking in gentle ways to shine light on these growth questions. For in these challenges is where I meet myself, the me now, to become Higher Self, the more aware conscious self.

Just in sight!

Later in the day yesterday I had the opportunity to take a walk in the woods, a low and behold what did I see along the path, a path I had walked earlier in the day. A day lily, shinning brightly, like it had just sprung there to make me wonder, and smile, guess what I did not have the camera. I made a note to bring it in the morning, which I did. Also Muffin and Riley and I took a path we had not been on for a while because it had become too overgrown with sticker bushes, and to difficult to walk through with short on. To my amazement someone had cut it back. I mentally thank that being, and traveled it, still no camera, but the walk was to be in a cooler place, to be surrounded by huge trees, making the path green shadowed, somewhat refreshing to walk. Along that path there where broken branches, and sycamore balls that make walking a bit difficult, yet slow one down enough to watch their step, view what is in front and along the paths, listening to the birds, and the slight moment of the leaves and branches, the shimmer and moan to make one know they are not alone. Mushrooms where in sight, just in few places, only a two mushroom in total in different areas yet there non the less. Since it has been so dry and in the 90’s I did not expect to see such sights!

Sunny and Bright!

Later in the day about 5:00 another walk after the dog’s dinner and before cooking the stir fry I had already prepared the dogs immediately cornered and ground-hog, playing tug a war with it, until I chased them, Muffin let go, but Riley was asserting his primal nature and maleness, continued to grapple with the creator, and fairly big guy, causing all kinds of cries, but there was no saving the poor thing once Riley has his mind-set on what he is doing. Once it was over and he took it away to leave his prize under the bushes to check on later, I looked at him and his face was bath in blood and goodness knows what else, his nose was raw where the ground-hog in its struggle gave him a swipe or something. We head to the stream to get Riley washed off as best I could to see what damage there was. He did not like my attention much but other than the raw nose, nothing else seemed to be amiss, thank goodness!

I used to be disturbed by this behavior of the dogs but I realized I had no control over their natural instinct to hunt and kill these creators. Usually I don’t get to witness the whole mess because they run off along the path sniffing them out, and later come back carrying their prize, all proud and happy. I wish they would not behave in such a way yet it helps keep the ground-hog population under control to a degree.

On Happier artistic note, Barbara R. one of my faith followers here on this blog/pages purchase 8 cards of “Capturing the Sun” which was a leading photograph on the day of Solstice! Thank you so much! Plus I had a notice from one of the groups on redbubble that “Immature Peaches” had been chosen as a feature Photograph in Berries, Seeds, and Fruit group! And that I had been a featured Artist in Eastern State Penitentiary group ! A day full of wonderful gifts! A day full of gratitude to Source to informing me that the small gift enliven the spirit with its rewards.

Deep Red

I have also have just had the wonderful acknowledgement of a budding friendship with a photographer I had met during a photo meet up in Philly a few months back. I knew there was juice there yet I was not sure how it was going to flow. I contacted him via Facebook when I got home that day because  we had discussed doing candid street photography, something I am interested in pursuing. Yet know to come to discover that there seems to be a spiritual journey connection which enriches the whole friendship! Wow!

Another thing maybe synchronicity ? When I found my quote this morning to lead me into this blog/pages I later looked over and saw that the quote is on the last page of chapter 9 Recovering a sense of compassion, and the next page is the beginning to Chapter 10 which I was guided to yesterday for a quote and guidance within that chapter dealing with Recovering the sense of Self-Protection. Is spirit guiding me here, is there something more to look at when I am not even too that part of the path on the Artist’s Way. Asking my self was I feeling some danger along me path, have I felt out of control, with my creativity, my photography? Was I self blocking or about too? Could my reaction to situations that I have no control over caused me to shut down and block myself if I had not written about it here? That the closer the new exhibit becomes my fear may be gaining ground, since I have not thought about it in a concrete way. Meaning to organize, examine pieces I wish to have printed, or consider where the money is going to come from to mount this exhibit of ten pieces. Or it is just that I am seeming lackadaisical about the whole event because I have a handle on it, that I know in my heart it will all work out. I have belief that it will. When I think about it.

Our baby shoes

Wow I can’t believe I wrote this much! That this experience has been so freeing, and supportive. When I had wrote the  pages I always ended with; Thank you! I Love You!  and I have heard those words once again desiring to be brought forth here.

Thank you! I Love You!

Growth Question: Are  you aware of your blocks, can you name some of them? What do you do to get through them?

I am Love, Jeff

Photographs

A Celebration of Gifts

Eclicpe

“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?

Yummy Breakfast

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.

Unconditional Love, (Riley)

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.

Heavens above

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.

Blooms and buds

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?

Photographs