Tag Archives: light

New Walking paths

My present walking paths in Haddon Lake Park, which was once Crystal Lake. Tree lined and stream follow the path.

Tree lined path
Tree lined path
casting light
casting light
Open space
Open space
Into the shadows
Into the shadows
Walk along
Walk along

I believe the first living cell

Had echoes of the future in it, and felt

Direction and the great animals, the deep green forest

A the whale’s track sea; I believe this globed earth

Not all by chance and fortune brings forth her broods,

But feels and chooses. And the Galaxy, the firewheel

On which we are pinned, the whirlwind of stars in which our sun is one dust-grain, one electron, this giant atom of the universe

Is not blind force, but fulfills it’s life and intends its course.

Robinson Jeffers, De Rerum Virtute

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

We Live our lives…

“We live our lives of human passions,

cruelties, dreams, concepts,

crimes and the exercise of virtue

in and beside a world devoid

of our preoccupations, free

from apprehension—though affected,

certainly, by our actions. A world

parallel to our own though overlapping.

We call it “Nature”; only reluctantly

admitting ourselves to be “Nature” too.

Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,

our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,

an hour even, of pure (almost pure)

response to that insouciant life:

cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing

pilgrimage of water, vast stillness

of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,

animal voices, mineral hum, wind

conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering

of fire to coal—then something tethered

in us, hobbled like a donkey on its patch

of gnawed grass and thistles, breaks free.

No one discovers

just where we’ve been, when we’re caught up again

into our own sphere (where we must

return, indeed, to evolve our destinies)

—but we have changed, a little.”

— Denise Levertov, “Sojourns in the Parallel World” (via litverve)

(via christinasanantonio)

After the photography exhibition reception on Sunday September 29, 2013 , there was and still is a sense of unfinishedness. I am not sure why? When I think about the experience even while present there seems to have been a disconnect, the energy did not blend, if that makes sense?
 A few days before I was feeling apprehensive or had a sense of expectation of this exhibition. How or why does make sense to me at this moment, yet the how or why I believe is causing the feeling for closure. How that comes about I am not sure either? That is why I am here now, to shine light on the “feeling” .
It all maybe the need for contact with other people, like-minded people. The ego may just be playing with me dancing in and out of the shadows so as not to have to really explain itself. I was an artist among artist, my photography is not the best in the exhibit nor the worst. They are not new prints but prints that have been exhibited in several different places in the past year or so. Yet I feel they are some of my best, simple, elegant, creative. I think when you have a room full of artist all seeking some type of praise for their work it maybe difficult to see your own light.  There, there it is! Ego dancing, taunting. “Over here, over here! See me, see my beautiful photos, see me!”  Sharing an exhibition with 21 other photographers, each having at least 4 pieces exhibited scattered about two floors of gallery is an awesome experience. No one shines above another, there are no solo performances here.  Some where exhibiting for the first time, some had exhibited for years.
I am grateful each and every time I have the opportunity to exhibit, to share these photos with the world me. That is the purpose of photography for me, it was and is the call I answers. So I have to move out of my own way. Allow the pictures to speak for themselves, allow the gift of photography to share natures beauty that I have been honored to witness on a regular basis.
It is those moments as the prose above speaks;Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions,our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute,

an hour even, of pure (almost pure)

response to that insouciant life:

cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing

pilgrimage of water, vast stillness

of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane,


It is in that time of presence that natures speaks, the beauty is shared and expressed. It is the humanness that ask why, or how, that feels the disconnect. Let nature speak, let beauty be.

All photography can be found here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/jeffstroud

Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen-Anne’s Lace

By William Carlos Williams


Her body is not so white as

anemony petals nor so smooth—nor

so remote a thing.


It is a field

of the wild carrot taking

the field by force;  the grass

does not raise above it.


Here is no question of whiteness,

white as can be, with a purple mole

at the center of each flower.


Each flower is a hand’s span

of her whiteness. Wherever

his hand has lain there is

a tiny purple blemish.



Each part

is a blossom under his touch

to which the fibres of her being

stem one by one, each to its end,

until the whole field is a

white desire, empty,


a single stem,

a cluster, flower by flower,

a pious wish to whiteness gone over—

or nothing.


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

Perceptive of time

“We are always doing something,  talking, reading, listening to the radio, planning what next. The mind is kept naggingly busy on some easy, unimportant external thing all day.” Brenda Ueland


Do I have a blog in me today? What is going for me? The focus is to get the Photography matted and framed. I have to go down to Woodstown to pick up two photographs that where at Beans Coffee shop. Save me the money of buying new frames, and the drive could be used as a photo opportunity even in this oppressive heat. I will go as early as I can so I am not out there in the midst of the worst part of the day.

8 Photographs are matted and framed two more to go and I may add a couple of more. I am pleased with my choices. I decided to go with one 11×14 to set a theme for three themes with two 8×10’s each. Themes being Nature, (flowers), GLBT grouping, and Eastern State Penitentiary grouping. There is one extra which is nature, shot from Easton Mt, “Misty Path” which has been hanging in my room for some time now. It is the “old” photograph I have used thus far. I will go through the my printed files and see what else I may use. But first was getting the 9 new shots printed and framed.

Speaking out!

I came to find out that if I sent the photographs via internet to the store and cropped them and check color before sending them off I would have saved half. Since I don’t have charge card, I could not send them that way. I did all the work but when I was at the store and he quoted me the price I asked about the amount that I was quoted online, and he said because he did the work it is more. Really? Shame Ritz camera is so far away now, they closed so many stores but it may be worth while to make the trip or get myself some gift cards from the bank to save a few dollars.  Learn something new everyday.

I realized through this process of gathering all the pieces for the show, I have not had much opportunity to take photographs, even through I have looked at tons, choosing, rejecting, choosing something, else, discovering new work within my on-line files, that stuns me, causes me to look twice, three times at it. I am amazed when I more away from the photographs for a while and then come back to view them from a distance of time and a new perspective that I find work that I first enjoyed does not always live up to my thoughts if it, and that I find new gems among the light and shadows. Ah ha ! Or oh Wow! I found a shot of Eastern State Penitentiary just that way, I was like where did this come from? What is with this effect around the edges? It was as if I had used a lens baby lens to blur the sides and give a look of tunnel vision when I don’t own such a lens, and was unaware of the effect before.

into the rubble

After  a few hours of matting and framing, the dinning room is sort of  a mess of photographs, frames, glass cleaner, paper towels, and other assorted equipment to accomplish my goals of getting this collection together for the exhibit. An exhibit I feel is a new direction for my art, for me creatively and socially and hopefully financially. I am truly blessed with this exhibit at the William Way Center. The exposure is greater than any exhibit I have had before, I did have work in a Barnes and Noble in Saratoga Springs NY for two months, which was really my first major public exhibit, Yet this feels different intuitively different, a sense of coming out, a sense of artistic freedom I have not allowed myself to have before. Hmm?

Thank you! I Love You!

Growth Question: Do you notice that a creative piece or relationship has a different perspective when viewed at a later time? If so, what is the effect?

I am Love, Jeff

What are you agreements with self?

True Life is lived when tiny changes occur. Leo Tolstoy

tiny changes

At 2 am I was awakened by something, I thought it was thunder, and then I heard Riley’s little bark of wanting, he has different barks for different needs or wants. Really! So I came down to check on him, and both the dogs were awake, not anxious but awake. So I got the sense they wanted to go for a walk, so dressed and went out into the 79 degree humid heat of the night, not a breeze to stir the dusty leaves, it was almost silent, a few late night birds, I thought I heard the owl in the deeper part of the wood. The whoosh of traffic on the turnpike, less than a mile away, was the sound of life on the move in the darkness of the night. Nothing eventful during our sojourn around the edge of the wood in the field where you could feel the coolness in some area’s rather than in others. Back to the house, the dogs tucked in once again. I went to my room, and found a copy of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, it has been on my mind to re-read because a Faerie friend is having a book discussion circle in which I would like to attend and having knowledge of the book once again would be helpful. I am aware of the Four Agreements

  1. Be Impeccable with Your Word.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.
holding on or letting go

Very similar to the Buddhist Noble Eight Fold Path : And the Five Precepts of Reiki:

  1. Today, feel no anger.
  2. Have no worries.
  3. Feel Gratitude.
  4. Show diligence in your undertakings.
  5. Treat others with Kindness .

Or  stated as affirmations, Just for today I release all anger. Just for today I release all worry. I show gratitude for my blessing. I earn my living with integrity. I honor every living thing.

These are great agreements or precepts or affirmations to live by, to guide one through their day and living rightly as the buddhist would say. Yet here I was in the middle of the night or early morning reading The Four Agreements being confronted by the language, the words that I was not finding impeccable, without sin, is what impeccable means. What I was experiencing with reading first 46 pages was darkness, the pain, the sadness of the worlds situation as Don Miguel was explaining the Domestication and the Dream of the Planet in chapter 1 as well as continued well into the explanation of Be Impeccable with your word in chapter two. I even begun to look for the light that was supposed to shine in this book, within these so-called impeccable words, and it was difficult for me to find. I went to the later part of the book and chapter 6 The Toltec Path to Freedom Breaking Old Agreements to find some relief and still found no peacefulness within this book!


It seems to be fighting the shadows, it seems to be breaking the behavior and even mass rebellion out of our darkness, out of our dream state that was not our own dream but the dream of those who came before us, family, friends, teachers, etc. It is so unlike, Conversations with God, so unlike The Artist’s Way and so many other more positive, humorous, Love expressed paths to finding our way along our journey of healing, of re-covery, of discovery of who we are. Spiritual Beings have a human experience, God experiencing creation through the mind of man, God experiencing creation through creating.

I awoke with this denseness in my solar plexus which I felt as we walk our first walk of the day, really our second, in the mugginess of the still dry dusty wood. I had to conscious move into that place to breathe, to heal, to honor who I am now. Through this process and a thought that I remember having earlier as I was reading, you are no longer in that place,  you know longer believe the “dream” of the collective unconsciousness of the planet. That the light shine for you and from you. You are not whole but your healing has taken your closer to your presence, closer to who you really are! The Creative being, the loving being that you are is evident in your life and in your being, through your art and through your presence.

Thank you! I Love you!

Growth Question: Is your word impeccable? Is your life a shinning example of who your are being? Please share your experience.

I am Love, Jeff

The Path through Criticism

The words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels.” Hazrat Inayat Khan


I am not sure how far I will get with this post this morning, yesterday late morning I experienced a major sugar crash, that weakened me, caused me to be irritable beyond even wanted to be around myself. I went off to bed at 8 pm to read and just be alone, and fell asleep in less than an hour, woke about 10, read until 1, slept again until 6 am, read some more and got up at 7:30 am. Still feeling a bit shaken and stirred, I was still noticing a bit of lethargy, and easy irritability . Trying to correct my food intake, drinking water to cleanse, setting my intentions to heal and go through this experience as best I can.

Nothing holds my interest long, making dinner last night was a struggle, I was having moments of silent screams, knowing I wanted to just give up. Made dinner of Brazed Cabbage Slaw and veggie hot dogs, and come to find out that the dogs where for the weekend. Who knew? I commented to my sister we can always get more, she left the room, I was not told about the weekend plans for the hot dogs, I have not been told about 4th of July plans at all. My brother and sister-in-law for the past many years have had a July 4th party at their house, yet is seems to have been shifted to Lauren’s their daughters from what I understand? I suppose I am to assume that is what is happening.

on the edge

One of the things around our family is the lack of communication, one person does not inform the other, yet can usually discovered through conversations or assumptions that such and such a thing is happening… makes for a tricky guessing game of communications.

I did spend some time of Redbubble yesterday submitting new photographs, viewing others art and commenting. I had not done that is sometime. It seems I had lost a bit of interest in all that, viewing and commenting, keeping track of responses and comments from others. I do have regular commitment to Candid Photography Group to moderate the submitted photos, at least once a day, and to select featured work every other week, this week was my week. Selecting the featured works is always a very active creative tool to pull my interest in a direction that I don’t always travel. I find some amazing creative thought-provoking candid work, that inspires, causes me to stop and truly look to see what I am seeing. To candid work is stepping out of the comfort zone, in many ways invading others boundaries, if being and doing things in public is not wide open boundaries? There is a mystery, and a provocative atmosphere to shooting candid’s, one that excites me and frightens me, yet energizes as well!

Where am I in week 3 of the Artist’s Way “Recovering the Sense of Power” ? I have work to do but not sure where to begin. Yet beginning by writing about not knowing and asking is reclaiming some power. Part of this chapter it claiming and keeping our power with being offered criticism for our work and Julie Cameron offers some good advise writing that “Pointed criticism, if accurate, often gives the artist the inner sense of relief: ‘Ah hah! so that’s what was wrong with it.’ Useful criticism ultimately leaves us with one more puzzle piece for our work.”

Since I am embarking on the William Way Center Gallery prize show exhibit being prepared for criticism will be a useful tool. For I have not been in this type of exposure with my work before it is thrilling, exciting, as well as a bit frightening to place the work out there, place my name and face in a bigger venue that I have had my work exposed too.

in the light

I have much work to do before getting this work exhibited, I still have to choose the photographs to display. Check frames and mats that I have already, have new work printed, backed, matted and framed.  So my path is laid before me in the next 10 days….

Here are the “rules of the road” useful in dealing with criticism:

  1. Receive the criticism all the way through and get over with it.
  2. Jot down notes to yourself on what concepts or phrases bother you.
  3. Jot down notes on what concepts or phrases seem useful.
  4. Do something very nurturing for yourself-read an old good review or recall a compliment.
  5. Remember that even if you have made a truly rotten piece of art, it may be necessary stepping stone to your next work. Art matures spasmodically and requires ugly-duckling growth stages.
  6. Look at the criticism again. Does it remind your any criticism from your past–particularly shaming childhood criticism? Acknowledge to yourself that the current criticism it triggering grief over long-standing wound.
  7. Write a letter to the critic– not to be mailed, most probably. Defend your work and acknowledge what is helpful, if anything, in the criticism proffered.
  8. Get back on the horse. Make immediate commitment to do something creative.
  9. Do it. Creativity is the only cure for Criticism.

Writing these rules of the road for criticism allows for a deeper acknowledgement of the process of journeying down this path of creativity. I allows me to be in charge, to own my own power, to respond rather then react. To create rather the destroy.

To my surprise the reception announcement was on the William Way Center Newsletter I received this morning!

Opening Reception Friday, July 16, 8:00 PM

Running July 12, 2010 – August 27, 2010

Join us for the opening night reception for the three winners of the 5th Annual Juried Art Competition!  This unique group show features beautiful digital works as well as works using printmaking as a technique.
Kathy McLean’s black and white photographic images remind us of the implicit beauty in the mundane using light to selectively illuminate her figures.  Elke Mueller’s works are diverse, including photographic images as well as linotype prints, both colorful and subtle.  Jeff Stroud’s photographic work includes everything from Philadelphia street scenes to radical fairies in jubilation.
This show demonstrates the breadth of work and talents of local LGBT artists and is not to be missed!  The opening reception features free wine and cheese as well as great conversation and mingling!
Call the front desk at 215-732-2220 or email atinfo@waygay.org with questions about this fabulous show and opening reception!

Growth Question: Do you have ways that you hand criticism that may differ from the above rule of the road suggestions and if so please share them?

I am Love, Jeff