Tag Archives: paths

Unfolding

How many times have I considered returning to theses pages, to blog again, I truly don’t know yet what I do know this blog and the practice of  writing here is like a friend to me that I have left behind and wish to reconnect and build a stronger conscious relationship with.

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cloud magic

I wrote in my morning pages that I have so many parts of me that make who I am who I am and the  person and or being is ever-changing, well not really changing, manifesting, evolving into a whole presence of being.

A year and 10 months ago when I began the new phase in life it was fresh start and the old challenges and daily struggles gone. I was truly on my own which was at first lonely, no not lonely I had felt abandoned, everything and everyone I once knew and counted on was gone, or seemed that way. I had to become responsible for myself which meant uncovering who I was now. As I unpacked boxes from a lifetime ago that had been in storage the old me began to emerge again, some of that person I did not wish to experience again, so he was set aside. There were recent creative activities I had even let go of that I now wish to bring forward once again.

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suspended leaves

Those being the healer, of course I had healing of my own to do first. Being the healer meant I can share my wisdom and knowledge to those around me in whatever form that showed up as. The healing of self began  with eating healthier, getting exercise, building new social and creative connections and relationships. Ever growing, evolving and experiencing life in the present.

Willing to experience aloneness,

I discovered connection everywhere,

Turning to face my fear,

I meet the warrior who lives within;

Opening to my loss,

I am given unimaginable gifts;

Surrendering into emptiness,

I find fullness without end.

 

Each condition I flee from pursues me.

Each condition I welcome transforms me

And become itself transformed

Into its radiant jewel-like essence.

I bow to the one who made it so,

Who has crafted this Master Game;

To play it is pure delight,

To honor it is true devotion.

Jennifer Welwood: psychotherapist

 

I discovered this poem this morning which resonated with who I am becoming. The following blogs will illuminate that process of awareness. Who will show up are the many facets of my being, the inperfect self improving being we all have the opportunity to become.

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unfolding morning glory

 

 

 

 

The Art of answers and questions…

I cannot expect even my own art to provide the answers—only to hope it keeps asking the right questions. Grace Hartigan

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That art is the art of being an example of how to be fully present in the world, even when fear and sadness which try to invade from every other direction. Yet it from within that the right questions are asked  so that hope can bring the answers forth to be shining beacons on the present, guiding us to a fuller better improved future, for it is in the now that the future is planted, it is the days that follow that the future is nurtured and tended lovingly, compassionately offering the best solutions during the evolution of the human population and the evolution of the planet for its continual growth.

gaggle of geese
gaggle of geese

Yes I was gifted with the art of photography, I was sent out to use that gift to acknowledge the land, the planet, even if is just my small little bit of it, the everyday moments, the daily life that is there for us to see, as well as admire, to bring a smile, a warm thought. Whether it is the sunlight shining through the leaves on a tree, or the shimmer the light makes across the water of the lake, did you notice, squirrel scurry up that tree, did he stop and chatter at you? Are there rabbits along the edges of the bushes, look there they are! What color is the sky today? Pale blue, azure blue, grey looking like rain or snow, are there clouds, what kind, what do they look like, are they still or swiftly moving across the landscape? Did you notice birds flying there in the blue of the sky, did you recognize one or another, where you captured by their flight, how they move, up and down, or flapping wings like crazy to get to the next place, maybe there was one that captured your attention because it seem to float and rotate around the sky seeking something? Amazing right? All of that life surrounds you as you walk even if it is just to your car to get to one place or another. Were there people who you went past as you headed out, your neighbor, the mailman, a stranger walking their dog, did you acknowledge them or they you? A smile, and good morning, hey what up? This life, this is the fullness of life, the everyday events, pay attention to them they are just as important as any other activity in your life. Who knows that glimpse of a squirrel or rabbit, the flash of a bird flying across the cloud filled sky, the person you greeted or greeted you may be just the event that can shift your life to a fuller awareness of the beauty the surrounds you.

Oneness
Oneness

These are only small incidence that make up our daily lives, look around at the art of creation, look around at the creativity of evolution, and experience the grandest of a friendship with the planet and the other creatures that inhabit the same space each one contributing to its future.

Beyond the Clouds

I needed write something besides my daily activities from the day before, I need to shine light in my soul as well as out into the world. More and more I believe that my most pleasurable place is here writing even when the writing is not so good, but the fact that I get to create a world I wish to see, a world I wish to live in and do live in much of the time. There are moments that we have to stand outside of ourselves to see what surrounds and informs us of who we are, we tend to take the everyday for granted, while it continues to bless us with a powerful experience, Life!

in the details
in the details

Say thank you, remember to be grateful for it all, the good and the bad, the good we expect that bad not so much, but it is in the challenge that pulls us up, informs us of who we are, reflects back to us the person we have become. Is that person someone your admire, is that person who you thought you were, or are there more experiences that you must meet to continue on your journey? It is not about more things, and stuff that you have, it is about who you are and who you present to the world. Yes sometimes he or she may not so pretty to witness yet there are those moments when we shine with all the glory that we are at the moment. Hold them like jewels, to enrich the magic of your presence, let them shine, share those facets with the world around for there are more and plenty to share. The more you share the more there is.

Thank you for reading and viewing this blog, the photos will be released to my store front within a few hours. Please pop over and give them a view there.

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
Elders
Elders
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

Autumn’s Treasure

 

autumn's jewels Mother nature opens her jewel box to the autumn light, azure blue, clear as crystal to illuminate her seasonal wardrobe. There are ruby reds, shimmery yellow citron,  rusted amber, and the changing shades of emerald-green to peridot. Demeter dons the first colors of mixed reds, greens with blends of yellow, orange even black. Father sky who seem to like this new gown shines brightly while the gentle wind stirs and shimmers the gleaming shades together.

Brilliant day

Persephone gathers her seasonal dress for one last dance around the forest. Decked in brilliant yellow gold that lights nature with abundant smiles into the darkest corners. For it is the last performance of the season before Old Man winter strips her naked, the fallen leaves a carpet of paisley quivering in foot-paths to acknowledge the passing of time. Death is on the way, the rusted red and brown, the glimmer gold, have fallen, the trees stand naked being fed and nurtured by decomposition, rain will dampen the sound, snow will blanket Gaia to warm her and feed her into transitions.

across the field

Yet the autumn ball is not over the shimmering rustling gown of Mother nature continues to waltz about the land leaving everyone who looks upon her, breathless, awe inspired by the wonder of her beauty. Grateful for the last bit of warm and hue the mortals go about their lives…

Crown of Gold

Cerridwen waves hello goodbye! Autumn’s treasures have begun to be placed back into hiding place until next year…

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all photographs can be found at http://www.redbubble.com/people/jeffstroud/ as well as http://www.flickr.com/photos/92520885@N05/

 

wanting to live it…

“It’s having a dream and wanting to live it so greatly that one would rather move with it and “fail” than succeed in another realm.”  The Universe

Amber glow
Amber glow

Drinking day old coffee, cold. Wearing cloths that are worn, frayed and out of date, piled high on surfaces that use to be desks, for the draws are full or inaccessible. Sleeping on a futon crammed in a room that was supposed to be temporary, sheets and pillows toss about hardly ever straightened. Books, books, more books, spiritual, educational, fiction/nonfiction, art books/photography picture books and essays, all piled on every other surface that can handle them, some in cases, on top of file cabinet reaching almost to 9 foot ceiling, on little floor space around the bed. Collections of found objects, feathers, rocks, miniature cars, toy monsters, solider’s of the empire, bones of creatures, groundhogs?  A tiny space that was created as an altar, a small photo of the Sacred Heart of Mary, red rosary’s draped over the edge, wood angels, collections of semi precious stones, in a hand-made pottery bowl, many spill out on the surface, waiting to be held or carried. Scattered around them essential oil bottles, sticky with use, giving a sent to the room something a bit unpredictable at times. Every thing dust-covered, feathers from the bedding gather in corners that are mostly unreachable. On the walls that have  semi peeling wall paper with 55-year-old paint, pale blue on them  have a few of my own photographs, one of Terrill Welsch’s canvas print photographs, and a stained glass image of an angel.

scattered elements
scattered elements

Is this a space to create from, is this a room of a mad man, a hoarder, a dreamer? I once saw photos of Lucian Freud’s apartment that is painted from floor to ceiling, in the biography of Alice Neel it is said that her apartments rooms were filled with her paintings and little else, they lived and worked in those spaces. Creating images that seem to just wish to flow from them.

building towers
building towers

So if I “fail” as a house keeper or in relationships/friendships or other wise it is because pursuing a dream, following my bliss is about creation, creating photographs, viewing photographs and art… Self education of the talent that I have been graced with has enriched my life in so many ways other pursuits seem wasteful, almost unproductive.

No no my whole home is not a hoarders nightmare, it maybe a yard sale waiting to happen?  Photographs are  hung, as well as leaning against the walls in places I would like them to hang. There are boxes of old framed photographs on the porch among frames that need attention.

A small view into my world:

The quote from the Universe this morning also stated this; “At which point, of course, failure becomes impossible, joy becomes the measure of success,”

Growth Question: Are your following your dream, your bliss?

Being Grateful!

There is no illness or life condition that cannot be cured. But if we insist on cure, we may miss out on real spiritual healing,  if our attachment to cure creates a battle inside us. If recovery from an illness is in the service of our growth or the growth of another, a physical cure — even a so-called miraculous cure — can happen in the twinkling of an eye. If being ill is in service of our growth or the growth of another, cure is unlikely, but spiritual healing is very likely if we make peace of mind our most important priority. Joan Borysenko

Thorns with Joy

This was the “seed thought” in “Pocket full of Miracles” this morning which was very serendipitous, for today in 1998 I drove myself to my first AA meeting, after being arrested for public drunkenness a few weeks before, and a year or so after I had been arrested for drunken driving in which I had to attend counseling. I wasn’t ready than but a year later and second arrest caused me to reach out.  To seek  recovery, which I didn’t know I was seeking. Did it happen in a “twinkling of an eye” no not really, it was a process, of  admitting I had a problem, surrendering the drink and my life to a Higher Power, which at the time was the AA program and the men and women who had come before me, who were in service to the growth of another. Those people in the rooms loved me until I could love myself, they told their stories, they shared their hopes and dreams. Thank you all for being there!!!

Bud and the Bloom!

22 years later here I am. I am not that same person I was, I have surrendered many times, I have practiced the steps of AA, I have been of service to new comers and old timers who sought assistance, through telling my story, to walking the walk and talking the talk.  I don’t attend meetings as I once did, but I am always aware I am one drink away from a drunk. I am always aware that another human being maybe reaching out to hear the right words, to have someone listen to them for the first time.

I seek the Higher Power in all that I do, the divine guides my path, shines the light from my heart. I am grateful for each and every moment that I have been granted sobriety .

“God Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the willingness to know the difference! ”

I could go on and on but I will not! I a grateful !

I am Love!

Breaking through

Create to remind yourself…

You may not be a Picasso or Mozart but you don’t have to be. Just create to create. Create to remind yourself you’re still alive. Make stuff to inspire others to make something too. Create to learn a bit more about yourself.” ~Frederick Terral

blooming buds

I am writing to write, I am creating to create. Creating this blog to inform, to enlighten, to challenge the person and artist that I am and that I am becoming. To many days go by, almost silently, without much thought of creating or conversation. Blogging allows some of the steam to evaporate in the field…

This my venture of getting out of the house to be productive, or at least to experience something other than the sameness of everyday. Setting in Barnes & Noble, with the chatter of people taking in the Starbuck’s cafe, I had made tentative plans to meet a friend, yet she maybe caught up with her life today, which is fine. I need to shift my own energy, plus twice in as many days I have come across the phrase, “do something good for yourself”. Well meeting friends, hanging out, writing, maybe taking some photographs or viewing some photographic magazines, or art books is all part of that process.

Down close

News on the exhibit: Because of my hesitation behavior the 13 piece exhibit will be June/July. Which will run along with the exhibit at Balance, which is only a 3 blocks away from Bonte’s! So it will be great to have all that work in the same area going on at the same time. My hesitation allows me more time to gather the finances to put this collection together properly, to choose the correct pieces, and feel more connected to what I am doing and being with this exhibit.

looking out or in ?

My hesitation was all part of my growth, part of the process of recovery, of sense of identity, and self-worth as a person and an artist. In chapter two of The Artist’s Way  Julia Cameron suggest or states this: “One of  the things most worth noting in a creative recovery is our reluctance to take seriously the possibility that the universe just might be cooperating with our new and expanded plans. We’ve gotten brave enough to try recovery, but we don’t want the universe to really pay attention.” Here is the deeper thought which struck me, “we feel too much like frauds to handle some success.”

I said yes to this exhibit of 13 pieces finally after much thought and realizing also I did not have any work out on exhibit at time. So I finally what for it, after having been ask to do this solo show since I joined the Philadelphia Photographic Society. Having work in what ever space in Philadelphia is great exposure, some I thought ready for, until it actually was to happen.

Shadows and light

I realized too that my lack of blogging, doing morning pages in the past few days was the fact that I was embarrassed or ashamed that I did not get to exhibit now, and I had told friends, I wrote blogs about it, and now I had to fix it. I had to admit my fault or character defect. Yet the universe allowed me another opportunity and opportunity that seems more beneficial than if the exhibit had gone up today.

All of this is about focus, about conscious choice, taking care of self and the artist, learning what is correct opportunities, because more and more I keep placing myself out there, I keep asking the universe to show me the path, and along that path I need to nurture my child, my artist. Along that path I need to learn to ask for help, support and encouragement.

“Create to learn something about yourself” The quote that begins this blog suggest. So I have, and I do, it is not just about the photography, it is also about creating a fully conscious authentic being as well!

Growth Question: Who do you create for?

Strength and Beauty !

You have seen your own strength,  you have seen your own beauty… why do you still worry? Rumi

carpet of leaves

During our first walk of the day about 7:30 am, the wood dark with moisture from a gentle rain sometime during the night. The steel grey sky, causing the leaves and trees to have different look to them, rich, deep color. Water droplets teetering on the edged of red-gold-green-brown leaves, naked branches, only  few birds sing now, the chick a dee have come to take the place of others, they flitter about in the bushes almost invisible, like little faeries. The cardinals make them selfs hurt and in this distance, the sound of geese chattering as they fly over head. The ground is carpeted with leaves now, in shades competing with a crayon box. Yellow brown, red/pink on yellow/green, making the walk silent almost except the dry moist movement underfoot.

a different path?

I glanced up once peeking into one the path, the thought came to me being in nature is like being in a marriage, something you always know is there, sometimes taken for granted, yet grateful when you notice how wondrously beautiful it is. Always offering you breath, a fresh breeze, a song, an amazing sight. It lingers there waiting for you to notice, silently grateful when you do, for in saying thank nature with offer you more as a relationship will.

captured drops

Seen from the gift of gratitude, allowing all the senses to be overwhelmed to the point of awesomeness even when you have awakened to the same person, walked in the same paths, gone to the same work, accomplishing the same everyday task, being thankful will bring a smile to your face, a tear to your eye, a warmth to your heart. With that warmth of heart you can shine on the world.

shine on your path

I was listening to the amazing CD as I started this Lovedrunk by Shahram Shiva, a CD of music to the poetry of Rumi!  It is a touching beautiful expression of someone who is passionate about what he has found in Rumi poetry.

Thank you for stopping by to read my blog, to view the photography, and for responding.

Growth Question: Have you captured the beauty of the ordinary today?

I am Love, Jeff

 

Poem and Photographs

 

Aunt Leaf, Mary Oliver

Needing one, I invented her –

the great-great-aunt dark as hickory

called Shining-Leaf, or Drifting-Cloud

or The-Beauty-of-the-Night.

 

Dear aunt, I’d call into the leaves,

and she’d rise up, like an old log in a pool,

and whisper in a language only the two of us knew

the word that meant follow,

and we’d travel

cheerful as birds

out of the dusty town and into the trees

where she would change us both into something quicker –

two foxes with black feet,

two snakes green as ribbons,

two shimmering fish – and all day we’d travel.

At day’s end she’d leave me back at my own door

with the rest of my family,

who were kind, but solid as wood

and rarely wandered. While she,

old twist of feathers and birch bark,

would walk in circles wide as rain and then

float back

scattering the rags of twilight

on fluttering moth wings;

 

or she’d slouch from the barn like a gray opossum;

 

or she’d hang in the milky moonlight

burning like a medallion,

 

this bone dream, this friend I had to have,

this old woman made out of leaves.

 

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