The fog is an illusion—
A master of disguise,
Which hides the tangible
Before our very eyes.
But when the fog has lifted
Everything’s still there,
And the tangible
Only seemed to’ve disappeared.
In the early morning
Or late at night,
The fog descends
Upon various sites.
It gives an air of mystery
That has long prevailed.
Is the fog’s foggy veil.
I see not what others see
The fog is used to blind me
That fog of routine that is of life
Unable to see what is near
It is near impossible to hear
Only the little light makes it through
That light is what I see
The possibility of unhindered vision
But that is only for a moment
For tomorrow the fog will roll back
And that is how all life is
For my generation and yours
This fog is here to stay
“… 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
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.
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.
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
May is a month of gratitude and celebration of the feminine
aspect of God
God the Mother
who creates and nurtures all things, including ourselves.
The beauty of May draws us out of hibernation into natural mindfulness of the blessings and abundance of nature. Gratitude and mindfulness are intimately related, for as we practice gratitude we come more aware, more present.
We wake up.
Spring calls us to simplify our lives so the we can enjoy everything more thoroughly and graciously– our relationships, our homes, our possessions.
In May our hearts remember what our minds sometimes forget–
Life is a gift of inestimable value.
It is time to unwrap that gift.
Listen to the voices of the Ancient Ones as they speak from within the heart of the quickening earth:
Bear cubs play in the sun,
grazing on the new growth that Earth Mother has provided.
The simple pleasures of spring rain,
opening buds and new moons
draw us out of worried mind
into celebration of Divine Mind.
The Archangel Uriel and the
energies of the East
tutor us in the art
and the sacrament
Since I was a child in the month of May I created an altar to the Blessed Mother, and was very attracted to the idea of honoring the Mother, I did not truly understand than what I know now of the balancing of the feminine and masculine energies. For than the separation was more far apart, to me yet closer than I understood. I was born of the feast day of the Assumption, August 15, a day to honor the Virgin’s assumption into heaven, that she was brought body and soul to heaven. In the belief of that caused even more separation. Bringing the Divine feminine fully present in this world is a powerful tool of healing, a powerful experience as Andrew Harvey states that the Divine Mother is saying, “Bring everything into balance, marry the opposites within you.” He goes on to explain “that means bring the derided and negated feminine into the picture so completely that the real balance is established between yin and yang. And out of that real and mysterious balance a new order, a new love, is born in each of us in the ground of our being…”
So I give you my offering of gratitude to Our Divine Mother better late then not at all. Andrew Harvey describes the Divine Mother as “the mother aspect of the nature of God. I see “Her” as the power of love that infuses the entire creation, the force that is continually creating the creation and also the transcendence that holds the creation forever in arms of light. Everything is born from “Her” and “She” loves all things with Tender passionate Love.”
Growth Question: How do you Honor the Divine Mother in your Life?
One of the first real poets who spoke to my heart, because he was speaking language I understood. I had not heard about him for a long time yet for some reason his name kept coming to mind, so I share Walter Rinder with you!
You have seen your own strength, you have seen your own beauty… why do you still worry? Rumi
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.”
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.
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?
Human beings are so uncomfortable with change because at some deep level, on some cellular level, the bigger the change, the greater the opportunity for loss of survival. Neale Donald Walsch
I keep trying to put this off, distracting myself with other things some productive some not so much! So what is it about blogging, writing my pages that causes me to stop in my tracks? Some days I can’t wait to get here, to write, to share, to visualize, to play, to reflect on my progress, if there is any, and there usually is progress, some of it small, some risk taking, going beyond the norm, what has become a norm. I even had the thought when I first got up and sat down at the computer that the first thing I do today is write my blog/pages. Several hours later I am finally here!
Yesterday I message my friend Chris Bartlett Excutive director of the William Way GLBT center in Philly about the up coming Blue Ball, to see whether I could be the official photographer, or not so official for the center or the Radical Faeries who are attending this major fund raising event, which the proceeds go to the center this year. Chris messaged back to come on over. To my surprise and delight! I also had ask him about a project that has been coming up for me emotionally and spiritually, a photographic journal of Transgender people. After I had read a piece on line from the Philadelphia Gay Calendar about a trans woman who had been attacked by some young men in our own gayborhood. I realized we need to place a face on transgendered people, we need to hear and see more of their stories. This theme has not completely fleshed it self out yet, and I was approaching Chris for some of his wisdom and advise on directions, he suggested we talk soon.
Once I received his return message I was thrilled and then I was frightened, what the heck have I just committed myself too? Yet I was following spirit, I have been looking for new creative ways to approach my work, to add new energy to my art, and this seem to be a new direction, stepping out of my comfort zone. Breathe! Breathe!
This all did come about as well from my being with faeries in Sorbet Heart Circle/pot luck Sunday evening, and a discussion on the way home with a couple of guys, discussing the evening, the emotional, trusting space that we opened and allowed our heart to speak. Each person came from a deep place, allowing them selves to be truly open. My biggest statement was that I am done victimizing myself, that I am reaching out, I am trusting in the circle of Loving Faeries that I have found companions allow the path to continue to heal, and to grow emotionally, spiritually, and creatively !!!
So I jumped off, I ask an have received affirmation that I was being supported and encouraged!
Received a message from the Salem County Art League that Beans Coffee shop has approached the league to exhibit again. So that exhibit will be Nov 4th 6-8 pm, this will run through Dec. Along with the leagues exhibit at the Pennsville Library from Oct 3 to Oct 16th. Than there is the Philly Photo Society exhibit which I believe is the middle of next month.
Last night another friend David, offered to contact a person he knows about Photographing at the AIDS Walk Oct 17, and to photograph Gay Bingo, gay bingo has been a Philly happening for many years, I have never been. My thoughts around photographing these events is to get a fresh look at functions that may have become too common place, and could use some new life.
How is that for progress?
Growth Question: Do you pursue change? Is it comfortable
Logic brain is our Censor, our second (and third and fourth) thoughts. Artist brain is our inventor, our child, our very own personal absent-minded professor. The Artist’s Way
Oh gosh how empty and blank this page is, how difficult to find things to write about some mornings and those mornings the pages/blog doesn’t get written. I distract myself with email, and Facebook. Both forms of communication yet not as meditative as writing my pages/blog!
A quote my present itself before the end of writing, at the moment nothing is resonating.
Thursday evening I left the house to go to Philly without my camera, instead carrying a bag with a lighter shorts and t-shirt and Yoga mat. Yes, I joined the faeries at yoga for the first time. I have know about this practice since I connecting to the Faeries in Philly, yet only had attended the after yoga pot luck once this summer. So I step out of my comfort zone, placed my mat on the floor, and got to it. Well first of all, I was late, and the men were already sitting in mediation, Sherwood, graciously welcomed me, with his smiling face. I changed into comfortable shorts and dark blue T that I brought, found a place on the edge to the floor to set in the few remaining moments of meditation, that moved to a more suitable space to practice the movements of yoga. Wow, I had not moved my body in such a way in a long long time. Parts where difficult, yet rewarding to know I could get into position or it would not take my body much to get stretched out again, but not on this first night.
Tree yoga instructor was truly instructive and constantly accessing, gently reminding us what each pose/posture was about as well as it is effects on our body, mind and spirit. The experience was certainly one of the best I have had in sometime. I was a bit light-headed and my body felt extremely impacted. As I walked down the stairs to go the store next door to purchase items for the pot luck, I felt I had sea legs, that I had to feel the steps under my feet and the impact on my legs. I have to say my body is still a bit sore but I know it was for a good reason.
Pot Luck is always a clamours time of getting food items set out, dishes set up, people coming and going, the hustle and bushel of preparing a meal, the greetings of the guys, catching up, calming down, easing in to the evening meal. Which we first gather in a circle around the kitchen, hand and linked, some with arms around shoulders, very comradery… this is the time introduce ourselves, to make announcements about the evenings time, clean up process, general rules of the honoring the space. The other announcements are about what is going on, events, exhibits, heart circles, fundraiser, asking for assistance in some matter.
It was truly great to be in that space to be with men, gay, to catch up with some, to meet others for the first time, to share events, while sharing a meal, sitting mostly on the floor around a big low wooden table, the whole atmosphere is laid back and relaxed. Men are lounging this way and that leaning on each other, sitting between legs of others sitting on the sofas.
There is a part of my that still does not feel comfortable in that presence, I feel a sense of neediness from deep within me, the desire to be acknowledged, I had a feeling I was doing too much talking about myself, yet I made a conscious effort to ask about what was going for them as well. I am still an outsider in many ways because I am not around all that much, yet I am making my way. All in all it was a wise and wondrous evening of yoga and fellowship/comradery ! It was a great treat to my spirit.
Friday was a day of rest, when I got home Thursday evening, took a walk with the dogs, it was 11 pm, greeted the Moon in all her glory shinning on the field as we made our way around, no skunks this time. At home I sat with the dogs for a while until they settled down again, I on the computer until after 12 am… brings me back to the next day Friday, a day of resting my sore muscles, catching up on sleep, etc. The censor in my head going on and on about the sketch clubs juried art show submissions. The censor saying your not a member of the sketch club, my artist saying, ‘the information does not say anything about having to be an member’, as well as call them an ask before go over there with your work.’ Plus there is a line about “clipped frames” I am not sure what they mean by clipped frames, so another reason to call. If the first questions is a yes, you need not worry or you can chose other frames and work. So I did not make the call. I plan to this morning, the submission time is 1-5 pm and I was planning on going to the Gairad Fest on the other side of town that I would have to drive to anyway. So I didn’t have to make two trips to Philly.
Growth question: How often to you let logic talk you out of doing creative fun things?
The first step in changing anything is to know and accept that you have chosen it to be what it is. CwG Book 1
This the quote that met my eye when I open Conversations with God Book 1 to find a quote to open with, it was on a folded page, the middle of the page is underlined to remind me, to stand out for a reason. Just like the work in 12 Step Recovery work, admitting the fact that you made the choice and accept that choice so that it can be changed, before that there was no conscious choice only the routine of ordinary everyday doing, not in the choose to Be present. To be present one must show up, one much see and know who they are, flaws and all. Showing up in the glory of our divine selves, being grateful for each moment, the first morning pee, the smell of fresh coffee brewing, the tangy taste of green tea. Grateful for having awakened today, to greet the day with a smile and a thank you.
The path in the woods this morning was chilly it was in the mid 50s, long pants and light jacket to keep me warm as Muffin and Riley scurried here and there, doing their business, chasing Squirrels up trees, while I silent follow behind with camera and silent prayers on my lips, springing from my heart, to do God/Divines will today.
The was a moment the other day that I realized that I was following the directions of the Life Harmony program with reading as well as incorporating practices from 8 Weeks to Optimum Health yet unclear exactly why I was doing it, what the Vitamin supplements C, mixed carotenes, E, and selenium where to do for me, how they worked together as an antioxidant, what the purpose of each vitamin had. Yes I read the reason, and bought the product and begun taking them with the thought of healing, yet still unconscious in a way, if some one asked me what these supplements where for I would not have been able to answer them.
So I went back to the book, I read and underlined each Vitamin as well as it effect on my health. “Vitamin C to build strong connective tissue, including the linings of coronary arteries, and to allow the healing system to to repair wounds” Dr Weil states. 1000 to 2000 milligrams two to three times a day a total of 2000 to 6000 mils. Adding Beta-carotene to the C adds to the antioxidant power, these effect the health in the reduction of risk of prostrate cancer as well as to help an maybe enhance vision. Beta-carotene protects from the toxic damage and the effects of aging.
The vitamin E and trace mineral Selenium work together to enhance each other absorption rate. E is useful to protect the body in blocking oxidation of LDL cholesterol .
My researching and writing places another level of understanding and consciousness to the reason for starting the process, not just because someone wrote that it was a good thing to do. Having the research, understand the purpose for what I put into my body is healing in its self. Creating awareness of what I eat, when I eat, how I eat, as well as breathe, and exercise offers me a deeper connection to who I am, and how my body, mind, and spirit combine to work together as a team, in effective healing ways.
I just confirmed Dates for Conversations with God Study group to begin: Sept 27, Oct 13th and 27th, Weds evenings. At Jodi’s studio in Glassboro NJ. I am so excited to be getting this off the ground again! It is thrilling and scary at the same time…. Jodi is going to use her client list and the meetup.com to spread the word! Now I have to create a mission statement about the group, what to expect, what to bring, etc!
In the next few days I am going to continue to dive into the choices I have made, what effect they have or have not on my life, the harmony or otherwise. Being truly aware of how the choices effect my mind, body, and Spirit!
Growth Question: Are you choices conscious choice?