it feels like everything that came before has been a pretense, a false start. as I grasps for my reality this morning my serenity is devolving into a massive heap on the floor, like scattered dirty laundry, colorful but smelling of being worn to long. The endless weeks of being weakened by a cold, has left my plans and projects sitting collecting dust. Has caused loneliness and emptiness to seep into the fabric of my being. i have missed events I wished to attend to photograph and be part of. Willing to spend my last few dollars to do so.
Is this illness, this cold, the flu, the true culprit or the endless dreams and visions which seem to energize my being for short periods of time, that keep drifting off like a mirage, wafts of smoke from a conjurors magic spell? Am I truly lost, have a just been spinning narratives in my mind. Have I truly failed at my life’s purpose?
How do I keep going, when my dreams and visions don’t seem to fit into a world that no longer cares for magic for healing, for beautiful?
I surrender now, I let go. Right now I am fighting the demons of illness. My center has been blasted out of me! It is debris, it is trash. Is there still worthy pieces, can they be upcycled, reinvented? Do I just burn them all and scatter the ashes in the ground hoping natures has use for them?
Waking up, feeling like you have not slept, body sore, chest heavy, the head in urgent need of coffee. Coffee cold but drunk, like an achlie’s long needed fix to face the day.
Stark blank screen endlessly fills with words, streaming out some thoughtful, many just flowing from one place to the next.
Coffees fresh and hot now. or was when I started. Nothing changed since I sat down to write, or has it?
There is no blame, there is no what if’s, should haves, there is knowing that it is within me, to show up. I showed up, this is the present. Is the future I wish to have? Not at all!
Illness, attracts ego playing mind games, playing tricks, making fun. Well it is not fun. Ego, get out-of-the-way, we have better things to do that lay about feeling sorry for ourselves. Is one step at a time, one activity at a time.
Let the little glimmers of light break through. The world is created within the steps, moving forward while sometimes going around or over.
There was a time that each morning I awoke to loving warmth of my two Golden Retriever’s, Riley and Muffin. We would get petted and nudged, roll over, dance in excitedness to see me and to begin their day. Pushing their way out the door, Muffin always first because Riley was a gentleman, but always the protector. Off we would go down the street, to our little woods, what was left since the building of the Great Wall of FedX and accompanying business. The path led along the wall of fake stone front and cement, the fortress wall only went so far, and there was plenty of nature to our left to entertain.
The trapeze act of squirrels scurrying from tree branch to tree branch, High wire jump from tree to tree, chattering all the way. The sounds of birds everywhere, The Cardinal elongated call and sharp whistle informing others of intruder in woods their red flash through the green always gave them away. The chick a dee’s in winter, their little gray tones sitting on branches and following along our path. The call for the Red Tail Hawk informing us from far above that he was there, but disturbed by our presence, circling in deeper and deep turns to scout for it breakfast. On rare and lucky occasion we would get stared down by young white tail deer until one of the dogs would get wind of it, with a bark, start chasing after what now would be a small family of deer, running off along the little paths created by them to get away, disappearing in the brush.
These adventures are multi purpose, the dogs got to run about freely, in a somewhat “wild” area. They would run off this way and that, sniffing, digging, rolling in something smelly. I was always in sight if not they would wait until I was or comeback to look for me. What was I doing observing, observing the light, the shadow. That green was no longer just green it was every hue of green, emerald, forest, yellow-green. The leaves shaped like stars, or maples others of oak brown green, contrast with humus of the ground rich decay of many past season of leaves, wood in branches and whole trunks that had fallen over or uprooted by the weather. In those logs chipmunks flashed by making its chirping sound causing Muffin to go into a frenzy. All this time I am waiting for the view, the right setting, the shadow here, the light just hitting there, on a mushroom or a leaf, a twisted sticker vine, spying little blue flowers, violets, and Queen Anne’s Lace, Mountain laurel, all to be photographed.
Each season provided an never ending evolution of tree, plants, downed wood, fungi and mushroom popping up here and there, the rains made streams and puddles, created stick dams to hold things back, to wade over and to sit in. Seasons changed, the years have unfolded, progress took more of forest, years took Riley just this spring. Muffin who is now older stops and starts, would rather have attention than an actual walk, even though we manage at least once a day to get a full walk. There is always photography happening, I am never without my camera, Nature is my muse, she shines and dance, she sit gracefully, she changes clothes in full view of the world. Life is an impressive, expressive place. Look around, be present. View it from Here.
This is a work in progress, a process of uncovering our natural openness, uncovering our natural intelligence and warmth. I have discovered, just as my teachers always told me, that we already have what we need. The wisdom, the strength, the confidence, the awakened heart and mind are always accessible, here, now, always. We are just uncovering them. We are rediscovering them. We’re not inventing them or importing them from somewhere else. They’re here. That’s why when we feel caught in darkness, suddenly the clouds can part. Out of nowhere we cheer up or relax or experience the vastness of our minds. No one else gives this to you. People will support you and help you with teachings and practices, as they have supported and helped me, but you yourself experience your unlimited potential.
Groggy from allergy medication and then headache experience beginning New Years Eve afternoon, continuing into New Years day after which forced me back to bed. Early morning wake ups because Riley seems to dislike being alone at anytime of the day, continues to cry throughout the night. A dying pet and a Mother with Alzheimer’s is a fact of daily living… it seems I have reduce mom to tears several times in the last few days as well. She going off to her room as early as 6 pm. It is mostly due to trying to understand what she is either doing or wanting to say, listening, explaining, listening, and explaining. For she cannot follow through with task she either wants to do or ask to do, and she is always asking if she can help. Which to me is easier to do myself. The thing is we have both been very independent people, we are much a like, and it begins to rub the wrong way. My task this year is to get her into day care, and/or companion care. I can no longer continue to do this on a regular basis. I had 24 hours free yet being so exhausted and stress filled that sinus and headache were my companions. Plus fear the few hours that I could spend elsewhere would be only a moment of sunlight, appreciated, too soon gone.
I have been consciously aware that I don’t take the camera with me as often as I use too. Part of the fact it has been too darn cold to be out longer than our walks. And the fact that the community recently had fence’s placed around the field we walk through and around, closing in or off part of the wood that we would walk. It is still accessible from a different direction yet so-called civilization has encroached as well as affected the line of sight. I am very “sensitive” to nature being altered by humankind. Some of that alteration is for progress, some just what seems to be forced enclosures! So yesterday knowing that I was not going to get to Philly to photograph the Mummer’s Parade. I made a point of documenting the first day of the year, in black and white, nature and to make use of the fence as an object of art, which in some ways represents my situation in life at the moment. I had recently thought of doing my black and white photography for a number of reasons. One it is a different challenge, to see in another way, the shadow and light play, winter causes much of nature to be dull and seemingly lifeless. So if I am “forced” to photograph the same thing everyday find a new way to approach it is creative venture. I recall a photographer who lived in the burbs of NYC, who photographed out his window every day for years, the street below him, the light, the season. So why not make what I am doing a more conscious act. Season to season, year by year, different times of the day, weather etc.
A lot of this work is already done. For I have photographed the same area for the past several years, some of that you can see by viewing the photography here on the blog, redbubble, and Facebook pages. Even though I consciously did not submit the same views at different seasons they do naturally show up.
“The Heart loves service, humility, hard work, dedication, self-approval and self-trust, listening to Divine Guidance from The Uni-verse which Whispers to us, taking action even though we don’t feel like it, getting up and trying again, not blaming but taking responsibility for the outcome of our lives, empathy, and having the willingness to dig in and get our hands dirty instead of leaving our dreams up to someone else.” Mastin Kipp: The Daily Love Blog
For three days I was hoping to write something less dark, more joyful than what has preceded on these pages. Yet my dance with shadow, my ego is the dance partner who seems to lead. Selfishness is the word or action that poked me this morning. My reaction to Mom’s disease, Alzheimer’s is distressing, and abusive to both of us. I realized the resentment I have about the situation taking up my time, my peace of mind, for I don’t know how or I certainly forget when I am forced to try to explain something a half a dozen times.
My heart may love service but not services that is forced, not service that has no seemingly end. There are moments when I feel boxed in trapped in our prison of “service”. When I am angry and resentment takes voice I blame others, family, social services, mostly family for not showing up, not really being involved in this life/death situation with their own Mother! It is not about them, or is it? It is about my ego, my selfishness… plus being totally unprepared for any of this.
I don’t feel like doing any of it, I want out, I want to run away. What we need is help, social contact for both of us, people willing to spend time at activities with Mom. Social interaction with support group as well as friends.
As I continue to write I keep hearing a voice say, you can’t publish this, not this crap again, not all this “pain” this darkness. I am writing what is. I am writing my emotional reactive experience. Mastin Kipp in the blog this morning also writes this, ” Basically, our dreams need us to get over ourselves. Our dreams need us to take responsibility for them. Our dreams need us to SHOW UP even when we don’t feel like it. They are fragile and need tender Loving care. Dreams take time and are often tests of Faith. Let’s meet the test!”
Dreams may not be the correct word here yet the path to my dreams is to journey through this process, finding the joy, finding the magic. That magic is in my photography, that magic is that walking with my camera I am much more conscious of my surroundings, much more aware of the magnificent beauty in a drying frozen leaf/plant, the way the soil pushes up at times, the bright blue sky against the bare tree tops, that birds still sing and flit from place to place. The scurrying squirrels leaping and chasing each other in search of a meal. The universe is alive, the universe offers each creature the gifts to live each day.
That there is a balance to life even when the balance seems to be way off. “Dreams take time and are often tests of Faith. Let’s meet the test!” One of the principle of the artist’s way Morning pages is to “Show up at the page, (show up for life) Use the page to rest, to dream, to try.” That certainly is a powerful way to be present for life, being awake, aware of all actions, good, bad or indifferent. Show up! Showing up is sometimes the hardest part.
I didn’t write yesterday because I didn’t want to feel, I distracted myself, i was too emotional, feeling shame or guilt for my angry, my madness. These are all part who I am. I could not even respond to the comments made my friends on the last blog until this morning because I was too moved by the compassion and support that was radiating there. I am most grateful for each and everyone for your words. I bow in humbleness. I feel unworthy.
“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
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.
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
“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
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.
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.
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?
who has throughly followed our path.” Big statement yet placed with honesty, and continual practice of service to a Higher Power through the steady conscious awareness of self in daily readiness to help another human being.
At 12:00 am today I was led out of a tunnel of darkness, into a room full of light, well really crowded with men and women sitting around a table and lining the walls of a strip mall store, drinking coffee, smoking and chatting among themselves. Actually they were reading from a book, a little blue book, The 12 & 12, which was either shared with me by the person next to me or I was given one while being shown which page and paragraph they were on. Yes I was late to my first AA Meeting at the Malvern Club House.
24 Years ago today those people in that crowded smoked filled room help me begin to change me life, one day at a time. Being desperate enough to finely seek help for my drinking which had recently gotten me arrested for public lewdness or disturbance. My lover of the past few years had offered me a ultimatum, it was him or the booze and crazy behavior alcohol and pot created within me. Imagine I went to my first meeting to save my relationship with another person? Yet I discovered after a few short weeks it was the relationship to myself and a Higher Power that would keep me there, allow me to get sober and be sober…
24 years is a life time, 24 years is only a beginning of the opening doors, the unraveling of years of unconscious behavior, ideals, and thinking that kept me in the state of want, the state of emptiness. In that state I felt the need to fill the hole in my soul, the ego needed to be constantly stroked. Every action was caused by those needs to be wanted to be like, to be the best at something.
24 years of awakening, walking along many paths with many people, in meetings, books, in prayer circles, which for a time included religious organizations, than in spiritual community, who did I meet in all those places? I met myself, I meet myself in the reflection of each person and situation that challenges who I am, who I believe I am and who I am becoming.
24 years of re-discovery, have I throughly followed the path? Sometimes, sometimes not. The quote that begins this blog and is major part of the 12 Step Program written by recovering drunks for recovering drunks, and read at many many meeting everyday sets down the path, offers the tools to use, to a practice of a way of life beyond many peoples understanding. The reading offers bit of comfort with these words, ” We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.”
Thank goodness for that, I don’t have to be perfect anymore, and I am not by any means. I fall short every day, yet the main thing is I don’t drink, I don’t use a substance, to dumb me. I walk in the woods, I take my camera, and my two lovely animal companions who show me what unconditional love is on a moment to moment basis. I am granted today, this moment, to be present, each a gift to unwrap and savor, sharing with the world around me…
Expect your every need to be met, expect the answers to every problem, expect abundance on every level, expect to grow spiritually. Eileen Caddy
I am not sure this is the quote that I wanted but it is the one that showed up. It got words on the page, and the flow to begin to move out. Spirit has been nudging me to write for days, write what is the question. 1. A review of the month. 2. The sense of loneliness that has kept in since last Sunday. 3. The up coming First Friday Solo Show. I am sure there are more themes yet those three could fill many pages.
Stuck already: No not stuck just not sure how to begin… is that not the same thing? Not if I say it is not. The month began with seeking to “listen to the voices of the Ancient Ones as they rise on the warm winds of summer and shimmer on the lighted grasses that wave gently in the summer sun: June is the month of Sunlight, a month when abundance from the seeds we have planted in early spring begin to produce their bounty.
Those lead to the Juried art show exhibit, the Salem County Art League’s shared artist exhibit last weekend, which runs until September, and now to my First Philadelphia First Friday Solo show, at Balance Gallery tomorrow for the month of July! The creative abundance is presenting itself in glorious ways. I am extremely grateful, that I listened to the sounds, followed the paths, was given the courage to show up, to present work that is joyfully accepted and viewed.
Last evening I emailed the person in charge of the creative works at the William Way center where the Juried art exhibit now hangs, and ask her if she was willing to mention the the group that meets for First Friday events about my Solo show, her response was: “Congratulations on the solo exhibition, it is much deserved. I would be happy to announce to the guys about your show and strongly encourage them to wander over there!” Sometimes I am surprised by peoples response, and awed by them as well. I also received this message from a artist friend on facebook after I invited her to the Opening reception, I know she could not attend but I like to send invites it informs people what is going and I believe share the abundance. Her response, “I look forward to reading an after exhibit blog and art lovers comments. The one common denominator of your work is that when viewing each piece on the web, they are not just photographs but a beautiful essence shows thru the screen.”
There are more such quotes for the photography that I present to the world, and I am grateful the praise, it is what keeps me coming back, not in an ego way, of course ego is joyously taking all of this in, but in a artistic way to light the path along my creative journey. That the work/art that I do has a value and purpose to people! Most grateful !
For as I go into this Solo Show Nature and Sky there is a sense of fear the is underlying this whole event. Plus the censor is trying to sabotage the joy of this event. Here are the voices, “this is a small venue, it is small exhibit 6-7 pieces, who is going to see it in Balance Gallery Studio other then the clients who attend appointments” Also I have not hung 8 x 10’s in a while which the majority of the show is, they are all new works expect one, and no one has seen the older piece, yet I have doubts about this collection. Is bigger really better? Do this photographs represent Nature and Sky ? Oy ! Plus the other voice keeps saying, “who is going to show up, this venue is so out of the way of true First Friday events and it is only an hour long reception!”
Yes the photographs represent Nature and Sky this is what you do! This is what you were called to do, to share nature with the world. The gallery has its own clients and most likely a system to announce these events. You have invited a number of people, so let go and let God. “Expect your every need to be met…”
Did I avoid the 2 theme long enough? A sense of Loneliness ! Since Sunday after the exhibit/reception I have had this sense of doing all this alone, that I had expectation of family and friends to show up to encourage and support all my efforts. Yet they did not. I just blogged about in the pervious blog. Yet I had not mentioned the sense of loneliness that has dogged me ever since. Who are my friends, do I have friends, “skin” friends, meaning people other then the ones on facebook and blogger which I am very grateful for. Yet the “need” for companionship of like minded beings in my life seems to have cast a shadow, so to speak over things. Julia Cameron makes this statement in the Artist’s Way, “very often, when we cannot seem to find an adequate supply, it is because we are insisting on a particular human source of supply. We must learn to let flow manifest itself where it will – not where we will it.” So once again getting out my own way, telling ego all is well, letting go, and allowing spirit to have its way with each and every situation opens the flow, keeps the river running and the ground fertile for abundant growth.
Growth Question: How was the month of June for you?
Push hard to get better, become smarter, grow your devotion to the truth, fuel you commitment to beauty, refine your emotional intelligence, hone you dreams, negotiate with your shadow, cure your ignorance, shed your pettiness, heighten your drive to (love) look for the best in people, and soften your heart – even as you always accept yourself for exactly who you are with all your so-called imperfections. Rob Brezsny
This may become a book report, or maybe just an observation on where my life is today and where I wish it to go? The above quote is from Pronoia is the antidote for paranoia: How the whole world is conspiring to shower you with blessings. This the full title more or less for this amazingly sometimes irreverent but always joyous, passionate language and guide to following your bliss, traveling through the maze of everyday muck into a joyful blissful experience of life. Which something I desire to do and be.
I became aware of Rob Brezeny some years ago when one the men at Easton Mt Retreat center suggested his astrology site to me. Free Will Astrology I would read the weekly report, and this is not your Mother astrology reading, these are off the wall, sometimes vague, yet always entertaining and informative. (if you’re looking for a new take on your astrology) .
My friend posted Comfortably Numb this morning on Facebook, and I resonated with the song immediately for that is what I have been experiencing in my life, now there is a negotiation with shadow, to admit such a state of being! Just going through process but not really feeling one way or another. Sometimes I say to myself, I am just being present. Is being present the lack of emotion or feeling? I always seem to have more questions than answers, one must precede the other, I think?
So the admittance of this fact of numbness is a place of surrender, a place of knowledge, and the reason for Pronoia to show up in my life more fully. I was at Barnes and Noble to meet a friend, I needed some human contact and a person I could communicate with, yet the day was an odd day, one in which I felt shifts of energy, low vibrations in another space, and even with my friend I didn’t feel completely connected as I usually do. So once she left I went to look for Jeff Brown’s Soulshaping which they did not have in stock but I had seen Pronoia on the shelf and if felt that was the sign to purchase and dive into this material. For a few day before I was reading astrology newsletter and had used a quote on my Facebook page which got some notice. “Evil is boring. Cynicism is idiotic. Fear is a bad habit. Despair is lazy. Joy is fascinating. Love is an act of heroic genius. Pleasure is your birthright. Receptivity is a superpower.” It was in the energy of those words that I reached out, that I began to search for more, I began to desire to have this language that is positive and wildly blissful be part of my life experience. So there you have it, in order not to be so darn serious, I have chosen to be heroic to experience pleasure, listen more intently to the message. No one can change me but my choice to do so, as my friend Laurie, Holistic practitioner uses as her motto or guide suggest “Follow your heart”. Wise advise.
So I leave you with another song one that I hear in my mind very often. Katy Parry’s Firework: “there is a spark in you, ignite your light … your a firework !
Growth Question: Are you comfortable numb or are you lighting up the sky like a firework?