August 2008

Red Onion – Peeling Layer 9

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 15, 2008

red onion peeling away layer 9peeling away from the smaller sectioin both sections peeled on layer 9 - pieces left in between  space in between two sections cleaned up in Red Onion layer 9 From jagged peeling to cleaning out, with X-acto knife, the space in between the two sections. Seemingly nothing more to be peeled from the smaller section. 


Red Onion Layer 8 – Peeling Away the Layers

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 14, 2008

In the issue of Picture to Ponder this week, the previous post on this blog, or accessible by clicking on PTP – Vol 4 – Issue 29 I wrote about racing through the layers of the rest of the onion in one sitting to “get to the end” of the project. In the meantime, I’ve left you wondering, perhaps, about what was in between. Thus, I’m backing up for you.

Red onion peeling away layers 2 and layer 8

I started this time peeling away the outer layer of the smaller section which had emerged in layer 5. Because this section seemed so small and delicate, rather than plunging in with my fingers and ripping away the layer, I took a knife and slowly and gently started peeling. I was surprised to notice how thick the layer was, compared to what had been peeling away from the larger section, as can be seen in the next photo.

Another view of Red onion peeling away layers 2 and layer 8

Once again I got rough on the dominant section. The smaller one looks so delicate and vulnerable. I could create a lot more observations and queries here and I’ll leave that to you for today.

both onion segments completely exposed at the end of peeling layer 8

Nice and smooth, the sections, feeling quite exposed. The bottoms of the layers, jagged in between. Can’t reach them with my knife or small scissors. They remain as memories of what was.

a humorous view of red onion querying our seriousness

A different view of the second photo here today. I laughed when I saw it. Perhaps it’s a reminder to stop taking ourselves so seriously.

red onion - two sections look like a ballon character

This one, too, brought a laugh. Is he/she flaunting, with nose up in the air, looking at us out of the corner of his/her eye? It also gives off the feeling of one of those balloons that clowns make at parties, again, reminding us to REMEMBER to PLAY.




red onion peeled layer 10

red onion layer 10 on black background

red onion layer10 colorized and desaturated

IMPORTANT: If these photos inspire writing or anything else that has you share it and the photo, please be certain to credit the source, including the URL of this issue,

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
Peeling layer 10 of the red onion I introduced in the last issue of Picture to Ponder

As I stated in that issue, I have been featuring one or more photos a day, on my Photography and Transformation blog of the peeling away process of the layers of this one red onion. The onion has been featured on mixed backgrounds, sometimes the wood snack tabletop and other times on a black cloth.

The photographs I’m sharing in Picture to Ponder today are more about the beauty of the imagery than about the peeling process. I so love the elegance, smoothness, shape and colors in the onion, as seen in the top photo, that I feel drawn to share it with you.

As I photographed, I felt the remaining onion definitely needed the richness of the black background to “show it off” in all its glory. I then went further and experimented with the photograph using a Photoshop Elements 6.0 technique I just learned in the online class in which I am currently enrolled. For more photos from that lesson see PSE6 – Lesson 3 and 4.

As I write, I keep scrolling back up to view the photos. I hope that they bring you some of the same pleasure.

Self-Reflecting Queries
When I first started with this self-initiated project on observing the onion, analogous to stripping away layers of ourselves, I was intrigued with the parallels that kept coming up for me in terms of reaching inside myself. I also thought that many of you might find this an interesting tool for reflecting upon your own multi-layers and dimensions.

I initially committed to myself, and I think on the blog, that I would post each day the revealing of a new layer.I had intended, I thought, to photograph a new layer each day. After the seventh day, it occurred to me that it wasn’t about photographing a new layer each day. Rather it was simply about recording the process and what was left each time a new layer was peeled away.

Actually, as I’m writing, I’m thinking that the latter statement may well be “justification,” a process I have mastered well.

Although I was still finding what was happening interesting and sometimes exciting, overall I was getting bored and impatient, wanting to hurry to the end. I wished to see everything that was there and be finished.

So, thinking it didn’t really matter if I did the rest of the layers at once, I spent just under an hour and took 150 or more photographs and went from layer 8 through layers 12 or 13. The reason the numbers are not definite is that, in the process of getting finished, I neglected to put systems in place for accurate recording.

The photographs at the end were not as high in quality. Perhaps I simply took fewer, so had less from which to choose.And, the photographs became almost a blur of noise, not knowing which was what, having relied on my brain to retain it all.

The saddest part is that I “ripped” myself off, depriving myself of the full pleasure of each new discovery, of which there still were many. And, I can forgive me. In addition to what I learned about myself, analogous to the onion, I discovered procedures I can use the next time I undertake such a project.

For more about the onion and my discoveries, I invite you to follow along on the blog, starting at the most current, and scrolling down, or start in the July 2008 archives and work your way up.The message here today is not about the onion layers. Rather it’s about how we approach our activities and passions –

Thus, Queries for the Day – I invite you to look at your own life and consider:

1 – When you take on a project, do you have systems in place for sticking with it and, also, for being flexible, adjusting, if called for, as you move along?


2 – Are there places in your life now where you are currently justifying shortcuts that, in fact, may not be the best solution? Are there similar situations in the past from which you can learn, or already have done so?and, as I review them before deleting, I think several of the queries from our last issue are worth repeating:

3 – Do you jump right in, or do you slowly peel away the levels of a project, to get at the heart of it? As you look at, and think about the onion analogy, are there any shifts, you might want to consider making?

4 – Do you usually have an intention when you start an activity? Do you have a method for keeping that present, a reminder system? If not, is there something you would like to set up? (Pretty much the same as number 1, today, adding “intention.”)

5 -And, on a slightly different track, is there a playful practice that you’ve been meaning to do, something simple to which you might like to commit to doing on a daily basis for a week?

I committed to photographing fruits daily this week. Right now it feels like a burden AND I know once into it, because I said so, the play will come. Sometimes the “burden” is simply in thinking about it, dwelling on it.

6 – Is there a place in your life right now where you are feeling burdened, where getting in action might bring in the missing playful element(s)?

I’d love to hear from you. Simply fill in the box under REPLY to place your comments.


Red Onion – Peeling Layer 7

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 11, 2008

red onion day- peeling layer 7

Most of Layer 7 Peeled from the Larger Bulb

  red onion - peeling lay 7 from small bulb part

Surprisingly the Layer surrounding the smaller section is thicker than that around the larger. Do we more tightly protect the smaller, perhaps the more sensitive, components of ourselves?

  red onion layter 7 peeled from both segments of the onion

Both parts are still together. Per my fears expressed here yesterday, I find it interesting that it never occurred to me to trust that the basal structure (in onion language) would, in fact, keep the parts intact.  It was difficult to peel off the layers between the structures. Note the resulting bruising.

  red onion in dish with all the pieces peeled from layers 7

 The onion with all the pieces peeled away this seventh day. I love the way the smaller section, though apart, curves over and looks down on the larger part of itself.

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Onions Layers Amost Gone – Day 6

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 10, 2008

red onion with most of outer layers peeled away

Fully exposed now, the onion.
Smooth to the eye and touch

Tightly held together
by the basal plate above the roots

Seemingly, all is now visible.

red onion with two sections held together viewing the remaining layers

Waiting calmly, steadily, patiently for
What’s next?

It’s I the write/photographer
Who has the fear.

To peel away the next layer
Will require the knife, for sure,
To break into the skin.

I want a clean action on this smooth surface.
It warrants some respect,
My new found friend.

What will happen? Can the two sections
Stay as one, or will they fall apart.

When fear is there, it’s time to act,
Or, so they say.

Time to take the plunge.
For me, some answers today.
For you, tomorrow,
If you’re following
This Onion Story on the blog.

(Note – I finally went to the web to learn what the names for the different parts of the onion. For a fun game to learn the answers go to UNSCRAMBLE the parts, or go to DEFINITIONS for part names and explanations. Both of these pages are on a site for children, the easiest way for me to learn sometimes.)


New Layer of Self Revealed – Onion Day 5

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 9, 2008

peeling away onion layer - day 5

To start peeling the layer on Day 5, the section I had started separating on Day 1 now opened up. The remaining piece that had held it to the onion was layer 5 and now it had to go. Reminds me of the rare times I allowed myself to feel that I was hanging on by a thin thread.

Top of onion separates from the rest

The separated inside of the top of the fifth layer also has layers within. I love the beauty of the inside of that start of the layer I will be peeling off. How complex and beautiful are the many parts of ourselves!

two sections of red onion now revealed

As I finished peeling layer 5 a whole new section of the onion was revealed!! – the two parts of it – the Ying? and Yang? – the Masculine and Feminine parts of ourselves? One larger than the other!  – Ponderings for the day.

On a final note – I do not like the background of the cloth here, especially in the night light. This week’s lesson in the Photoshop Elements 6 course I’m taking is “Isolating Parts of an Image.” What synchronicity! I’m thinking I’ll use one of these photos to put the onion in a more natural background.

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Humor in Onion Peel Layer 4 – Veggies Day 5

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 8, 2008

Humorous view of red onion peel

On day 4 of peeling a layer a day from this red onion I started observing and photographing the transparent film of yet another finite layer, planning to feature it.

Then, when I saw this photograph on my computer monitor, I laughed and decided today’s photo and message would simply be “Play.”

My onion friend and I invite you reach your playful layer today.


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Peeling Away the Next Layer – Veggies Day 4

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 7, 2008

Peeling away at the onion - Day 3

Once again, I started in immediately with my knife to peel the next layer. When I saw how I was scraping the inner surface, I immediately switched to gently peeling away with my fingers.

I wonder, “Is this how I treat myself (and others), immediately cutting in? What will be available as I become more gentle with myself? ” How about if it’s simply – not always so simple – appreciating the unaltered beauty of what’s underneath?

How about you? How do you treat yourself? With a knife or with loving tenderness?


Picture to Ponder – Peeling Away the Layers

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 6, 2008

Red onion #1 before being peeled

Starting to peel away the layers of red onion

Partially peeled red onion in a ceramic dish with the outer skin and firt layer

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
a Red Onion photographed at night, as it was when I brought it home from the store.

The middle and lower photographs are taken on the next day, as part of a project I started, observing the peeling of an onion as it relates to the peeling away the layers of ourselves.

In terms of aesthetics, I love the richness of the color in the top photo. In the middle photo, after the outer skin was peeled away, we are left with beautiful colors and shapes, contrasting lights and darks.

I’ve introduced the bottom photo to show the varieties of textures – thin and thick – that were in the outer layer(s).

Self-Reflecting Queries
I had planned to start using this blog for almost-daily postings of photos and thoughts and then after a conversation with a couple of mastermind buddies, we decided to take on doing a photo a day, with a different theme each week. Veggies became the first theme we choose. See Broccoli and Onions, Veggies Day 1 on the blog for further explanation and an invitation to join us in our play.

On  Veggies Day 2, you’ll read about my experience shopping for vegetables to photograph, studying colors, textures, and shapes.

Suddenly, while looking at the onion and observing a layer of skin starting to peel away, I remembered various times when professionals have said that one way to get in touch with ourselves is to start peeling away our layers to get inside. With that thought, I decided to concentrate on the onion as my photo for each day, for the next few days, at least. Naturally, I’ve been taking far more than one photo a day.

When I got to day 2 of the onion I immediately went directly to cutting into it to get at where I thought the beauty and intrigue would be, in the patterns of the slices. Halfway in I remembered, “Oh, my expressed intention was to peel away the layers of the onion.”

So I stopped cutting and started peeling, recognizing that this was so typical of patterns in my life. I usually simply jump in to whatever I am excited about, often not reading the instructions or getting more information that many times would have simplified things for me.

Once I started peeling, I became open to the beauties that were slowly being revealed. At the same time I noticed that some of the very, thin almost transparent sections of the very outer layer, did not want to let go and yet other sections of them, as showing in the top photo, were ready. You can get a measure of some of the thinness and thickness of the first layer – well I guess two, if we consider the very fine “skin” as the first layer.

So on to Queries for the day. I invite you to look at your own life and consider:

1 – Do you jump right in, or do you slowly peel away the levels of a project, to get at the heart of it? As you look at, and think about the onion analogy, are there any shifts, you might want to consider making?

2 – Do you usually have an intention when you start an activity? Do you have a method for keeping that present, a reminder system? If not, is there something you would like to set up?

3 – And, on a slightly different track, is there a playful practice that you’ve been meaning to do, something simple to which you might like to commit to doing on a daily basis for a week?

Lastly, I invite you to join us in taking a photo a day and I invite you to share your reactions on the blog, where this issue is also posted for your convenience.


Red Onion 2 – Veggies Day 3

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 6, 2008

red onion and peeled skin in a dish

Onion, Skin and First Layer at End of Photo Shoot Day 2

This was a fun and insightful experience for me. Briefly – Anxious to get into where I anticipated the beauty of the onion to be – viewing the patterns in the slices – I went immediately with the knife and started cutting into the onion.

I stopped before I got halfway there and remembered, “Sheila, this is about peeling away the layers!” Oh, already I had forgotten my intention. I’ll plan to write more in-depth on this with other photos in Picture to Ponder. Watch for it later today.

Where are you in your veggies photo exploration?


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