June 2009

Exciting News – My book PICTURES TO PONDER: Inspired Journaling is now on sale through Amazon! Open “Customer Images” on the Amazon page to see more.

Humourous Apple Face

Apple face rear

Dried Turnip Pieces

I hope that the top photograph brings the same chuckle, or laugh, to you as it does to me every time I look at it. I’m presenting it here in fun and also for the possible inquiries it generates.

All three of  TODAY’S PHOTOS are the result of explorations I did cutting both an apple and a turnip during the last Expand Your Vision teleclass series. During that time, I actually wrote, on my blog, about the turnip – a “Metaphor for Aging, As Personified By a Turnip.” Curious, I guess, as to how they would “turn out,” I kept these pieces, rather than discard them

The apple slice was lying flat on my kitchen window sill, the turnip pieces in a tiny dish. For the “portrait session”, I placed the face on a little plate stand and reversed it for the second round. It is the same slice presented in two different views.

The texture of the dried apple slice brings back memories of the Apple Dolls that were popular and the one I made during the same time period. If you have never seen an Apple Doll, AppleDolls.org, features them and shows you how to make one.

I was surprised to discover that the turnip pieces turned “rock” hard, reminiscent of the avocado pit cuttings we turned into “beads” years ago when I taught Art in an elementary school.

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES
The images and experiences in today’s photographs can be viewed as representational of our lives, demonstrating that transformations are multi-dimensional and can be quite long-lasting, often in unexpected ways.

What in your life, in your memory bank, has taken an unexpected turn and left you with something for which you can acknowledge yourself? Perhaps it would forward you to simply make a list of some of the memorable things in your life.

And, to complete the circle on where we started – the humor in the apple face – look around you. What can you find that will put a smile on your face? It may be require something as simple as picking something up, turning it over or “reframing” it… putting it in a different “environment”, in the same way that the apple slice became a “pedestal” piece.

As always, have fun with these queries.

OPPORTUNITIES for creative activities
For the writers among you, or wanna-be poets, I suggest downloading the complimentary Artella eBook, Writing the Carousel: Going Full Circle in Colorful Poetry Writing! It includes a progression of exercises that will help you uncover the surprising “turns” of phrases that make poetry effective, and then come full circle by using them in bold, colorful ways.

You can download your complimentary copy at: POETRY WRITING.

I also invite you to check many of the other activities and programs available on Artella Land home page.

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Cylindrical Cactus in Desert Botanical Gardens

Pink Cactus Flower in Desert Botanical Gardens

The other day, I scrolled through some of my photographs on my FlickR account and I fell in love with the two photos featured above. I actually took them nine months ago in the Desert Botanical Gardens in Scottsdale when I was visiting in Arizona. I recall, at the time, that I thought most of my photos were “ho-hum”, “okay”, nothing “spectacular,” thus never paid much attention to them for using in Picture to Ponder.

The only reason I posted them on FlickR was to test out and demonstrate a new, for me, no-fee uploading and editing software program that I could share with the participants in the last Through and From the Lens telecourse. This, naturally, has me think of the new June/July telecourse which is starting this Wednesday, June 17th.

I am excited by participants who have registered thus far and with the plans for it. We will be spending more time, than in the past, on relating each one’s photos to his or her life. Participants also will be developing their own self-reflecting queries, if they so wish. And, of course, all will excitedly be discovering things they’ve never before noticed.

Marifran Korb who, prior to working with me in the last course, left all the picture taking to her husband and daughter when they went on vacations. Now, after her recent trip to Ireland she proudly shared that her daughter’s photos were all long distance shots and most of hers were at closer range, focusing in on the most interesting part, for her, of each whole scene. She found herself looking at the beauty she states might have been lost without what she now calls her “new way of seeing” – the appealing angles, shapes, textures and colors that she most likely would have totally missed in the past.

Marifran states, “I now see photography as a metaphor for life. When I’m seeing with my camera the hidden beauty in the shapes, forms, colors and nooks and crannies, it has me discover things and examine my own life in greater detail.”

There is space for one or two more participants. It would thrill me if you were one of them wishing to join us on Wednesday to experience inspiring yourself and others with your new photography and theirs.

TODAY’S PHOTOS
Cacti in, as I stated above, the Desert Botancial Garden in Scottsdale. I think it’s the overall composition, the direction of the angles, the lights and shadows in the top photo that keeps calling me into it and appeals to me most. Although the upcoming Expand Your Vision is not a highly technical course, we do touch on art elements and using your camera to its best advantage.

I love the lower photo for its delicacy and its color, also the unexpectedness of its being in the cactus family. A third photo, I’m including here for fun, is one we will discuss in the first session of the course, where we look at “faces” in my photos and other places where participants discover them.

Cactus Turtle of Fist

Is it a turtle face or a fist? Note the five fingers. How many other faces do you see here?

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES
I started this issue of Picture to Ponder stating that my Arizona photographs were mostly ones I pretty much ignored. In reflecting on this now, I’m realizing that probably a lot of the experience and everything associated with it was tinged with sadness for me traveling like this without Sam (my deceased husband, for those of you who are new subscribers) at my side. And, I could dwell on it, look for all kinds of explanations and that furthers nothing in “being in the present.”

Bottom line, today I am excited with the visual and visceral pleasures I am now experiencing when looking at and sharing these photographs.

I invite you to now look into your own life. Have you had any experiences recently or in the past several months, where you were disappointed, where your expectations might not have been met.

If “yes”, I invite you to revisit it or them through photographs, in conversations and/or in writing. Bring “new eyes” to the situation(s). Is anything more exciting now opening up, or available, for you?

As always have fun with this AND, my last invitation….

If anything in today’s issue resonates with you in terms of wanting to expand your own experiences, no matter what your current level is, then come play with us. Join in the fun and register for Wednesday’s Through and From the Lens EXPAND YOUR VISION telecourse.

ANOTHER PROGRAM for creativity
For those of you who do not have a digital camera or the time does not work and you are “itching” to be creative in hands-on activities, I recommend checking out Marney Makridakas’

Make Change with Your Muse: Mixed Media Art Projects to Attract Prosperity and Change in Your Life This is “Self-paced e-course + Authentic Art Supply Kit sent to you via U.S. mail. Your first lesson can begin whenever you choose.”

I have done many courses with Marney and she is by far one of the MOST creative people I know. You can see more of her programs checking the links on her Artella Land home page.

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Green Cay Sunset

Window Reflections

Last night was a beautiful sunset night, one which I might have even missed had I kept my head straight ahead looking at the plants and birds in Green Cay Wetlands, not lifting my head.

When I did I look up, I got totally absorbed in the WONDER of the sunset. This morning I was sitting and writing in my backyard and happened to glance over at the very high windows above the windows and screens that enclose my patio. See Rooftop and Window Reflections.

Again, there was the feeling of wonder for me, as I looked at and then photographed the wavy reflections in the plastic glass. I then started thinking about the parallels between the two experiences.

Both were ones I would have missed without my “eyes” and “being” open to them. I was reminded of the “wonder” I find in making discoveries such as these and then the joy that I and others experience when they, too, open up to the visual wonders in their worlds during and after my EXPAND YOUR VISION – Through and From the Lens telecourse.

TODAY’S PHOTOS
The top is a photo, as I stated above, of a sunset in Green Cay Wetlands, with a portion of the boardwalk and the Nature Center building leading you into the sun and reflections. As I completed my walk the sunset became even more fiery.

sunset2-fixed-cropped

The lower of the top two featured photographs is a segment of the reflections in one of the windows. Because of the slant, I separated it out from the full photo of the window and put it on a plain background. You can get the feel of what I saw initially in Windows and Rooftop.

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES

What is it that excites you when you look around you? Are there images and scenes you enjoy spending time with and in?

Do you remain aware of the places which give you the most sustenance, or do you need to make a list to remind yourself?

I invite you to spend some time this week looking for the new in what may seem routine and not worthy of note in your environment.

As always, have fun with this.

EXCITING PROGRAM for growth and expansion –
Before leaving for Georgia two weeks ago, I registered for the Spiritual Marketing Telesummit, that was held last week, knowing that I would be able to listen to the recordings of the calls. I was able to listen “live” to three of them and since have heard the recordings of several more.

All were high energy and, in fact, fit the theme of “Energy Shifting.” Geared toward people in business, I started finding more clarity in my soul purpose, expanded even further as I listened to those beyond the live ones.

Though the site was scheduled to come down when the calls were over, it will be up until this Friday, June 12th. Later in the year a, perhaps more costly, product package is expected to come out. In the meantime, I strongly recommend your checking out Spiritual Marketing to see if the content in the recordings will answer something for you in your life.

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Voodoo Lily

Today’s issue of Picture to Ponder is about Celebration and Gratitude. For me, the first photo, above, expresses sensuous wonder, Wonder also being a part of today’s message.

Several months ago the American Orchid Society in Delray Beach announced that due to lack of funds it would be closing the Gardens to the public at the end of May. The AOS gardens and greenhouse have played a significant role in my life in the past six and a half years, as well as in your lives, given so many of the Picture to Ponder photos have been from there.

Because I was leaving for Macon, GA for the celebration of my grandson’s Bar Mitzvah**, I made it my business to stop in before I left, to pay my respects to the plants and express my gratitude for what they have meant in my life. Although my camera was with me, I did no got specifically with the intention to photograph and then I started discovering plants I had never seen before, despite my fairly regular visits. See “Once or Twice is Not Enough,” an article I wrote over six years ago.

Amongst the “first-time” (for me) plants I saw this time were the Rattle Box tree, an Ice Cream Bean plant, Princess Earrings and the Voodoo Plant. Too many to show here, I’ve created a separate Picture to Ponder Web page to share them with you. See Tropical Plants-509 which includes a video of one of the waterfalls.

I did spend time pausing and expressing my gratitude and then discovered, to my delight when I returned home, that on June 2nd the Board of Directors had unanimously voted to keep the Botanical Gardens open to the public.

**For those who may be unfamiliar with it, a Bar Mitzvah is when a 13-year old Jewish boy becomes an adult in the synagogue. My grandson Will led services in Hebrew both Friday night and Saturday. He did an amazing job and had us all very proud, truly an occasion to celebrate.

TODAY’S PHOTOS – continued

Curly Leae

Back-Lit Philodendren leaves

Although I found several of the photographs exciting that I included on the Tropical Plants Page I was moved, in particular, to feature these three for the lyrical flow of movement and peace I felt as I spent time with each.

Actually, the first, Voodoo plant, photo also takes on an unsettling quality for me, with certain imagery and contrasts that pop out for me as I go back to it. (If you query this on the blog, I will elaborate there.)

I do not know what the second plant is. The third is a back-lit philodendron leaf. I took several close-up, large leaf pictures so I could truly feel a part of the natural experience on what I thought might be my last visit at the Gardens for some time.

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES
I continue to be amazed at so often discovering new images in the “same old places” that I visit so frequently.

Are there visual or other discoveries that you enjoy making in your life in every day places? Do you take time to look newly? To what are you most open? For me it’s color and texture, then I suppose linear movement, as featured today.

Also, do you sense a unexpressed creative core within you that is wanting to burst forth? If so, how does this show up for you? What steps can you take to expand it?

Do you feel constraints? If “yes” or “possibly”, you might consider registering for the upcoming Expand Your Vision, Light Your Soul, Explode Your Creativity Course starting Wednesday afternoon, June 10th.

Within the past two weeks, I experienced joy in family celebrations, including being surrounded by those who came down to Georgia from Philadelphia, in discovering several new plants in the American Orchid Society Gardens and then in their remaining open to the public.

Where have you experienced gratitude and joy in your life during this time? What are you celebrating?

EXCITING PROGRAM for growth and expansion –
Before leaving for Georgia, I registered for the Spiritual Marketing Telesummit, that was held this week, knowing that I would be able to listen to the recordings of the calls. I listened “live” to three of them today.

All three were high energy and, in fact, fit the them of “Energy Shifting.” Geared toward people in business, I started finding more clarity in my soul purpose.

Though the site is scheduled to come down today, calls are over, it may stay up for another week. Later in the year a, perhaps more costly, product package is expected to come out. In the meantime, I strongly recommend your checking Spiritual Marketing to see if you can still register to listen to the MP3s and participate in the Forum.

FINAL REMINDER
Light Up Your Summer with Photography
You won’t Believe is Yours
Nourish Your Soul
Appreciate, in new ways, the People You Meet
All in the JUNE Expand Your Vision Telecourse

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© 2017 Sheila Finkelstein - All Rights Reserved - Photography and Writing are by Sheila Finkelstein unless otherwise noted. For information contact Sheila[at]SheilaFinkelstein.com