September 2009

Last week when a friend of mine reminded me that Autumn has started, I was thrown back into remembering my first autumn in Florida, six years ago. My body actually had the sensory experience of “missing autumn.” In a Photoshop Elements course at the time, where the assignment was to create a photo collage, I decided to create “Missing Autumn in NJ” to somehow bring Fall to me.

Interestingly, last week, once I expressed this and found the web page on Google, I came upon the opportunity of doing Jan Phillips Facilitators Training Workshop in the Adirondacks, New York State, where Autumn leaves should now be in abundance.

It promises to be exciting all around. What would make it even more so is connecting with any Picture to Ponder subscribers who might be in the Syracuse area. I will be spending Monday there. Please email me if you are in that area of if you know something I MUST see while there.

TODAY’S PHOTOS

represent work from several years ago. I’ll find it interesting to see if there are any changes in the photographs I take next weekend, though I suspect consistency will rule.

The top is the photo collage I mentioned above. The other three images are, once again, photo/drawings, as featured in the last issue of Picture to Ponder. In this case they were autumn leaves in New Jersey.

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES
When you’ve longed for something, such as when I was “missing autumn” several years ago, what actions do you take? Are you proactive, or do you stay in the “dwelling”?

Similarly when you find yourself in the midst of frustration, what is your response?

And, if your ordinary response is not one that brings you fun, I invite you to find a means to “play” your way through the next time you find yourself in one of the above situations.

Peace and fun. �

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TODAY’S PHOTOS
are Photo/Drawings of Echinacea Flowers – the first being “field” of them, the other three being different views from the same garden.

“Photo/drawings” is a term I created when I first developed this process using my photographs, new scanner and a pen with permanent ink to draw directly on the photos. They were the content that made up my original nature web site – Nature’s Playground stating,

“We believe that the world is a playground for personal growth and development; that natural environments – gardens, woods, beaches, rivers, streams – are sources for pleasure, creativity, play and self-discovery; that expanding sensory awareness of natural and man-made environments provides access to furthering creative thinking and appreciation.”

In an empowering interview my friend Adela Rubio did with Dean Shrock, last week, on “Why Love Heals”, he stated that “Nature is probably the purest form of love. Simply being out and appreciating natural beauty, we’ll experience love. Nature literally realigns the molecules of your body in a more harmonious manner, so that the body simply works better.” See SelfcareMastery.com for this quote and Adela’s full summary of the call.

For me, I got a dramatic “Aha” – that this can be the strong foundation on which to stand as I move forward with my work. Certainly the healing power of nature is the crux of Banana Sky DVD!

WHY THE ECHINACEA
Interestingly, today in my writing group** one of the quotes from which we wrote was “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it is your world for the moment, ” Georgia O’Keefe.

Responding to this prompt, Susan Jones, group member, wrote: “Flowers have one of the highest natural vibrations. That’s why flower essences are so powerful, so healing. Georgia O’Keefe painted the effect of that vibration on her. An artist does not copy, she shares the soul of the moment. ”

This seemed like such a synchronistic statement for my newfound “stand” that I asked Susan if I could quote her.

In searching for flowers to feature, I decided that the ones I would use here today would be flowers that most of us are likely to know as “healing” flowers. I, at least, always use “echinacea” in capsules or tea form when I feel a cold coming on. In addition, the center echinacea photo/drawing featured here was very much admired by a dinner guest this past weekend. A large poster-size format of it hangs on my patio.

(**Note: Susan and three others of us all first connected in one of Julie Jordan Scott’s writing programs. For those open to it, Julie has a Writing Group starting tomorrow – Wednesday, September 23.

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES
For today, I invite you to look at the variations of the same subject, the Echinacea above, and make note of what stands out as differences for you. Then expand this observation into your own life.

Is there an issue, a challenge, or something which you really appreciate, where you might find empowering analogous differences by taking different points of view?

And, in a slightly different conversation, relating to my finding a position of strength I can claim for moving forward in my work, are you clear on the ground on which you are standing in your work? and then in your relationships – both personal and business?

Peace and fun.

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Today’s Photo
Sunlit Morning Dew on a Metal Boardwalk Railing at Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach, FL

This photograph was first featured in Picture to Ponder almost two years ago in Volume 3- Issue 59 where you can see four more photos taken at the same time. All five grabbed my attention as I was organizing past issues of Picture to Ponder and this particular photo is the one most strongly resonating with me right now.

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES
I am not sure what it is about today’s photo that is “speaking” to me. Perhaps it’s the feeling of peacefulness and cleansing that emanates from it, the sense of something being washed clean.

There is dark and light, yet not a “moody” darkness. I do remember the feeling of excitement I had two years ago when I first took these photos, the thrill of discovering what seemed almost “magical” to me at the time.

Today I can look at this photo and the others and appreciate the timelessness of the experience and the beauty that remains.

I invite you to look into your life now and in the past. What are some of the magical moments that you recall? What are the sensory experiences that are most profound for you?

Are there ways that you have kept them alive – in photographs, writing, recordings or other art forms? Is this important to you?

Lastly, do you remain cognizant of what you need in your life to keep you centered and balanced?

If, for some reason, my queries seem to be getting “heavy and significant”, I invite you to  go back up to the photo and allow the morning dew to refresh you.

Peace.

Program for Writers, or Wanting-to-Be Writers
Tomorrow, Wednesday, 9/16 is the kick off day and the first of twelve sessions of my friend and mentor, Julie Jordan Scott’s “Feminine Pen Writing Circle.”

If you are a writer or an aspiring one I urge you to check our the above link. I doubt that I would be doing what I am today, if it weren’t for all that I’ve experienced in courses with Julie and the community of wonderful women and writers that come together in her empowering space.�

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INTRODUCTION
As I was about to finally discard the dried up remains of red onion green sprouts featured here in July, I became captivated with the papery thin texture, the flexibility and the sounds of the pieces. I dearly wanted to convey these to you and could not determine how.

The following day I realized I might be able to capture some of the experience on video. I thus set up a series of videos. In the last one I start peeling a red onion I’ve been holding, also since July, for Onion Photo Story Number five. Once again, there are analogies to our lives.

Next I posted a couple of photos and one of the videos on my last blog  post – Parchment Sounds of Onion Greens Inspire Video. The first photo in the blog posting is the group of dried greens, a few of which became the art for this issue of Picture to Ponder.

To make it more convenient for you, and me, I later put all the videos from the “shoot” earlier this week on one ONION – GARLIC VIDEO page. One of the videos shows dried, cut garlic pieces slipping out of their “cells.”

Lastly, speaking of videos – In a totally different conversation, I had fun this same week videoing me opening a package of products I received from my Nature Art Gift shop You can see me excitely showing the products I had purchased – two tile boxes I love, plus tiles and note cards.

I also distinguish between my photo/drawing art and straight photography, showing examples of each. Even if you don’t watch the whole Nature Art Gifts video, I invite you to use the slider to see each of the products.

TODAY’S PHOTOS
As I was doing the videos of the onion remnants I also took many still photographs. The top two featured photos today are of some of the remnant dried up green sprouts. In the middle photo, the black “dust” is remnants of mold that had formed inside some of the stems.

The latter are the “facts” AND I have selected these photos today for their artistic appeal. Although not planned, or arranged as such, these two photographs exude the beauty and simplicity of calligraphic drawings. Each can stand alone on its own merit.

I invite you to spend a moment or two with each and breathe in their simplicity.

The bottom photo is the underside of several layers of the cut, dried top of the onion. Again, I’m sharing it here for its aesthetic value, as well as its totally different feeling from the first two.

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES
For those looking for self-reflecting queries, today’s photographs and stories cover a broad range of topics.

I could pull queries out from reflections on saving old things… clutter?… transformations from one stage to another… life… death… discovery… how we each, individually, explore the latter, fulfill on it.

And, for today, I am leaving the self-reflecting queries to you. If any of the categories mentioned above spark something in you, I invite you to reflect on what’s coming up. If you’ve had a “gut” response to any of the photos, or the videos, I then invite you to reflect on what you were experiencing.

Lastly, there is ALWAYS being in the moment and simply experiencing whatever is there.

Thank you for being in my life and allowing me to share these explorations with you.

As always, remember to have fun with this.

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About to finally discard the red onion greens photographed and written about here, “Looking at the Old Newly” as Inspired by a Red Onion (on July 2nd), I became attuned to the papery, parchment feel and sound. I dearly wanted to share it with you and I knew a simple photograph could not convey the experience. It then occurred to me that I could see what a video would do.

Of course, once I started with my Flip Mino video recorder, I finally began the process of discovery with Red Onion #5. The latter has been patiently waiting since June for attention, beyond the first photograph.
 

In the above video, you’ll note also that a drying garlic bulb, cut in July, is also ready to be discarded. Here, too, I am fascinated by the sounds, as well as the rock hard garlic cloves that now easily slip out of their cells.

I conclude the video with the start of peeling Red Onion #5. I’ve uploaded five separate videos of Day 1 of this new “story.” You can see all the uploads of my videos by going to InspirationalSheila. If this doesn’t show you a full list, click on SEE ALL underneath the bottom icon on the right. 
 
If you wish to view them all, no one longer than two minutes, start with Red Onion #5 – First peeling and Cut. 
 
The thread that you will find starting to develop is that as we clean whatever “gook” we think is in our lives there is a fresh and shiny interior. Let’s keep this in mind at all times.
 
If you are not familiar with it, you can get the RED ONION STORY #1 as a PDF download describing the peeling away process of both an onion and ourselves. 

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On Saturday afternoon we had one of our typical Florida afternoon heavy thunder and lightning rainstorms. Toward the end, when I looked out and noticed the sudden brilliant sunlight, I had the immediate thought that there might be a beautiful rainbow. Looking out my front door I saw that I was right.

I grabbed my camera, and since it was still drizzling, a plastic bag to cover it, and a large umbrella; then took a couple of pictures from underneath the latter, one of which I’ve posted on FlickR. I then pulled my car out of the garage, jumped in and started singing, “I’m forever chasing rainbows,” as I went on a search for some even “better” shots.

I ultimately ended up at the beach, too late for the rainbow there but did see a beautiful sunset. I was reminded that it had also been quite a while since I had experienced sunrise on the beach. With all these “signs” I did go back on Sunday morning. Today’s featured photographs are from that outing.

TODAY’S PHOTOS
The top photo is a reflection of clouds and sky in the sunglasses hanging on a man’s shirt. It caught my attention as he and his family were walking toward me.

The center photo was taken five minutes before the actual rise of the sun over the horizon, camouflaged by the clouds. Note the richness of the pinks and yellows emanating upward from the sun that had not yet “risen.”

The bottom photograph was taken sixteen minutes after the “official” sunrise. Here we can almost see the sun behind the clouds. I love the reach of the bronze reflections on the surf at the edge of the beach (lower right).

For those who are left wanting to more fully experience the gentle waves lapping against the shore, I uploaded a short video onto YouTube. This was taken a couple of minutes after sunrise. Having come from New Jersey where waves were usually high, it always amazed me when I visited Florida in the summer, years ago, to see how calm and almost waveless the ocean was. Living down here now I’ve learned that this is somewhat seasonal and, of course, bad weather and heavy winds make a difference.

(For those who might be wondering, the sunrise times were found on my favorite sunrise/sunset – moonrise/moonset calendar at SunriseSunset.com)

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES
Today’s photographs and stories reflect, in part, “chasing” “something more,” from rainbows to sunrises. With the rainbow, I was looking for a “perfect” unobstructed view of the full rainbow, which I would have had at the ocean.

Only, I was afraid that it would not be there by the time I reached the beach, so I stopped along the way and photographed pieces of it, obscured by wires and other distracting components. In fact, according to other walkers, had I gone straight to be beach, I would have seen what I wanted.

I did spend some time enjoying the sunset and, as I wrote above, decided to go for the sunrise the next day. The sky was beautiful when I got there, about ten minutes before the full rising of the sun. Once there I realized that I “undoubtedly” “missed” the most beautiful part, that visible when the sky was still almost dark.

I am relating all of this mind “chatter”, not because any of it’s “true”; rather, these thoughts are examples of what most of us do to ourselves during large portions of our time – the “would have”, “could have”, “should haves.”

Once open to the flip side, on Saturday night, for me, was the conversation with a woman walking along the water’s edge who shared her experiences of earlier in the evening and then those of the sunrises she usually saw. It was this that had me set my alarm on Sunday.

Then there was the fun and excitement of the discovery of the reflections in the sunglasses and the conversation with the man and his family and their pleasures in that imagery.

Lastly, the rainbow experience wound up having an impact on my selection of a quote prompt in my writing group, winding up as a Writing for Healing blog post – “Rainbow Soul and Tears – Storms in Life.”

We have choices, always… to be in the moment, fully appreciating what’s there, or looking ahead or behind.

I invite you to spend some time in the next day or so, perhaps beyond. Are there places and situations where routinely you are looking far ahead or in the past, missing what’s in the present? If so, perhaps specific intention is missing. Do you always know what it is you are looking for?

Can you set an intention to experience beauty in the moment, declaring whatever is, as beautiful or purposeful?

As always, remember to have fun with this.

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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