Prickly Situations or Enlightenment from a Cactus Flower – Picture to Ponder – v6-issue 5

by Sheila Finkelstein on February 4, 2010

Today’s Photo

pink cactus flower
Cactus flower in the Desert Botanical Garden in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As part of the focus and sensory expansion exercises we do in the Point and Shoot Through and From the Lens photo course, participants “place” themselves into a photo of an alstromeria flower and explore it from within and/or from the outside. As a follow up, there is a choice of two other photos with which to do this exercise between sessions.

When looking at the photo page the other day, before sending participants the Photos for Exploration link, the shiny light within the above cactus flower popped out at me. It called out to, once again, be a featured photo in Picture to Ponder.

Self-Reflecting Queries

Although the “spiny” needles surrounding the flower may be prickly, in the photo they appear to be soft and gentle. The light feels strong and bright, yet there is an overall sense of softness, conveyed in part by the pinks.

I invite you to do the exercise mentioned above, putting yourself into the photo, exploring the flower, the setting within which it resides, covering it from all angles.

Observe – “What size are you?” “How does it feel?” “Would you want to be a permanent resident in this space?” Check your responses. “Why ‘yes’ or ‘no’?” Do they point to similarities in any aspects of your life?

I also invite you to look further into your own life. Are there areas where you are feeling “prickly” places, perhaps ones you wish to avoid? If so, can you look beyond and find a bright light beckoning you? What could you be saying to “soften” them up?

You may also want to use your camera to photograph images that catch your eye and then do the same exercise with one or more photos of your own.

As always, have fun with this.

Programs I recommend for:
Authors – Published or Inspired to be ones –

My friend, author of GARDEN OF THE SOUL, is launching a new program with an exciting FR*EE Grand Opening Event coming Feb 22-26. She is hosting 5 days of webcasts with 17 other leading names in the exciting world of mind-body-spirit writing and publishing.

Lynn is presenting an exciting NEW concept on the Internet, combining coaching, learning, community and business-building in a creative, spirit-based environment.

If you’re an experienced author, a brand new author, or someone who is dreaming of writing an inspirational book some day, you’ll want to register for this fr*ee event.

Using Social Media – Developing an Internet Business
This weekend I was in Atlanta for the Niche Affiliate Marketing System (NAMS 3) program. It was a full, information-rich, people-connecting, inspiring weekend.

On Saturday, a recording, STRATEGIES 4 SOCIAL MARKETING, was made with a panel of 5 top Internet Marketing Experts sharing information and tips on effectively using social media for connecting AND building business. That hour session is now available in a downloadable MP3, with several bonuses, for only $17.

My friend Tomar Levine, not at the conference, wrote: “Thanks, Sheila. I bought it, listened to it, and took four pages of notes. Just what I needed to re-invigorate my social media, which I’ve backed away from of late. I got at least one brand-new piece of info which I will start using immediately.”

It is also possible, until Monday when the price increases, to purchase the recordings from the past three NAMS conferences, including this past weekend, for only $97 total. The above-mentioned Social Marketing recording is part of the weekend recordings, so you wouldn’t need both.

See NAMS for details and to purchase the full series, should it fit for you.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Morgine February 4, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I immerse myself deeply into the picture and find we are kindred spirits. At the center of me is a bright fire burning, my essence, my brilliance, glowing and flowing, radiating out into all of creation, connected to everything and everyone. I feel soft, delicious, loving, embracing, and feel embraced and loved my myself. I begin my days now nestled deeply into my sheets, recognizing God in all things and how I am always surrounded by the love and beauty I can find in all things, seen through these unconditionally

I have also often lived within the confines of my mind, bristling with thorns of all kinds, atop succulent and rich and vibrant ideas, filled with life awaiting to burst open and flower into some exciting new creations! My thorns could be those negative thoughts about not being good enough, or smart enough, or slender enough or whatever. They prevented me from taking actions myself because I used them as excuses and worries about being hurt. Thorns could be my judgments about myself or others or life itself. In the past I used these thoughts and beliefs, and ways of being, to keep others at a distance and myself safe, or so I thought. My very presence said, “please do not touch” or you might be hurt by my reactions!! I could not be responsible for what might happen, again or so I thought. I played the role of victim and blamed others and life and created endless stories about my life.

Today I am learning to see my thorns differently. They are beautiful and important too. They serve to get my attention and wake me up to what is important, right here and now. They keep me alert to those valuable ideas and messages coming from within my radiance, always glowing and shining light on my next step I can take to create yet another new vision or dream in my life. I am best when I am not rushing through things. When I take my time to “carefully pick” my next best choice in every present moment to move me forward and closer to my dreams.

This remains one of my favorite pictures you share. I am always reminded that I am all things combined into one. I am both the soft and glowing radiance of my Presence and the essence of whomever I am “Being” in every moment, and the vast and infinite, unlimited resource of succulent ideas and creations waiting to be uncovered and opened in some future moment, holding new and exciting adventures for me to explore!

Thank you for asking and sharing! Endless Magic & Appreciation, Morgine


Sheila Finkelstein February 4, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Thanks so much, Morgine. I appreciate your deep, thoughtful, poetic response and your added interpretations and perspective on the thorns. I am also most appreciative of the acknowledgment.

Responding with love.


Pat February 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Dear Sheila,
Again you have struck a chord in me! I work as a volunteer at a Hospice House and I often find myself in a “prickly situation” on just what to say or how to approach either a patient or a family member. Yet, my time spent there in the presence of these wonderful open people who allow me in at this most precious time in their lives always gives me the feeling of privilege…the soft, wonderful light in your photo makes the “prickly” situation a gift! That is how I feel every time I have spent meaningful time with a dying individual…they have given me a gift of enlightenment! Keep up our fabulous work! My best to you!


Sheila Finkelstein February 4, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Thank you for your very moving share. How blessed are the people with whom you work to have you there with them. What a gift you are to be with them as you evidently are, seeing them as enlightenment.

And, I appreciate the acknowledgment.

With love, Sheila


Marifran February 4, 2010 at 8:53 pm

In the flower, I am a ladybug exploring the myriad of textures, colors, and sizes. I get lost in the layers, the crevices, the soft and the unusual. Tiny places like the stigma, filament, and receptacle are fun and the large spaces of petals and stem thrill me. It is all fascinating and exciting. In this wonderland, I know I will not ever run out of new discoveries. Already I am a permanent resident of this lovely, safe place. Sometimes I get hyper-focused on one aspect of my flower foundation. Despite loving my flower world, at times I get distracted and long for distant flowers to expand into. What would another flower world look like? Living in another flower, who would I become? What part of me would evolve? While wondering, I continue enjoying the flower I’m in. I see no prickly parts, nor do I find them.

Thanks Sheila, for your brilliant ideas and sharing them in the classes you do. I love this exercise. It makes me realize how much I love my life.


Sheila Finkelstein February 6, 2010 at 11:03 am

Beautiful, Marifran. Thanks so much for your comments and your contribution to empowering me to “shine.”

I love the added dimension you brought, considering jumping to another flower. Would you be different? Wonderful how you fully got into this exercise.

With appreciation and love,


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