Respite and Relaxation from a Banana Plant and DVD – Picture to Ponder – v5 – Issue 29

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 11, 2009

I laughed when today’s top photograph opened up. It was a spontaneous response to the humor I saw in the little “critters”. Perhaps they are applauding, or nodding congratulations to me and healing music composer and flutist, piano player, Jeannie Fitzsimmons.

Today marks the re-launch of our BANANA SKY DVD. I am hugely excited with the completion of this project that actually started three years ago, by accident, out of my passion for discovery, when I began observing, in my head and with the camera, the amazing growth of a single banana tree which has multiplied many times.

I will go into more details of the “story”, the journey after today’s SRQ’s. One of the things that most excites me right now with the publication is the design work I did for the packaging. This was a first for me and I feel like a kid in a candy store.

The photographs featured today are actually a partial embodiment of the experience of Banana Sky DVD.

The first photograph are the bottom ends of a bunch of growing bananas on the tree. By the time you and I get the ripened, or almost ripened, bananas we purchase, these happy “critters” have shriveled and dried up.

Though I continue to refer to it as a tree, the banana plant, I discovered, is actually an herb.

I especially love the middle image, photographed after a rainstorm. It is one of the “petals” of the banana pod holding a pool of rain water. When ready, the petals gradually unfurl one-by-one, to reveal a row of infant bananas that each has been protecting.

I so love this photograph that it became the symbol for BANANA SKY DVD and I created it as the cover for the case.

The bottom photograph is a view from underneath the “tree”, as I looked up through the leaves toward the sky. The shadows are reflections of Arica palms behind the banana plant. I’ve kept this particular photo as my desktop background and used it for the disk label. It represents the peace and serenity I got from viewing the photographs.

You can see how the bottom two photos are used in the packaging by clicking on “Rotate Case” on the ORDER page or see a video preview and testimonials on the BANANA SKY DVD OVERVIEW page.


BANANA SKY DVD holds many stories. The short one is that it started out with my taking hundreds, then probably thousands, of photographs of a banana tree that was continually amazing me in its growth and the many directions it was taking. I was particularly fascinated with large leaves and the play of lights and shadows on them.

This whole growth and documentation was happening during the time when I was experiencing a lot of upset and anger around the impact Parkinson’s disease was having on my beloved Sam and on our relationship and role reversals. The act of photographing was and is one balancing mechanism for me. Then I found a whole new dimension. When viewing the photographs as a slide show on my MacIntosh, I found a shift in my state of being and an ease of tension.

In relation to you and today’s Self-Reflecting Queries, I invite you to look into your life.

1 – Are there specific places where you are experiencing regular and, almost, automatic tension and responses? Have you found satisfying methods for creating shifts for yourself? If so, are you sharing them with others?

This is sometimes one of the most empowering methods of reinforcement for ourselves. Others will remind us of our power. For a variety of reasons, including having lost interest, I probably would have let Banana Sky drop, except for the support of my friends for whom the DVD has also made a difference. I am very grateful to them, especially for my renewed energy and excitement – that which we get to feel when we’ve gotten past hurdles.

2 – Very often in Picture to Ponder, I speak of how so many times we live in the “story” of something, rather than in the actual “being in what is.”

Today, I am inviting you to look into your life to see what the “stories” are that empower you. Are there “made-up” ones and also ones that are “real” in terms of a series of “factual” occurrences, beginning, middle, end? If you find the latter, are you using them to move you forward or can you?

As always, remember to have fun with this.

Brief Continuation of BANANA SKY DVD Story

One of the things I’m learning about my work is that without planning, or intention, my photographs often tell a story. It may be so because I’ve always loved stories (starting as early as elementary school and radio soap opera days when I was sick and home from school).

I don’t remember the particular stories that were in the background as I was out photographing the banana tree, sometimes two to three times a day in different lighting. I do know that after the full life cycle of the first plant, I started arranging the photographs for my slide show to be representing life cycles, the plants and ours, as humans.

Once I realized the full effect of my “show”, I decided it might empower other caregivers and individuals who also needed stress relief. I contacted Jeannie Fitzsimmons whose beautiful, healing music I was familiar with. She suggested “Bamboo Ballet” as the perfect background. A variety of challenges and other distractions had Banana Sky in limbo for almost two years and we are now both very excited to have found the best way to get the DVD out to you.

One of the prime features of this DVD is that it works in any DVD player, including those for TVs. Thus those people without computer access, including those who might be bedridden or not computer literate can have benefit of the relaxing photography and music. And you, who may have “normal” tension, can have it playing in the background on your computer as you work.

Another major feature and benefit is that BANANA Sky DVD is set to run as an endless, repeating loop, offering ongoing respite for those who wish it. One person recuperating from surgery remarked, in a thank you note, that he loved sitting with his eyes closed listening to the music, seeing the imagery in front of his closed yes.

Through the end of August, Jeannie and I are offering a $4.00 savings for purchases through the end of August. Again, as I mentioned earlier, you can see a one-minute preview by going to BANANA SKY DVD or go right to the ORDER PAGE.

To peace and beauty!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Debii August 11, 2009 at 5:31 pm

I’ve just put in my order. I loved the first DVD you did, so am looking forward to this one. Love the 2nd pic or rather cover photo. You have inspired me to get a small digital camera (to get started with). It is supposed to arrive this week so I will be busy learning how to use it. Today I saw – for the first time ever – a PINK dragonfly. He/she was perched on a rubber tree plant in my backyard right by the chair where I sit for my morning meditation. Hopefully, if one comes back again, I can get a snap of it! Keep up the great work, Sheila!!!


Debii August 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm

P.S. I have banana trees – but no bananas. Does that remind you of a song?


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