October 2008

Haiku – Sunset and Peace – Green Cay Sunset – 10-28-08

by Sheila Finkelstein on October 31, 2008

Reflected sunset at Green Cay Wetlands

Quiet Cloudless night
All is peaceful as I walk
In Green Cay Wetlands

Looking to the left
A gentle pink permeates
Some clouds after all

Soft in the distance
As ducks feed, radiating
Circles in water
[Click on link for 16 second video of diving ducks.]

©2008 Sheila Finkelstein

Sunset –
Cloudless Sky
Looked Left –

Soft Pinks and Mauve find clouds,
Reflect unseen sun,
Bathe the sky and water

Serenity and Peace.

©2008 Sheila Finkelstein

The walk inspired the top Haiku thinking/writing. Then to share the photo on Twitter twitpic, I narrowed the experience down to 140 characters, using leftover phrases.


front of stoneware, hand-built vase

rear of hand-built, ceramic rectangular vase

hand-built ceramic vase with burgundy and white alstromeria

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
Front and rear close up of a Hand-Built, Pottery Vase and the Vase with flowers in it

The Story
I created this vase over twenty-seven years ago, always liked it and had it out on one surface, or another, throughout these years AND, in all those twenty-seven years, I never took advantage of its function as a vase!

Because of an opening, halfway up from the bottom, I made the decision that it couldn’t really hold enough water to accommodate flowers, so never bothered.

Last night, as I was looking for one of the usual glass vases that I use for flowers, this one caught my eye and said, “Try me.”

Today’s Self-Reflecting Queries
Today, I invite you to look into your life to see:

1. Are there things or people in your life right now, who have been there for years and who, or which, have served the same function, or lack thereof, with no opportunity for altering that during an extended time period?

Of course, given it’s inanimate, the vase never got the opportunity to state what it was capable of doing or holding, although somehow last night it communicated with me that certainly, almost half-filled with water, it could sustain the flowers.

The low opening in it would even allow me to easily see when water needs replenishing!

I invite you to look at some of the “old” things, or people, in your life to see if there IS a way they can be contributing to you and vice-versa. If so, I invite you to take this on. If not, it might be time to discard it or them (although I myself am still challenged with the “discarding.”)

[Note – A subscriber e-mailed me the following suggestion:  “Perhaps if,  for yourself,  you transformed “discard” into the word “contribute” you might have an easier and more enriching time of creating more SPACE for yourself in your environment.  Very different processes.

The item is moved out of your space in both instances. The first feels negative (discard, throw away, get rid of, etc); the second feels positive and productive.

Just a thought which has helped me to switch my thinking in order to pare down and simplify. Feels good to do so.”

Thank you, C, for pointing this out. How right you are.  I cringe now when I look at how I used the word “discard,” especially since I also referred to people in our lives with whom we are no longer in alignment.  You certainly don’t want to “discard” them AND you way wish to remove them from your life now – move away from the old and limiting feelings which may be there for you.

2. In contrast to the last query, regarding usefulness, let’s switch to, “Are there people or things in your life whom, or which, you know you love and to whom you have not paid much attention recently, if at all?” If someone, or something, comes up for you, I invite you to spend a few minutes, or more, determining what it is you love about him/her/them/it.

I love this vase for its textures, contrasts of light and dark and for the fact that is unique and somewhat atypical in its rectangular shape, not the usual cylindrical shape of most vases. The pride, for me of my accomplishment with the making and keeping of it is also there.

Lastly, when you discover what its is, I invite you to pay homage to whomever or whatever it is. As, I write the latter, I pause to caress this stoneware piece, turning it and honoring all of its sides.

As always, have fun with these queries and this week also remember to look for something in your environment that brings a smile to your face!

Follow-up to the Last Issue of Picture to Ponder
And, speaking of smiling, for those who enjoyed last week’s Arizona Scarecrow, check out this week’s Southeast Florida Scarecrow on the blog.

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Sunshine on Florida Smiling Scarecrow

by Sheila Finkelstein on October 27, 2008

Scarecrow on neighborhood walk in Boynton Beach, FL

side view of scarecrow

Front view of scarecrow

In last week’s Picture to Ponder, I featured a scarecrow on a balcony in Sedona, AZ. Back home in Boynton Beach, FL, on a neighborhood walk, one evening, I saw this scarecrow happily placed in the middle of 3 palms. I couldn’t resist coming back with my camera, the next time we had sun. Check the Picture to Ponder link, or scroll down here to the previous post to see the Western scarecrow. Enjoy!


Scarecrow on balcony in Sedona, AZ

Window reflections in Sedona, AZ

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
a scarecrow on the balcony of a home in an elite residential neighborhood in Sedona, AZ, plus cloud reflections in an upper story window in the same home

The Story
No big story today. I was once again searching through my Arizona photos for possibly one last photo from the trip to share with you.

The above scarecrow brought a smile to my face, and still does every time I look at the photo, so I thought I’d bring him to you, simply in FUN! Also, although I’ve never decorated for holidays, there are many of you in the States whom I’m sure have decorated for Halloween. I, thus, thought the somewhat seasonal image would be enjoyable.

And, putting all that aside, I love the aesthetics of the photo, the play of the natural materials, the wood of the railings, the lines, shapes and textures. Although I know in reality it couldn’t be so, when looking at the photo the walls “feel” like suede to me, another intriguing aspect of the photo for me.

I’ve included the second photo for those who might think something is missing from Picture to Ponder, if there is not a Nature photo in the issue. I figure the “clouds” qualify. Again, I like the lines and contrast though much simpler than those in the balcony photo.

Today’s Self-Reflecting Queries
It seems, as I complete writing the last section, that today’s queries move in the direction of fun and also on our taking actions consistent with what we think others expect of us.

Pretty funny, the latter statement; I say I think you expect Nature pictures. I really have no idea what you look for here, other than photographs you think are “good” and to which you relate in some way. Obviously I am laying my judgments on you. I love nature so I think Picture to Ponder “should be” about that.

Today, I invite you to look into your life to see:

1. Are there places in your life right now where you are moving “full steam ahead” to satisfy what you think or “know” someone wants AND you’ve never checked with them?

If you see something here, I invite you to pause, reflect on what it is you are doing, who it is you are attempting to satisfy, and then have a conversation with the other person or persons. Be open to what they might be wanting and check out any interpretations you are adding.

2. Do you pay attention to your smiles? Know what it is that’s FUN for you? If the answers are “yes”, I invite you to have more of them. If “no’, I invite to pause for a moment when you feel a smile coming on, observe it and then take a simple action.

As always, have fun with these queries and this week look for something in your environment that brings a smile to your face!

Reminder – Through and From the Lens is being offered in-person for the first time in South Florida on Saturday, October 25th. “Connections” are one of the bonuses of the course. See Saturday Playshop It will be resumed as a teleclass series starting in November.

To be on the list for more details for these classes, fill in your name and time preference on the form on the blog.


Sunset and Reflections in Green Cay Wetlands – 10-19-08

by Sheila Finkelstein on October 19, 2008

Green Cay Sunset #1

Green Cay Sunset 4 - 10-19-08

Green Cay Sunset #5

Green Cay Sunset #3 - 10-19-08

Sometimes it works to simply let the photos speak for themselves. Good night.

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Green Pepper – Many faces – Facts or Interpretations?

by Sheila Finkelstein on October 18, 2008

Green pepper bares teeth

Angry, baring teeth, reminding me I’m overdue for posting, or simply being a cut pepper? As I was about to put this pepper away, after cutting and eating part of it, the shapes caught my attention and I stopped to photograph it.

Once I viewed this photo on my computer monitor, it became less of “beauty” and more of a “threat.” I saw dark and angry eyes, a meanness emanating from it. Ordinarily , I would run and hide from such anger coming from another person.

Then, of course, I realized that I am the one creating the interpretation, the story, giving it meaning. You, in fact, might see it totally differently. In any case, are there places in your life right now where you are adding heavy meaning to something, putting a negative spin on it?

The fun thing with this pepper is that I can simply cut away some more, enjoy eating the pepper while I’m doing it, and totally change the message. If you found something in your own life, relating to my previous question, what fun and easy actions can you take to create a shift for yourself?

(Note – the Queries that came out of these “pepper”ed thoughts are similar to what are found in my weekly PICTURE TO PONDER. Follow the previous link for more information, use one of the forms on these pages, or simply SUBSCRIBE



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Red Prickly Pear cactus in Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Lindy Erwell photographs Sheila Finkelstein in Boyce Arboretum Sheila on Rocky ledge in Boyce Arboretum

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos

Top photo is Red Prickly Pear Cactus in the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, Arizona, between Scottsdale and Phoenix

In the bottom left picture is Lindy Erwell photographing me as I (in the right photo) aim my camera at her

As I poured through my almost 500 photos from Boyce, for some reason the top photo, with its pinks, contrasts and shadows begged to be the featured photo for the day. So I followed that “little voice.”

In the meantime, since similar cactus plants seemed to be almost everywhere in Arizona, I realized that you would not get a sense of the Boyce Arboretum from this photograph. I, thus, selected the bottom two photos to give you some visuals of the environment and our hike.

The Story
Ordinarily when I am on outings, my camera and I are intent on the elements of Structure and Nature as we meander through wherever we are. On this particular day I became totally captivated with the different postures Lindy assumed as she photographed whatever she was intent on capturing with her camera. Starting with her lying flat on the ground to photograph a grasshopper, as close up as she could, I took many photos with her as subject. (See the start of my Arizona Set on FlickR for a few of the others.)

I was enthralled with the rhythm and the flow of the lines of her body and the ease with which she assumed the postures necessary to fulfill on her intentions. The featured photo of her, I think, gives a sense of that.

Aside from being the “candid camera” subject of so many of my photos, Lindy also volunteered her arm for support for me as I went down many of the rocky paths. She even offered, and managed, to add my camera bag and water bottle to her slim shoulders. I agreed with some reluctance. See LINDY with camera bags.

One of the most exciting aspects of the outing with Shellie, my hostess, and Lindy is that I “met” Lindy when she was a participant in one of my Through and From the Lens Teleclasses, more than two years ago. We have maintained occasional email contact since, mainly as a result of her having become a periodic commenter to various issues of Picture to Ponder. Knowing that she lives in Scottsdale, when I planned my visit, I contacted her, in advance, to see if we could get together.

After our day together, we both shared our delight on the “connections” made through the course and how it seems like we’ve known each other forever.

Although it’s been some time since Lindy has updated her photos on FlickR, you can see many that she took during the four weeks of our course on Lindy’s FlickR Photos.

Reminder – Through and From the Lens is being offered in-person for the first time in South Florida on Saturday, October 25th. “Connections” are one of the bonuses of the course. See Saturday Workshop It will be resumed as a teleclass series starting in November. To be on the list for more details for these classes, fill in your name and time preference on the form on the blog.

Today’s Self-Reflecting Queries
As I think, and write about, my experiences with Lindy, her support during the climbing up and down over rocks at Boyce Arboretum becomes a prime part of my experience and memory.

Today, I invite you to look into your life to see:

1. Are there areas in your life where there are people who want to be helping you and supporting you and you, in your need to be “strong” and “independent,” are either ignoring or outright rejecting their offers?

If so, I invite you to open yourself up to the contribution being offered and see what opens up for both parties. Keep in mind how much you, presumably, enjoy helping others.

2. Are there people in your life with whom you’ve had some connection, would like to have more and, for whatever reason, you haven’t taken that first step?

Again, if “yes”, I invite you to reach out, have some fun and see what opens up for you.

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In addition to my camera, writing is one of the tools I have found most helpful for freeing me up and expanding on my creativity. To support that I meet weekly, by phone, with a few other women interested in writing. We usually do four minute, free-flow writing, prompted by various quotations selected by group members.

Last week, before we started, Morgine and Marifran were expressing their enthrallment with the Sedona Sunset photos in the issue of Picture to Ponder they had received the previous day. I suggested using the photos for our “prompts” for the day. They both stated that I “should” publish what I wrote. I thought their writing was also noteworthy and thus, with permission, I am including their pieces below.
Sedona sunset #1 used for a writing promptSeparating myself from the experience in Sedona, I’ll look at the photo now…. a tiny shimmering light in the mountains of what I know is a strip of clouds and they could be mountains in a distance by the water.

A pearl, a diamond, a jewel – That actually is what the sun is in our lives. How many recognize it as such? I’m enthralled with the richness of color, especially the “copper” color of the section of the sky, looking like a smooth lake.

Where is the smoothness and silkiness in my life? Is it in my skin, no longer to be touched and caressed by my Sam? I gave away all his clothes without thinking of something of his to wrap around me, embrace me, caress me.

How far off from the clouds I’ve moved. I’ll comfort myself knowing he is the light up there, now warming my life with memories. And, oh, I yearn for the touch! ©2008 Sheila Finkelstein

Morgine wrote:

The sun sets and I don’t know where. Its glow is receding behind the clouds and I could be sad the darkness is coming. Yet there is beauty in the darkness, the nighttime, the moon and stars. The whole world changes.

Yet again I am reminded of the illusions with which we live. In reality the sun never stops shining and glowing and radiating its beauty. Somewhere else in the world someone is rising to its resonant beauty. Someone else is rising to till the soil, carry the water, enjoy their day! The sun never really sets except in the illusion in front of my eyes.

It makes me wonder, this beautiful photo, how many other things are always present in my life, if only I can change my point of view. What is ever really gone or missing? Perhaps nothing at all. Maybe all I ever want or need or desire resides within my own space and I only need change my glasses in order to find them. Shift my perspective and zing it comes back into view.

How beautiful the world is and I am and the magic never ends if I keep my wand right here beside me. ©2008 Morgine Jurdan

Marifran wrote:

This may be sunrise, and I see it as a sunset. The dark clouds are hugging the center of the sun’s image and light radiates down to the earth. Above the sun’s center, the light radiates up as well giving light more space.

The dying of the light seems to say it is not going quietly. It makes a spectacular sky circus to squeeze out the last drop of beauty, as if to emphasize its message of triumph before the finale is over. ©2008 Marifran Korb


Sedona Sunset broad view

Sedona Red rocks reflecting sunset

Today’s Picture to Ponder Photos
Sunset in Sedona, Arizona

As I observed the setting sun in scene shown in the top photo, I felt like I could be observing one of our Florida sunsets. The mountains in the distance became indistinguishable as such, especially since the distant trees here in Florida, at sunset, often look like mountains.

The full experience of Sedona’s sunset can be felt in the lower photo, where we experience the awe of the setting sun reflecting on the rocks. The majesty of the Sedona Red Rocks is accentuated by the bright end-of-the-day light, reflecting on the rocks, as contrasted with the pink reflections of clouds in the water here in Florida that I’ve shared with you in the past.

You can see more Sedona sunset photographs on my FlickR pages.

Today’s Self-Reflecting Queries
I’m observing, as I write the photo descriptions above, how much of what I’m sharing is about making comparisons.

For some time, I’ve heard countless people exuberantly talking about Sedona and thanks to an invitation from my good friend Shellie, Zumba Gold Queen (among other roles), I got to experience the Scottsdale/Sedona area of Arizona for almost the first time. When I was 15 years old, I did take the mule train ride down Grand Canyon (more than 50 years – a half a century – ago!)

It was the first time taking a major tourist-type vacation without my beloved Sam, whom most of you know passed away in November. On some level, throughout the journey, I kept silently comparing what I was seeing with what we both had shared in our East Coast travels over the years. I’m continuing to process the trip on many levels.

In the meantime, I have over 1,000 photos to sort through and a Picture to Ponder to deliver. So, taking one step at a time, I’m starting with mid-week and a sunset.

Today, I invite you to look into your life to see:

1. Are there areas in your life where you find yourself endlessly comparing one thing to another, one person to another or to your own expectations?

2. If “yes,” to any of the above, can you see where this might be holding you back from possibly fully experiencing the joy and presence of what is?

3. Are there places where, once you become aware of the “chatter”, you can shift to being present for yourself?

4. Lastly, once again “reflections” were part of the featured photos; albeit the reflections on rocks being a variation on those we’ve shown in the past.

Are there places in your life where you are casting reflections of yourself? If so, are they ones of bright light, perhaps even in a smile that lights up another, or are they more passive, such as the ones in the mirror?

Given, I’ve chosen to be more proactive this week, I think I’ll pick up on the former, looking for ways I can cast a bright light. How about you?

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Through and from the Lens – Workshop Intro in the works

by Sheila Finkelstein on October 6, 2008

Back from Arizona, photos will come later. Right now I am preparing and gearing up for an all-day, in-person workshop in Southeast, Florida, as well as reactivating teleclass workshops to Through and From the Lens – Using Photography as Access to Transformation. Details will follow here and in Picture to Ponder. To be on a specific notification list, simply include your name and email address below. We’ll include a free subscription to the inspirational, weekly Picture to Ponder photo ezine. Be assured, if you are already a subscriber, putting your name here will not result in duplicate mailings!

UPDATE : On -Location Workshop will be held on Saturday, October 25th from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM at a location in Pompano Beach, FL. See WORKSHOP for details and to register.



Abstract photo art

Welcome to my world of color, textures, imagination and creativity, where photography provides access to out-of-the box seeing/thinking and unending possibilities.

personified coral jumping I invite you to take a leap of faith with and have some fun, though some of you may have an underlying fear.

center of palm tree You may find possibilities very directed, radiating from your center core, each extension providing seedlings of more.

rounded cactus Or the path may be more layered, soft and rounded.

palm frond radiating to the left

You might find your ideas unfolding and leaning in one direction, guarded by a portion of yourself.

palm frond up

palm frond sideways

palm fronds facing down

And most certainly, when you explore the same set (though different fronds from the first), from different viewpoints whole new perspectives open up.

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