August 2009

Click on Above Image for Information and Testimonials

Excited with the re-launching of BANANA SKY DVD, I’ve been spending a lot of time on creating the “just right” web page for Banana Sky DVD to share the stress and anxiety relief benefits from the healing music and photography that makes up this video. As I’ve been working, I have been getting a lot of great feedback and support from the ELITE FORUM members in Lynn Self-Starters Weekly Tips Forum. I am deeply appreciative.

I am also on my own DAY 8 of a minimum of one-hour of work each day before opening any email, as recommended by Kathleen Gage in the recent Niche Affiliate Marketing System Seminar I attended. This was/is, for me, one of the both challenging and rewarding tips I got out of the weekend. A flash drive with all of the presentations, including Kathleen’s from this conference, plus one earlier in the year, is available on a Flash Drive (coupon code 200aug14) for only $97 as long as the limited number of available copies last.

With my focus being so directed on the best way of sharing BANANA SKY DVD, I have not been out doing much photographing. It was therefore delightful yesterday to simply travel through folders on my computer for this issue of Picture to Ponder, doing a sit-down “discovery walk.”

Today’s photos brought a smile and a feeling of lightness and simple pleasure when I found them.

Pansies in the Dallas (Texas) Arboretum at the end of February.

I love the colors of the two pansies in the top photo and they have such a look of elegance.

The yellow and violet-colored pansies, in the middle photo, seem to be dancing freely and joyfully. The intensity of mid-day sunlight adds to the pleasure of the experience of this photo.

As I went back to the original size when saving the latter photo, I was drawn to the center of one of the flowers and decided to focus in and crop it. Suddenly it took on a stately and commanding presence, as if wanting our attention.

In the almost five years that I have been publishing Picture to Ponder, this is the first time I’ve featured pansies. One reason, undoubtedly, is that pansies are not quite as common here in Florida as they seemed to be in the Northeast United States, where most of my life was spent.

As pretty as they are when I paid attention to them, they somehow seemed to get “lost” in their surroundings, no one flower really standing out from another. Did the fact that they were so “common” have an impact also, or is it simply that I’ve only gotten much more active with my camera in recent years?

The point to my above comments leads into today’s Self-Reflecting Queries. Once again, I invite you to look into your life.

Are there places where there are people, or objects, that are simply a part of a broad field for you and indistinct for their own attributes? Where you’ve simply been taking them for granted as background “noise”, perhaps?

If you find any of the above fits, I invite you to step more closely into the field at which you were looking. Study the individual components. Then, is there one, or more, that now stands out and has a new presence, as the single yellow pansy in the bottom photo? Or perhaps, you’ll find a pair, as in the top photo.

As always, have fun with this.

As always, remember to have fun with this.


My head and my body are still overflowing with the energy I experienced this past weekend at the Niche Affiliate Marketing System Seminar. Today’s photos for me are an expression of that energy. I’m choosing to share some it and if you wish to skip over this section, you’re welcome to simply jump to Today’s Photos and Queries.

During the course of three and a half days, there was a never ending stream of ideas that I, and others, can, and did during the weekend, immediately start implementing in our businesses. Beyond that, I met a couple of people who were either themselves photography experts or connected with some other photographers whom I anticipate adding to the mix I make available to you.

I also had the opportunity to interact with people face-to-face whose courses I’ve taken, books I’ve read and much more. A special blessing for me was meeting and sharing a room with Adela Rubio, whom many of you may know from her programs which I’ve shared here.

Adela and I have been “virtual”, Internet friends for over six years and this is the first time we’ve connected in the same physical space. She also gifted me with a wonderful energy session before we left. I’m sure this is adding to my general overall energy, feeling of accomplishment and focus. Thank you, Adela.

Two other extra-special people connections for me were interacting with Lynn Terry, a top Internet Affiliate Marketer who is knowledgable and generous, almost beyond belief. I’ve been participating in her Elite Forum, now accepting new members.

The other of the “extra-special two” connections was spending time with Ellen Britt whose calls I’ve been on and classes I’ve taken. The ultimate caveat for me was her response to her experience of BANANA SKY DVD and her agreeing to do a video testimonial. Awesome!

You can “meet” many of the course leaders and participants in my NAMS 2 Album I put up on FlickR. Several of the other Self-Starters Weekly Tips Elite Forum members also posted photos, if you’d care to see more – NAMS Workshop Pool.

Three golden sunrises at Delray Beach on an October morning.

As I was briefly looking through photos yesterday, these three were the ones that jumped out, immediately resonating with me. I’m seeing them as a representation of the energy of the NAMS weekend.

The top photo is the sunlight spreading upward and outward; the middle, coming down on us all; and the bottom photo, the reflected sun on beach, landing strong and solid as the waves come in, skip over it and ride out.

I’ve covered a wide gamut here, with a lot of words, and the photos themselves are so beautiful I invite you to scroll back up to spend another moment or two with them.

Allow the energy emanating from them to wash over you. Be open to the experience.

Should you wish to reflect and query, I invite you to ask yourself, “Where is the light and the power within me?” and, perhaps,

“Where, outside of me, do I find the light and energy that warms and sustains me?”

As always, remember to have fun with this.


Ellen Britt lauds Banana Sky DVD:

“Everybody’s eyes were riveted on the screen. This is a very, very unusual presentation…amazing. You’ll never get tired of it.

Just looking at pictures of nature can have a calm soothing effect. For anyone who is undergoing any kind of stress/anxiety situations, this would just be a real gift.”


Using Your Camera to Get Out of a Funk – 7 Tips

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 18, 2009

Do you ever feel stuck? Lacking in energy? Even think you might somewhat be in a state of depression? If your answer is “yes” to any of these statements, continue on to read 7 Tips for Using Your Camera to Reconnect with yourself and others.

You will be tapping into your creative self, which is waiting to be your partner. The only requisites are an open mind and a digital camera. A cell phone camera can suffice. The tips:

1 – Take a daily walk – You are constantly told that walking is good exercise and important for your physical health and energy. Walks are also good for your emotional well-being and for creating shifts in your mental and emotional states. Having a camera available aids in this process.

2 – Have your camera with you at all times – The camera is a tool you can use to help you identify what’s important to you in your life, as well as what you value in yourself and others. It’s a way of making connections with people and with yourself, for discovering what gets you excited.

3 – Look outside yourself – Pay attention to your environment wherever you are – on a walk in your home, outside or even in the supermarket. Once we start using our eyes to look around us and see what’s in front of us and on either side, we are expanding our vision.

4– Stop whenever anything catches your eye – Many times, I’m sure, you’ve passed something that you’ve thought “ugly” or “insignificant” and walked right past it. I invite you to make the decision now to pause whenever an image catches your eye. There might be a reason, so stop and look again.

5 – Make it a Practice – Photograph Everything that Catches your attention – Once you’ve stopped and made that decision, ready your camera and “snap” the photograph. Move closer, take another picture, then back and one more. Before leaving that spot, look around you and see if there is anything else that wants to be photographed.

6 – Continue your walk – In the process of photographing you might have observed that it was the color that attracted you, perhaps the shape or a texture. As you walk, look for others of those elements and once again repeat the photographing process.

7 – View your downloaded photos with new eyes – When you are back from your walk and have downloaded the photos to your computer, once again practice stopping at whatever images catch your eye this time as you run them through with whatever download program you use. You might be surprised to discover things that you did not even notice before.

Following these steps are guaranteed to move you out of any “funk” you might be in. Using your camera in this way to to open yourself up to seeing new things will also expand into other areas of your life, work and relationships.

For learning more on how observations with your camera can open you up to new ways of seeing and learning more about yourself, continue with the Red Onion Story #1 – Peeling Away the Layers of an Onion, Analogous to Peeling away the layers of Ourselves. You can also experience creating your own transformational shifts in one of the Expanding Your Vision Through and From the Lens telecourses.

© Sheila Finkelstein All rights reserved. These tips are offered by Sheila Finkelstein, Artist, Photographer, Writer, Coach.

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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!


These orchids from the American Orchid Society Gardens stood out for me as I was selecting photos to feature in the last issue of Picture to Ponder. For whatever reason, the rooster photographs, along with the mystery of the feathers, won out. Today, though I had not yet saved it in the ezine files, it was easy for me to find it.

When I first started PICTURE TO PONDER, four plus years ago, only one photograph was featured in each issue. Somewhere along the line, as I reduced the number of issues per week, it grew to two or three images per issue.

Today I started looking for others, wondering especially if yesterday’s full moon photos would fit. Then I stopped and remembered the value of sometimes staying present to one thing for a moment or two, or more, in our hectic lives.

So, I present today’s photo to you with the invitation to merge yourself in its beauty. Then take a few moments to reflect on the beauty in your life.

As stated above, orchids from the American Orchid Society Greenhouse. I could research to identify this particular genus and for today I’m striving for simplicity, so I will leave it unnamed.

For those wanting more of my photographs, you’ll see here that  I have done two additional posts, with photographs, on this blog since the last Picture to Ponder post. Scroll down for the previous two subsequent.

Above, I invited you to immerse yourself into the photograph above. The orchids might have resonated with you, the colors, perhaps an imagined fragrance. There might be something in the background that has meaning for you. And, perhaps you accepted my invitation and simply allowed yourself a meditative moment or two.

I could ask you to explore, for yourself what it was, and from there you could possibly create a bunch of Self-Reflecting Queries. On the other hand, since I’m suggesting you use today’s orchids photograph to be simply present.

I do, though, invite you to creating some form of trigger, a way to remind yourself of the experience. Perhaps touch one of your fingers to your thumb, visualizing the orchids, or whatever other peaceful image might have surfaced for you. Then use that “trigger” as reminders to pause during chaotic moments.

Remember also to be open to all the different forms of beauty in your own life – in both your visual and interactive environments.

For today, I wish you a gentle, restful kind of fun.

PROGRAMS in which you might have an interest –

For those who might be, or planning on, building a successful Internet Marketing Business:

I am excitedly looking forward to going to Atlanta next weekend for the Niche Affiliate Marketing System program.

One of the bonuses I am looking forward to after the conference is over is receiving a 2 GB flash drive, loaded with all the recordings and PDFs from both workshops 1 & 2. There will be more than 6 days of instruction, 200 pages of PDF text manuals, multiple special reports from more than 20 instructors.

Now you, too, can have this. Though it’s not the same as being there in person, I was delighted to learn of a pre-conference special where non-attendees can get the same flash drive for only $97! You can get one by going to NAMS4U2 FLASH DRIVE

– If you are interested in doing more exploration in writing for yourself, my friend and mentor Julie Jordan Scott has the second Summer Writing Intensive Creativity Camp (at Home or wherever you happen to be) starting on Monday, August 10th. See SUMMER WRITING CAMP for details.

ATTENTION for those of you who might be interested in ENERGY SHIFTING

1 – My friend Amethyst Wyldfyre has a call on Thursday, August 13th – Shift Your Energy, Ramp Up Your Business . She will be sharing information and experiences for her upcoming “Energize to Monetize” program.

2 – My friend Adela Rubio has introduced an Energy Shift Program that has already sold out twice.

Adela asks:
“Are you ready to Master Your Highly Sensitive Nature?

Do you consider yourself to be ‘highly sensitive?’
Does it feel like a burden or a blessing?

What if your hypersensitivity were actually your super power, a gift that provides access to deep connection and intuitive knowledge, a tool that could empower you and your clients?


Purple Flowers Beautify a Wall

by Sheila Finkelstein on August 4, 2009

Purple Flowers in front of Wall

In my previous post I featured a photograph of a wall in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.  Here is another wall in the same neighborhood.  The difference is this one is the outside wall of a home. The attraction is the display of purple flowers enhancing it.

It’s the aliveness and brightness of the  flowers which draw our attention.  Anything the wall might say is camouflaged by the latter.  This one is bright and clean and provides a great background and contrast.  Added to the visual appeal of the whole scene is the subtle repetition of shapes in the stucco that are comparable in the leaves and flowers.

I could go on, probe, add meaning (my own) and why not simply let it be and enjoy the flowers? Sometimes the easiest and most pleasurable seems to insufficient.   For now, I WILL let it suffice.

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Weathered Wall

In going through my photo files recently, I was drawn to this photograph.  There is an identified something that attracts me to old walls that have been weathered through the years. This one caught my attention when I was walking through Germantown, in Philadelphia on a visit last year.

And, once again, I am drawn to the patterns and textures.  Rather than add any more interpretations, I’m simply posting it here for your meditation and mine.