March 2010

If you’ve been following me for a while you know that Parkinson’s is the debilitating disease that my beloved husband Sam battled for many years.  Thus I am committed to supporting research and awareness of PD.

In line with this, each year for the past four, I’ve acknowledged American Parkinson’s Disease Association’s April Annual Walk Month by featuring tulip photos in at least one issue of Picture to Ponder. (See APDA Walk Story below for more information and the “why” of tulips.)

If you are celebrating Passover, Easter or life itself, a most joyous holiday to you.

Today’s Photos


Parrot tulip opening up

Parrot Tulips in different stages of opening – The sensory experiences are so strong from these two images that I invite you to simply be with them, without further descriptive words from me.

Story of Today’s Photos
I was thrilled with how these photographs turned out and simply wanted to take some time to luxuriate in them. Then so you could see more of the Parrot Tulip photos and others, last year, I uploaded them onto my Flickr pages. See TULIPS set

Almost immediately I received an email inviting me to add each of them to the Parrot Tulips Group on FlickR. I went to the group and was in awe of many of the photos. I had never before paid attention to the beauty of this particular variety of tulips, though I’ve photographed them in the past. It makes me happy to share them with you.

Self-Reflecting Queries
(Note – This is a repeat of the Queries from last year.  Internal conversations do seem to linger at times.)

Part of putting together today’s issue of Picture to Ponder had me looking at my own issues around money, asking for it for my services and asking for it for someone else, or for a charity to which I’m committed in supporting (see APDA Story below). I would assume that there are many of you out there who have neither of these issues around “asking” or “inviting” and that there are those who do.

As I write, I’m reminded that the same emotional issues are not even always about money. I’m recalling times that I did not invite someone to do attend a party I might be giving, go with me someplace, or into a myriad of other situations.

I make the prejudgment that they would not be interested in my invitation, so I don’t put myself out, take a chance on a refusal. The bottom line result is that ultimately neither of us benefit as I stay stuck in my “fear of rejection.”

I invite you to look and see if you find yourself anywhere in the above scenario. If so, I invite you to take one small action forward in possibly a new direction. To do this, what might you have to give up?

Keep in mind, the action may be something as simple, or perhaps for you not so simple, as saying “Hi” to, or smiling at, a stranger.

I also invite all of you to take a few moments to acknowledge yourselves for strides you’ve taken in your life where none of the above fits for you, or where once some of it did and you’ve moved past those strangleholds.

For what accomplishments can you, or will you choose to, acknowledge yourself today?

As always, when you’re finished, I invite you to share your experience with today’s photos and writing in the comments section below.
The APDA and Walk Story –
The TULIP, a pink-edged one, is the symbol used for Parkinson’s Disease and April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Thus in March/April, though not always the “correct” tulip, I have featured two to four photos in Picture to Ponder and created special Tulips pages with more, since 2006.

Starting with TULIPS 2006 you can follow links to the issue that year. Links for Tulips 2007 and 2008 can be found at the bottom of that page.

PD is the second most common neurodegenerative disease experienced by man, Alzheimer’s disease being the most common. See Overview in the Pharmaceutical Journal for some detailed information. For those who like videos, check out VIDEO, for a short one with good information from a Georgia APDA chapter.

Each year, the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (APDA) holds fund-raising walks throughout the United States. All MONEYS raised goes to RESEARCH for a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.

Given, as mentioned above, that my beloved husband Sam (see Remembering Sam), despite the Parkinson’s Disease with which he was afflicted, was an integral part of how I initially approached Picture to Ponder, I have been moved to support APDA walks here and on the above-mentioned pages. I appreciate your understanding.

Sam was the original photographer in the family (see B&W photos) and also a large part of who I am as a photographer. Thus I feel comfortable in sharing this with you in Picture to Ponder. I do remain active in support groups, and will continue to acknowledge April and and the importance of the walks.

I am also inviting you, if you are so moved, to support research for Stamping out Parkinson’s Disease by contributing to one of the walks. For those in South Florida, the Walk this year will take place in Lake Ida Park in Delray Beach on Saturday, April 10th. Registration starts at 9:15 AM, the walk at 11 AM. For more information and scheduled walk locations in your area, if you are in the United States, scroll down the APDA national site.

If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation, 100% going to research, go directly to the South Florida “Make a Donation” page. Simply type “WALK” in the “Person’s Name” space, and/or in the “Special Instructions” box, before your final payment submission. Or, certainly, if you do wish to donate, feel free to make a donation to your local chapter, if that be your preference.

Programs I recommend:
For Bloggers and those interested in blogging –
Starting Monday, April 5th, Bea Field’s has a 3-week jump start program for people who are newbies interested in learning to blog. Then her 12-week Blogging Maniac Program starts again on April 26th.

I have participated twice in Bea’s courses, always picking up something new. There is no one on the Internet whose work I’ve experienced who delivers as much content as she does for such a minimal investment.

If you have any interest in learning more about blogging and/or integrating it with other Social Media, I strongly recommend that you check out what’s available in the program. Simply click on Blogging Maniac and when you get to the page scroll down the page, near the end to get the info links to both courses.


One of the things I’ve most enjoyed over these past five plus years of publishing Picture to Ponder are the connections I’ve made with individual subscribers and resulting experiences.

A few months ago one subscriber wrote to say my photography reminded her of Miksang. Not being familiar with it, I, of course, Googled and found the Miksang Institute of Contemplative Photography. The latter phrase made my heart sing.

Then another long-time subscriber, from Connecticut, wrote that she would be coming to West Palm Beach for a Miksang Workshop the end of April. Delightedly I signed up for the course too. It then occurred to me that perhaps there might be one of more of you who could also be interested. If so, see Photography Workshop.

Today’s Photos

building reflecions in large windows in Fort Lauderdal [click to continue…]


If you are ever feeling stuck or in a funk and you’ve been around me for a while, you might hear my voice say, “Grab your camera. Pay attention to what catches your eye and take some pictures.” I’ve written about this in articles and you’ve most likely read my RX in the PDF file you received as a new, or renewing, subscriber. You can claim it by subscribing to Picture to Ponder.

Oftentimes I do I forget my own advice. Though I almost always have my camera with me, I may not use it. Last night, in a funk, I went for a walk at Green Cay Wetlands. When I finally pulled my camera out, I remembered, “Oh yes. Why didn’t I think of this in the first place, as immediate access for shifting my mood?”

Today’s Photos
As I started walking and taking photographs of wood knots, I got into conversation with a young boy, Grady, and his mother. I stopped and showed them the Green Cay Wood Knot Lion, still in my camera. We then discovered another possible lion, or other critter, right under our feet. Grady did not agree with his mother and me on what it was. So the next time I made a discovery, he went close down to inspect it.

boy studying woodknot on the boardwalk at Green Cay WetlandsClick on the photo to see Wood Knot the Boy is studying

We continued our walk, made some other “finds”, and then stopped at one point. My young friend climbed on the railing to watch the blue-winged teals. As I photographed, Grady continued talking about a story that was evidently on his mind from earlier conversation. His chattering along with the movement of the bird, is in the 32-second, fun video below.

Grady and his mother proceeded to move on as I stopped to record the two blue-winged teals below. This is a 34-second video in which you can experience the busy-ness of the teals and the peace of the scene.

Click on photo to see the video online.

Self-Reflecting Queries
Obviously, from my story above, you can see that once again, I had accessed shifting my own “funky” mood.

Do you have a regular practice that will do this for you? If so, do you have a reminder system in place that will have you use the practice whenever needed?

And now, in a totally different conversation, let’s look at “paying attention.” If you’ve watched, and listened to, the first video with the boy chattering, you’ll have heard me break in with the suggestion to look at the water coming out of the duck’s beak.

I invite you, for the next day, or more, to pay attention to your own listening. Are you always full present to what the other person is saying or are your thoughts going elsewhere?

When you notice you’re not, are you planning on what you are going to say next, concentrating on something else, or is your mind simply wandering?

If/when you catch yourself, I invite you to stop, apologize to the person who is speaking, if appropriate, and ask for a recap. Then fully enjoy being in the moment with that person

As always, have fun with this, and please share your experiences in the COMMENTS section at the bottom of this post.

Awakened Wisdom
I have been invited to participate, offering a bonus, in the launch on April 20th of a new book, “Awakened Wisdom – A Guide to Reclaiming Your Brilliance”, by Patrick Ryan.

Over the past three decades, Patrick, an executive coach and a former Buddhist monk, has been on a spiritual quest that eventually led him to devise a system of teachings he calls “Awakened Wisdom Experiences” (AWE). For years he taught this system worldwide at his workshops of the same name.

Now, at long last, he has consolidated the teachings of Awakened Wisdom Experiences into a book, appropriately entitled, “Awakened Wisdom – A Guide to Reclaiming Your Brilliance.” This means his unique spiritual teachings can now reach a much wider audience around the globe. You can read more about the book here: AWAKENED WISDOM.

The book Awakened Wisdom is written in two sections. The first is a deeply spiritual exploration on what it means to be human. The second section explores what Patrick calls “Eight States of an Awakened Life”. These eight states help you tap into your divine wisdom to create more of the life you want. Here are the eight states from Patrick’s book:

1) A Good State of Understanding
2) A Good State of Intention
3) A Good State of Words
4) A Good State of Being
5) A Good State of Purpose
6) A Good State of Effort
7) A Good State of Practice
8) A Good State of Doing

In addition to bonuses from 40 other people, Patrick is giving away an EXTRA special gift of his own: An Awakened Wisdom VIRTUAL Experience!

When you buy the book, you will be given free admission to this special 2-day live “virtual” event, taking place on May 5th and 6th, 2010. On that event, Patrick will personally guide you through the Eight States of an Awakened Life. If you cannot make the live event, it will be recorded, but it will be available only to those who buy the book on April 20th.

To find out how you can buy this book on April 20th and claim Patrick’s gift, and the others, just go to Awakened Wisdom Launch When you go to that page, be sure you enter your email address in the form, and Patrick will send you a “launch reminder” to make sure you don’t miss the April 20th date.


Unfurled Banana Petal of Banana Flower offers Possibility

by Sheila Finkelstein on March 12, 2010

Do you ever want to get out in the sunlight and can’t? Do you know others who are stuck inside? BANANA SKY DVD offers the possibility of the experience any time it’s desired.

Below are some testimonials, not on the site, that I sent to Picture to Ponder subscribers thinking they would appreciate them.  Although the video was initially targeted toward caregivers, it reaches beyond. You can feel the excitement and see the universality of the DVD simply by scanning the statements below.

“I just watched Banana Sky and I found it brought tears to my eyes. It felt alive and quite wondrous. Truly life is a miracle.”

Banana Curl cover photo for Banana Sky DVD

Today’s Photo
a combination of an unfurled petal of the banana flower, holding a pool of rain water, superimposed on a photograph of splitting banana plant leaves. In awe of the photo, I created it as the background for the front cover in the disk case.

You can see the art on all sides of the case on the ORDER page.

According to recipients, BANANA SKY is:
“… wonderful. I gave one to a friend and he also liked it. Thanks for a lovely DVD.”

“. . . . a soothing, colorful gem created by two talented artists who embrace life, frame-by-frame! I look forward to future DVD’s.” Roz Davidson, Congressional Honors winner

“… Phenomenal! The Music, the Photography – the Sequencing.”

“… was phenomenally interesting to me… I never knew banana trees were so beautiful!” – Dan Hanneman, The Blockbuster

“… a lovely portrayal of your creative sense of the world and the
music fits it well. I thoroughly enjoy having it play on one computer while working on the other, as they are side by side.” Kay Blevins

“… quick & nourishing way to release stress during a hard day at work, like taking a walk outside! I watch it on my breaks and am rejuvenated!!” – Morgine Jurdan, Animal and Nature Communicator/Coach


“After dinner, [we] put it on our 56″ TV and we sat mesmerized by your unbelievable, fantastic photography. I thought any one of the slides would make the most gorgeous painting!

The coloring is absolutely brilliant, especially when there are no clouds in the sky!!! The music is excellent AND very relaxing…” Dellie Rosen

You can PREVIEW Banana Sky DVD and view a video testimonial, or go directly to the ORDER page.


Today’s swan photos were taken on the hotel grounds between sessions of Suzanne Evans “Be the Change Event” in which I was a participant last month. Before I describe the pictures and how they fit in with our lives, I want to update you on some exciting news.

If you are a new subscriber to Picture to Ponder, you may be unfamiliar with my Banana Sky DVD (more below). The exciting news is that it is going onto the retail market, being offered by a large company that does programs for caregivers. This means that our price, to match theirs, will be increasing by a minimum of four dollars at midnight on Sunday, March 14th.

To bring the restorative benefits of nature into your home any time, day or night, on your TV or your computer, at the still-low price of $7.97 you can go directly to the ORDER PAGE, or for Ellen Britt’s Video Testimonial and others, plus a one-minute preview, go to BANANA SKY DVD.

Today’s Photos

swan in pond
Considering what’s next

swan searching deep within
Searching deep within

swan still searching
Still searching for the last pieces rippling out into the world

Swan with top of head missing from photo
Confident in the reminder that it’s not all in the head –
Trust the whole body

Though these photographs were not taken with any of the above captions in mind they are reflective of my current journey into self-discovery. I suspect you, too, may relate to some of what’s expressed in the captions.

And, MORE IMPORTANTLY, I invite you to BE with each of the images without my words. Enjoy each for what it is and, if any “send” a message to you, play with that.

Self-Reflecting Queries
For today’s queries, I invite you to make a query for yourself from each of the photo captions above, IF this FITS for you.

In this week’s Writers Camp with Julie Jordan Scott, mentioned in Picture to Ponder last week, I have been grappling with the role of writing in my life. Some people are “driven” to write. That’s not the case with me.

Aside from my daily Morning Pages (Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY), where writing frees me up for the day, writing often feels like a “burden” and I do it because I made a commitment to do so, such as for this weekly Picture to Ponder.

One of the recurring themes in Picture to Ponder has been the freeing power of taking action, one step at a time, “getting out of our heads” (Swan photo #4). I invite you to look into your life to see if there is a current place where you are “burrowing” your head (Swan photo #2). If so, what single action can you take to start yourself in motion?

Is there an intention or commitment behind it? If not, setting that could be your first action step.

As always, have fun with this, and please share your experiences in the COMMENTS below.

Banana Sky DVD
Banana Sky DVD documents the life of a banana plant from pre-fruiting the the end of the life of the one plant. As importantly it reflects the beauty of the experiencing nature, particularly that of sunlight.

I discovered that watching a slide show of a selection of the photos would always relax me, especially during the moments I was experiencing hard-to-control anger, as a caregiver, at the effects of Parkinson’s Disease on my beloved Sam and, consequently, on both of us.

Sensing the possibility and power of the Banana Sky DVD video, I contacted Jeannie Fitzsimmons to use her healing music as an integral part of the experience.

The resulting DVD was set up as an endless loop that will play continuously on a DVD player connected to your TV, reaching those who are not on computers, and on any computer DVD player.

Though initially targeted toward caregivers, Banana Sky DVD has become popular with anyone looking to have immediate, 24/7, access to the healing powers of nature anytime.

As mentioned above, the price will be increasing to $12 at midnight on Sunday, March 14th. Save four plus dollars by going to ORDER now, or PREVIEW for more information and to read testimonials first if you wish.


Dried Roses and New Growth on Stems – Winter into Spring

by Sheila Finkelstein on March 9, 2010




Three plus weeks ago, these six roses were part of a dozen that were an integral part of a large mixture of flowers my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren gave me on Valentine’s Day.  They were acknowledging the sadness I felt, missing my husband who has been gone for more than two years.  I wrote about the experience on Writing for Healing. 

Then two days later published the first of the rose photos and wrote about the experience here on Photography and Transformation. A week after that, impressed with the longevity and beauty of six of the roses, eight days after my original writing, I once again photographed and posted a photo of Beauty in an Aged Rose.

I thought that both the roses and I were finished with the photo journaling.  And then, lo and behold, the other day I noticed new growth – green leaves –  on the stems of these flowers that have been off the plant for who-knows-how-long.  

In a virtual writing retreat, or “camp”, as Julie Jordan Scott refers to it, Julie has been speaking of relating our experiences to those of coming out of Winter into Spring.  These now dead roses with the new growth seem to be such a metaphor for that I felt the necessity of once again photographing and sharing this “miracle.”  

All kinds of stories come to my mind. Seems I think in stories much of my life.  A friend says that these roses are Sam talking to me. And, putting all of that aside, I am attempting to cut down on my words.  So I leave you today with mainly the photos and the opportunity for you to share your own stories, if you so wish, in the COMMENTS section just below.


Despite thousands of photos in my external hard drive, I was at a loss for featured photos for today’s issue of Picture to Ponder. Aside from some full moon shots and the roses of the past two issues, nothing much has grabbed my attention in the past week or so.

I then reflected on the fruit and vegetable cutting photo session, and some of the participants’ empowering experiences, in the last class of our Through and From the Lens Point and Shoot photo course and decided to “play” with that subject matter. Thus,

Today’s Photos

My first action was to cut a mushroom in half. I started smiling immediately as two “faces” instantly showed up. Despite the fact the faces were not particularly happy ones, I couldn’t help laughing at the irony of how quickly, it seems, I see “faces.”

In the top and bottom photos, two different mushroom halves are resting on my stovetop. The half in the middle photo is in a ceramic dish I made on potters wheel years ago. Though more “artistic” in overall feel, the “face” seems to be angry or snarling, more so than in the other photos. It is same image as in the bottom photo. Yet, note the changes when on a different surface and viewed from a slightly different angle.

If you enjoy writing, these photos could be great prompts.

Self-Reflecting Queries
As mentioned above, I was “stuck” for subject matter for today’s issue of Picture to Ponder, so I went for my camera. The latter, as you more than likely know, is one of my main tools, and “prescriptions”, for quickly shifting moods and perspectives.

What “tools” or methods do you use for creating state changes for yourself? I’d love to read your responses in the COMMENTS section below, including any writing your might have done with the photos as prompts.

In addition to simply cutting into a vegetable and then taking pictures, I went into creative mode by locating, positioning, and repositioning my subject matter. I became attuned to the differences by changing points-of-view. When you are in “stuck” situations, do you remember to look at them from different angles?

Lastly, are you aware of the number of ways in which you shift into creativity to make a difference for yourself?

As always, have fun with this.

Programs I recommend:
for Creavity, Writing and Getting to Expand your Knowledge of Yourself

Although not planned as such, my concluding query on knowing yourself and your creative strengths, interestingly, leads right into my friend, and mentor, Julie Jordan Scott’s one-week March Intensive Writing Camp starting this upcoming Monday, March 8th.

These five days with Julie are only $27, an incredible value! Get all the details at WRITERS CAMP.