Tag Archives: creative inspiration

Onward into the Spring of 2020

Spring during the time of coronavirus.  I find myself with all sorts of mixed thoughts.   I’ve been immersed with work stuff, reorganizing closets, the kitchen, buying a new mop to tackle the floors, Zoom gatherings, webinars, etc.  Here in the 23rd day of “shelter in place” what seems to comfort me the most is sinking into meditation, dancing ever so gently to soothing tunes, walks in the Presidio, and communication with loved ones.

And yes, I take deep breaths as Stephanie Ruhle, anchor on national television, reminds us all to do and to remember that we are all in this together.

I look for small victories.  Walking is such a healing act for me.  Yesterday I laid on green grass off a walking trail.   I let the earth hold me as the sun was drenching me with healing energy.  On another walk in our hood, I photographed David, above, walking into what looked like an abyss.  It was dusk and the sky was a companion of sorts with its lingering colors.  It renewed my hope;  just like the rain showers do by nourishing our lands.

I realize how it’s okay to be in a state of unknowing and to relax my self-judgment.  Whatever I do is okay and as I maintain my own courage during this time I am able to extend my service to others.  I do wellness calls to those in need for The Friendship Line.  The service offers “a friend” to mostly seniors – and anyone mentally or physically handicapped.  I learn so much from my callers. By providing active listening skills to their needs,  I am reminded of my own vulnerabilities.

I remember the wise words from a healer years ago – be brave.  Better yet, be braver.

I’ve held on to that.  Keep moving, pushing, relaxing, just being.  And stretch – not only my body– my mind and heart.  Always there is a new trail that keeps opening me to new vistas, new learnings.  Elizabeth Gilbert said recently –to feel with your heart and cultivate with your brain.

I am new every day.  My camera treks where I do.  Companions all around me.

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Zigzagging into the Roaring 2020s

I photographed this image of myself last June.  It was the day before I suffered a pulmonary embolism. (a blockage in the lungs)  One out of three people dies from embolisms.  Mine peaked in a swollen leg.  I had walked five miles on that day and was feeling fine.  The next day my leg began to swell. 

I wound up in the hospital with a clot in my thigh and, because I had fainted at home, a CT scan revealed a piece of the clot had traveled into an artery in my lungs. 

The docs were miffed.  I was an active person. 

They monitored me and eventually took me off estrogen (hormones) – the power drug for women that helps with skin, joints and brain health.  I was on the medication for 22 years.  One risk was clotting.  The docs halted that medication and six weeks later, while my heart was healthy, my knee became stiff from an old injury and basically collapsed. Rehab began and remains a very slow process.

On that fateful walk, as I approached the word heal on the sidewalk before me, I placed myself into the image and photographed it.   Somewhat of a foreshadowing – being blood red and reflecting my shadow back to me.  I was feeling the impact of the image on my being.  I didn’t question.  I just kept moving.  My body took over from that point. 

I was soon forced to realize the impact of that message.  I made changes.  

I retired my 35-year-PR career and stepped fully into my true calling – my art/my photography.  

I am recalibrating.  I’m anchoring myself into a safe place where I go inward and feel the unsteady essence of who I am and what’s to come.  

Luminous Emptiness.  To quote the Buddhist view…” nothing is permanent or fixed.  The entire world of our experience is constantly appearing and disappearing at every moment.”

My dream, my life, is my work.  I move with mindful physical ease as I greet this new year with camera in hand, and begin to step further into a deeper work full of purpose and service.  I was given this gift of seeing beyond through a lens at age 13.  It’s been patiently waiting for me to fully embrace it.  Respectfully I do now, with gratitude and confidence and uncertainty and unknowing.   I am alone and I am in the community of a family of friends.  I walk ever so gracefully.   

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Textures of Life

I was gifted tickets to the Symphony yesterday and reminded of another huge presence in my life.  Music.  As an artist, I have loved so many genres of music and feel so grateful for digital access to almost any artist or tune I seek.  This concert was to be San Francisco’s Symphony Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas’ last concert prior to undergoing surgery before returning for his final season next year leading up to his retirement after 25 years.

He conducted Mahler’s 9th.  No intermission.  And I understand why as I was being transformed through each of the four movements.  The last one, Adagio, was weighted…“Grief gives way to peace, music and silence become one.”

I’ve always believed life is textured;  and as I learned early on about texture in photography, I became more aware of how this word so brilliantly illustrates movement in all areas of my life.

I am teaching a Mindful Photography class at a hospital where patients, (clients) can heal through various methods of occupational therapy.  We spent one entire class on texture and how it layers our world.  I suggested to the students to open their eyes further to feel and soon see how texture reveals itself through various forms.  As I walked home afterward I passed this amazing tree trunk just whistling through to me of its multi-layered texture.  I think of what this magnificent being has endured.  And how in its evolving age is still shining brightly through its passages of life.

It beckoned me to approach and raise my camera to photograph.  My heart was and is still full.  Yesterday at the concert I was reminded of the parallels of music and photography.  Both frame my life and cause me to stretch deeper into the creative process.    And, as a teacher, to pay it forward, purely and simply.  Such abundance abounds.

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The Darkness of the Morning

I make my way into the darkness of the morning –  it’s 4:20 am.  I have been writing and writing and writing.

In the darkness of the morning, I feel the aura of the unknown. I welcome its mystery.   I reach for my trusty oh-so-classic, weighted-by-its years laptop.   It sits on a pillow on my lap with blanket and cat bordering me.

Cat duties done. Coffee made.  I am here with my blank palette to spout where I may.

What is this luscious landscape I’ve embraced?

I awaken to the force of this new day as I write my first thoughts.

In the darkness of the morning, there is possibility. There is newness – an untapped potential of whatever I wish.

I gaze at the blackness outside the window.

Dark.

Sip coffee.

Back to writing –

Darkness triggers my mystic. It gives me permission to dive into the parts I treat sometimes as wickedly demonic.   Just write. Let the words be my shelter on this page of a new day.

Again, I look toward the window and notice that the

dark is becoming gray-like.

Coffee is also in the middle ground – lukewarm yet still beckoning me to sip.

I feel my own wholeness in these moments. I am free of judgments and self-critic banter. The page is my partner to this momentary evolution – a discovery trek to acknowledge and articulate the composition of the inside layers of my divine self.

Cat growls.

Time to stretch, meditate, make my daily call to my 94-year-old Mom. We chitchat and talk of nothingness. I treasure her acknowledgment of my voice.  “Hello, Susie.”

The vibration of her voice nestles inside of me.

I hold the sounds of her lingering words ever so gently.

Heartthrobs.  Hands to heart.  Breathe into that feeling of pure mom love.

I know these calls will soon fade.

Just as I know

there will be a new day

every day.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Exploration of Everything

I am everything.  Before you behind you all around you and most important inside of you, I rest.
I am exploration.  I am your journey to places you have been and those you’ve yet to tap.
Don’t give up on me.  The blur is merely a veil.  You must look deep inside to all the parts calling you.
You will find the way.  You are meeting your light.  Look for me in those not obvious places.  Dive into
unknown parts you encounter.  Be uncomfortable.  Notice the detail. Continue to be discerning.
Be aware.  Always seek.  Hold strong as you cradle the gentleness.  Your calling is before you.
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This is What’s Up

Rain this morning.  Delicious.  Now the sun.  It makes me glow.  Heightened awareness.  Okay so what’s that about….oh I just had an epiphany yesterday and suddenly — profoundly –realized in a somewhat much clearer way than ever before….that all I need to do is show up for me.  No matter how desolate things can be, no matter how tremendous the challenges of every day health, work stuff, relationship fluctuations, etc etc etc  — My real work is simply me.  And once I put that front and center I truly believe I can do, achieve, create whatever I intend.    It’s freeing to live in accord with my own true self.  This is where I begin front and center and this is where I may serve through my art.  May I open my heart wide to those closest and those on the street — to begin again and again.

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The Mighty Sea always changing

The mighty sea always reminds me of beauty and turmoil in my life.  Life’s been bumpy what can I say;  however, it’s surrounded by puffs of grace and so much gratitude.

I pulled this photo out this morning and my heart skipped a beat.  I suppose it always does when I am able to view this kind of image through my camera lens.  It reminds me of the layers of my own life and the need for pauses.  Our self-care is ramped up here in our household to balance out the complexities of everyday life.

What is it about extremes I go to when I slip down the rabbit hole and do the internal scream….”Hold on”…or as Mary Oliver so beautifully articulates….”Mend my life.”   Yeah…that pretty much says it all.  The best part is knowing that the bandaids are close by and at any time I can access my internal garden I’ve tended too so much in the past.

As I edge toward summer I wave goodbye to the windy days of spring and the somewhat unsettling times it has brought me.   I’m an evolving modern elder moving into unknown chapters with glee, expectancy and always…the love of the sea.

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Renewal Around the Corner

golden-cropped1

Autumn has always been a season of quirky shifts for me. The winds remind me that changes are comin; the air can be balmy and/or windy and of late, signal light rain.   I walked out yesterday and held my head back to catch the raindrops on my face. This may sound silly; so what. I suppose I was seeking a cleanse from an unknown source.

I’ve also felt a greater sense of loss this season. I reflect back on my friends and family who have passed on and how they impacted my life. I try and pull up some of their kind words of support to get me through the weepy tears that surface. I remind myself it’s okay to just be with the discomfort of those feelings and let the love that I felt sink deeper into my being.   It reinforces my heart was and continues to open. I stretch further into the sadness and find trickles of newness. Call it hope perhaps. There’s always another way-another option-another day. I take more rest periods.  I walk with neighborhood friends.  I call my 92-yr-old Mom and talk about really nothing;  I hold my sweetheart closer.   I stop and just laugh.  I dance to a favorite old song and freak out my kitty cat in the process.  All this to just renew as I continue to make my way into the complexities of this time.

Life needs us all. It’s that simple. I mark my spot in this crazy beautiful autumn day.

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The fog of Uncertainty

wakeupcall

For days now I am greeted in the early am with layers of fog.  It sets my morning in a way that allows me to move in an unfettered way.  There’s a freedom attached to the fog.  It holds what it is to come and for the few morning hours before the sun moves in there is a beaconing – a calling –  so to speak – step in and create.

I shot these magnificent trees on the coastline in Half Moon Bay — a friend had said the night before — “I hope you capture the fog – it is suppose to be really thick tomorrow.”  Well with that challenge I set out in the early morn and my camera companion did the heavy lifting.  My body moved to the grace of the elements and I found myself in sync with the dance of the atmosphere.

 

 

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A Fog Calling

Fog_shadow_MG_8511

I had been missing the fog horn lately and was surprised how much it shaped my early mornings.  Soon, as the end of June came and well into July and now early August — the fog has appeared front and center and I knew it was time to note its impact – with my camera and my words.  Truly, I love the fog.  There’s an uncertainty that comes with it and gives me a freedom to move in an unfettered way.  I take all the liberties I want in these early mornings of pea soup.

I shot these magnificent trees in this layer of fog after a friend challenged me the night before it all started – “I hope you’re capturing the fog – tomorrow is supposed to be the thickest.”  Well, with that directive, I set out early to Lands End, near the Cliff House – and approached what was to be truly one of the most graceful mornings I can remember.

Tall and statuesque, the trees were shrouded in layers of mist with branches clinging to touches of nourishment.

I felt part of their morning glee as I moved ever so cautiously clicking away — pinching myself I was given a pass to participate in their dance.

I hope you will find this image as inspiring as I do ~ it reminds me that being in the unknown is perfectly okay.  It triggers hope and possibility.

You may check it out further by visiting my gallery:
Fine Art Photography Prints

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