Tag: Nature Photography

Flow Like a River

Flow Like a River

“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” Rainer Maria Rilke

The manatee played with my vest, searching for something interesting to satisfy her curiosity. I kept flooding my mask as I laughed into the snorkel while holding my big underwater housing at an awkward angle for a selfie with my friend. This was a moment when unbounded joy leaped from my heart and the experience of Oneness was celebrated. I think Rilke had it right….be as a child and let life flow.

I see that with musicians, especially at venues like The Frog Pond in Silverhill, Alabama, where singer-songwriters are encouraged to jam. When the minds of musicians go into that flow, they sync and magic happens. Literally….it unfolds before our eyes.

I want to explore the world with the spirit of flow and openness. When I can be in that place within my Self, I can find holy ground no matter where I roam.

 

When I was in Ireland last September, on the island of Inis Mor, I allowed the spirit of flow to take my feet and surrendered to the direction it led. The path dead-ended at an ancient bee hive stone hut. Far in the distance was a beautiful white horse. I couldn’t see a way to the horse but longed to meet it.

Later that day, our retreat attendees went with a guide to the same place and there, in front of the stone hut was the white horse…waiting for me. Excitement bubbled forth as I greeted the horse. I called her Fiona. Later, when I looked up the name, I found out it means white. She and I still have a strong connection even though there is an ocean between us.

Even in my painting, I follow the muse of humor and fun. Buddy meets a dolphin….Buddy and the whales….much of my work with paint and canvas is a celebration of color, fun and life.

You don’t have to be frisked by a manatee or meet a white horse who likes to smile to connect with the flow. Everyone’s flow and presence can look different. The key, perhaps, is to open our hearts and minds to surrender, to acceptance….and then simply play.

Musicians can be excellent examples of how to be in the flow…to not force or hold back. When they are having fun…it’s magic.

What magic would you like to experience? What calls your heart? What holds you back?

Whatever you do, stop wasting time and waiting for the right moment to be in your flow. Open your heart and mind and leap into the River of Life. “May what I do flow like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” And I might add to Rilke’s contemplation that you might find Holy Ground wherever you are in that flow.

I invite you to listen to Luka Bloom’s music and follow the way of the Sacred Child to find Holy Ground.

 

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

A true self-portrait evolves and changes as we change and grow. Several years ago I created one and found it the other day. I decided to create a new one and see how it might be different.

Our lives are works of art that evolve as we change and grow. I’m so grateful for the adventures, both inner and outer, that have shaped my life.

What shapes your life?

The Art of Nature

The Art of Nature

I stood in awe as waves crashed in shallow waters. Their foamy beauty rose and crested and curled as the momentum carried them into powerful, moving forms of art.

The wind was strong, in fact sometimes so strong I had to brace myself. I had to use care to protect my camera from blowing sea spray and rain but I couldn’t leave, such was the magnetism of the constantly-changing art formations.

Standing on the pier gave the perfect view of waves close-up and in the distance. Sometimes I would focus on a single wave and track its birth, growth and death. It was like I was shown some mystery of nature as the process continued again and again and the details of it froze in my photograph frames.

Long sets of waves captured my attention as well and the relationship of swells was revealed as I watched, mesmerized by the intense display. The energy was so strong I finally had to leave because I was exhausted from standing in strong winds that seemed to strip me of gravity.

I wasn’t alone on the pier as other people stood along the rails transfixed by the large waves. I think we all need to experience something larger than ourselves. In a strange way it made me feel more at ease, more at home in my own skin to witness something so much bigger and stronger than me.

I wonder if we don’t need more experiences with nature where we understand that in the end, nature will always have the last ‘word.’ We need the perspective that we aren’t in control, that we have to live with conditions around us. It’s very humbling and I suspect most humans in our culture could use a little less ego and a lot more humility.

Yesterday and this morning along the Alabama Gulf Coast it was beautiful to witness the power of nature’s art. It is a different story for all those in the main path of the storm. My heart goes out to all life forms who are still experiencing suffering and loss as I write this.

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It’s unusual to see a major hurricane make landfall during the day. Perhaps we needed to witness the fury and power and realize that as we contribute to warming the atmosphere through fossil fuels, we are part of the problem that feeds huge storms such as this.

 

Darkness Within

Darkness Within

It’s easy to see the darkness exposed in our country….politics, citizens, potential judges, appointees. So many protections and laws that make our country great are being rolled back…environmental protection, protection for children, families, women….there’s no need to list the many assaults on our way of life that appear to be happening to enrich a very small percentage of privileged individuals while the rest of us suffer. There is no denying or debating those facts.

The bothersome thing I’ve noticed is my own ability to hate. I wasn’t aware that the strong seeds of hate, planted when I was a child raised in the Deep South, were being watered by the injustices seen daily…and the hate was going out to the racists, fascists, the drunk white boys and men who get away with it, those who destroy the environment to line their pockets….the list is long so I’ll stop here and say how uncomfortable I am with the fact that how I was taught to hate by society as a child wasn’t healed completely so it’s rearing it’s very dark and ugly head.

And the truth is this….when I practice hate it fuels the evil happening to everything I hold dear. When we practice collective hate….against evil….it fuels the evil. Read that again….and then pause for a few moments.

Those of us that claim to be on a higher spiritual, moral and ethical path must examine our own hearts and keep shining the light of awareness into our darkness. How could anyone mock a woman brave enough to tell her story? How could anyone mock a physically challenged reporter? How could….how could….HOW COULD??? We RAGE! We cry out for justice. And friends….let’s be honest….we feel hate….against the haters.

We say this is a time of greater awakening, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius….a time where all will walk as brothers and sisters. And I submit this: Until we look within ourselves to examine our own hearts and minds for seeds of hatred, we are part of the problem.

I want clean air and water. I want grizzly bears to have protection. I want whales and dolphins to be protected from ship strikes and sonar tests and fishing line entanglements. I want children to be with their parents. I want non-biased, non-political supreme court justices. I want a leader that doesn’t embarrass our country with his venom and abhorrent comments on all manner of issues. I want lawmakers that care for our elderly and those that are less fortunate. I want us all to get along no matter our religion, color, or economic status.

All of those ‘wants’ are great but first I must look within myself and search not only for light, but for darkness. Don’t be afraid of the darkness….and don’t be afraid of the light….both are within. Which one will we choose to water?

Luka Bloom, Don’t Be Afraid of the Light


So….what do we do with the angst we feel? The frustration? The anger? Stay tuned….I’ll be sharing ideas soon about how to stay engaged with our best light and how to refrain from practicing hate. Put on your seatbelts….it’s gonna take us rooting out some old patterns and beliefs. Love to you all!

Rebirth into the Sacred

Rebirth into the Sacred

“We are bleeding at the roots, because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars, and love is a grinning mockery, because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the tree of Life, and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the table.”  D.H. Lawrence

Sounds True is broadcasting an event including people that I have loved for many years….Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Joanna Macy, Marianne Williamson and many more. This morning I viewed an interview with Matthew Fox. He reminded me of the core of my growth…the work I am called to do–Honoring the sacred in all life.

Kabir, the 15h century mystic poet said, “You have been asleep for millions and millions of years. Why not wake up this morning?”

When we connect with the sacredness of all life, we come into balance with ourselves and the world. We discover Oneness in the realm of the sacred.

Fox said to remember the inherent friendship we have with Nature and to remember because of that we are never alone. “The Universe is friendly and yearning to connect with us….It loves us.”

The simple act of finding the sacred in everyday places takes us on a journey to wholeness. Connecting with the Cosmos and Nature is the primary way to connect with the Sacred.

Go deep, Fox reminded us. Get down to the level of being and non-being to emerge with mindfulness.

“Recovering the Sacred is vital to healing the self and the planet,” he said.

Be mindful that all life is sacred. Humans are one strand in the web of life, not the entire web.

Allow yourself to be awed….by a whale or a flower….by a friend….by the night sky….or ocean….or mountains. Every day take time to find the sacred in life and see how your life shifts….said Simone. 🙂

….Remember in Judaism the secret name for God is compassion. Jesus was a Jew and taught compassion….sort of let the secret out. Compassion friends….that’s the root of how we make a difference…beginning in our own lives and with all others we meet be they two-legged, four-legged, winged, finned, or creepy crawlers…or standing trees or rocks or bodies of water. Everything is Sacred.