This is my FIRST post for this blog! That's a big, huge deal for me, and I'm super exited. I have another BLOG for my photography work, and this BLOG is devoted to non-photography topics I love to write about. It will, of course, have some pretty awesome photos, though.
- Are you looking for some down to earth information about self-care, healing and spirituality?
- Will some real life stories of inspiration brighten your day?
- Do you or does someone you know have dementia and you're waiting for my book, Love Still Lives Here to come out? (Me too, by the way, and I'll post about it)
- Are you looking for more meaning in your life, but not sure how to get there?
- Are you ready for some beauty in your life?
YOU Are in the RIGHT Place!
WELCOME! Like all of us, I am always growing and learning and I can't wait to hear what you have to say about your OWN journey. I'll talk about my favorite books (I am a book junkie), my work as a legacy photographer helping people to tell their own stories in creative ways, share some stories of inspiration and so much more.
There's a BIG Elephant in the Room and It's Stomping on Our Hearts
I'm going to begin with a little talk about the BIG elephant in the room. This is NOT a political blog post, though. I don't want to say never, but I can almost bet I will never post a political blog post. Politics affect us though. We'll talk about that.
One doesn't have to look far to notice that this is a very challenging time for our country. Social media is on fire with happiness and hatred, with joy and jabs, with 'friending' and 'unfriending' and well, just plain old chaos. There are protests and fights and plenty of anger. Many of us have taken some time away from it all. Even the least sensitive among us has to feel the whirl of chaotic dust about us.
I was fortunate enough to be at a Bonnie Raitt concert this week the night of our infamous presidential election of 2016. The concert was amazing, by the way, and oh, the healing power of music. Even so, before we even stepped onto the busy streets of Austin after the concert, the feeling that change was upon us was evident.
No matter who you thought should've won, what party your cheer for or if you're happy about the outcome, it is likely that you've been stung.
The tension was so thick in the air, even during that awesome Bonnie Raitt performance, that I found myself sensing a most unusual sensation around me: fear, worry and a sense of dread. I found myself desperate to find some lesson in all of it. We can deny that things are uncertain in our world, but still have peace within. It is that inner peace just like the fear, after all, that impacts the whole world.
Love Always Trumps Fear (no pun intended)
We have a choice. We can live and love one another with tolerance, or we can join in on the fear parade. I choose LOVE. How do you do this? Begin by simply stating: I choose Love. Then do it any chance and any way you can. When your thoughts go to what seems scary and awful and all that stuff out there, choose to focus instead on the beauty around you. There's plenty of it. I thought about the families I interviewed for my upcoming book, Love Still Lives Here. They are faced with a diagnosis of a debilitating disease that has no cure: dementia. They'll get worse and rely on loved ones to tend to their needs. There is grief from those who have the disease and those who care for them, but you know what I found? There is also laughter, joy, strength, courage and yes, LOVE. One woman who shared her story cares for her two sons who are in their 40s. She has already lost her daughter to dementia. She is full of JOY, faith and even hope. She gives me strength.
Ways to Stay Strong:
1. Choose love over fear. Repeat it to yourself whenever you need to and before you REACT to something. Give yourself time to RESPOND in a loving manner.
2. Worry is fear, my friends. Let it go. Look forward to your plans and have faith. If you find yourself in worry, repeat step 1.
3. Send loving thoughts and prayers to those in power, and make decisions based on compassion. Hate begets more hate, so don't go there.
4. Peace is going to begin with you, so start to slow down that chaotic swirl right now. you can point your finger at someone else, but it all starts within you. Take some time and just be in peace. I've present a bit more time in meditation and prayer lately, and that helps me. Find what brings you peace such as a walk outside, watching kids play or cook a favorite meal. If you're like me, grab your camera and take pictures of ordinary stuff and then revel in the glory that it's really not ordinary at all.
5. If you are feeling helpless, help someone else. It doesn't have to be big, just do something to help someone else. Focus on that. I photographed a fund raising event for the American Cancer Society/ColorOut Cancer last night. Music, lights, laughter, hugs, smiles and joy (also glitter!), from so many people. Several attendees are cancer survivors themselves. I got some awesome photos of joy in action, and well, that just makes me smile BIG! The lovely ladies in the photos were just a few who put on an amazing aerial performance with a large ring and also pole dancing. Many people volunteered and even those who weren't designated 'volunteers' joined hands and helped out. You don't have to do something big like this, but get out there and do something for someone else. You might rake leaves for the elderly neighbor, hold open a door, smile at a clerk at the corner store- you know what to do!
Two of the many beautiful ladies who demonstrated art, talent and lots of glitter during an aerial performance during the ColorOut Cancer Gala 2016.
6. Find beauty wherever you look-even in the mundane and ordinary. Why? Because even the ordinary is beautiful. I've gone outside to photograph leaves, grass and flowers when it rains. I find raindrops absolutely intriguing. Consider starting out by finding 3 ordinary things, and name one thing about each of them that make them beautiful. Find gratitude for that beauty and in anything you can. Gratitude is love, and there will be so much more about that in future blogs. Gratitude neutralizes fear. It's a great anecdote for chaos, and won't take up much time out of your busy day.
7. Last, but not least, if you are sensitive to the negativity (and most of us are, even if we don't realize it), remove yourself from the negativity for awhile. The various network news, the newspaper or even your friends and others you hang out with might be some negative triggers for you. Take note of how you feel when exposed to the negativity and if you start to feel anxious, jittery, or want to zone out then it is probably time to take a break and focus on taking care of yourself instead and stay strong. Choose love-for yourself too.