BE STILL...and SEE Photography

Reflecting on who I am...what is important to me...and the gifts I offer the world, I have reorganized this PhotoSchmoozer blog into separate pages for your viewing. I am about so much...people - relationships - drums and rhythms and especially photography...and I realize that although separate, they are all so INTEGRATED into the Whole of who I am!! It's a very peaceful thought and I am thankful for the intuitive gift to see the connections and the relationships. Enjoy the journey through the blog...and WELCOME.
Contemplative photography is about being totally present and seeing exactly what is before you, without filters or judgment. It is about seeing with your heart.Doesn't everyone see what is before them? Not really. You may see a candle on a table. Do you also see the shadows it creates? Or the reflections that the light casts on it? Or it's underlying shape and form?

DRUMS, Rhythms and Relationships

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

FULL MOON /Blue Moon Power

Grandmother Moon is powerful!  Last night ten amazing women sat in a circle in our living room - the South Jersey Peer Group for the Transition Network.  We come together monthly to honor, celebrate and explore our creative selves.  A few months ago, I put out the request that we open to further exploration and share what mattered to each of us.  You know the expression - Be careful what you ask for.  One of the women said, "Martie, why don't you be first to host this?"  My bold, daring and wonderful self said "SURE!"  Then my other self - the one that is uncertain and doesn't think she knows enough said, "What have you done?  How will you make this happen?  The pressure is on!!"
   It happened and I did it!  We started with a Mindfulness exercise - visualizing that we are the flower opening and closing to discover our inner beauty.  After some lively sharing, this activity stilled us to move on.
   Acknowledging the Full Moon and her power as a time to let go of what no longer serves us so we can bring in the new or grow with our strengths, we each wrote something on a paper - set it aflame and quietly sat to watch it burn.  I did one...tonight I am going to do another - alone and reflective.  I am wishing for relationships built on looking for the best in one another - affirming who each of us is...acknowledging and recognizing how wonderful that is to knowing one another and building strengths.  As I wrote in the last blog - when that doesn't happen in your own life, it can be very sad.  When there are beautiful ways to acknowledge and you hear what is wrong - well, sadness came set in and one has to learn to let go of that.
    Life is short and tenuous - life is filled with wonderful people and insights - life is meant to be shared... people are meant to be acknowledged and celebrated with joy.
   For all who are important and valuable in my life, I celebrate you.  For all who cause challenges, I still celebrate your wonder and aliveness.  As we say in Mindfulness/Metta Meditation:  May you be safe; May you be happy; May you be healthy; May you have peace of mind and ease of wellbeing.  May you be at peace.

And may I add the same peaceful message to all in my world - may you go deep into your heart as I have gazed at the essence of this flower and found calm - and may it bring you stillness and peace - today and always

Addendum to this blog:  I wrote the whole thing and published it and forgot to mention that the DRUMS came out and we drummed!  What fun...what inspiration...and we indeed were what Christine Stevens calls in Drumming Diva a TOWER OF STRENGTH!!.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Be Impeccable With Your Words

Just as the tree is solidly grounded by its strong roots in the ground...and just as this tree finds peace by the flowing water, so am I grounded and flowing in my life.  Sounds perfect...and peaceful...sometimes it is...sometimes not, but under the surface, it...and I...and strong and solid.
Remember when you were a child and someone said something that hurt you?  What did you say??  "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me!!"  Truth...or not.  Words can be hurtful!  Maybe they are meant to have good intentions, but the way they are read is open to interpretation.  Social media can NOT be a helpful way of communication.  So I had words sent to me recently and they gave me pause.  They expressed one point of view...not acceptance of different ways of being.  Just saying.
   Right away I thought of Don Miguel Ruiz and The Four Agreements.  I got out the book and reread Agreement 1: Use Your Words Impeccably.  He says that these words are simple but very powerful.  The word is a force to communicate.  One word can change a life...This also makes me think about DARE to AFFIRM: Catch Them Doing Something Right.  Do you have people in your lives that can tell you what is not appropriate about you BUT never quite take the time to say what they value and appreciate?  Just think seriously about this.  What good does it do to tell someone what they have done wrong that doesn't agree with what you think and believe?!?  Must we all behave in the same way?  Think about it.  It's a valuable lesson - Affirmations and Acceptance are so much more powerful than reprimanding that makes another feel less than ok.  Just saying!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Meaning, Passion, Purpose: FUN FUN FUN!!!

Find your Element!  Find Your Passion! Find Your Purpose!  You are so good at ___________(fill in the blank!~!) You have so much to share with the world.  Why don't you teach classes!  When will you do this?  Been thinking about this a lot...quiet times of refelction and meaning!  YES - I love to take pictures...and I love to make drums...and hear the sound of drumming...and now I have to add, I LOVE being a Nana!  So when I am encouraged to DO IT and asked, "What are you afraid of?"  I ponder...I listen to 'their voices' and I wonder.  Been doing that a lot lately as I can feel Fall in the air - Fall for me - and maybe for many of you - is a New Year - a time of transitions - some things die off and others come along to take their place.  So what can a girl do!?  Years ago, Bill and I sat down to write our goals and objectives.  The overarching goal had the "F" word right in it - FUN FUN FUN FUN.  If I can be of service, yet it doesn't bring me joy - then is it paying attention to my life's goal?  Nah - not really NO!

Just the other day, an email came to me from Alyssa Janney and Remo.  Arthur Hull - yes the Arthur Hull for those in the know - the granddaddy of drum circles will be doing a Playshop in Red Bank NEW JERSEY toward the end of September.  OMG!  What an opportunity.  Can we do this?  Is it too much money to spend for a day?  Then I think of the operative word - remember - FUN FUN FUN - and my heart does more than make a pitter is jumping with joy!!  My biggest goal is to let go of some of those niggling fears about not being good enough and get out there - and working with myself and others to discover their rhythms - has always been front and center in the picture - maybe it is even related to BE STILL - because IF you find your rhythm, then you can CHOOSE  to be still or get out in the middle of the circle and dance - to lead - or to be a follower...choices can seriously lead to FUN!!  So I have chosen to go and be with Remo and Arthur Hull.  Where will it lead?  Do I have to know?  All I know is that I can go and play and be free and have FUN - remember that word?  Will I teach others to be still and see?  I don't know...will I do training in Rhythm, Drumming and Relationships?  I don't know .  What I do know, is that I am allowing myself the gift of being still and discovering , truly understanding what brings JOY and LIGHTNESS and FUN to my life.  Hey - last night it was pizza with pepperoni, blue M and Ms and Almost Fab/Beatles Music - time with friends - FUN -
Now the ultimate friends - the ultimate realization of what life is all about - sitting peacefully and resting with the child of your child.  It is the ultimate gift and I would definitely add it to the definition of FUN!  Hey, I would probably put it at the top of the list!!  So Ken Robinson, Jack Canfield, and so many others...finding your element -discovering your passion...all valuable lessons...but for me, I have to say I have discovered my passion - and I CALL IT LIFE IN ALL OF ITS GLORY!! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Photography and Storytelling: Perfect Together!!

Last month at a photo opening at the Normal Gallery in Glassboro, NJ, we attended an opening for the newest photo exhibit.  As I often do, I asked a simple question:  "How about hanging my pictures sometime?"  Ed, the gallery and frame shop owner said, "Sure Martie.  People know you!"  What had I done??  I leaped and then thought about it afterwards but hey, I like the pictures I take and they are all meaningful and insightful to me.  So I said OK!!  The die was cast and then came the decision of what to display.  Bill and I sorted through and I chose some of my very special pictures.  I love to look at them all and realize that every one of them has a story to tell and PhotoSchmoozer loves to tell stories!!  I decided to make a display card for each picture.  It became meaningful to me as I did it - and as I watched people looking at the pictures at the opening last Friday, I saw that it added meaning and perspective to what they were seeing!
  At one point, I glanced toward the door
and saw this person walking in!  It was Bev - we hadn't visited with one another for at least a few years - only a bit of email contact - but there she was and what a treat!!  I had sent emails to all kinds of people inviting them to join us and that she did!!  We took time to catch up and reconnect.  I realized that out history of friendship has extended for more than 25 years through careers, children, name changes and so much more.  She just connected with yet another one of my friends I haven't seen in years.  Why do I share this story?  For lots of reasons - first of all - as I say - look out for life's synchronicities - dare to take risks - reach out to people and don't believe they are not interested in connecting because they are 'too busy'.  Life is tenuous and needs to be lived day by day - relishing the precious present and all of the gifts we are given.
   Remember too that WE ARE ALL STORYTELLERS and have lots to share with one another - through photography, through conversations and by creating memories!!

Inspiration or Depletion - Choices!!

Every day a myriad of inspirational sayings comes to my inboc and sometimes, one of them causes me to pause and reflect on life as we know it.  I have been thinking about life - my time - and how I spend it - and where I choose to spend it.  Sometimes, spending it alone is preferable to spending it with someone who is challenging and exhausting to be with!  Sometimes I wonder about my own effect on people - I would think that everything is situational - how we feel - our life situation - and theirs.
   Sunday I spent time with a friend and it was fun - adventuresome - and a great exploration and sharing.  In the course of conversation thought we chatted about another in our lives who can be more on the draining side.  This person needs to have control and be right - to be in charge and can't really hear beyond what her filters allow in.  My friend and I started talking about the Four Agreements - and how everyone needs to read and practice these - how to use our words - how not to take things personally - how to do our best and how not to assume.  Sounds simple, yet I think that often the simplicity of life itself is complex.
   A few weeks ago, Bill and I traveled to the MidWest to meet the new grandbaby and then drove to Iowa to visit dear friends.  Talk about people who inspire rather than drain - this is Beth and Wil.  They have had their share of challenges in life, but have an attitude that is accepting and uplifting.  Good people to be with.  I won't go as far as to move to Iowa - but having opportunities to spend time with them is priceless.

Monday, August 12, 2013

New Colors and New Friends - Shoes Alive!!

Sunday afternoon with perfect weather and off on an adventure with Friend Jan.  Where to go? Flea Market?  Nah - too far and too big and too hot.  Let's cross the bridge to Head House Market on 2nd Street in Philadelphia.  There was a Farmer's Market under the pavillion - just the kind of people and the kind of Farmer's Market I had in my dreams and visions last year for Uptown Pitman...different town - different people - different ways of looking at life.  This one was my dream come true.  It was better than being a kid in a candy shop.
   The car wasn't big enough and we have pretty much run out of space in the yard...otherwise this magnificent white hydrangea would have come home with me.  I loved the size of the flowers - the variations in color - maybe it was the setting where I was seeing it and my excitement about discovering a new experience - a new adventure!!  The joy - I can go back any weekend that I want.

Then there was the organic farmer from Williamstown, NJ - imagine that - just around the corner almost from our CSA.  They don't have a farmstand or sell locally, but will definitely be at this market with their unusual produce throughout the growing season.  Yes, we have tons of tomatoes in our garden, but, well...these were different and had to come home with me!!
Then as we were walking back to the car to go and explore yet another South Philadelphia neighborhood - East Passyunk Avenue, I stopped in my tracks to have a look at these shoes.  They are way too cool.  Loving the sneakers - running shoes - whatever you want to call them - and the diversity of colors with the shoes and laces - that are so out there this season.  It's more of a way for people to express who they are.  I stopped to chat with this guy - loved the blue - the striped laces - and the stripes on the shoes.  I shared all of that with him and he said, "You made my day!"  Oh - another successful conversation and affirmation - woo hoo!!  Friends - it's so easy to stop and visit and compliment and make someone feel good (NOT like the woman who stole our parking place at Wegman's later!!)  Check out his shoes - have you gotten any for yourself yet??
There's more to share about the day, but who is going to read this blog when it gets too  long??  I always talk about finding the extraordinary in the ordinary - and yesterday was no exception.   I always advise you to BE STILL and SEE - to stop and chat - and catch people doing something right - life is beautiful - also tenuous - so capture the moments!  Enjoy!!