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

Monday, September 23, 2013 the Eye and Heart of the Viewer

Last night, I was looking at Facebook and our friend, Lisa, in Lincoln, Nebraska, posted this picture of the green leaf with Little Light dancing on it.  I thought it was an interesting perspective, yet my mind said, "What if the picture was cropped and the details of the water droplets were the total focus?  So I did just that.  It's the same picture...and not.  It demonstrated how two people can see the same thing and yet what you see from their camers/eye/heart is not the same at all.  I wrote to Lisa and asked if she had considered cropping it.  She said no because she liked Little Light at both ends of the leaf.  Then I sent her what I did.  We think each other's picture is 'cool' as she put it.  That is the 'cool' part of the whole process.  We see things differently - we present ourselves and our photos to the world differently, yet we can step back and just say "COOL" - I like how you see this!!
As is often the case, I connect so many of my thoughts and reflections to relationships.  Remember DARE TO AFFIRM: The Dance of Relationships.  Now why can't we all be laid back and open to one another...hey cool - I see it this way; you see it another way.  I respect who you are and am so happy that you respect who I am.  Let's acknowledge that and just move on.
    I love how I can use photography as a metaphor for life - after all isn't it a representation of life in all of its amazing wonder?  My photography, my BE STILL and SEE has been a Journey for me...and I needn't put it in the past tense, because actually, it is and will be an ongoing journey.  I do it with and through my camera, when in actuality, there are times when the camera is at home...or in the car...and I truly understand that I have the CAMERA OF LIFE with me at all time - it's so perfect - my clear open heart to accept and see all of the beauty of the little things all around us all the time...and the wisdom to accept the world...and people in it for all of their perfections and imperfections.
    I was talking to friend Heather about relationships and she suggested that the word Surrender be considered.  No way I said...that strikes me as a general losing a battle - or the war - and having to give in.  Then this morning she sent me the definition of Surrender from Eckhardt Tolle - and this gave me pause.  I will end today with sharing that message...
                Eckartdt Tolle
and hugs and gratitude to Heather...and her friend Lisa for opening my eyes to seeing the world in yet another different and wonderful way!!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Out of the Comfort Zone

First lessson of the day...PATIENCE.  OMG the traffic was incredible exiting 109 on the Garden State Parkway and for many miles through Red Bank.  Single lanes...road construction...and she who likes to be early arrived more than half an hour late but I quickly learned that I was not the only one so we started way late - maybe call it Califormia time!!
It's a wrap now.  It is over and the day was definitely an experience!!  I am understanding that sometimes it is important to step outside of one's comfort zone to learn and grow!!  Can I say that this was a FUN experience - in the respect that I enjoyed learning and drumming and meeting new people.  Fun in watching Arthur facilitate...and share...and talk  and encourage.  Enlightening in understanding that we ALL - or almost all, have our doubts and insecurities.  The biggest challenge - stepping into the circle and facilitating to have the group engage.  Some people jumped right in.. George, sitting next to me - and a drummer, shared how he keeps his eyes down so he won't get picked.  Fascinating to see how facilitators picked people to keep going with their playing when others were to be stilled.  Was it because of the person or was it because of the instrument that they were playing?  I belileve it was some of each.  It did bring back memories of childhood and being the last to be picked for games and teams.  Some things stick around with you!!  Talking to another friend and she shared that she too was always the last and it brought back feelings for her...and she is a psychologist! 
I would have to say that Arthus is full of himself.  I won't use the word he said that has been used to describe him over the course of his lifetime - and he is older than I!!  I will say that beneath the fluff and bluff and self deprecating commentary is a giant teddy bear who is positive and supportive and full of love and compassion. After all, as he would say, he is from California. 
   It was amazing to meet so many of the 30 people in the room and find that they had come from California and Alberta,Canada...Boston and other points around the country for this day and to attend the Remo Health Rhythms training this weekend.  I met psychologists, speech therapists, a NASA scientist, trainers and special educators - among others.  It was good to be among them and learn.  Now, I will have to integrate the messages and teachings - and wait for Arthur's new book/s to be ready in October.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Drums...Drumming...Health Rhythms and NOW...

One Summer's Day many years ago, Bill and I were going to the Philadelphia Zoo to see what we could see.  Walking from the parking lot to the entrance, we had to go under the railroad bridge and what to my wondering eyes should appear but the coolest dude playing drums!  I was fascinated - it was about FUN and RHYTHM and just cool stuff.  Did I think I could do it...Absolutely NOT!  He invited me to site and give it a try - and I just had fun.  I could feel the beginnings of the Free Spirit releasing...and from that time on, drumming has been one of the focuses of my Journey.

What a surprise for my 60th birthday that same year to have a big box to open - and even more of a surprise to find a Purple Conga drum (still have it though I would sell it if someone wants it!)  I remember it all clearly because it was the same time I was taking the Creative Photography class.  This was definitely a subject for some of the pictures!

Never one to be impulsive and jump into things (right you are saying?!?  I am an extroverted introvert really), it took more years of contemplating drums and drumming until one day I read about Health Rhythms, created by Remo drum company, Dr. Barry Bittman and Christine Stevens.  Ever on the quest for self knowledge, healing and stress relief, I said to self, "WHY NOT?!"  Actually I talked three of my friends at the time into joining me and several years ago, the program/training came to the Princeton area.  We had a grand time.  I came home and did a few drum circles...and then quiet on that front BUT Roy Schryver, one of the participants shared about making step in the Journey.

Then came the "Baby Drums" because what better thing for an early childhood educator to do than do drumming with "Mommy and Me".  It's still in the thought pattern - might just come forth...soon.  Remember my Mom always said I was a sloooooooooooooow learner or maybe she said Late Bloomer. Either way - same thing.

Now my friends, it is time for the Journey/Adventure and Freeing of the Spirit to continue.  I saw an advertisement for a drumming Playshop with Arthur Hull - granddaddy of drum circles in NEW JERSEY in September - and now it is tomorrow!  I thought - nah - and why...and then I kept getting drawn back to the description of the event and the words so resonate for me - the words and the way Arthur says them in his DVD : Drum Circle Facilitation: Building Community Through Rhythm.  OMG...I have done it - I have signed up and tomorrow I travel to the Count Basie theater in Red Bank , NJ for a day of learning and drumming and - well you know how I always talk about synchronicities - that too!!  The day is about
   1. Unity within Community
   2. Sharing my Spirit
   3. Building Relationships
   4. Sharing my bliss and having FUN
   5. Facilitating as a Celebration of Life
I can no longer deny that drumming, Health Rhythms and all connected with it holds a special place in my heart.  Meet Arthur!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Solutions Come From Quiet Thoughts

When I give myself the gift of sitting still - being quiet and reflecting - allowing my mind to clear and just drift along with the clouds - it's funny how possibilities arise.  I don't question that I love to BE STILL and SEE and really explore the openness of everything...and nothing.  What happens is that I listen to others - listen to what society says we must do to be 'right' and hang with those thoughts that are definitely holdovers from a previous time in my very own lifetime - maybe even back through other lifetimes!!

So to ideas...just because 'photographers' take their pictures and then frame them and put them in galleries for sale, and I feel a need to be 'like them' that the truth?  I am rich on compliments but as friend Bob says, "Photography doesn't sell!"  Well some does but it is in the eyes of the buyer and can't really be predicted.  I have hung pictures in a gallery show with 21 other artists.  Can I go into the comparison of me with them?!?  NO NO NO...doesn't society often put us there??  I love what I do and will do more for learn and grow in my own creative expression...
   For years I have been training individuals to know that the PROCESS is way more important than the PRODUCT!!  Hey Photoschmoozer...listen to your own words and enjoy the process.  Isn't that what learning and discovery is really all about?  Going within and seeing what your heart sees.  Taking your own journey and laughing and dancing with every step along the way!!
It's a journey...not to be shared.  Each of us has our own...yeah team!!

Each of us t
Each of takes the steps on our journey one step at a time.  See the steps are crooked, straights, higher, lower, simpler, more the end we arrive where we need to be in each moment of each day!!


All the time I talk about peace of mind...being still and being - just paying attention to the present moment and letting life flow.  TALK IS EASY.  Doing and just Being is the challenge.  Sometimes I feel like the hamster on the wheel - confined in the environment and just using momentum to spin around in circles.  Sometimes it feels like a dog chasing its tail.  Whatever it is, it is not where I want and/or need to be but sometimes where I get caught! 
   Friend Lillian taught me the expression TMI - I sat with a question mark in my head when I saw the letters - yet when I went still I saw that it stood for TOO MUCH INFORMATION.  Yep I get it.  It's NOT a gift to have too much information and too many gifts/skills.  It's challenging to want to know everything and do everything.  It's a challenge friends for me to BE STILL - maybe except when I pick up my camera!?!?  Maybe that is where I need to BE more rather than always struggling to figure out who I am and where I fit and what would make me happy.  Friend Bob talks about simply Letting Go - letting go of what?  The need to know...the need to know what I will do with the pictures I take - the need to know what I will do with the quilting projects I do?  
   I have simple needs...wanting to BE...and be still and at peace.  Then I rediscover the 'junque' that is available to me - sugar, carbs, and related stuff.  Then I go there for a few days...and then again, I say, "OK it's time to LET IT GO!"  Now it's that time again...maybe this will be the last time?  Maybe.  Life in retirement can be BE STILL moments IF we allow them to shine and open our hearts and minds to them.  It's so simple...and not... This is where I really am deep inside - this water lily is the personification of Being Still and Peace...enough said...Let it BE!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

It Only Takes ONE!

It only takes one, though I did lament on the BE STILL and SEE sight that there was only a single water lily in the pond when
we were meandering the grounds at Chanticleer.  What I forgot to mention is that it was Spectacular and Little Light was definitely right there with me dancing with glee!!  I just looked and she lit up the flower.  It said, "Martie here I am in all of my glory!  Don't worry that I am here alone because I am NOT lonely.  I have lots of other friends here with me and anyway, this way, I can be noticed and be outstandinig in the pond!  WOO HOO!"  See, I always say that I wait for the flower to share how she wants to be seen IF at all.  This one did, but there were many pictures I took the other day that were really blurry

I was really surprised to see that Ms. Lily had a baby friend...and then there were the leaves and all of their shadows and reflections.  See I was looking at 'more of the same' when what I had to be still and notice was the diversity in the pond.  Well now - isn't that just like life?  There is so much diversity in the world and that is what makes our environment what it truly is - differences that we can appreciate and value!  Aren't we totally fortunate.  IF there were more water lillies like the one I saw, well, it wouldn't be the same anyway just as none of us is like one another.  The water lily did have a baby friend that we saw just as a big bud on the water - and that too was perfect.  Life is perfect...
Someone just aked me to recommend a camera to them.  I had to write back and say that she was asking the wrong person because she wanted one - not too expensive - where she could change lenses and take pictures with all of the perspectives that I saw.  I said I don't have one of those and never will  - the perspective comes from my head and heart and as the commercials on TV say - maybe for Discover card - well, that is priceless.  Just buy a simple card and go peacefull into the world and BE STILL and SEE.  Someone else said I should teach a class on Stilllife after she saw the butterfly I posted yesterday.  It's NOT about still life either friends.  You need never get tired of hearing me say that it is about BE STILL AND SEE - it is about going out quietly with camera in hand and no expectations, no labels...only a clear intention to be OPEN to see the gifts all around you.  No need to say more?!  Just do it...with an open heart and a clear mind...and an eye that takes in all that is around you.  Don't label...just see!!  It's so simple that you can't make it complex...well, IF you try too hard you can...get the message??  Enjoy!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Weaving the Web of Creativity

She has been hanging around and building her web in our kitchen window for more than three far...and I knew I had to look up the meaning for the spider as a totem animal.  I do believe she is sending messages and they are good ones!!
The spider is a remarkable figure of feminine energy and creativity in the spirit animal kingdom. Spiders are characterized by the skilled weaving of intricate webs and patience in awaiting their prey. By affinity with the spider spirit animal, you may have qualities of high receptivity and creativity. Having the spider as a power animal or totem helps you tune into life’s ebbs and flows and ingeniously weave every step of your destiny.


Isn't tnis message what life is like...for me at least and probably for most of us - weaving the web and being patient while the work is being done.  I am thinking that the work is never just starts at the center with the being and works it way out in complicated patterns.  There is a definite process and a pattern though I would think that rather like snowflakes, if we examine these closely, we would not see sameness in each one!  It is so like each of our lives - watching, waiting, being patient and taking action to build the web with sureness and conviction, knowing that our work has meaning.  Will the web last?  Not necessarily, but then the time comes to work on yet another one.  What do I 'work' on?  There are so many interests and projects, not in an ADD way...but in a way that is an individual fascinated with all that life has to offer.
    Now we are beginning a New Year - today is Yom Kippur - a time for reflection, contemplation, acceptance and forgiveness.  I ask for it from those I might have offended...and I offer it to all who have been  hurtful to me in some way...intentional or not.  Sometimes it is my own sensitivity and perception that views the situation in a way that includes too much drama...sometimes it is real.  No matter - FORGIVENESS is the moves on and today is the only day we have.  Blessings to all of us as we enter the New we see a winding down in the transition to Fall...and as we plan rest and reflection - being in our cocoon until we emerge as the beautiful butterfly that we truly are!!
   Yesterday at Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, PA. the butterfly and i visited and shared the glory of the day and her magnificence.  How fortunate we were to have a wonderful visit. What will today bring??

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Peace, Love and Healing

Every year at this time, I realize that I tend to go within - to truly be still and to reflect on life as it is...and as I wish it to be.  Today a friend posted this on Facebook and I thought that it was my wishes for the New Year for myself and the world - my immediate family and friends as well as those on the periphery or those that I don't know yet. 
   I sit here this morning with the window wide open, the cool breezes gently caressing me and the birds singing their good morning.  It is not every day that I wake with a feeling of peacefulness and it feels wonderful!  Yesterday I sincerely allowed life to flow as it would and it was just perfect!
   I have decided that there are a few 'best' ways to achieve this peace.  One is that when my mind starts to chatter and create situations that make me feel less than ok, I pause and send LOVINGINGKINDNESS meditation to those who bring me troubled thoughts - may they be safe, may they be happy, may they be health, may they share love and compassion, may they be at peace.  Life is too short to hold any kind of animosity toward another fellow human being.  I just count my blessings - family and especially our new grandson...special friends...and self - an amazing character full of love and compassion!! 

Today friend Bob posted a piece by photographer Tony Sweet
   Here is the link...truly gave me pause...and peace...and self awareness!!
  Lately my camera and I have been quiet - within - resting and reflective.  I have allowed myself to know that this is OK...that Fall is my time for transition - Mother Nature's as well - a time to purge, cleanse, allow some of the old to 'die' and make room for the new.