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Archive for the ‘life musings’ Category

what is so

Each soar! exercise so far has amazed and surprised me. What at first seems simple and straight forward blossoms into an incredibly powerful experience.  And I am so grateful to be able to participate fully by  both doing the assignments and reading about others.  Action, reflection, discussion, observation- very inspiring and honestly life changing. I feel like I am finding my place in the world, and I know it is the right place because it feels comfortable, yet interesting. Part of finding MY right place is by actively participating in the soar! activities. And part of it is reading how Jennifer, Linda, and Lindsay are walking away from the same assignment with completely different insights. Authenticity is important to me, and I feel that I am giving myself authentically to my dream of portrait photography. It feels so good. I want to encourage everyone to follow along with the soar! exercises. No matter what your creative passion is, no matter if you are interested in starting a small business or not, these activities are an amazing (and free!) opportunity for personal growth and personal creative insight. A very powerful opportunity.

For me, blogging about my experiences is another very important part of the process. First, this blog is my time for reflection.  Action is so important, but the real power is in the combination of action and reflection. Second, writing on my blog is often my first step in saying it OUT LOUD.  Once I share it with the world through writing it is easier for me to say it with my voice, which makes it easier for me to live it. No matter what “it” is. My path to authenticity.

So this is what I’d like to share from my first business building exercise. An agreement with myself and the universe: Right now I agree that I will ride the ride and not give up or be let down by difficult times. That I will believe in my place in the universe, and I will do my best to put myself in the best place I can be.

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Wow. Thank you so much Charisse, Jen, and Karen for sharing with me. Exploring my feelings for a self portrait gave me focus, taking the photo gave me freedom, and sharing the photos on my blog gave me confidence. But reading your comments was the most powerful part. Your words gave me perspective, new insight, comfort, and happiness. I have always believed that each person’s life is truly a unique experience and I embrace and appreciate different ideas and values. But I am amazed at the different things you each saw in my photos and in me. Not only did I learn about myself with this exercise, I learned about the world. I am just beginning to understand how humans can have such very, very different thoughts, yet be so very much the same, all at the same time. The earth is a marvelously wonderful place.

Just two activities into this soar! adventure my feelings have already started to change. But at the very start what I felt most strongly was excited and exposed. Excited because I am passionate about photography and living a creative life. Exposed because I have not expressed my passions openly before. Exposed because most of my life I have not viewed myself as a creative person, and being a creative person seems risky. A creative person seems more susceptible to judgment, criticism, and failure. This photo really captured what I was going for, and I love what Charisse, Jen & Karen added!

Choosing an object to represent my feelings was much more difficult. Maybe because I usually live life honestly and in a straightforward manner. If you want something, then get it. If something makes you feel bad, then get rid of it. Representing my feelings with something other than myself is more circuitous.  I actually didn’t have the words to describe my connection to the egg, it just felt like the right thing. Again, thank you so much to Charisse, Jen, & Karen for putting words to my image for me. You all got it even when I didn’t know what I wanted you to get: “fragile, nourishing and nurturing, and peeling away a protective outer shell to reveal a softer, yet still firm, existence….somewhat of an unveiling.” Yes, that is exactly it.

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SOAR! Photography Exercise #1: Doing the Deeper Work

Here was my assignment:

“This is a Self Portrait Photography Exercise. You will take TWO Self Portraits.  One image will have you in the photo.  The second one will be an object that symbolizes you.  Both Self Portraits are meant to document where you are in your journey of life.  When you think about this present season of life–this monumental moment in your journey of being committed to SOAR!, being on your way to become a successful photographer…How do you feel?”

The next part of the exercise is to share your photos with others. I can do that. Without giving any explanation or excuses. This is where it gets harder. Because if you know me well you know I talk more than I listen. Which is something that I’ve been trying to work on for YEARS!, but I’m still not very good at.  Here’s to personal growth all over the place.

So here are my two photos:

Will you help me with the next part? The ladies at the confidence workshop last weekend shared their photos with a small group. Then the others in the group would complete 3 sentences about each photo: I see . . . , I think . . ., I feel . . .

So please, tell me what you see, think, and feel when you look at my first two self portraits. And then it’s my turn to extract my tongue from my teeth and tell you what I was going for!

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When the SOAR! scholarship was announced many of us vowed that even if we weren’t one of the recipients we would follow along as the chosen three worked their ways towards that bright sun in our sky:  professional photography. Well here I am, the tag along who wasn’t exactly invited, but who hasn’t yet been told to bug off either. Me Ra’s first assignment was to write about your beginning thoughts. So here are mine.

6 weeks ago I promised myself that I was going to follow my dream of starting my own creative business.  I was not sure exactly what that would be, and I thought that I would try a few things and see which one took off. Maybe I would write a book of simple, cute clothing patterns for boys. Maybe I would turn some of my sketches of quilts into patterns. Maybe I would plan for a summer on the craft fair circuit selling my home sewn goodies. Although I had just sold my fancy sewing machine to buy my first digital SLR camera, I was not thinking of portrait photography, because honestly, that is for people who went to art school, right? And even though I enter photos in the county fair every year and have won a few ribbons and have never entered anything that I have sewn, I am a sewer, not a photographer, right?

Well, Me Ra Koh told me that I was wrong. That even though I did not go to art school I can still learn portrait photography. And even though my 35th birthday is just around the corner, I can still reinvent myself any way that I choose.  As I watched Me Ra’s video introducing the SOAR! scholarship I knew she would change my life. And she has. I have never before thought of myself as a photographer. And now I do.  A complete stranger to give me permission to dream. So I did.

My dream is to be a portrait photographer. Yes, being a SOAR! scholarship recipient would be amazing, but my dream is bigger than that. So I’m going for it. And it feels so good. It feels good to want something for myself that is also good for my family. It is a little bit crowded right now squeezing one more thing in to my life, but all the other things are slowly moving over to give photography more room. It is not going to be a quick transformation, but that is good, too. I’m going to take this journey slowly and savor every step of the way.

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I am an optimistic, positive person. Cohen used to be the happiest kid I knew. I’m not sure if it is just being 4, or if becoming a big brother was so traumatic as to change all that, but he can get really upset over really little things. I would not describe him as pessimistic exactly, but he certainly is dramatic and has a lot of trouble letting go of frustration. So this morning, after Ami knocked the dog food out of his hand and onto the deck, I had an idea. First I tried belly breathing- breath in happiness and breath out the frustration and the yuckies. That was not successful for him. So, while he was fussing and complaining and grumping around I went upstairs and picked up a little bell we have with the sweetest tinkling sound. I held the bell over his head gently shook it. “What are you doing?” he asked me, totally distracted from the frustration. “I’m sprinkling you with happiness.” And it worked. Oh, happy day 🙂

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For me, motherhood changed everything. It actually started during pregnancy, before little boys even arrived. First, my creative soul bloomed as I was pregnant for the first time. I had always enjoyed sewing, drawing, and creative hobbies in general, but during my was pregnancy was the first time in my life that I needed to create. That I felt ideas spilling out of me. When Cohen was born I began thinking more than ever before about life. Both the life I wanted for myself and the life I hoped for for him. That lead to a greater sense of spirituality. Then being pregnant and giving birth to Emmett intensified all the changes that had started with Cohen. But the biggest change has been how well I’ve gotten to know myself. Children are an amazing mirror, showing you things about yourself you may not want to admit. Things like I always come out as an extrovert on personality tests, but I prefer lots of time alone. Or at least lots of time with just my family. How impulsive I can be, and how easily I am affected by the energy of people around me. How easily I get revved up. And that leads me to my current journey as a mother. I never thought of myself of someone who didn’t like to get dirty until I realized how often I tell my boys “don’t do that” because they’ll get dirty. So I am learning to let go of clean. And I’m trying to more than let go, to actually embrace dirty and messy. Here are pictures of our latest adventure in embracing the mess:

muddy toesies

testing the mud

feels squishy

big muddy smiles

pushing the limit

What is your personal growth journey at the moment? I’d love to hear your story.

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the first days of Fall

This is what the first days of fall look like around our home:

Cohen’s first day of school.

first day of school '09

Autumnal Equinox celebration dinner with butternut squash soup, sweet potatoes with rice, cornbread, and apple walnut salad.

autumnal equinox '09

Apples waiting to be made into applesauce from our two overgrown apple trees.

apple harvest '09

And our wild Praying Mantis encounters. I’m not sure what is going on this year, but we find Praying Mantis around our house every few days. It has been fun to see them grow and change colors.

praying mantis

I hope you have a beautiful fall as well.

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