Spirit Lifters: Day 75 of being “grounded” 5/20/2020

OK, it’s really getting long now…so it’s time to seriously shift our perspectives and consider instituting new, healthy daily habits into our “new normal” lives. Along with taking care of ourselves physically, we simply must attend to those other parts that are being insidiously drained, even damaged during this pandemic.

Here’s one of my regular self-care habits, a potential, inspirational resource, as well as a couple of new musical treats.

This is an excerpt from the newsletter of one of my favorite people, Karen Drucker. She is a talented musician, comedienne and public speaker.

Almost anything will work again if you unplug it for
awhile…including you.
Anne Lamott
You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
Joseph Goldstein
This is precisely the time when artist go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
 Toni Morrison
I have to admit I have gone through every emotion during this last month of shelter in place: thrilled to be home; deeper connection with my hubby; anxiety about gigs cancelling and how to pay bills; feeling like I need alone time; happy to not have to fly followed almost immediately by wondering if I will ever be on a plane going to a gig again! Back and forth – happy, panic, bliss, fear. Lather, rinse, repeat!
The most positive thing for me, though, during this time has been connecting back to doing music. My friend, Alan Cohen, has a great expression: “Make the main thing be the main thing!”  I realize that with all the gigs and traveling and hyper-busy-ness, I let the joy of creating music get pushed to the back burner. It seemed to me I just didn’t have the time. What has become clear to me as I analyze what really lights me up is how writing and performing healing music helps my soul. When I get emails from people telling me that a certain chant helped them get through cancer treatments, or how singing along with me during this challenging time we are in is easing their anxiety – these messages validate what the main thing is for me – creating music. Right now, what feels like a suspension in time also feels sacred to me to be able to have the space to write and record again.
The greatest gift along this healing path that I have received was delivered this month – a beautiful 64-page booklet produced by Unity Churches featuring my “Heart of Healing” songs. It includes essays written by various writers and Unity ministers, with affirmations around each of the themes that the songs convey. This is a free booklet available to anyone. Even though this project was started last year it seems so perfect for what we are all going through right now. For information on how to receive your booklet contact: The Heart of Healing
So like the quote above from Toni Morrison, I am committed to do my part in helping us all heal by writing songs that, hopefully, will uplift, heal, and connect us as we all get through this challenging time together. I wish you peace during this time and hope that we will meet in person soon!

 

Here is Karen’s calendar (lots of virtual options) and a way to hear her music and to get her newsletter.

Calendar

Or her main website;

https://www.karendrucker.com/

If Karen isn’t your cup of tea, find a person or organization who speaks your language, fires up your brain, and touches your heart.

And really important, keep access to it easy, handy for those days when you need something to balance out the bad news we are be inundated with daily! (I read the Greater Good Science Center articles.)

When all else fails, music can make us think differently, feel deeply, or just smile!!

 

And this really fun one that was around even before this Virus took over our lives!

 

Look up more songs by  Playing for Change ! I bet you’ll find something you like.

That’s it for now. As always, I love comments, any kind, and I’m not getting many, so if you “like” this post, take a minute to write me something, just a sentence will do!!

Thanks so much.

Chosen Perspectives

Spirit Lifters-Day 20 of being “Grounded” Part Three

OK, I’ve never had a Facebook page.

I know, I know, but I’m only telling you because I think what I am sharing today is more like what I have seen on Facebook. One of them even came from Facebook.

In my quest for daily Spirit Lifters, I came across these three things that have been a delight to experience!

Since I know dancing, singing and laughter are the best spirit lifters, here you go!

 

The first, though it sets the bar pretty high, is so inspiring, it makes me want to find the nearest dance studio and take lessons. Oh wait…Social distancing would prevent that.

So maybe I’ll just go outside and dance alone on the lawn. Who knows, after they get over gathering still more proof that the oldest resident in the neighborhood is very weird, my neighbors might join me!

We could start a new Anti-Virus Lawn-Dancing CRAZE!

Maybe it would go VIRAL! (ha-ha…too soon?)

 

Next, since there seems to be some bad-mouthing going on in my country about the younger people ignoring the Stay Home edicts in different states, I found this wonderful example of young people, coming together and doing something amazing and spectacular from the safety of their homes!! And I have to admit, I love that it’s a Boomer Song!

(I guess you’ll have to copy and paste into your browser. I don’t know how to make it a link on my post…I don’t really even know if I’m allowed to share these this way.)

WATCH: Berklee Students Create Virtual Orchestra During Coronavirus, Perform ‘What The World Needs Now Is Love’

But my favorite is this last one, the one from Facebook.  Delightful, hysterical, touching, and I bet you watch it more than once!

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10158289063553653&id=521723652&sfnsn=mo&d=n&vh=i

 

Where ever you are, even if your local government has not insisted that you do, PLEASE Stay Home and Stay Safe!

 

Spirit Lifters-Day 19 of “being grounded” Part One

Sometimes, I’m oblivious to beauty.

It’s always there though.

It’s almost embarrassing to discover how long I might have ignored a beautiful offering from Nature, from the Universe…

But then the SUN, loudly and clearly, spotlights a thing I hadn’t noticed, something I’d been ignoring.

I can’t always capture it with my camera, but it’s usually impossible to walk by without a pause to appreciate…

You really must try it…

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Shells from Fiji Trip…time to looked at those photos again…

 

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My FAVORITE piece of art…that I hadn’t looked at in a while

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wonderful couple I married, that I wanted to call

Photo a Week Challenge–Nancy Merrill RED 3/5/2020

Hmm, I thought I had very little red in my life. Couldn’t think of a single place to photograph something red. But while perusing my photo library, I found more “red” than I expected. Of course, many of these pictures capture colors closer to Fuchsia or orange, but I am counting them as RED today.

Good challenge. Now I’m on the lookout for more RED out there in the world. It is definitely an energizing color!

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https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2020/03/05/a-photo-a-week-challenge-red-3/

“Aesthetically Appealing”??? 2/8/2020

Weekly Prompts has challenged us once again to share something inspired by their prompt. I love their weekly encouragement because they include the following:

Show us or tell us, and don’t forget there are no rules and no deadlines.

On days when I actually have the time (and energy) to post something, but my mind is empty, I go to their site for ideas.

This week’s is great for me because I have a whole category of photos for my blog called  saying about “Art is in the eye of the…” . Having this category helps me include my ongoing theme of Chosen Perspectives. Today’s challenge is perfect! How I (we) look at something is everything.

For some personal historical context aesthetics (and choosing a perspective): I spent much of my early life feeling very “homely”, a conclusion I came to about myself when, at age six, I asked my grandmother if I was pretty. I was probably playing “dress-up” with her clothes and jewelry at the time. In her defense, her answer was probably based on a religious edict to prevent vanity. She said, “well…(long pregnant pause here)…you have nice hair, Dear.”

I was crushed…and you can see here why I had a tough time believing Gramma about my hair…

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It wasn’t until I was about eleven years old that I began to reconsider her declaration about my looks.

I saw an episode of Twilight Zone called “Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder”. Clearly, I was impacted as it’s been 61 years since it was aired, and I still remember most of the scenes. If you’ve never seen it, it’s worth the time. Go online and watch it! If you did see it, I bet you remember it. Mind boggling for an 11 year old.

Anyway, it fit right in with my early thoughts on the lessons my Dad was covertly demonstrating about perspective.

I finally arrived at a time in my adult life when I was seeing myself as at least mildly attractive, with really great hair. My mane was apparently very appealing, even to strangers on the street or at the grocery store. Enough so that people would come right up to me to comment on my hair. Maybe Gramma was right after all?

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And then…AGING hit with a vengeance!

I am currently losing the battle between a really loud cultural bias about women and choosing a healthy perspective on my own looks.

Back to the theme for today. Here’s what I came up with on what is (and isn’t) Aesthetically Appealing….for me.

The first four are random shots of things I found beautiful. You, of course, don’t have to…

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Next, some comparisons…photos showing how the perspectives you choose can show you so many things…

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this was an accidental shot…kinda ugly…
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but this is a (macro) closeup of the same thing, which I find kind of pretty…

This is a photo of the San Juan Island rock, that’s been painted over and over for 30 plus years, by anonymous “artists” . I think the first one is not very “appealing”…

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But this next one…well, what do you think?

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Same rock…

I really love photographing flowers. I have hundreds of shots of perfect flowers that are hard not to categorize as beautiful and aesthetically pleasing…

as long as I don’t zoom in too close. Then, they can be downright creepy! Not at all appealing.

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One of my favorite flowers is the Hydrangea. It is so pretty in absolutely all of it’s stages.

Like these luscious, richly colored examples…

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But Hydrangeas have taught me a lot about beauty and aging. Have you ever noticed how lovely they become, in a whole new way, as they age and even die?

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I’d love to decorate a whole room in these peaceful colors

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You tell me, from your perspective, which photo below is more beautiful and appealing?

This?

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Or these?

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I really love them both.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about nature and aging and death, probably normal given my age. Why is it more difficult to see beauty in something old or dying, than in something fresh and young?

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I did a post earlier this week for Wordless Wednesday, showing the dying process of a beautiful leaf from one of my favorite plants.

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you can go here and see more:  https://chosenperspectives.com/2020/02/06/wordlesswednesday-02-05-2020/

These are my final shots, taken just this afternoon. From my perspective, these photos are every bit as interesting, and appealing as the first ones I took.

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Thanks for coming on this long journey.

I’d love to hear your perspective now.

https://weeklyprompts.com/2020/02/08/w-p-challenge-aesthetically-appealing

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #77: Favorite Photos of 2019

I had a slightly startling revelation as I was plowing through thousands of photos from 2019….and No, I don’t mean realizing that I take way, WAY too many pictures. I already knew that.

I had already picked 29 “favorite photos” before arriving at the end of February. I was exhausted trying to choose so I stopped there.

It became clear that, only on occasion do I take a photo hoping it will capture exquisite beauty or be all “artsy”. Instead, often I snap away at images that will enhance a good narrative. Good visual aids for a tale that might interest, tickle or inspire someone.

I guess I’m saying I prefer story telling over photography, which is what startled me. I might be saying that although I am an extremely visual person, and I still hate writing (see my bio), I’d rather write you a story with photos than anything else.

So here are the pictures I picked (for January and February)…with the most brief explanation an overly wordy, *unpolished writer can come up with. (*ending my sentence with a preposition…)

 

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This is the Seattle skyline, especially the Columbia tower. I took this while trying to distract myself, waiting at the Harborview Medical Center to find out about a very blue, slightly broken ankle…and yes, I took pictures of my ankle but will spare you. It was so cool to see the Tower from this perspective, having just officiated a wedding at the top a few months prior.

 

 

Next, we have a poignant plea tacked onto the neighborhood’s most beautiful old tree. The note was written by a very young environmentalist, a precocious 6 year old, when she realized they might cut down this tree in the process of building a new home across the street from hers.

The note didn’t work so I felt compelled to capture as much of the mystery and beauty of this tree’s remains as possible. I did several posts on it.

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Next, I thought I’d experiment with my new point and shoot Canon on the occasion of the Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse. I was not that disappointed given the limitations of my equipment.

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We had a ton of snow in January, a bit rare for the Seattle area. I worried about all the birds I feed all year round (mostly Crows, Hummingbirds, and a variety of seed birds). I had wondered what would happen in the snow to the Covey of Quail that visited each morning to clean up under the bird feeder, after the messy House Finches had their breakfast.

I guess I needn’t have worried…

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Throughout the last few years, I have shared about my bugs. I love photographing them (and coming up with silly captions).

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Lucy says “I know, I know…not a toy, right?” (Good Kitty.)
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Giant, Spiny Australian Leaf Bug…GIANT indeed…

 

And of course, my cats. This was Lucy’s way of comforting me while I had to stay off my feet for a while for that ankle thing.

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My favorite photo of Lucy last year though was the one at the top of the page.

You know that thing older people sometimes do, where they are frantically searching for their glasses, only to find them right there on top of their head? Well, I took this shot after a frantic 20 minute household search for Miss Lucy. She has never been outside (our neighborhood is plagued by coyotes) so when I couldn’t find her, I panicked! I called and called her and though she is normally, the sweetest, most sensitive, gentle and affectionate cat I have ever had, this photo captured something akin to disdain. A kind of judgment at my ignorance, having walked literally right under her nose probably 10 or 12 times! sigh.

 

I walk daily, and if I keep my eyes wide open, like my Dad taught me very early on, I can make the same exact walk completely different every single day. I look for anything Nature has re-arranged (since yesterday) for my personal viewing pleasure.

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This is one of my all time favorite photos…a total accident!

 

 

Thanks to the Lens Artist Photo Challenge. This was really fun…and I fear there may have to be more installments. I hope you’ll comment.

And visit more of my Blog in the future!

Happy New Year from ChosenPerspectives!

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #77: Favorite Photos of 2019

A Photo a Week Challenge: Open Topic 10/26/19

So the whole Time Marches On thing is in my face right now…well, the face of my whole neighborhood, actually.

My chosen theme for this Open Topic Challenge from Nancy Merrill is Experimenting with Telephoto Photography. I’m hoping it can help me see more clearly into the distance (and the future)… and maybe understand it better.

When I bought my home in 1976, there were only 4 other houses, all with horse acreage,  on my long dead end street. Now there are 25 homes…and although, we still have a few chickens, there are certainly no horses. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the 40 plus years I’ve lived here but the trend now seems to be for a builder to come in and tear down anything from the 1980’s and before, and build these whopper new giant homes. I’m only partially complaining. We’ve gained a wonderful new group of neighbors, and luckily, all of our lots are still over-sized enough to accommodate a 3,000 to 4,000 foot home fairly well.

But sometimes heartbreaking things happen in the process….especially to the old growth trees! I have addressed this before and here is an example: Tree

https://chosenperspectives.com/2016/10/05/tree-daily-prompt-from-chosenperspectives-10-5-16/

Right now there is a wonderful little red and white farm house, barn, and matching well on the lot behind me facing the next street over. It’s been there since the late 1940’s. They are about to tear it all down (of course) and are building an 8,900 square foot house with a huge wall (not a fence…a WALL) around it. (None of the older homes in our neighborhood have fences. It’s wonderfully wide open.)

I should also say we live on a fairly tall hillside, and many of our homes have western views (if only partial) of the Olympic Peninsula and mountain range…beautiful!

 

Back to my complaining about so-called Progress…

So this McMansion builder, who is going to level the cute red farm house, first came in and took down 6 or 8 HUGE, beautiful trees along the western border of the property…assuming for the VIEW, right?? But I had to go over there and see just exactly what view would be worth murdering all those trees!

What follows is my telephoto experiment.

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If you look very closely, just beyond the treetops, you can see our “downtown” area.

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a blend of Bellevue and Seattle’s high rises….

Here’s what’s most interesting to me. Remember, I am experimenting with telephoto photography, using the feature on a relatively inexpensive Canon point and shoot.

The whole time I am taking these pictures, I think I am shooting the Bellevue Skyline.

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closest shot of Bellevue I could get that day…

But I am actually capturing a blend of downtown Bellevue and the Seattle Skyline some eleven miles west of us.

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I loved watching this sunrise reflection get bigger and bigger

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And when I got TOO close, I accidentally got this shot! (which I kind of like!)

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It was hazy that day, so all I could see clearly, in my clearly biased view, was that this builder guy had killed all those trees so his buyer had a view of our famous, rapidly growing, “tech-centered” city. All I could see was the combination of two city’s massive, view-blocking high-rises!

Then, later that day at Sunset, I got this shot…Bellevue, Seattle AND the Olympic mountains, which are 65 miles away (as the crow flies).

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Oh……OK, at least from another person’s perspective, maybe I get it…….

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https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/10/26/a-photo-a-week-challenge-open-topic/