Motivator More Powerful Than Fear

Came across this today from one of my favorite Photo Artists!
Beautifully written!

Nes Felicio Photography

Fear is a powerful motivator.

When one is afraid of something, no amount of logic can overcome it.

We’ve all had that experience, being gripped by fear. It takes over our mind, it directs our actions. Nothing else matters.

It’s just how we are wired — everything goes through the “emotional” brain before it gets to the “logical” brain.

Useful for survival when our great ancestors were in the forest or safari, facing a lion or a snake. The decision was simple – run or fight. No time to analyze relative probabilities of the outcome of several options. All our being is focused on the next split second of self-preservation.

We’re a long way from living in caves, but our brain is still wired the same. So when someone expresses a view that I sense is out of some fear, I know it’s pointless to use facts, statistics or any…

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Boredom is a Sin

At least, that’s what my Dad used to tell us.

He was quick to clarify, Not a religious sin, but one against Mother nature.

He wouldn’t punish us for this, of course, but he sure frightened Mary Lou, from down the block the first time she witnessed this exchange.

“Daddy, I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!” (sentence whined in dramatic, 7 year old voice…)

Calmly responding, Dad would simply say, “That’s it. Go get the Ruler.”

Mary Lou had a much different experience of her father sending her for the ruler, or a small tree branch, or the Ping Pong Paddle.

We knew this routine, and I suppose, could have proceeded on our own, but Dad worked so much, on a day off, we’d do anything for a verbal exchange with him. Besides the whole experience seemed better if Daddy had sent us on the challenge.

We’d get the Ruler, and our task then was to find a flat surface of some kind, so we could measure out one square foot of visual space to explore…at length…until we found something of interest, sometimes even something amazing. 

These measured “windows” kept us not-bored for many Sunday afternoons, or summertime hours.

There is way more to this story but I’m thinking of it today because of how much gratitude I feel for my father’s creative way of teaching us about important life lessons. This one for me, has expanded over the years to cover all manner of scenes and circumstances. It is like my Mindful Practice now…finding a “window” of music, or taste, or rest, or movement, etc.

It’s no longer a tool to counteract boredom. I have walked through my long life now, with this theme running at all times in the background.

I truly can’t remember the last time I felt bored. There is always something new to see, to discover, to learn, to experience, with all my senses. And there is always more than one way look at things…the same old everyday sights…and even the painful things.

I can’t tell you how much this has helped me through 693 days of mostly seclusion during the Pandemic.

We are having a HUGE wave of new Covid cases in my area, up 700% in the last month. Not boring, but frightening and quite depressing, so I sent myself to “get the Ruler” this morning before my daily walk.

Here’s what I spotted in about a 3 square foot area right outside my door that I never look at in the dead of winter it’s so scruffy. But today, I slowly zoomed in, and found beauty of the season.

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This strange “rock” has been in many places all around my property. I hadn’t thought about it in years!

On my way back home from today’s walk, way down my hill, I spotted a tiny window, a visual “square foot” framed by the trees.

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As I made my way, I watched that “square foot” transform right before my eyes.

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The closer I got to my driveway, the more the view opened up, showing me the miracle of the Olympic Mountains, looking close enough to visit. They are 158 miles away.

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And there was the Columbia Tower, 11 miles away.

From my perspective, it looked easily as tall as those gorgeous, finally snow-covered peaks.

Thanks Dad!

Procrastination

It won’t surprise any of the people closest to me to hear how much I STILL miss my best friend/sister from the 1970’s through the end of that century.

My confession today though, is just how much. I try not to think about her, or talk about her, but every now and then in our professional worlds, she and I still cross paths, and it all floods back. So many years ago now, but our friendship (our sisterhood) was so easy, so equal. I always felt as important to her as she was to me.

Though she and I had off and on problems, all friendships do, the wonderful thing we had for so long was daily contact…someone to check in with, or be checked on by. I have never found that again.

I know it was partly our age and that stage of life way back then. Our living proximity (including together for a while), and all our common problems acted like friendship-glue, especially ex-husbands, money, new loves, single mom-ing-an-only-child, etc.). These things simply insisted on, and required daily updates.

I couldn’t tell you now what happened, or why, or even my part in it, but the “sisterhood” ended…in my memory now, rather abruptly.

I’ve never come close to replacing that connection.

I have made a few gentle gestures towards her over the years, and her response has always been gracious and kind, but also brief and singular. And my biggest secret is just how often I imagine grand gestures, followed by a grand reunion, much more congruent for our early years as friends and sisters. I play out these scenes in my head a couple times a year….or any time I drive to my city’s downtown, because I pass within just a half block of her house.

This last couple of Pandemic Years, I am contemplating my life, my mortality.

And on top of that ongoing threat, I have had several non-Covid related deaths close to me. I know I am not alone in any of that. None of the “normal” life-losses simply screeched to a halt just because of this stupid virus. They just kept on happening.

But it’s created a whopper of an existential crisis for many, and a profound sense of panic. Better hurry up!!

There are so many things I just can’t put off, or wait around for, any longer. Things I must act on NOW, if I’m ever going to.

I have to decide about selling my house.

I have to get that Dream Camper.

I have to tell, really tell, my people how lucky I have been to have had you in my life.

And, I decided, finally, I absolutely have to reach out to my old best friend/sister.

So in the throes of that emotion, I drove down toward the street that passes her house. As I got close, I pulled over into a parking lot, and sat for 10 minutes, thinking, getting grounded, psyching myself up.

It was Grand Gesture time. Dramatic I know, but hey, contemplating your remaining days is dramatic. I rehearsed my speech, making sure I was loving and hopefully, unconditional.

And knowing it was an extreme long shot that she was even be home, I drove to her house…..

This is what I found.

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I have no idea what this means, where she is or if she’s even alive, but hard Lesson Learned….again.

Procrastination is a risky f-ing game!

September to November-M.I.A.

Where to start…hmm…I won’t drag you through the last few months…nothing profound really. I’ll just start with today.

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We are well in to my least favorite time of year. Fall  in the Northwest is sneaky, tricky for me to navigate. In the other three seasons, my daily choice is crystal clear…be outside or be inside, but Autumn tells lies, almost daily.

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It’s beautiful weather, so I leave the house expecting to enjoy all of the seasons best features, its colors and clear blue skies, easily tolerable medium temperatures, but during the short walk from my front door to the road, Autumn cackles out loud, and suddenly it’s 40 mile an hour freezing winds, filled with piercing raindrops.

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And, to make me even more irritable during this time of year, it’s when my allergies hit the hardest. I don’t have any reaction to all the lovely parts of Spring and Summer, gently blowing waves of grasses, tiny drifts of golden pollen on my windshield, or beautifully blossoming trees.

Nope. I get to be allergic to the dying, moldy leaves of Fall. How glamorous.

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BUT…since I am obsessed with the ability to shift my perspective, I will concede that Autumn is also my favorite time to photograph.

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I was furious the other day when I finally had time to grab the camera and head out. I had spotted so many outstanding shots lately and wanted to capture some of that  COLOR.

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But that nasty, conniving Autumn had a Wind Storm temper tantrum and stripped all the trees of their October/November costumes while I slept. Grrrr.

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But this morning, as I walked across the long spans of grass to my neighbor’s house, these words came to me:

“Lovely, lacey, leaf-littered lawn”

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I’m NOT a poet so I had no idea what to do with those alliterated words.

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But it was beautiful, so out came the camera.

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Today, I LOVE Autumn in the Northwest!

Fun with Photography; soliciting reactions…3/31/21

OK, starting from the premise that all “Art” is in the eye of the beholder…

I had a great time snapping shots of our recent Worm Moon, the first (and least dramatic) of four Super Moons this year.

Worm Moon” is what the full moon of March is called. According to the Old Farmers Market, the title “Worm Moon” refers to the time of year when the ground thaws enough to allow earthworms to come out of the soil.

Although my Earth Steward/Angel friend Karuna might love the name Worm Moon (she has a thing for worms), luckily there are several other names to choose from for this particular spectacle including Eagle Moon, Sugar Moon, and my personal favorite, Crow Moon. (Karuna’s Blog…read anything in her Nature category!!! What a contribution she has made!!    https://livinglearningandlettinggo.com/)

Anyway, here are some photos, and a couple of multiple choice options on which I’d love your input, especially if you happen to be one of the amazing photographers I follow…like Marilyn, Cee, Jules, Nancy Merrill, Nes Felicio, Whippet Wisdom, V.J. Knutson, Debbie Smyth, Leya, Amy, Arati… (uh oh, I guess I follow way too many photographers to list them all…sorry.)

I do not see myself as in the same ballpark as any of these talented photo artists, but I sure learn from them….about beauty and cleverness and composition.

Moonrise Saturday, March 27, 2021

First, I went out to see the moon rising, armed with only my rapidly aging, but much loved phone, a Galaxy 8+.

I really like this phone’s camera, especially for close up shots. But with it’s just so-so telephoto capacity, it’s lousy for capturing celestial bodies.

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Moonset March 28, 2021

The next morning I got up in time to watch the beautiful moon setting, but this time, brought my little Canon Power Shot, with its great telephoto lens…amazing for a point and shoot camera.

Here are some Moonset shots, a couple I really like. Also, some opinion-questions I am really hoping someone wants to answer!

1.) The one on the right is what my camera captured. The one on the left is just slightly darkened with computer. Which is better?

2.) What I’d like an opinion about is with these next five photos is about position in the frame. (I kinda like the second one as it seems to demonstrate something geometrical or even spiritual…) 

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3.) The next four are all imperfect (not clear enough, something blocking part of the shot in each) but I like a couple. Do you like any of these?

4.) When I looked at this one on the computer, it startled me because somehow I had captured TWO, maybe THREE moons???

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But then, mystery solved and all made sense, several photos later…(Boy, does my lens need cleaning or what?!)

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5.) Here, I am experimenting with two versions of the same photo…do you prefer one?

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6.) This last one was a total accident, but it turns out, it’s my favorite. No idea why. Opinions??

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Thanks for traveling through photo-space with me. Please consider sharing any reactions or feedback in “comments”.

Oh, and, by the way, during this whole time prepping and writing this post, I never once thought about the world going to hell in a handbasket*…

Pandemic?? WHAT pandemic…??

PS Seems appropriate to include one of my favorite music videos. You may have seen it before…

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_hell_in_a_handbasket

Happy Birthday to “My Carol”

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Don’t remember why I started referring to her with such ownership, but that’s how she is listed in all my address books….for 45 years or so now.

Here’s how we met.

My 3 and 1/2 year old son, his father and I moved into my dream home; a rustic, elderly farm-ish house, complete with fenced pasture, a barn, a mini fruit orchard, and a mostly unfinished “grandma’s house” type basement.

Having barely escaped crowded Southern California only a few years before, the best part of finding this house in the eastern part of Bellevue (the 4th biggest city in Washington state) was that it still had a bit of the spacious country feel I was craving. I mean room it had for HORSES!!! There was still a trail along the side of our closest main arterial labeled “For Horses”.

A bunch of my dreams came true in buying this place.

Then, about 3 weeks later, my son’s father left, moving in with his receptionist….

I had no job, had not finished school and had expected to be a stay-at-home Mom for a bit longer. I kicked myself into high gear, scrambling to figure out how to keep my funky old dream house.

I figured that if I could rent out some of the extra space in the house, maybe to students at the community college right down the street, I could cover my expenses. So within a couple of months, I had built a two bedroom apartment in the basement, finished the basement “living room” space and updated (a bit) the roughed in vintage bathroom. I also created a make-shift “kitchenette” with mostly found and recycled stuff, including a 1930’s metal kitchen sink/counter I spotted while driving past an old apartment building being torn down. (I asked. They gave it to me.)

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Now this may sound like it’s all about me, and so far it is, but what came next was one of the best things that’s ever happened in my whole life.

Enter; “My Carol”.

She was one of the first people who answered my desperate ad for housemates. Also a single mother, with her young, precious, blond, curly-headed daughter in tow. Newly returned to the area after a divorce, Carol had no job, and no prospects, and my better judgment screamed at me “NO! You need financial reliability!!”

Carol, in what I now know as her impeccably truthful way, stated quite firmly that she could pay the rent. I believed her.

I’m so glad I ignored that mistaken internal scream and listened to what my gut and heart were calmly stating. “She is the perfect renter!”

To shorten what has been a wonderful story of over 40 years of friendship and “family”, I’ll simply list the phrases that capture the events and details of one of my most important relationships, ever.

Shared single motherhood duties, watching that sweet tow-headed darling daughter, Lacey, grow. Carol meeting her beloved second husband Stephen while she lived here. Then her sister moving in when Carol was ready to move on, which started a chain reaction of Carol’s family members (sisters, brother-in-law, nieces, daughter, granddaughter…I’ve lost count now) each moving in, each needing a stretch of time in my basement (almost a right of passage), culminating in the full-circle joy of having Carol’s grown up sweetheart daughter Lacey, moving back in with HER own beautiful blond preschooler, Alexis.

Add to that, many shared life events; weddings, attending the birth of Carol’s son, countless family visits and holiday dinners, the deaths of our respective parents, numerous other heart-breaking and joyous times. And all these years, each of us in amazing parallel professions, from which, many, many times, she referred clients to my therapy practice.

In more recent years, as happens, our lives have become full enough of all that other stuff, that I don’t get to see her nearly as much as I’d like to.

But on this day every year, I remember how very glad I am that My Carol was born, and that I trusted my heart all those years ago, and said “YES”!

Happy Birthday Carol. I Love You, big, BIG time!

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