the art of doing meditative nature photography

Posts tagged ‘balance’

Follow the Path that Inspires You and Leads to Glorious New Things

“Follow the path that inspires you… and leads to glorious new things…”
“America’s Mountain”, Pike’s Peak, inspired me this beautiful morning.

Hope you’re all inspired today!

(click for a lager image)

Judgment of Beauty and Life

Shining in the Light

None of us is perfect

We each have our blemishes

And subtle flaws

But if we find our way to the light

Our striking beauty, our individual splendor

Shines right through

We all shed tears after any tragedy, hurt, or loss. (In memory of Grandpa)

In memory of Otis Persons

1929-2012

Today my husband’s Grandfather passed away.

To relieve our sadness the kids and I went for a hike, and found this this tree that was badly burned in the Waldo Canyon Fire last month.

It seemed to be weeping along with us, and I felt the connectedness, resilience, fragility, and specialness of life.

We love you grandpa…

Be One Who Climbs Above the Ordinary Dirt and Discovers Wonder and Beauty

Be one

Who climbs above the ordinary dirt

 And discovers wonder and beauty

(click for a larger image)

Getting Lost Through the Lens: Like Hitting a “Reset Button” in the Thinking Mind

It can be soothing and humbling to change our perspective.

I’ve been absent from this blog for a few weeks, busy beyond busy with end-of-school-year hustle and bustle. Yesterday was the first chance I’ve had to get out in nature and do some photography. I truly hadn’t realized how much I’d missed it.

I’ve been feeling a bit off. Life has been a tad overwhelming of late- busy, hectic, intense. Sometimes I thrive on squirrelly intensity, but the past few weeks have worn me out. My daily meditation hasn’t been the same since it hasn’t been through the lens. So I was quite happy yesterday to “refocus” myself out in nature, camera at the ready.

I didn’t have to look far for a new perspective. As I opened my car door once I arrived at my wild spot, I immediately noticed a sprinkling of dainty purple flowers blooming haphazardly among some grass by the roadside.

They were immensely small- graceful, petite splashes of soft lavender that seemed dwarfed by a simple blade of grass. From a standing position, they were barely noticeable at all. But my photographer’s eye noticed the subtle, shadowy green and purple world hiding beneath a newly leafed young Gambel Oak.

As I stooped down to peek at this miniature ecosystem I was astonished by the change in my perspective. I was in Garden of the Gods Park, known for its massive, towering sandstone formations. Tourists surrounded me, snapping pictures of the mammoth stones and gasping at the fantastic landscape before them. But me, I was stooped down next to my car, observing a tiny realm of diminutive flowers, grass blades with fuzz, and puffs of dandelion all smothered in dancing sunlight filtered theatrically through the soft, new Gambel Oak leaves. My perspective, especially through my macro lens, was that of an ant!

And what a world the ant sees! Does the ant even notice the great stones above? I don’t know, but honestly, the ant wouldn’t need to see them in order to find beauty in its world. For the world of fuzzy grass and purple flowers by the road has a gorgeousness all its own, rivaling any towering things.

So yesterday I spent about twenty minutes crouched on the ground looking at delicate lavender I-don’t-know-what’s. I stared at dandelion puffs, dainty ferns, and the occasional ant, home to this emerald paradise by the roadside.

For twenty minutes I got lost through the macro lens, reveling in sheer delight, in the interplay of color between lavender and green, between sunlight and shadow. My artist’s eye caught the different beauties that lay in the straight, smooth grass and the curvy petals and jagged ferns.

The dandelion puff seemed a complete cosmos unto itself, floating through its own space and time.

Getting lost in these tiny realms is like hitting a “reset button” in my thinking mind. I’m restored and rested. The sensation is much like waking up after a night of intense dreaming. “Real life” then seems somewhat surreal, as the aftertaste of the dream lingers in your consciousness like a powerful flavor.

When you’ve taken a small trip of sorts to another way of seeing and experiencing, your passion for your normal everyday existence takes on a new feel. Upon coming home from a long or faraway vacation, our home often feels a bit foreign at first, as we readjust and regain our bearings.

But what a wonderful feeling it is! Leaving and returning is a refreshing sensation, as it refreshes our perspective, our sense of place, and our sense of being. We fit in in a slightly new way, now. Our experience elsewhere has changed us ever so slightly, and we return to the everyday with fresh eyes and new subtleties of our spirit.

For me, escapes into tiny worlds with a camera are the same.

Oh, how much most of us miss, though! Small islands of wonder right at our feet go unnoticed. The stars in the heavens above us go unnoticed. Our perspective stay so much… the same, most of the time. We take the wonder all around us for granted, and perhaps don’t give it the honor and respect it deserves.

Like my emerald green oasis of purple flowers. Alas, the only other someone who apparently noticed this spot of ground was someone’s dog… who, well, did what dogs do. I wish that instead of seeing this small patch of Earth as a potty, the dog owner had seen what I saw- an oasis of blooming, leafing life- tiny, delicate, shade-draped and serene.

We could all use a reminder now and again of how special each corner of our Earth can be, even a seemingly insignificant, scraggy spot on the side of the road. It has its own special beauty, if you just get down to see it. If the dog owner had noticed the pretty purple petals, perhaps they’d have found another spot for Fido to poop. The bare ground or plain grass would’ve been less disturbed than the fragile flowers!

Popping Up to Say Hello, but Knowing When to Rest: A Life Lesson From Illness and Chickadees

I was on quite a roll for a while, blogging consistently, doing my meditative nature photography and sharing it with whomever was willing to listen. Spring break came along and I took a week off from writing and photography to spend quality time with my kids. I’d just gotten back into the swing of things when life threw a new curve ball at me.

I’ve been proverbially upside-down and hanging by my toes.

(Click on any of my photographs to see an enlarged image.)

Back in February, the first post I’d written based on my book was “Some days upside-down and barely hanging on by our toes, other days perched way up high and on top of the world”. The pictures were of chickadees exemplifying those experiences rather nicely. In that post I recounted how I’d both used meditative nature photography to face a medical issue, and how my daily nature photography finally had been ground to a halt by the illness.

Well, after a nice little run of “on top of the world”, I’ve found myself hanging by my toes again. I’ve done very little photography lately- the pollen count of 11.5 was making that a miserable experience, and too much time braving the wafting particulate monsters apparently lowered my resistance, resulting in me becoming rather ill.

One of the hardest things for me to do since my kids have been born (and they’re now 12 and 15!) has been to allow myself time to rest. They’ve been fairly high maintenance little people (both with truly significant health needs of their own) and there’s never been much time to take any “me time” whatsoever. Moms don’t often get the luxury of “time off” when sick or exhausted. We just work through it. Motherhood doesn’t stop and wait for us. With my kids that was absolutely the case. And I in no way mean that in the whiny tone of a martyr. I adore my kids and being a mom! But I won’t deny that at times it’s been hard.

So now that my kids are older and in better health, I’m having to completely re-learn how to take care of me. I’m re-learning how to slow down, listen to my body and soul, and just take time off. When this illness hit me, I was annoyed. How dare some little germs interfere with my time in nature, my photography, my sheer joy and “me time”? Hmf!

Well, as reality would have it, germs really don’t care if you “hmf” at them. Sick is sick and recovery time is recovery time. No amount of running the trails or photographing gorgeous spring blossoms can make you well when you’re really not.

I realize that my frustration with getting sick is because I had so little time off when my kids were younger. So now that I do have time for me, I relish it. I revel in it. On my daily nature hikes I’m like a kid in a candy store. Everything excites me; I can’t take it all in fast enough. I indulge myself in this self-pampering. I soak it all in with a zest for life and a passion for experience. I’m kind of unstoppable.

After all, I have years to make up for! Years when the kids who needed me came first. There was no “nature hiking for fun” then. So now that my life has the space for that, the sacred me time for that, I don’t surrender it easily. I’ll push through the offensive pollen, cold weather, even falling snow to get my outdoor communion with the deer and flowers and chickadees. This is my time, dang it, and I cling to it unyieldingly.

So this past ten days or so I’ve been fighting the need to rest. I started out pushing myself, then slowed down, then just collapsed in exhausted surrender.

And then today I remembered the last group of pictures I took as I slowed down- it was these chickadees, just like from the February post. Oh, the juicy ironies of life.

So here I blog about hanging by my toes again, poring through a folder of photographs of chickadees, giggling at the synchronicity, but interestingly, noticing that in most of the pictures the chickadees are simply being still.

Sigh. Nature delivers yet another life lesson to me. Time to stop and listen to her wise whispers.

It’s just that, well, I’ve been resisting her message.

I have a few friends here on wordpress who deal with chronic illness and pain, and who use nature photography as a healing tool as well. (An excellent blog is throughthehealinglens!)

One of the ironies I’m learning to navigate in my life is that the thing that is most healing to me- my time in nature, especially with a camera, can be thwarted all too easily by health issues. The irony is tough. What heals me, centers me, allows me the space to be healthy, well, sane, happy, and fit can also be the hardest for me to accomplish when I’m not feeling well.

But if I just stop and listen to all of the lessons nature has taught me, all of the hints on how to live well, I see clearly that nature knows when it is time to rest. In the fall, the trees don’t make a fuss about resting for the winter. They just do it. When my chickadee friends, here, had done enough flitting about, they rested. And they didn’t look annoyed about it. So I need to stop being depressed about not running the trails lately. I need to stop being frustrated by my lack of chickadee time. I need to get over missing a few of the flowers blooming this year.

But that’s the great thing about nature photography. I have pictures from all these years of meditating through the lens to pore through and look at. Nature is there for me, in photographic form, day or night, good weather or bad, sick or well.

So today I’ll peruse my folders of photos and enjoy all the nature I’ve had the joy and privilege of experiencing over the years. I’ll let myself get lost in nature’s images; I’ll let nature’s lessons come to me. I’ll be grateful for the wonderful technology that is digital photography, the marvel that allows me to re-live memories in vivid and colorful detail.

So I’m popping my head up to say hello to my blogosphere buddies. I’m not sure if I’ll be back full-time right away. This time I intend to rest as long as I actually need to! I hear the chickadees calling me to come play, but I’ll wait ’till mother nature lets me know that I’m truly up for it.

So see you soon, my cute little nature friends, I’ll be back for your doses of wisdom soon enough.

Until then… Today’s Life Lesson from Nature:

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