My Life in Color
My friends often tease me that I'm an idealist who walks around wearing rose colored glasses. If that is true, I wouldn't change it. I call it "beginner's mind" - the Buddhist term for always seeing things with a fresh perspective and avoiding assumptions based on past experience.
Let's face it, life is at times harsh and painful, and I have experienced much of it first hand, both personally and professionally in my challenging career, in social services.
My photography is driven by a few primary elements: light, composition, and color. I curate images that evoke loving, passionate, inspired and/or peaceful emotions in the viewer.
I especially enjoy photographing reflections, so that the viewer is invited to look beyond the obvious image to see what lies beneath the surface, or behind the reflection in say, a shop window, or a shiny object (I consider myself a visual magpie).
I truly enjoy exploring different cultures and having meaningful cultural exchanges. There is so much beauty in life, and we place much too little emphasis on it.
My photos are from my travels near and far, all around the U.S., as well as France, Croatia, Canada and Mexico.
I'm developing a coffee table book of my photos entitled, "My Life in Color".
I find that being in or near water cleanses the body, spirit, and soul. Seek out opportunities to swim in pristine rivers and lakes for a soul-nourishing experience.
Take time away from your daily environment to commune with spirit, whatever form that takes for you.
Hold dear to your innocence and childlike nature. See everything through a "beginner's mind". This helps avoid assumptions, misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
Seek help when needed. It is a gift both to you and the giver. Also, don't let others pull your strings or manipulate you. Choose interdependence over codependence.
Time spent in serene visual environments support inner serenity, which improves our decision making and reduces self-induced problems.
Conjuring Mary in my heart reminds me I am unconditionally loved by The Mother, and inspires me to be an unconditionally loving mother myself.
Prayer and being in nature revive a weary soul. I find inspiration from religious icons such as Mary, Jesus, Buddha, Kwan Yin, Lakshmi, various saints, and others.
Learning about other cultures and religious practices enriches our lives and teaches us compassion as well as gaining an understanding of the common ground we share with others who on the surface may not seem much like us.
Appreciate the arts in all their forms. Be curious about their origins. Teach yourself something about history, culture and the arts. Become open to learning to expand your heart and mind.
Remember to play.
Nutritious foods made and shared with love, nurture both our bodies and our spirits.
When possible, eat surrounded by beauty and with those you love and hold dear.
Practice rituals of protection for yourself and your family, whatever form that may take.
Visit historical places that move you out of your comfort zone and provide perspective and contrast. Know that there are many ways to live, perceive and be in the world.
Notice the multitude of beautiful patterns found in nature.
Swim and commune with sea creatures in their natural habitat.
When one grows a garden, one remains hopeful and is tied to the seasons, not only of the year, but of life. Generally, in the spring we plant, in the summer we grow and tend, in the fall we harvest and prune, and in the winter, we rest.
When we are mired in life's difficulties, it can help us gain perspective by assuming a bird's eye view of the situation. Our problems often recede when we consider the bigger picture.
Consider this ritual. After bathing, look at your beautiful nude body in the mirror and with genuine appreciation, say, "I love you."
My mother taught me to observe and appreciate the magic in the ordinary.
Bee engaged. Call a friend, explore a new part of town, turn off the television, play with your children, write, love.
Honor your ancestors by displaying and holding dear a few of the things that held meaning for them. I love using my grandfather's cherished wine glasses and my grandmother's rose platter.
Take time to rest at home and feel the sun shine on your face as it filters in through the afternoon window.
Road trips provide a wonderful opportunity to enjoy nature, spend time with friends (or alone) and meet new people and to expand our minds.
Nurture friendships and cultivate traditions among you. Here we are at a birthday party enjoying one another's company.
Take time to pull over the car and watch a perfect sunset when the moment presents itself.
Dip your feet in the water and listen for the birds celebrating life all around you.
Get up before the rest of the world and be the first one to witness the natural magnificence that surrounds you as the sun rises.
Even in a large city with little green space, beauty can be discovered in public arts and architecture. Get out of the car and take a walk.
There is even beauty in the Fall of life as plants once green turn brown and prepare to die.
Rivers are a wonderful metaphor for life. The surface of the water appears smooth while there is much life going on underneath, as well as new boundaries being forged, all without effort from the water.
Windmills harness and create tremendous amounts of energy while standing completely still in the face of the wind.
Beauty can be found in the tiniest of moments if only we open our eyes. I choose to see beauty.
If you cannot make art, take time to appreciate the creative expression of others, no matter the form or material - in this case, recycled trash...
Take time during the day to get out of the office and go for a walk. This peaceful turtle pond was a frequent lunchtime destination while working in urban Oakland.
Soak in the color around you. It will brighten your life and boost your spirits.
There is beauty all around us, even in our "urban jungles". Even decay can be beautiful when viewed through an appreciative lens.
The drum is akin to our mother's heartbeat, the first we hear. When possible, listen to inspiring music, and practice or participate in drumming or other musical endeavors to return yourself to the sense of oneness and safety you felt in the womb.
Take time for spiritual bathing. You may add flowers or flower essences to your bath, along with essential oils or bath salts. Breathe in the fragrance, close your eyes and feel loving kindness towards yourself.
Anyone can create. I've only taken one art class in my life, that resulted in this luscious lemon. I've enjoyed facilitating others in making art, and watching them delight like children, when they found they were artists after all.
Give and receive unconditional love with the creatures, even when they scowl at you (this includes human creatures).
Stay curious and never stop exploring.
We all return to the earth. Live life fully while you have the gift of it.
Adorn your beautiful self with objects that inspire passion, love, beauty, and reminders of joyful times, places, and people.
Take time to cleanse your environment. This may include burning sage, drumming or rattles, prayer, opening the windows or tidying and rearranging belongings to create a harmonious environment.
Take time to be in sacred places, even if don't subscribe to that particular religion or ideology. Anywhere that people pray or meditate together is sacred regardless of dogma.
Enjoy the simple pleasure of sharing home cooked meals with your chosen family while enjoying great conversation and laughter.
Don't spend much time dwelling in negativity and fear - sometimes "the little devils" are just here to make us laugh and lighten up.
Maintain a loving connection to your ancestors and know they remain close and want to help. All you need do is ask.
Blessing our food and drink before we ingest it is one way to nourish our bodies and souls.
Take time to sit at a table, turn off the electronics and eat in beautiful surroundings when possible.
Appreciate the obvious as well as the less obvious beauty that surrounds you.
Greet all you pass with an attitude of loving kindness and compassion. You never know what they've been through or may be enduring.
Roses provide much joy and symbolic meaning across many cultures and religions. For me, roses remind me of the impermanent nature of our physical beauty and the importance of loving ourselves no matter the season of life we find ourselves in.
Sometimes it's better just to look and not touch...
Magic happens when you're at eye level with the plankton, sea otters and dolphins. Seeing things from a different perspective can change everything.
Beautiful smells including flowers, essential oils, incense and even cooking stimulate and revive the senses.
Meditation can take many forms. Mandala making and ritual, walking, playing music, chanting, yoga, making art, and creating altars are just a few ways to "unplug" and meditate.
Connect with totem animals. What animal speaks to you? How do you embody it? Can you find strength by internalizing that animal? For example, seeing things from a "bird's eye view" as does the owl?