Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shadow and Light

Noun: The state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association. 
Verb: Differ strikingly.

Photography is a good teacher about life. One of the most important concepts when you learn about in photography is contrast. How the interplay of shadow and light can make a photograph very exciting or very flat. And that one state is not always better then another.

This week was an interesting study in contrasts due to the holiday. On Thanksgiving I worked and had some patients who came in and were happy excited about the holiday. Not so much the story for a couple of others. In fact before eight am I had to make a protective services call. The other thing was the Black Friday shopping. Some of the patients/staff were making plans. For them it was about getting the perfect gift for a loved one. They went about it with an attitude of joy and fun. Contrast that with people who hurt other people in their rush to get what they wanted (thankfully they seem to be in the minority).

Life has been in contrast for me the last several weeks. The tone of my blog has not had as much light of late. I'm moving back towards it, but going back to work, losing yet another relationship, and the effects of the medication I am on has created some shadow.

The last paragraph of the creed I created for this blog several years ago sums it up:

I will continue to explore, photograph and live in the light while allowing myself to acknowledge the dark as it is vital for understanding oneself.

I will live my yes.

This week I am grateful for lessons in contrast and for the courage to try and live my life that way.

Sarah McLachlan, "In the Bleak Mid-Winter":

Saturday, November 24, 2012


The time of transition is here…
One moment moves to the next
One season gives way to the other
One life is recreated from the old.

The Holly and the Ivy:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It Was...

Some women who have had breast cancer come to be thankful//grateful for how it has changed their lives or even view it as a gift. I cannot. However it is a teacher that has given me difficult lessons I have had to learn.

It was six months ago today that I found the lump that led four days later to a diagnosis of breast cancer. It has also led to some relationships ending, i.e. family and friends. It has forced me to make changes, some of which are holding, some of which I am struggling with and still need to push forward on. 

My perceptions about life have changed significantly. I'm trying to live a life I think I should live, not what others think I should. Some days I do better with that, others not so much. I look back at the road that I've traveled and am amazed at how far I've come. When I look forward, I take a deep breath at how far I need to go. I try not to dwell though in either reality for very long.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It goes without saying that I'm grateful and thankful I'm still alive and that I am learning. It's just a very different world that I exist in this year then what I thought it would be....

George Winston, "Thanksgiving":

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Harper's Heart Haiku

heart sounds in discord
fingers stroke upon it's strings,
harmony again

Deborah Henson-Conant, "The Nightingale":

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Juxtapositions of Life

Creativity is that marvelous capacity to grasp mutually distinct realities and draw a spark from their juxtaposition.
Max Ernst

It's been a week of many juxtapositions. More endings and beginnings. I think I have seen more of this in my life and other friends life's this year then the past ten years combined.  The hardest ending for me was a relationship that I was holding onto for all the wrong reasons. Right now the ground under my feet feels more like landfill that has been liquefied by an earthquake. I don't mean for it to sound like a disaster, more like I just have to see what happens in my life in the coming months. That is the familiar is ending, learn to go with the unfamiliar.

It has been a creative period. I mentioned earlier I've been embroidering again. I have begun to look at ways to use it in art practical applications and art. I've found some. Enough so that I am going to try and open a Etsy shop after the first of the year as my taking some risks and moving towards a new life post cancer diagnosis.

So this week I'm grateful for the ability to keep hanging with changes and the unfamiliar and to keep on growing. There is magic in this period of life, if one keeps one's ears open and and listens for the enchantment of the nightingale singing.

Alan Doyle, "Where the Nightingale Sings":

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An Ariake Moment

In the garden of our lives
The blossoming of desire
Brought us to the brink.
Pulling back
How barren it now seems.

October Project, "Return to Me":

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Life's Basket

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.
John Burroughs

It is amazing how your perception of time alters when events knock on your door and change it. In recent years I've always felt time moved too quickly, i.e never enough of it do all I wanted. Now I ask the question when I can is something or someone worth the time I have left. To this end I have become more ruthless about who the people in my life really are. My Nokia contact list has had some losses of people who have been in my life long term, but since the cancer have been distant. After several attempts to reconnect met with failure, I decided it's not worth the time to keep trying. However to be fair my contact list has grown with others who have given to me and receive from me.

There were many events this past week that continued to cause me to look at life. A close friend lost her father and one of my favorite patient's suddenly passed away. Late in the week I had some blood tests run for another cancer check next week. And on the same day had a cold began to bloom. So I was having a day of blues. Finally it was the toughest day of several I'd been having at work. It was a day that I asked if I still had a purpose, if my living was making any sense. I sat with it in line of my philosophy of not running from fear or shadows and having asked the question, the universe gave me my answer.

On Friday as I was rounding with my patients, a couple took it upon themselves to tell me how they had missed my presence and how it made their life better. I got a text from a friend who has an organic farm to come help at the market and it concluded with what a blessing I had become to them. Finally yesterday I was called over to my neighbor's condo who had passed. Her family had a vibrant print of her's that I had loved to give me and a thank you note that they had found that she had written to me. In that note she shared  her gratitude and thankfulness for the meals I had brought her, for the visits I had made and how they had enriched her life and made a difference.

So as I enter a new week, I am grateful for what my shadow has given me, i.e. lessons that are needed and ultimately have deepened the appreciation for the gifts of my life and the people who are in it.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Life's Lessons":

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Morning Awareness

softly morning calls me awake...
      the last remnants of a dream fading
      the lone trill of a bird touching my ear
      the bite of cold air caressing my skin
      the tumble of sunlight falling across my bed
senses become aware
life calls to me
       joy infuses me,
       warms my heart
i have been given the grace of another day

Great Big Sea, "Heart of Hearts":

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Was That Will Be

when the beauty of
what was
begins to fade
we seek desperately
to hang on
eventually though
like the leaf
that knows
it must separate from
the tree
that sustained it
we let go
bare to life 
we await the
next flowering of
the beauty that 
will be

Flowering Night (Violin Version):

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Fallin" into Life's Hurricane

The storm was devastating and I find that I can live without the TV and Internet but the lack of contact - human, voice or electronic - with my family and friends has been the hardest to deal with.  I find it worse than the cold.  On the bright side, I am getting quite good at using my Sterno fueled camp stove to heat up food and drink.  I have been texting with a friend in Asbury Park who told me he made French Toast on his grill yesterday.  We're thinking about collaborating on the Disaster Cookbook.
Gail Z.

It has been a week for my friends out east. My best friend Gail lives just 2 miles from the Central Jersey shoreline. She has been without power since Monday. She has managed to text or talk to me trying to remain positive, but I have to salute her fortitude. I'm not sure I would have done as well. If luck holds power will be restored on Wednesday for her. 

My week was a walk in the park by comparison. Beautiful weather. The photo above was taken with my recently acquired Nokia N8 (I wanted it due to camera capabilities). Fall is just starting here for us and we remain in the balmy 70s during the day. I cooked, worked on a collage and my recently restarted hobby of embroidery. Went out with a friend and practiced harp, getting ready for a couple of performances next month. I didn't get to the mountains because their weather wasn't so great, rearranged to go in two weeks if all goes well.

Also, completed and mailed in my ballot. I cannot get used to having to vote on 11 propositions, compared to the few in other states where I have lived. It almost requires a BA to get through it, but with help from the Attorney Generals office, the League of Women Voters and a few other sources, I was able to make my decisions.

I get many books from the library and Neil Young's "Waging Heavy Peace" came in for me today. Started reading it and love it. It's like gaining a trip through his mind and creative process. No major ghost writers or editing here. I have a feeling what he wrote is what you get. Highly recommend reading it.

Today I am grateful for all those who are supporting the recovery from Hurricane Sandy. We may have differences, but watching people pull together, makes me see the best of what we are, not the worst.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, "Like a Hurricane":

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bewildered Place

The end of us is the beginning of me…
What I thought would grow in the light,

Has become an obscure shadow
The gate was nudged open to let you travel the path into my heart,
And I was the one who got lost
Now I need to break out of this bewildered place,
Where I've lost my certainty

Even though my head tries to convince me,
The ember is good enough
My being yearns towards flame,
Am I brave enough to burn?

U2, "Vertigo":

Beginning Yet Again

  "Never feel guilty for starting again." -Rupi Kaur These days being a flaneuse has been more mental than physical. I moved to Ar...