keep your peepers open!

keep your peepers open!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

treats & treasures

As my birthday month reaches its last day, I glow with a gladness that warms me from head to toe, back to front, inside and out. Though I did not travel abroad this year, I did visit several places that I'd never been before and I've taken you along posting photographs from Nantucket, the Berkshires, San Antonio and most recently Hollywood, FL (more photos to come from the latter on Sunday). I remember sitting at the Kripalu Center questioning why I kept being drawn to serenity, to places so still that I began to relish being still (and was allowed to hear just beyond the whisper). I have come to understand that travel this year was not about hopping on a plane to leave the country for an exotic adventure across the ocean, though I stood at its edge on two trips marveling at the horizon without a thought of being anywhere but just where I was standing.

Each location where I have been fortunate enough to plant my feet has aroused every one of my senses, brought me closer to ground and alerted my sixth sense. The unexpected gifts from nature that I captured through my lens and/or picked up to bring home, each deliberately placed within view for me to treasure, trained my senses to stay heightened. During the months since May when I sat reading on the veranda in Nantucket and July as I breathed in the mountain air that is the Berkshires, I have come to understand that the path to October was about contemplation, awareness and growth. About letting go with grace anything or body, all obstructions that serve no purpose or no longer matter in order to be open to the lessons needed for me to blossom into the fullness of me as I transformed with each venture.

Along the way books, music, movement, true and new friends and family, and a renewed commitment to meditation have sprinkled the journey with joy, gladness and some shaking that shifted both body and mind. My eclectic eye, a blessing that I don't take for granted, has recorded many things I truly have enjoyed sharing in words and pictures; it has also imprinted images on my memory for only my recall. So on this Halloween day, the last in my birthday month, my morning meditation focuses on a different single image for each breath in (this) and out (moment) with gratitude for the many treats and treasures that have come my way.

And there are more to come, so...

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

state of grace

Hurricane Sandy is making her way up the East Coast towards Washington but I’ve already experienced her Hollywood, FL style! As I sit on my couch thinking back to last week, I remember the anxiety I began to feel as reports about the storm and her path continued to roll in. Not wanting to be stuck in the airport unable to get home, I called the airlines on Wednesday to rebook my Saturday ticket. The fee was ridiculous so I got all of the information about making changes the day before and of my flight and put a note to my calendar with every intention of getting on the 7:45AM flight instead of the one at 3:45PM as the hotel battened down the hatches!

Each day I was away, I opened the sliding door to the balcony to listen to the ocean. It was roaring that late Wednesday afternoon, the gray sky above flecked with blue as the sun played in the clouds; it was the calm before the real deal came down. As I sat on the bed working, I noticed a hint of rainbow dancing in the distance and kept jumping up to get a good picture to no avail. Finally, I stopped running between the bed and the balcony and settled back to checking emails until a little voice said look up…

I’d never seen a full rainbow before and this one was beyond magnificent in size and color as it stretched up and across to completely fill the sky over the water. One side was set against fiery coral clouds, the other over a clear blue that cannot be found in any crayon box. As I stood on the balcony tingling with excitement and awe, the girl in me delightfully clapped her hands and giggled, the woman in me was humbled by the glorious view, falling into quiet, feeling thankful to witness such a wonder. The rainbow lasted for several minutes before it slowly disappeared changing me somehow. That evening as I submerged in the deep waters of a candlelight bath listening to the blowing winds, a little voice said, just let it be. And so I did.

I was determined to take pictures as often as possible despite the weather and found myself outside the next day balancing myself in various places and positions as the wind and pelts of rain whipped my body. Once again, I felt a change come over me. When I walked back through the doors of the hotel, my hair had taken a beating but I was calm. I realized that the storm was coming no matter what I did, that up until a few minutes before, I had never really felt the power of a hurricane. I took the time to fully take in the tingling exhilaration coursing through my body, liked how strong it still is no matter what ails it.
The next evening after the rains of the storm passed, the sun came out and out on the beach was I to hear, see, smell, taste and feel the warm waters as the ferocious waves hit the sands washing my feet, calves and hips. Once again, my body stood her ground though I did sink into the sand every so often loving every minute of it.

My biggest reward for keeping my Saturday travel in tact -- being able to take a cup of green tea along with my camera out to the beach to watch the sunrise…

The District and surrounding states are in a state of emergency, I am in a state of grace as I prepare to greet Sandy once again this time with a newfound appreciation for the power of a storm that empowered me. One never knows the moment and delivery of the message so it is wise to…

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

the 28th floor...

is parallel with the fluff of clouds

in pink, gray and white

air of clean salt drifts over

the crescendo of waves

as sea gulls float and sing.

sitting still I am in the picture of this moment.

back on Sunday. until then…

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

imagine this

On my recent trip to San Antonio, I found myself most immersed in the presentation on guided imagery. The subject was not new to me, in fact my first experience using it as a meditation practice happened over 20 years ago when someone gave me a tape by Shakti Gawain; I still have my Creative Visualization cassette and now a CD. I also use guided imagery when I facilitate any workshop as a means to quiet participants so they are fully present during the time we will spend together. But back to the presentation…

The PowerPoint on the screen was visually appealing, filled with images that matched the text and the voice speaking. I thought about the parallels between what I was witnessing and my blog and what surfaced for me as I listened intently with both ears and eyes was my photographs are a beautiful tool for taking a journey of the mind. I don’t know that I’ve ever sat quietly and recalled the textures, colors, smells of the flowers I feel so akin to without gazing at the actual images.

While away and when I returned home, I was reminded that the mind absorbs and retains subtle bits of information that, at least for me, manifest themselves later in visual form. In group, one person talked about religion, several of us made reference to the wings of birds, butterflies or angels during the week. Walking in the stillness of the golf course, grass thick with dew glistening from the light of the rising sun, I wanted to capture shadows created by rays peeking through branches and snapped several shots. It was only as I downloaded that I saw the cross in field…

Back home on my early morning meditation, dew liberally moistened the plants and flowers in front of the Botanic Gardens. I climbed up onto knee-level rock walls in order to stand over huge green leaves, step in between them. It was only after I edited that I saw wings stretched clearly across the frame, strong and tight and sure…

When I first began meditating, the image that came to mind was a place I envisioned that I still go to, though I’ve embellished the surroundings with bits and pieces of places that I’ve now actually visited. However, it is not lost on me that my original vision has come to life during my travels and while I won’t describe it, let me provide you with an image that I recently took that to my delight captures the essence.

It’s all right before you if you…

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

this moment

Gifts are such a joy to receive particularly when they are mindfully selected to be in sync with where one is on their life journey. I can't count the number of times I've seen The Invitation written by Oriah Mountain Dreamer, skimmed the cover, been struck by the words yet not been compelled to actually buy the book. So when it was in my birthday bag the other day, I knew that this was the moment. I began reading yesterday. Words, sentences, paragraphs captivated me, wrapping themselves around me 'til I felt as if I was in a trance. I barely noticed the movement of the shuttle as it whisked me to and from work, I was that drawn into her phraseology. I truly did lose touch with my surroundings, taking in each thought carefully so that everything read had its own moment to sink in. Another goodie in the bag was a CD by Dean and Dudley Evenson bringing me music to accompany my daily self-Reiki practice as I prepare for Level 2 training. Just like the book, the sounds filling my living room captivated me; I paused to let each note drape itself over my being.

Warm, lush, alluring, soul stirring were my first reactions to both the book and the music...perhaps this moment is right for you too.

keep your peepers open!®

ps - thanks my friend.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


in the unseen

in the legacy

in the quiet

in the light


in dawn's breath

on the horizon

in my heart

in the moment

in the journey

of mind

to all in the world.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

a meditation

Don’t go outside your house to see the flowers.
My friend, don’t bother with that excursion.
Inside your body there are flowers.
One flower has a thousand petals.
That will do for a place to sit. Sitting there you will have a glimpse of beauty inside the body and out of it, before gardens and after gardens. 
                   - Kabir

Kabir speaks about being in touch with the beauty inside ourselves, about going within, sitting with you. His words deeply resonate with me and though the piece is about our inner place, when I close my eyes, the images that float into consciousness are from the many gardens I’ve stood in throughout my life; those places are in me, part of my being.  This week, I’m playing tourist in my own city once again, losing touch with time as I drink in nature on my vacation days. I truly do miss being out of the country this fall however, had I been away I would have failed to see the gorgeous plants and floral displays at the Botanic Gardens; their last day on the grounds was Monday as the landscapers began work on the next project (FYI – some plants are replanted elsewhere, others used as compost)…

 There is a path, complete with fountain, that winds its way between the Hirshhorn Museum and the Smithsonian Castle and leads from the Mall area back out to civilization. It’s like being in another world in there all lush with foliage and flowers…

(yes, the above is a photograph!)

And one of my most favorite places in DC is the rose garden in front of the Castle. I have all sorts of conversations with these girls when I am in their company; they do like to get their picture taken at any stage of life. This space is magnificent and except during the winter, the garden is gloriously in bloom with a full spectrum of color and the fragrance is better than any perfumery…

A familiar stranger commented recently as I snapped a photo, “those flowers will never be as lovely as they are right now” meaning from moment to moment, they, like we, are changing. Walking amongst the gardens, along the water, in the forest, beneath or on top of a mountain with camera in hand is my version of a walking meditation, a way of communing with whatever is before me. When I am out and about in cool or hot, clouds or sun, wind or fog, I am fully present in the moment knowing that tomorrow, the meditation will be markedly different, remarkably new.

But still beautiful…

keep your peepers open!®