52 Photos: Teal

I haven’t done a 52 Photos post in WEEKS! And I checked for the latest prompt and it was teal. I nearly died. I have so many teal things to wear it’s a little insane.

For your viewing pleasure, I present the accessories: a (new) pair of gloves, a pair of earrings, and this hat!

Teal

Other teal items I own that are not included: boots, a cardigan sweater, another hat, and a pair of pants.

I also love photographing birds, as you all know. I just happen to have two different teal ducks!

There this adorable pair of blue-winged teals:

blue-winged teal

And this pair of cinnamon teal ducks:

cinnamon teal pair

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What I learned from therapy

I feel like I could make this a super duper short thing, a medium thing, or a super looong thing. I’m going to aim for some happy medium, though.

For the tl;dr crowd, here is the distillation of what I learned and what I apply in challenging moments: Ask yourself: What do I want? Be honest (about what you want). Be kind (to yourself and others). Tell the truth.

Once we lose our fear of being tiny ...
Once we lose our fear of being tiny, we find ourselves on the threshold of a vast and awesome universe which dwarfs – in time, in space, and in potential – the tidy anthropocentric proscenium of our ancestors. ~ Carl Sagan

By the end of 2010 I was a worn-out husk of a human. I’d managed to leave my job gracefully, but not without paying a price. I’d lost all my self-confidence. I didn’t trust myself. I thought I was just exhausted and needed to rest. But after two years, it became apparent that rest wasn’t the only thing I needed.

I knew I was having problems when I was interpreting everything with the same level of fear. It didn’t matter what it was. My internal sense of things was waaaay off, but I could only tell by extrapolation. So I found a therapist.

There were many things that I worked on over the almost two years I worked with G:

  • There was learning to look for support. Everywhere I looked, I saw a threat. Learning to scan for support was HUGE.
  • There was the piece about needing to be seen. I’d learned at my previous place of employment that being my whole self was unacceptable (or had interpreted various signals that way). So I made the choice to stop sharing the parts I felt weren’t acceptable there. As anyone living in the closet can tell you, it’s exhausting. And demoralizing. So I worked on being brave and telling the truth when people asked me questions that I thought they didn’t really want to know the answers to. And guess what? I started having amazing conversations. And I don’t remember anyone running away, screaming, as fast as they could. But maybe I just blotted out those memories.
  • We spend A LOT of time talking about my feelings. As I joked recently, if I’m talking about my feelings, I’d better be paying you to do so. But seriously, I didn’t understand my emotional landscape. I felt totally out of control. I had to learn that it was a) okay to have feelings; b) okay to feel them; and c) okay to not act on them.
  • Which brings me back to fear. Everything I talked about ended the same way: “And then I’m going to die, alone, in a gutter on the street.”
  • Which is patently not true. Saying these things that I feared out loud took the power away, in a profound way. Saying them to a compassionate witness was life changing.
  • There’s a Part II to fear: the illusion of control. I hate feeling out of control. As I began to relax and breathe and learn to understand my feelings, I became less and less overwhelmed. For me, it turned out, my sense of control and safety were directly tied to my inability to understand what I was feeling. When I couldn’t understand what I was feeling, I felt out of control. In other words, my sense of control had nothing to do with my ability. Learning to be present in the moment, slowing down, and uncoupling my response from my reaction was probably the core of the work I did with G.
  • The antidote to fear is curiosity. I’ve been trying this one out. When I feel afraid, I don’t “whistle a happy tune” like Anna in The King and I. Putting on a brave face equals dismissing my own experience. Instead, I take my cue from Doctor Who. He is always curious, even when it appears that death is imminent. I’ve been experimenting and testing it out. Turns out, curiosity is a like a magic wand that releases the straightjacket of fear. If you are feeling gripped by fear, I encourage you to give it a try. Start with something small. Something that feels doable. You can do it!
  • I had to move from criticism and judgment to observation.
  • I was crabby about happiness, which I now find hilarious. So G encouraged me to consider what might satisfy me. So much easier for me to work with than happiness.
  • I had to learn what I value matters to me.
  • I had to learn that I am safe. Always.
  • I had to learn to bloom at my own speed, in other words.

Learning to pay attention to what I want in any given moment has been an interesting process. I’d say most of the time, what I want does not cause me to feel any internal conflict, so getting it is easy – or falls under the category of “wishful thinking” (like an extended trip around the world).

All of these things were layered over time, building on themselves. It was in this way that I learned to neutralize the things that I felt held power over me.

I felt broken and damaged, unloveable and lacking value. I had to learn that what I had to offer was enough. That I am enough. That I have value and what I have to offer has value. If what I have to offer doesn’t work for someone else, it’s not my fault. It’s not their fault. It’s just not a fit.

Solar blooms

I love that I picked slow bloom as the organizing principle for my blog. It gives me permission to focus on opening up in only the way that I can. I can let go of comparing myself to others and continue to return to my desires.

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Update on Liberated Life Marketplace

I’m still selling my cards (through January!) at the Liberated Life Marketplace.

I decided that in addition to offering up the dahlias, I’m also making sets using images from SE Asia, Japan, and Florida. Here are some sample images to give you some idea.

Japan

torii hall with lantern

Kinkakuji

orange pagoda, green hills

crossed knot

SE Asia

tree framing door

faces in stone

sunrise

Some variation on the apsara:

apsaras

Florida

brown pelican in flight

ibis

burrowing owl

So apparently Florida IS for the (snow)birds. I have a couple other images with birds – a snowy egret as well as a triad with an anhinga, roseate spoonbill and an egret.

Also have:

Triple dolphin action

And something similar to this one:

cypress reflections

Also, if you are in Seattle, I’m happy to meet up and hand off pictures, minus the shipping charge. Or if you don’t want to use PayPal, let me know and we can work something out!

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Sweets of the Season

This week’s prompt was around desserts! I usually do make a variety of sweets, but for some reason, I haven’t taken many pictures of them.

For the first time this year, we also went to see the gingerbread “house” competition in downtown Seattle. I will note that this is a fundraiser for an organization working around juvenile diabetes. Yeah, the irony was not lost on any of us.

I had two “houses” in particular that I really loved. One was Hawai’ian (I know, you are all SHOCKED), and the other was a love letter to Seattle.

Hawai’i

Surfin’ Santa

Surfin' Santa

Santapus

octopus santa

Seattle

Skyline

Seattle Skyline

Bertha – Seattle’s BIG DIG

Bertha

You can see the rest of the pics here.

In case you were looking for a temptation you could eat, I offer up this:

I did try out a chocolate mint thins with candy cane crunch from the NY Times, and it’s been a huge hit in our house. One word of caution – do try to crush the candy canes as much as you can. Chomping into a big chunk does put a damper on the enjoyment.

Candy cane cookie!

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52 Photos: Red

This week’s prompt was RED!

I do love the color and I had such a hard time choosing. Here are a few:

Egret in the reflection of the torii gate at Miyajima:

egret in red reflection

Condemned! Red wetsuit:

condemned

Red Gold and White Platform Shoes:

red gold white pumps collection

Red parasol:

red parasol

Amanita mushroom:

red shroom

Red lantern blooms:

red lantern blossoms

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52 Photos: Look Down

This week’s prompt was Look down! I don’t often take up the challenge of the prompt, but I did this week. I have to admit, I’m always happy when I do, too!

Sunday was a cold, brisk day. We took a walk down to the Pike Place Market and then back up the Hill. I looked down, hunting for treasures to photograph. Here’s what I brought home:

A maple leaf stain

maple leaf

Arbutus art

Arbutus on the ground

Ice lace draped over grass

snow and ice

Fire and ice

fire and ice

I also love this step from the sidewalk art on Broadway, The Obeebo, that I took last summer.

step one

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Slow Bloom at the Liberated Life Marketplace!

llpMarketplaceSquare-1

2014 has been a year of transformation for me. In the spirit of trying new things and seeing what sticks to the wall, I’m offering my note cards for sale! I love to create, using a mix of things. I love sharing how I see the world. Creating note cards is one such avenue of expression.

I was invited to participate in The Liberated Life Project Marketplace this year, which is how this offering comes to you!

Even though the prevailing wisdom says, “A picture’s worth a thousand words,” there are things the pictures themselves can’t tell you. So I will. I started making cards for my mom several years ago. A few years later, I posted a few of my dahlia pictures on FB and I had another friend say, “If you ever make your pictures into cards, I would totally buy some from you.” A seed was planted.

I’m offering two different sets of note cards. There are 5 cards in each set, each with a different image. The cards are 5″x7″ and blank on the inside.

The first set contain details of architectural elements from Bethesda Terrace in Central Park.
rail detail

I was there in October with my mom, partner, and niece, and in my slow bloom fashion, lagging behind them. As I approached the staircase that leads down to the fountain, a man walked up the stairs. He wore a khaki vest and an air of authority. He asked if I knew anything about the Terrace.

I said, “No, I don’t. But I don’t have time. I have to catch up with my family.”

He said, “Well, did you know that all the details are different? Every design element that on first glance looks like it should be the same is actually different.”

I peered closer and was delighted by this new information. I thanked the volunteer and ran off to tell my family. We then spent the next thirty minutes exploring the variation and variety that we would have otherwise missed! I was delighted that my speed meant I learned something special about the place, as well as opening my eyes to the details I would have otherwise glossed over. Sometimes it really pays to go slow(er).

**

The second set are made from dahlia pictures. I’ve been taking pictures of the dahlias in a garden in Volunteer Park, down the street from where I live.

peach dawn

Regulars will know that I have a particular fondness for dahlias. I love their bright, bold, throw-caution-to-the-wind blooms. I love their variety. They remind me that I have my own speed of blooming. I’ve posted this quote from May Sarton before, but I’m going to repeat it here, because this is the heart of this blog and also the inspiration for the dahlia cards:

“It does not astonish or make us angry that it takes a whole year to bring into the house three great white peonies and two pale blue iris. It seems altogether right and appropriate that these glories are earned with long patience and faith … and also that it is altogether right and appropriate that they cannot last. Yet, in our human relations we are outraged when the supreme moments, the moments of flowering, must be waited for … and then cannot last. We reach a summit, and then have to go down again.
Maybe patience is the last thing we learn.”
~May Sarton; Journal of a Solitude

In addition to my note cards, there are many other wonderful offerings, from books about transformation to coaching and mindfulness/livelihood support, to prayer flags and other beautiful artwork. Even if my offering doesn’t appeal, I encourage you to go check out what other people have to offer. Perhaps you will know someone that will connect with a piece in just the right way.

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Vintage Architecture

I’m taking the prompt very loosely this week. I’m not totally sure what makes architecture vintage, other than it being old!

Here’s Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion, in Kyoto:

Kinkakuji

NOT trompe l’oeil building in Lisbon:

building

Wat Arun in Bankgok, Thailand:

Sunset at Wat Arun

And finally, some neoclassical architecture in the heart of NYC, just west of Penn Station – the US Post Office:

Neither snow nor rain

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52 Photos: Point the Camera Up

I can’t believe I haven’t posted any pictures from Okunoin, the most enchanting cemetery in Koya-San, Japan. For Point the Camera UP, I give you this view:

tree guardians

Some hoodoos from below at Bryce Canyon:

hoodoos and sky

Joshua Tree:

joshua tree and sky

And blooms, because this blog is all about blooming!

blooms in the sky

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52 Photos: Orange

This week’s prompt is orange. I was in NYC last week and saw these skulls in the window of a shop. I loved them, as well as the calaveras.

dia de los muertos skulls

calavaras

calaveras

A few more orange images from the archives.

Young monks on the Chao Praya in Bankgok, Thailand:

monks

Orange fungi from the Olympic Peninsula:

orange fungi

Blue and Orange tiles in Lisbon, Portugal:

blue and orange

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