WP Wkly Photo Challenge – Peek

For the WordPress weekly photo challenge, Peek.   We were sailing just yesterday.  A bit overcast but warm for a November day.   Not terribly windy, did maybe 6 knots or so.  I’m always peeking around our main and jib sail to see if we’re in any danger of plowing into either a crab pot or another sailboat.  You can see a Trimaran off in the distance.  Not too many boats out there on a November weekday.  But the Naval Academy midshipmen were enjoying themselves on their very pretty, but sluggish (tee hee) sailboats, with their over the top impressive boat names.  All of us seemed to be enjoying ourselves.



Rounded – WP Weekly Photo


The stairs for the Pagoda in Patterson Park, Baltimore, Maryland.  Patterson Park is a really nice park that I’d never before been to and reminding me a little of Central Park.  That day I was meeting with a discussion group, and we sat on blankets and yoga mats chatting just outside the Pagoda.  Fortunately, the building happened to be open, and we were able to climb the rounded spiral stairs to appreciate the beautiful stained glass windows and phenomenal view of the city from the outside top balcony.  I LOVE looking up spiral staircases.  Down is good too!  Sorry, no photo of the outside, but here are the factoids from the Park’s website where you can find a photo of the Pagoda.

The Pagoda

Known as the Pagoda because of its oriental architectural appearance, the design was intended to reflect the bold Victorian style of the day. From the top of the tower one can view downtown, Baltimore’s many neighborhoods, the Patapsco River, the Key Bridge and Fort McHenry.

Over time and due to natural decay, vandalism, and lack of maintenance funds, the Pagoda was closed to the public in 1951 when the first of a series of partial renovations was attempted. At one point demolition was proposed as an option but thankfully the 1998 Master Plan for Patterson Park called for the complete restoration of the Pagoda. This project was guided by the Friends of Patterson Park, in partnership with Baltimore City’s Department of Recreation and Parks and MANY neighborhood volunteers. Completed in the spring of 2002, the Pagoda now stands as an iconic structure for Patterson Park and Baltimore City and signified the renaissance of the community around Patterson Park. It is also the location of many programs and events, such as the Friends of Patterson Park Summer Concerts Series, Audubon’s family programs, Tour Dem Parks waterstop, one of the sites of AVAM’s Kinetic Sculpture Race obstacles, The Friends’ annual Moonlight Pagoda event and much, much more!

Source:  Friends of Patterson Park website:  https://pattersonpark.com/park-landmarks

We Contribute, One Thought at a Time

In spite of all the tragedies, natural disasters, polarization, political controversies, including corporate, political, and personal abuse, I still believe each of us everyday, seemingly ordinary human beings, are bringing about more peace, love, and light, in the world.

I don’t own a major company, and most people don’t even know I’m on the planet, but I feel I’m doing my part.  I certainly didn’t wow the educational system or set the corporate world on fire, but in my own way I know I’m contributing.  I have a small following, but I’m still making my impact.   Sometimes it’s a struggle for me to find the most eloquent words to write or to speak, but still I believe I’m able to make a difference.  Everyone makes a difference in the world.  Everyone.

I really believe we beneficially contribute to the world even more so through feeding our spirit by doing what brings us joy, and living from lighter and higher emotions.  As each of us create avenues for positive change in ourselves, all of humanity benefits as well.

Every time we laugh we make a contribution to the collective consciousness.  Every time we’re inspired by a work of art, a book, a film, a conversation, our resulting inspired thoughts and feelings ripple out to all.  When we choose to think a beautiful thought, among so many other kinds of thoughts we could choose to think, we’re contributing to mankind.  When I cook one of my vegan meals and my husband opts in and valiantly eats every bite out of love, he’s contributing because he’s melting my heart with every bite.  No moment is too silly or insignificant.

Most everyone knows that kindness towards someone else, directly contributes to whom the kindness is directed to.  But it’s easy to forget to be kind to ourselves, especially when things get tough.  Self-kindness is a gift to ourselves.  It’s also a gift to others because the beneficial feelings ripple out to all.  How we feel as we go about our day, touches many.  How we’re spending our time.  Joyful, fun, interesting, rewarding?  Or, do we feel constricted?  What are our feelings telling us?  What kinds of thoughts are we holding?  Are they positive or negative thoughts?  What kinds of words are we using?  Lighthearted, humorous, or inspiring, or negative, self-deprecating, or limiting?  Are we taking action on our dreams?   What kinds of habits do we have?

As we become aware of ourselves, open to our light and personal strength, we can’t help but consciously create a more loving, compassionate, joyful experience for ourselves, and the world.  Each of us becomes a light for each other.

For me, the higher I take my feelings by honoring myself with better thoughts and habits, the less I want to name-call any name-callers, or hate the haters.  It also seems especially counter-intuitive to me, to tear down those that tear down others.

I can’t think of a better time for more and more of us to realize our self-worth, our strength, our personal power.  We hold back and hope that someone more qualified, more awesome, more special, more divine, will improve things.  But we’re all already that.  The solution isn’t with an elected official, world leader, or famous what’s-her/his-name, it’s everyone, the collective us.   We’re positively impacting the world as we

  • Lead with our best effort in more moments
  • Create positive messages and take positive actions
  • Act on our own beneficial ideas and solutions
  • Collaborate
  • Support one another
  • Believe in better possibilities

How we are being, how we are taking care of ourselves, is how we evolve our communities, our world governments, corporations, financial systems, educational institutions, healthcare, our world, our hearts, our consciousness, our humanity.

While each of us is having our own individual life experience, we are one spirit and one humanity.

two kids humanityWhatever experiences we’re in the midst of, whether we’re lighthearted, sad, confused, or joyful, we still connect with each other.  We transform ourselves and the world, one beneficial thought at a time, and through even the smallest human gesture.

What do you think?  Do you see yourself individually and collectively, contributing?

When It’s Time To Stop Trying So Hard

If we want our relationships, our work, our art, our life experiences to feel good, we will need to learn to let go of trying to ‘do life right’ and instead learn how to have more fun in any and all ways possible.  More and more are pexels-photo-258330saying to me how are you doing this?  What is it that you’re doing to make this <good stuff> happen?  The truth is I’m enjoying myself in all parts of my life not just my “work” and that’s why and how it’s all coming together.

I see that people are pushing and pushing to be their best.  That often includes striving to be successful, however they perceive success.  In trying to stand out and be successful we actually mainstream ourselves by fitting in to doing best practice mode. 

I get it.  There has to be a balance in promoting ourselves.  I’ve taken on some “best practices” too and I’m trying to learn a couple of social media thing-a-ma-bobbers.  But more often than not, I’d rather noodle with art or enjoy the outdoors so my social media presence is meh.  For me, mastering all “the correct and proven steps”, sucks the joy right out of my life and then things get stuck.  So I keep my work related tasks simple and just. have. fun.

There are best practices for everything and I’ve heard more rules from people than I can shake a stick at.   There’s always someone to help us get caught up in doing it better, right, doing whatever it is more correctly, more successfully, more their way.

You want to know more of my best practices?  It’s going for a walk in the woods, painting, taking and editing my photos, writing, hanging out with my husband, sailing, watching a great movie, enjoying a fascinating book, creating a meal, listening to music.

My own personal experience has taught me, that everything, from any particular area of my spiritual growth, meaning my work, relationships, art, even simple everyday tasks and experiences, flourish and bloom as I release my need to force things into place.  And to instead just enjoy all aspects of my life.

This past week, I experienced myself starting to slouch into this is not enjoyable mode, and switched gears.  We went to our favorite lunch spot, ate outside, spoke with some locals, visited a couple of art galleries, took a photo to be framed, and enjoyed a farmer’s market.

Another happy result from joy is that it allows for our best ideas and creativity to blossom, and answers and solutions can show up to any challenges we’re experiencing.

Is your intuition is assisting you in learning to pay attention to how you feel in more and more moments and to strike a nice balance?  It doesn’t have to be OMG this is SO AMAAAAZINGGGG EXCITING kind of feeling because that’s impossible to maintain all the time, but sometimes it’s just a feeling of I’m in the zone, this feels nice.  And if something doesn’t feel right, to learn not to push through it and keep hammering away but instead to take a break and do something else.

If we want our relationships, our work, our art, our life experience to be even better than what we can imagine, we will need to learn to let go of other people’s ways, our quest for perfection, and instead just allow for the enjoyment of life in any and all ways possible.

How a Horoscope Cheered Me Up

I’ve often thought that family and one very good friend believe that I became a better version of myself when I met a nice guy.  Granted, this nice guy, now my husband, is an incredibly loving and kind person.  He’s funny, creative, smart, clever, and I love him so much.  But my life did not just snap into a beautiful place when he showed up.

My suspicion was realized when a family member commented, “And then you met Dave” in the context of once I met my husband my life was all unicorns and rainbows.  Um, no.  No one can make us happy, give us peace, or a sense of purpose.  I had to change the way I thought of myself and look at where all those limiting thoughts started from.  The member of my family annoyed me (this is an understatement) because it showed he didn’t know me at all.  To think he thought it was all about finding a nice man was doubly annoying.  Wow.  But the poor guy was only going on an assumption because he didn’t know any better.  He didn’t know because the timing of me beginning to uncover my spirituality was not long after I met my husband.  And, I didn’t tell anyone about what I was doing around how I was learning to look at where my limiting beliefs started, how I was learning to look at myself and how I put myself out in the world.  This is not the kind of work everyone wants to hear about, regardless of the positive outcome.

Years ago, what I was opening to was private and also unusual so I assumed people would laugh at me or make fun of me in disbelief.  I was just beginning to nurture a small seedling of my spirituality and I didn’t want anyone stomping on it.  So I kept my experiences to myself.  I didn’t share it with even my oldest friend because we always appear to be on the opposite ends of the spectrum regarding introspection.  Instead I concentrated on my new habits, new ideas and perspectives that would change my life and I pulled back from anyone who tends towards being sarcastic, dismissive or negative about life.  It even took me a while to share some of it with the very man who is credited with changing my life.  Of course he touches my life in many beautiful ways, he’s just not responsible for me working my bum off to release my limiting beliefs and opening to something more beautiful.

So after the comment from “harmless family person”, about a week later, I’m reading the local entertainment paper and see the horoscopes.  I rarely look at horoscopes but decide to read my husband’s for fun.  We laugh because it’s so not him.

Then I start to read mine out loud and bammo it’s just how I feel!  Very specific.  As I kept reading we both laughed at how surprisingly on target it was.  I giggled so much that tears were streaming down my face.  Thank you Universe, it’s just what I needed.

The world will never fully know or appreciate the nature of your heroic journey.  Even the people who love you the most will only ever understand a portion of your epic quest to become your best self.  That’s why it’s important for you to be generous in giving yourself credit for all you have accomplished up until now and will accomplish in the future.  Take time to marvel at the majesty and miracle of the life you have created for yourself.  Celebrate the struggles you’ve weathered and the liberations you’ve initiated…

Gardening and the art of slowing down

The other day I drove home in the middle of the day with garden supplies and noticed two deer meandering on our property.  They were in no hurry and seemed pretty content.  And then I felt contentment, though I did wonder if they just munched a little on our redbud sapling.  When they heard my car come down the dirt road one looked back at me and hung out while I experienced him or her.  Moments like that make me want to shout how much I love living here.

My husband and I bought this home in 2015.  I love the huge windows, the skylights, the woods, the deer, the birds, the fox, the moon and the stars (I know you can find them anywhere), and the wind chimes I placed next to the bench I sit on.  Not so much the Copperheads but so far we haven’t seen one yet this spring.  I’m so grateful and especially for our back yard garden area project.  You know that expression “it’s about the journey”?   Well, for me that’s so true, and it’s this house and our garden area that reminds me to just enjoy every day and not worry so much about getting things done or doing more.


Working in the garden, adding more shade plants, tending to what we have, is a big enough adventure for me right now.  And I get to step back and see how it all looks and how lush it’s becoming.  Actually our property behind the house needs a bit of work to match our vision for a shade garden, but we’re in no hurry.  We’ll buy more new plantings in the fall, with the exception of planting some ground cover in the next couple of weeks, before it turns blistering hot here.

The more I work outside in our yard, the more I realize that being in a hurry and busy is not path to happiness for me.  Deadlines, other’s expectations, social events, networking, even travel which I usually love, just doesn’t do it for me right now.  I need breaks and lots of them and gardening, painting, writing, feel good to me right now.  When I relax I enjoy.  The tricky part is creating a balance between creating my ideas around my work, and time for me to just sit still.  There will be a time when I’ll want to do more, just not at this time.  When I start to feel like I should be further along in with bringing my ideas to action, or utter the words “I should be…by now”, that’s a clue to switch gears and chill.  Unexpectedly, the best opportunities show up when we create a good balance between doing and being.  Maybe things will take a little longer but I’m a big believer in everything happens at the right time, in the right way anyway.

We’re all in this together

I’ve said this a million times, each of us is unique.  We grew up differently, look different from each other, sound different, dress differently, have totally different life experiences.  Our lives might look as though we’re on completely opposite ends of the spectrum.  Still, we’re all here and we’re all in this together.  diff folksEvery single one of us has a heart that at times is bursting with love or feels utterly broken or something in-between.  Each of us, at some point, want something better for ourselves.  “More” can be everything from better health, more money, healthier relationships, fulfilling work, joy, love, or an end to struggle.

As I put myself out in the world and look to create possibilities with others I’m very aware of our mutual evaluations.  Let’s go with the word evaluation rather than judgment.  We all evaluate each other.  Sometimes it’s all light and an opening is created.  Sometimes it goes the other way, for good reason or because one of us made a snappy judgment, oops I mean evaluation.  Everybody evaluates before making a decision and sometimes it’s based on going with our gut or criteria we need to meet.  I do it.  I consider my feelings around a group, cause, organization, based on their website content, or what I’ve heard about them, what their mission and vision is.  Do I align with them?  Is this something I feel strongly about?  Is there a good possibility my skills could be useful?  And then I make my decision and either reach out or not.

Sometimes, I’m just sayin’, we go overboard on keeping others out for very little reason or based on our own assumptions created by seeing through our own experiences.  I just spent three days with my best friend.  We couldn’t be more different when it comes to our personal habits, beliefs, interests, and how we approach life and interact with the world.  And yet, we’ve managed to have a relationship that’s lasted, and we’ve enjoyed and hugely benefited from, since we were three years old.  From her I’m learning about accepting others as they are and how to not care what others think.  Perhaps from me she’s learning how to stand up for her own needs and to let go of being a people-pleaser.

The way I experience life is that we’re all in this together.  It may look like we’re too different from each other to find common ground.  But that kind of thinking prevents the possibility of a beneficial connection.  And anyway, we always share similar basic needs and heartfelt desires…either in the midst of enormous struggle or when things just aren’t sitting right or if we’re fortunate enough to live joyful, creative lives.  Some of what we evaluate each other on doesn’t really matter.  It doesn’t really matter what our back story is but rather what we’ve done in spite of it, and learned from it.  It doesn’t so much matter what we look like, or where we live.  Instead, wouldn’t it be great to focus on cooperating and creating together?  To learn from each other.  To release our quick to surface dismissive thoughts and, instead, open to possibilities.  There’s no better time in the world for this than now.