following dreams

I’m one of those people who will think something to death before taking any action whatsoever. It’s both a blessing and a curse. There are times where it paralyzes me and I’m too caught up in the details to make a move. I overthink things that shouldn’t be overthought. I plan until the planning makes no sense.

And I worry.

What if this dream isn’t what I should follow? What if it fails? What if I fail? What if this dream isn’t what I really wanted to pursue after all?

Sometimes, we need to leave the planning and doubt behind and take that leap of faith forward. It’s not easy for people like me to do that very thing. Sometimes we like to get our toes wet first. And sometimes that is ok, so long as we propel ourselves forward.

So there is a dream here. It’s been planned to death for a couple of years now. Perhaps it’s time to put my toes in the water.

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tears

Some things bring tears to your eyes. Not because they are sad, but because they are memories in the making. Tears of happiness or of joy but knowing that these moments will not last. Tears of trying to make the most of the time in the moment yet trying to freeze the emotion and feeling so that it can be felt again when that memory comes to mind in the future.

Tears come to my eyes often. I am an emotional creature. Tears are healing. They help to wipe the past hurts away; to open the doors to new and healthier experiences. Tears are therapeutic. To soothe and hug you when you need consoling.

But tears in these happy moments are the ones that remind me that these things—these moments, are the ones to remember and cherish, because they are the ones that I will want to remember in years to come. These are the moments that life was made up of. The growing years and the happiness that made for a good life.

outside your comfort zone

Stepping outside your comfort zone is uncomfortable.  It feels uneasy and sometimes scary.  But that space just outside the little box that we have created for ourselves is where growth lies.  That wide expanse beyond the box we live in holds opportunities that we haven’t experienced. Wonderful and new experiences that will open up a whole new world to us.

Stepping outside your comfort zone will allow you to find other like minded people; new people to add to your tribe.  It will give you the opportunity to try new and different things other than the same drudgery that you do day to day.  These opportunities open your world even more and help you to see parts of yourself that you never knew existed.

Stepping outside your comfort zone will expand your horizons.  It will change you in ways you didn’t realize.  It will open you up to new and exciting opportunities that would have scared you into your shell before that first step outside your little box.

Take that first step.  Feel the excitement of something new, something slightly uncomfortable, and see what happens.  You just may discover a whole new side of yourself that you never even knew existed.

serenity in nature

Take the time to take a walk in silence in nature.  See with your senses.  Smell the earthy aroma of the soil, the sweetness of the grass, the flowers,  the muskiness of the trees.  Breathe in the fresh air.  Feel the tingle of the breeze against your arms, your hair as it dances with the tiny currents in the air; embrace its caress on your cheek.  Notice the warmth of the sun on your skin as it plays hide and seek through the canopy of the trees.  Notice the coolness of the shade when the sunshine ducks playfully behind the clouds.

See with your eyes the beauty that surrounds you as life carries on synergistically around you.  Watch as the birds play amongst the branches.  Observe the bees as they explore the blooms, dusting their tiny feet with pollen.  Look for butterflies and dragonflies as they dance and with the wind to music that can only be heard with the heart.

Listen with your ears.  Pay attention to the love songs amongst the birds and the frogs.  Hear the rustle of leaves as the mice and little critters forage through the brush to find breakfast.

Feel the world with your intuition.  Connect with the earth in an unseeing way.  Give your compassion to Mother Nature and all her precious beings and let her return that love to you.  Spend time in silence to discover all the things that go unnoticed in the busyness of life.  Give yourself time to renew in the healing bond with nature and feel the serenity that lives amongst us in our busy world.

the power of friendship

There are times when all we truly need is a good friend by our side.  It’s more than just that they are our friend.  It’s the years of trust that have been built in that relationship.  The good memories and the hard times somehow solidify the structure of the friendship that allow us to simply be in each other’s presence.

When we have those particularly challenging days, most of us have that go-to friend that we can count on.  It is a treasured thing, to know that someone always has your back; that you matter to them just as much as they matter to you.  That friend who you can tell all your darkness to and still be loved, or just sit nestled up to, alone with your thoughts yet cradled in their love and compassion.

Friendship has the power to heal hurt.  There are no conditions present, no keeping score on who has done more for whom.  There is love and compassion.  There are good times and sadness, yet all of it gets shared equally within that friendship.  Perhaps that is what keeps a friendship alive; the ability to be completely and vulnerably yourself in the presence of the other person without fear of the power of friendship being abused.

Perhaps the power of friendship is that you are accepted, completely for who and what you are, and the ability to give the same back.

in a single moment

Life changes in a single moment.  There are events that lead up to that time, but a single defining moment changes everything.  Many parts of my day focus on that single moment changing life in a negative way, so I am acutely aware of the impact that can happen.  Perhaps because of this, I am also particularly aware of the times where those changes affect life in a positive way.

Rewind to March; there was a single moment that so far has changed my life for the better.  It wasn’t expected, planned, or even prepared for.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  Truth be told, I had seriously debated not making an appearance.  It was a friend’s birthday and there was a party at a local establishment.  I had already been to my regular evening commitment that night and was feeling like my social timer had almost run out for the week.  There was internal guilt, that if I didn’t show up, that it might hurt feelings or what have you, so I took in a deep breath or two and made my way to the party.

As I stepped through the threshold of the pub, all the moments leading up had finally fallen into place.  I scanned the room from right to left; a contradiction to the norm.  I noticed the karaoke singers, the notables from my friend’s circle, a couple of my own acquaintances, the birthday girl, then, in that instant, that single defining moment, I saw him.

That single moment began the chain of events that brought us together. He wasn’t new to me.  Perhaps the timing was never right before.  Perhaps it was the magic of the evening.  Or the way he straightened up when our eyes met.  Whatever it was, that anxiety or whatever you choose to call it that I was feeling before walking in the door, had all melted away when I saw his grey blue eyes looking back at me.

A single moment.  Life changes in a single moment.

all you need is love and a dog

Love comes in many forms.  Romantic, platonic, family, pets, and any other version you can think of.  Many things I do in my life now are the result of love.  I tend to my children with motherly love to give them the safe place they need to grow into the amazing humans they are.  I spend time with my friends and cultivate those relationships, being mindful to ensure they know that they are loved and appreciated.  And pets, well…it’s nearly impossible to not show a pet they are loved in my household, especially when they so easily give that love right back to you.

Love is a necessity for growth, no matter who or where you are.  Love is one of those undeniable components that change life from survival mode to allowing one to flourish.  Just as humans need a certain amount of hugs to survive versus to thrive, this is just another version of showing our love for one another.

Growing up and well in through the two decades that I was married, I found saying the words I love you to be very forced and painful.  It seemed as if I didn’t really know how to say those words and truly feel the meaning of them.  I know there is a lot of psychology and background history there that really isn’t something I care to delve into, but there came a time when I was going through my divorce that I discovered what love really is, and I felt as if I had never truly allowed love into my heart until that point.  The interesting part is that it wasn’t a romantic love that changed me; it was the love of my true friends who stood with me and helped me through the divorce.  They were the ones who showed me what love is and how to embrace those around me.  I listened and I learned.  I paid attention to their actions and saw how easy it was for them to give a piece of themselves to me.  Somehow my heart softened and I could feel real love for the first time.  I realized that real love didn’t have to be painful; it didn’t have to hurt.  Real love comes without consequence, constraints or ultimatums.  Real love just is.

Now that I know how love actually feels, it is easy for me to give that love freely to those near me.  I can say those words now and truly mean them, and I do.  My friends and family hear them routinely, and assuredly, they come straight from my heart.  Don’t underestimate what can happen in a year.  These changes happened over the course of the last six years, and I am a completely different person today than I was then.  I owe a good deal of that change to those who stood with me and those who cried with me, and I reciprocate the love that I received from those dear friends right back and without reservation.

holding space

As a spiritual person, holding space tends to be rather intuitive.  I’ve done it for years without analyzing or recognizing what it truly is.  Holding space for someone is one of the most giving things a person can do because it removes the ego and allows you to fully give of yourself to the person you are seeking to support.

For me, holding space takes many forms and has been a recurring theme in my relationships.  I often hold space for my dearest friend miles away when she is in emotional distress, and she will do the same for me.  Intention and energy are sent along with support and acceptance for whatever the other person is feeling or experiencing.  Holding space provides safety for the person needing support.  Sometimes it means the physical support of holding hands or an embrace; a kiss on the forehead to show they are loved as they are.  It means being that sounding board to let the other speak freely without judgement on their words, actions, or emotions.  It is the eye contact to allow the other to look deeper and find your soul reaching out to them.

Regardless of how the space is held, there is a common thread through it all; holding space is done selflessly.  It is done purely to support the other person regardless of personal feelings, opinions, or even the presence of self.  Holding space means giving all of yourself to that person for the time needed to support them and to allow the other person the freedom to be themselves completely, without the pressures or stresses to change those parts of themselves that are thought to be undesirable or needing change.  Holding space allows them to feel that they can just be; that they are enough as they are.  We are all perfectly imperfect, and exactly as we should be.

and the greatest of these is love

I spent the last two weeks preparing for, photographing, and editing images for a dear friend’s wedding.  It wasn’t a fancy or expensive wedding, just an intimate affair with their children, close friends, and me as the photographer.  It was one of the best kinds of weddings there are.

Romance has been the theme these past two weeks so it seems.  I watched as she went through the elation of marrying the man that she loved back in the days of climbing trees and skinning knees to saying the emotional and heartfelt vows they wrote to each other.  Life took them on different journeys; but thirty-some years later, they finally realized their youthful dreams of marrying each other.  I was honoured to be part of their day in any capacity.  I was even more honoured to be asked to capture their day for them.

Blended families can be a challenge; but they can also be an amazing new chapter in life.  The man she brought into her child’s life is truly in love with her, and as I observed them as a whole over the weekend, I noticed things that perhaps only a photographer sees.  I saw how he discreetly kept an eye on his young step-son while he continued on doing what he was doing.  I saw how she included his adult daughters as if she had known them all her life, like lifelong friends.  Most of all, I saw how he watched her.  I saw how even though his exterior has been weathered from life, his eyes were soft.  I saw how his eyes softened even more every time he looked at her.  She didn’t notice most times because she was busy being a hostess to her family, but he always had the look in his eyes that showed his soul whenever he laid his eyes on her.  There was no doubt that this man has always loved his bride, and I sense he wanted to take in every single moment of this day so that he would never forget it.

Love.  The greatest of these truly is love.

how to see your vision

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading about vision boards and vision journals lately.  They are two paths to help one realize their potential, a visual guide to continue on towards goals, and a motivator to get where one wants to go.

I wonder sometimes how many people put on the solid effort to create visions to propel themselves to the next level of their lives.  This motivates me to help others in achieving their goals and dreams.  I would love to be able to help others to create their own vision board, or journal, or even both.  I have a new mission in life.

I would love to hear from those who do vision boards/journals and how they help you.  I would also love to hear from those who do not, but are interested in them and what questions might arise that should be answered.