A Tale of Autumn Leaves

As I share a “missing” from several years ago, I invite you consider one or more “missings” you may be having as we go through these challenging times together.

Recently a dear friend of mine shared about decorating her mailbox for autumn. She has a practice of doing this seasonally as well as for various holidays. As soon as I heard her mention “autumn”, no longer an experience for me here in Florida, I was reminded of the following that happened several years ago. 

Autumn Leaves Collage - Missing Autumn in New Jersey

At that time when another friend reminded me that autumn had started, I was thrown back into remembering my first autumn in southeast Florida where we don’t experience the seasons as they are up North. I had lived in the Northeast for my first 62 years, 37 of them in Central New Jersey.

As I started reflecting on the season, my body actually had the sensory experience of “missing autumn.” In a Photoshop Elements course at the time, where the assignment was to create a photo collage, I decided to create “Missing Autumn in NJ” to somehow bring Fall back to me.

TODAY’S PHOTOS –
The top is the photo collage I mentioned above. The other three images are my original “photo/drawings.”

Photo/Drawing of yellow and brown autumn leaves

Orange Autumn leaves - Photo/drawing

Brown autumn leaves in a photo/drawing by Sheila Finkelstein“Photo/drawing” is a term I created when I first developed this process using my photographs, new scanner and a pen with permanent ink to draw directly on the photos. They were the content that made up my first web site, Nature’s Playground. On it I stated:

We believe that the world is a playground for personal growth and development;that natural environments – gardens, woods, beaches, rivers, streams – are sources for pleasure, creativity, play and self-discovery; that expanding sensory awareness of natural and man-made environments provides access to furthering creative thinking and appreciation.”

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES –
Note: The following are queries that I posed several years ago when I first delivered the content that’s in this ​​​​​​​article.

Although today’s (2019’s) “missings” are likely many more and much more challenging than in the past, I invite you to reflect on them, perhaps in a new way.

When you’ve longed for something, such as when I was “missing autumn” several years ago, what actions do you take? Are you proactive, or do you stay in the “dwelling” on the longing?

Similarly when you find yourself in the midst of frustration, what is your response? And, if your ordinary response is not one that brings you fun, I invite you to find a means to “play” your way through the next time you find yourself in one of the above situations.

Please share on the blog, or in an email reply to me, your experience of what a biggest missing for you might be. It would be especially meaningful and helpful to all of us, I’m sure, to read any of the ways you might be able to bring “play” into your life if/when sadness and negative emotions seem to be running you.

COMMENTS –
As always, your response to the photos, queries and other comments are welcome. Please post them in the Leave a Reply section below.

Almost a PS – You can see more of my photo/drawing art on my Fine Art of America Gallery – click/tap on Sheila’s Gallery. When you click on any image on the right you’ll see options for different categories of products that the image can be placed on: Wall Art, Home Decor, Lifestyle, Stationery, and Phone Cases.

Should you visit Nature’s Playground to see more photo/drawings, and be interested in experiencing them on a variety of products, go directly to my Cafe Press Shop from the following link CafePress.com/natureart  When I just checked the NaturesPlayground.com site, I saw that the links from there that are supposed to go to my products need updating.

Caged Sunset – Access to Releasing Emotions and Healing through Writing and/or Your Camera

Tomorrow, Saturday, August 15th, from Noon to 9:00 PM Eastern time, I will be participating in the free Virtual Health and Wellness Psychic Fair – https://bit.ly/815virtualfair. I invite you to join me between 3:05 and 3:30 PM Eastern for my presentation “Access to Emotional Release and Healing through Writing and/or Your Camera.” See below ** for more details.

Given my topic for the event tomorrow, I went browsing through various published issues of Picture to Ponder/Treasure Your Life Now ezine looking for that theme. The “Caged Sunset” photo, several year ago, had a dramatic and life-altering, emotional-releasing response from one of the subscribers.

Today’s Photos
Sunset from the parking lot of Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Boynton Beach, FL.

The top photo was the setting sun as seen through poles and wires. It’s what caught my eye first and I mentally labeled it “Caged Sunset.

It was the lower photo that I absolutely loved for the colors and the contrasts of both darks and lights, as well as those in the lines. The scene is very dramatic and yet there is a sense of mysticism emanating from the faint background imagery. Looking closely we can see the structure in the top photo is what’s appearing so dimly in the distance in the lower one.

Self-Reflecting Queries

My impetus for taking the pictures featured above was, at first, an intellectual, preconceived thought. When I looked up, as I was leaving my car, I had the idea of “capturing” the sun, seeing how it would look “caged in” or imprisoned.

Once I viewed the photos after downloading them into my computer, I ended up thinking, “Given the dominance and heat of the sun, is imprisonment even possible?”

As I moved my sightings and the focus of the lens closer to me, the tall reeds became the “cage.” The result, as we see, was far from a prison. What I got was a simple gift of lyrical beauty.

So, how does this reflect into queries here? I’m thinking it’s an invitation, and reminder, for all of us to test our ideas and then to be open to the variations of whatever shows up.

Are there places in your life now where things are happening that might be served by your changing focus? If so, I invite you to check out what may open up for you.

*The Reader’s Response, referred to above:

“When I first saw the top picture my thoughts were ‘why would anyone ruin a beautiful sunset by including those ugly poles’ in it and when I looked at the bottom picture I loved the way the reeds stood out and the water reflected the beautiful colors in light of the sunset. I take a lot of pictures and always try to exclude anything ‘unnatural’ i.e.: the electrical poles.

Then I read your post and realized that my thinking on a certain situation in my life was exactly what you had expressed. It was like your post was meant expressly for me. I have a son in prison. So naturally the word ‘prison’ and ‘caged in’ jumped right out at me. When he first was incarcerated, although I was heartbroken, I also realized that this was saving his life, as he was addicted to drugs and alcohol.

But even by realizing this, I was so afraid that being ‘caged in’ was going to change the most beautiful part of this personality, which is his ability to have compassion for all living beings and his need to help others even in the advent that it was derogatory to him.

In looking at your pictures and rereading your post, I have come to the conclusion
 that this is not going to happen, this compassion and giving nature of his is part of 
his soul and even in this present situation, he is the most loving, giving, compassionate person I know. And I now believe that this current situation is part of his ‘lesson in this physical life of his’ or to put it another way, it is one of his contracts with divine energy/the universe/God.

Thank you so much for giving me this realization this morning.”

Before continuing reading, I invite you to Pause and Breathe this in, then out – 3 times.

Now:

** Back to the Possibilities of Meeting Face-to-Face to Chat
In addition to being on Zoom during the presentation, you can also visit with me in my room (#35 on Zoom) for general chatting, or book a private coaching session, between 1:30 and 9:00 PM. There will a free raffle after each of the presentations and free bonuses for visiting in the rooms. For my raffle, I am offering 1 hour of Free Coaching to help discover your creative access to solving one of your personal challenges.

Any time after coming into the main Zoom room, you can ask the Zoom Engineer in Chat to put you in my room Sheila Finkelstein, Door 35, before or after my 3:05 to 3:30 Presentation.

Once you get a free ticket for the event, you will receive an email with the Zoom link to enter the event. You can come and go throughout the day and evening. To get your ticket(s) go to https://bit.ly/815virtualfair. Save the latter page to refer to for the full day’s schedule and descriptions of the practitioners and their offerings.

COMMENTS
As always, your response to the photos, queries and other comments are welcome. Please comment in the Leave a Reply section below.

Beauty and Resistance

TODAY’S PHOTO – Blended White and Purple Alstroemeria –
The lower two photos, taken at different times, were combined into the single image shown on the top using Photoshop Elements.

White and Purple Alstroemeria Blended using Photoshop Elements

THE STORY –
Several years ago, long before my iPhone camera and all its Apps, I took an online course on using Photoshop Elements for editing photos on my computer. For six years I had been resisting using the Photoshop program for anything beyond basic resizing, sometimes cropping, occasional minor color adjustment and sometimes touch-up, eliminating small, distracting spots.

In various issues of Picture to Ponder, I’d even written about wanting to remain “pure” to the photography, actually being somewhat defensive. As I reflected on it when I wrote this article, I realized how “positional” I had been. I had even totally forgotten that observation.

In fulfilling the assignment for the course to create a blended photo, I became delighted with the achievement that produced the end result.

When I recently came across the featured photo, as I was looking through past issues, I once again found myself appreciating the light, airy, as well as almost mystical, feeling that the image exudes. I even printed it out and have it on the wall next to my desk.

It is also a reminder of what can be possible from letting go resistance and taking on something one step-at-a-time.

And to update into my world today… When I take the time, I love editing some of my iPhone photos with one or more of the many photo editing apps. It’s one of the many ways I can be creative.

What do you do to satisfy the creative juices wanting to flow out from you?

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES –
Who or where in your life are the people or projects holding together the significant parts? [In this case the top photo with its beauty is holding together the two bottom photos.]

Although the components might be at different stages of opening, as the flowers above, can you see the importance of each to the whole?

Also, are there things or people in your life that you really appreciate and may, simply, be taking for granted?

In addition, I invite you to stop, look closely at those people or situations from many angles and see what new you might find, something you may never have seen before.

I then invite you to communicate with those whom you’ve been taking for granted. Express your appreciation and whatever else you noticed.

ANOTHER RESISTANCE OF MINE –
I love creating and then I often stop at the sharing what I’ve created. The last issue, and maybe in one or two a while ago, I mentioned my online gallery that has a sampling of all the different variations of art I’ve produced: Fantasy Landscapes and Photographs and Photo/Drawings in many different categories. If you haven’t yet visited it, I invite you to do so now (tap/click on) Sheila’s Gallery. The link also is, and now will continue to be, in my signature below.

I THANK YOU for being in my world.

COMMENTS – 
As always, your response to the photos, queries and other comments are welcome. Please write them in the Leave a Reply box below this post.

Lesson from an Alstroemeria Stem – Strength and Beauty in Bonding Together

As I scanned through some of the issues of Picture to Ponder over the years, I came across the following Alstroemeria photo and story. A bit later the second photo caught me eye. That’s a totally different story I’ll share in the next issue of Treasure Your Life Now/Picture to Ponder.

TODAY’S PHOTO

Purple alstroemeria clump of 5 Purple Alstroemeria against a black backdrop to bring out the colors

THE STORY –
In looking for a photo to feature in an issue several years ago, a bouquet of Alstroemeria flowers that I had purchased from a local supermarket caught my attention. Of the several photos I took, I wrote that I was attracted by the rhythmic motion that I saw in this particular view.

I continued on stating that the central flower had a subtle inspiring upbeat to it with the one noticeable curved stamen. I offered it, then and now, to cheer you on to a great week.

As I looked closely at the flowers, I noticed, at the time, that each of the flowers needed the other to hold them together.  I stopped my writing to go look all of the six stems of alstroemeria, in two different arrangements,  gracing our home then.

Each single stem had five flowers on it. Wow! I’d been buying and enjoying alstroemeria for years and I’d never paid close enough attention to notice this. One strong stem with five parts creates the statement.

And, as I write now, over 13 plus years later, I am aware that I totally forgot that observation, despite continuing to frequently purchase and enjoy alstroemeria flowers.

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES –
Who or where in your life are the people or projects holding together the significant parts? The components might be at different stages of opening, as the flowers above, and can you see the importance of each to the whole?

Also, are there things or people in your life that you really appreciate and may, simply, be taking forgranted?

I invite you to stop, look closely from many angles and see what new you might find, something you may never have seen before

NEXT ISSUE – More Alstroemeria – Totally Different Story –
Overcoming Resistance/Results
White and Purple Alstroemeria Blended using Photoshop ElementsIf you can’t wait and want to read the story now, tap/click on the image to get to the issue in the archives.

COMMENTS – 
As always, your response to the photos, queries and other comments are welcome. Please write them in the Leave a Reply box under this post.

Koi Fish – Purpose and Possibility

As I was putting together an added bonus – Reflections: Photos and Queries – Using Photography for Breakthrough Shifts in Seeing, Communicating, and Being – for my Through and From The Lens course that’s returning on Monday, October 14, the Koi fish photos below caught my eyes. Tap/Click on Through and From The Lens for course details.

What I’m seeing is below each photo. What do you see as you look at them?

Clove of garlic waiting for answers

Although seemingly looking off the page, this top fish is facing downwards
intentionally bringing your attention to his/her friends.

koi fish in Butterfly WorldIn this second photo, I find fascinating the seemingly transparent tail of the fish. I also love the play, rhythm and contrast of the sky reflections.

Koi fish swimming aimlessly or is it with focus in Butterfly WorldIn the third photo, and maybe in them all, the fish seem to symbolize a smooth and gentle ease as they navigate their way through, in and around their environment.

Self-Reflecting Queries: 
As I look further at the third photo, I wonder, “Are the fish focused on a specific direction, heading toward something, or are they simply wandering?”  Your thoughts? Do you feel the flow that I do?

I’m likely viewing the scene from my own perspective of oftentimes myself wandering through life. What is your customary style and pattern in your day-to-day living?

Are there some elements of your behavior you would like to transform?

What if there were visuals, such as photos you take, and/or others in a group you’re in might take, that would open you to seeing things in new ways in many different areas of your life?

The act of focusing regularly with my camera (iPhone these days) helps me with focus in other areas of my life also.

Perspectives:
One of the benefits of the Through and From The Lens program is experiencing the variety of participants’ points of view in their photographs. All start out with the same simple element each week.

This experience often results in an openness to new ways of seeing in other areas of their lives also, beyond the camera.

See TFTL – Seeing Beyond

Experiences:
One past participant was planning a trip for 11 years, across Route 66, and had yet to get in action.  Something he experienced in Through and From The Lens had him get into action immediately and he was on the road within a month! He successfully walked from Chicago to Santa Monica!!!

Another past participant:

“I had the remarkable experience of being in a class with Sheila. I was feeling as though I didn’t have time for something as ‘frivolous’ as photography… a luxurious use of time. Was I ever surprised…

How energizing the class was! My creativity seemed to expand in all phases of my business! I found myself looking at everything in my life with new eyes.”

You can read the latter statement and others on TFTL details.

Comments:
As always, your response to the photos, queries and other comments are welcome. Please write them in the Leave a Reply box under this post.

Creativity and Play – Cloves of Garlic Talk

Clove of garlic waiting for answers

Hand on hip, facing us, or turned away? Perhaps our featured “lady” is waiting for an answer from you.

Will you be able to attend the live interview I will be doing with Jerry Downs, well-known photographer, tomorrow night… Monday, September 16th at 5:30 PM Pacific time/ 8:30 PM Eastern time on Zoom Video Conferencing. For details on how-to join see the link at the end of the post.

This interview promises to be rich with ideas as Jerry describes how he looks at the world with wonder and the love of looking as he connects with what captures his attention.

In a planning conversation, he said that when he is out walking he no longer looks for pictures. “I simply enjoy the act of looking. Not everything makes a good picture, but every is worthy of appreciation. If you can find yourself in a state of appreciation, pictures, synchronicities and magic are everywhere!”

What would it be like to be experiencing some of that, especially if you are not already doing so?

Now, back to the Garlic cloves… Perhaps you saw the image above in a totally different way. Several years ago, as I was separating cloves for mincing and using in a stir-fry meal, I saw two interestingly shaped cloves of garlic, fitting comfortably together.

I put them aside to photograph and ultimately, sporadically, photographed them in different ways over a period of several weeks.

In the photo above, I love the textures and the silkiness feeling. It is an enlargement of a segment of one of the cloves. Below is the original “eye-catcher” two cloves that started my discovery series. They are resting on a photo print of the enlarged segment.

More garlic photos, different perspectives starting with the same two cloves as seen above. All have, for me, many different interpretations.  I’d love for you to add yours in the comments.

The photo above shows the two original cloves, starting to sprout, after several weeks.  They are placed on a photo print.

Self-Reflecting Queries: 
For the next few days I invite you to find imagery that suddenly excites you and has you discover something, perhaps in the never-before-really-looked-at “mundane” things around you.

What does the experience open up for you?

Video Interview
with perhaps some new openings for you with yourself and/or your camera:

Again, I invite you to join me and photographer Jerry Downs on Monday night, September 16 at 5:30 PM Pacific/ 8:30 PM Eastern. For more details and explanations on accessing and setting up the one-time, easy Zoom download, Tap/Click REGISTER to get more explicit details, reminder of the time and a link to the replay.

Comments:
If this email brings up anything you’d like to share, please comment in the Leave a Reply box under this post.

The Wonder of Looking and Sharing – Jerry Downs Interview Coming Up

Different Perspectives Rear view of Pansies

The colors and the flow of lines and shapes in the above photo called to me. Does it matter what it’s a photograph of?  In my total appreciation of it, I did not even need to know what the images were.

What about you?  How do you respond?

This photo is one shared on Facebook by Jerry Downs, Photographer, whom I had the privilege of interviewing 7 years ago. After listening to the audio again, appreciating the richness of what he shared about the wonders of looking and much more, I invited him to join me in another interview.

In the 2012 interview, Jerry said “a great picture is one that elicits an emotional response. If it doesn’t have the emotional contact it doesn’t have the soul.”  This is definitely what I feel when looking at the above photo [a view from behind two pansies!]

Jerry agreed to join me again this upcoming Monday night, September 16 at 5:30 PM Pacific/ 8:30 PM Eastern time in a Zoom Video conferencing room.  As he and I talk, you will be able to see Jerry and some of his photos about which we’ll talk. [tap/click here to get the join, or replay, details]  You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

He will be talking about the wonder and love of LOOKING, even when not using a camera. And he will be elaborating on that based on his years of experience as a professional photographer and a human being.

In our recent conversation Jerry stated, “When I go out into the world to take pictures, I no longer look for pictures. I simply enjoy the act of looking.  Not everything makes a good picture, but everything is worthy of appreciation.

If you can find yourself in a state of appreciation, pictures, synchronicities and magic are everywhere!”

Wouldn’t you like to be experiencing some of that, especially if you are not already doing so? If so, how might that change you life?

Self-Reflecting Queries
For the next few days, at least, I invite you to look around you with “new eyes” as you walk… in your home and/or outside.

What are the images that you start noticing catch your eyes?

What is it you most appreciate about what you see when you look around you?

Is there a pattern to them?

Ready To Join the Interview Video Conference?
If so, Tap/Click here to get the join meeting, or replay, details

If this post brings up anything you’d like to share, please put your comments in the Reply box below.

Your comments and feedback are always welcome.

My Paths to De-Stressing – What are Yours?

Are you wondering about how the initial two photos below relate to each other?

The first is symbolic of one of my Paths to De-stressing and the second “eye-catcher” photo symbolizes the “core” of what invigorates and relaxes me.

As you read, and watch the videos, I invite you to reflect on what most invigorates and restores you, while at the same time eliminating or easing up on your anxieties and stress.

The above photo was a follow-up to the first day of my path to de-stressing, prior to the ultimate cancellation of being in a Hurricane Warning zone.

THE BACKGROUND
Most, if not all of you, are likely aware of what’s been happening with Hurricane Dorian. Dorian initially demonstrated its ferociousness as it stayed stalled over the Bahamas for several days. My deepest sympathy to all of those affected by the hurricane who are now deeply suffering there. Prayers also for all those who will be affected as Dorian continues North along the Atlantic Coast.

MY STORY 
On Monday, after almost five days of emotional ups and downs regarding the projection, at times, of possible catastrophic damage in the area where I live, I learned that seemingly my home in Southeast Florida was no longer in the “cone” of the threatened area.

I was in the final stages of readying the inside of my already shuttered home and was completing packing to go to my son’s home. I had all important papers gathered, clothes for several days packed, food to supplement his family’s and lots more in the event we were without power in roads back to my home were blocked. And I was still doing “stuff.”

Then my daughter-in-law called, saying I was most welcome to stay there of course, as planned. She continued with what she gathered from hearing my son’s conversation with me that I was far more stressed than need be. She had been watching the Weather channel closely and it showed that we were no longer in the band of any major threats. It was her suggestion that I stay home and de-stress watching a couple of movies as she and my son had done in the morning.

I breathed somewhat a sigh of relief. As much as I love my family, I was happy to be staying home, with no more decisions to make around preparation and leaving.

I watched one movie she recommended, Netflix “Fall Inn Love”, and then went out for a Nature Walk in front the Water Management Treatment center across from Green Cay Wetlands, one of my favorite walking locations.

Immediately my eyes were pulled into the “dancing-in-the-wind” dried up ferns. I then zeroed in on the lines and patterns of the large leaf itself…taking photos and videos of the “action”.

Behind me was a lake. The water and foliage movement in the trees and plants on the shore then captured my eyes. I took more photos and videos and then had a happy surprise as I left the parking lot… a reflected red sky to the East, behind Green Cay!!

I took a couple of photos and then took a couple more of the Western sky as I stopped along the road to my home. [See Video above]

Once home, before watching the second recommended Netflix movie [“Good Sam”], I started assembling the photos and videos I had taken. Editing with iMovie on my iPhone, I created the “Eye-Catcher De-Stresser” video [the first one above].

NORMALCY begins to Return
Tuesday became, for the first time in several days, a more normal day for me. By the end of the day the Hurricane Warning had been lifted, forecasting only possible Tropical Storm winds that we never even got.

Simply for a “breather” I went out for a neighborhood walk and was delighted with another unexpected red sky. [Play video below] The view in the photo that started this post suggested the theme for this post “My Path to De-Stressing – What’s Yours?”

CREATIVITYAdded De-Stresser for me
Once I got in creative mode, another de-stresser for me, I finalized the three videos. As I was creating, I realized that they would also become good material for the Through and From the Lens Course, coming back once again, on October 7th.  

I’m finishing here feeling Revitalized. I will feel even more so when, hopefully, you share your “de-stressers” and “revitalizers” in the Reply section below.

SELF-REFLECTING QUERIES
I invite you to look for, pay attention to, and explore your de-stressers and revitalizers.

Do you practice them regularly or need reminders?

if so, do you have a structure in place for them?

I invite you to share with us, in the Reply space below this post, what you’ve discovered as you reflected on the queries.

Thank you for being a part of this community.

 

Brilliant Sunset Sky at End of Hurricane Dorian Threat – A Poem

Shutters opened
Light coming in most of the day
Almost nightfall – Hurricane Dorian threat to our area.. OVER!!

Started a neighborhood walk
Looked back
Saw beautiful sky
Photographed it as I walked
Turning back and then,
In front of me as I rounded the community for return walk,

THE PHOTO – “My Path to De-Stressing”

What’s your path?

For the full story, tap/click on the previous post.

Shifting Directions – What’s Possible as Seen with a Bottle Palm Tree Frond

Today’s photos relate to perspective shifts and the changes in feelings as we shift directions.  The poetic words flowed spontaneously and unexpectedly a few years ago as I played with the images.

ODE TO A BOTTLE PALM TREE FROND
Powerful leaves
Diagonally strong
Directed where?
Into an abyss or
A whole new world of opportunity?

I appreciate your strength and
Your different points of view.

Turn the photo 180 degrees and
I want to sleep,
Lulled by your gentle movement 

Turn it once again at 90 degrees
And I want to party.
It’s the feeling of the rhythm of what
Now appears to be one side of
Your head of long hair. 



This is the normal way you are seen.


Shall I keep this view,
Making a party statement on life?
Or shall I go for the power and direction
In picture number one? 

Self-Reflecting Queries

What occurred with these photos is the reminder that simple shifts in perspective may suggest different options to us. All it took was to turn the photo once and then once again.

How wonderful it is that life does offer us so many options and opportunities to change in any moment, simply by shifting our view points – perspectives.

I invite you to look at your life. Are there places right now, where shifting points of view might present new opportunities for you? If so, continue to play with it.

Note also, that in the examples above it was focusing in on a portion of the original source…a section of the tree shown in the fourth photo. From there came the variations.

Have fun with this.  If you want to see it poetry comes from you, simply, without a plan, do free flow writing, jotting down words that show up for you as you look and an image or images that caught your eye.

And if something new comes up for you from these photos and queries, or your own, please share your observations and comments in the “Reply” section under this post.