Inspirations from Nature


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Old And New

May 13, 2021       Plug Back In

It's been quite a long year of adjustments, accommodations and learning to do things in new ways. It can feel as if so much has been taken away that not much is left to enjoy.  Life also can feel complicated in some parts and simplified in others. 

If your life is like many others, priorities have shifted. What was once very important might not feel so much that way any longer. However, some things will forever be important, like family, other people and connected relationships. These things enrich us and keep us plugged in to the parts of life that matter most.

So what matters most to you? How do you stay plugged in and feeling vital? What inspires you? Those are the things that touch your heart and make you feel alive. Do more of those things every day!


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May 6, 2021    The Missing Ingredient

In my April 22 post on Be Unique, Not Cliche (see below), I encouraged all us us to speak from the heart rather than using trite words. After reading Louder Than Words by Todd Henry, I came to realize what is missing in all those stale phrases: it's empathy.

Empathy is feeling what another is feeling. Please don't mix it with sympathy, which is more relates to understanding another's suffering or loss. In the book, Todd Henry laid out a 4-step process to acting with empathy:

  * Decide to suspend any judgment and actively choose to an empathic connection

  * Identify with whatever the other person is feeling. This takes time to understand the other person and relate to their experience.

  * Recall a time when what they are going through happened to you. What were your needs and wants?

  * Act from what will best serve the other person

These selfless steps encourage one to slow down and temper any response, especially those commonplace phrases that oft end up overused and lacking genuine personal feelings.

I urge you to try for more empathy in your life. It will be a positive step towards a kinder, gentler society.



Saguaro Rainbow-Wide

April 29, 2021         End Of The Rainbow

Fable tells us that at the end of each rainbow we will find a leprechaun with a pot of gold. Many people strive hard to reach for goals, dreams and desires as their own personal "pot of gold."

Years ago, I gave  up trying to achieve goals. I had seen them appear very alluring and desirable, but few, if any, came to be. Meanwhile, my solitary focus on that one thing felt like I was navigating life with blinders on.

After releasing goals, I found that there was more promise in each step taken on the journey than there was in the destination. Traveling life was easier without a fixed destination. I could detour and not feel punished or deprived. There was more promise, enrichment and fewer limitations. Meanwhile, I've accomplished much along the way.

I'm not saying everyone should release goals. Yet, if they aren't working for you as you would like, perhaps it is something you are willing to try. After all, isn't life just one big experiment?


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April 22, 2021     Be Unique, Not Cliche

Just look. Just listen. It's all around you. "What", you ask? The cliche and unoriginal. You can't avoid it.

For instance, listen to what others say. Personally, I'm tired of "Thank you for your service", "So sorry for your loss", and "Thank you so much." They are said often and mostly as an immediate reaction, without thought or feeling, to the situation. Please don't get me wrong; I'm not belittling our veterans, those who have lost a loved one or people who deserve your gratitude. But let's stop with this knee-jerk reaction stuff and say what you really feel in your heart.

Here are some possible alternatives: "What you did was a great service to our nation and our freedom. Thank you!" Or "It's never easy to lose someone you care for." Or perhaps "I'm very grateful for _____"  Fill in the blank with (saying that) (what you've done) or something that applies.

The same goes for the images we view. Social media is full of them. Like this one on the left. Yes, it's mine, but it's hardly different from thousands of others available by other photographers, professional or not. It's so iconic there are nearly tripod holes to help in your setup when you arrive.

The message here? It's speak from the heart what you really feel, whether it's in words or through images. Be unique. Blaze your own path. It's the essential value we all need in this cliche world.


Getting To The Root Of Things

April 15, 2021    Are You Grounded?

Everyday life can tax us, even to the point where we feel drained, without energy or focus, uneasy or flighty. These and other indicators, like low self-image or having many unfinished things, can tell us we are not grounded.

Like roots, we need to feel a part of the physical realm to hold it all together in the brisk pace of today's world. Having a regular grounding practice can help. Try these things to ground yourself:

   * Walk mindfully, sensing each footfall and feeling your muscles move

   * Sit or lie on the ground. Imagine roots from you penetrating into the earth. How far can they go?

   * Stop and take a 5-senses inventory: What to you see, hear, smell, taste and feel? Simply describe it and acknowledge its presence.

   * Try gardening, tending to plants or other living things

The more grounded you are, the more manageable all the things in your life will be.


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April 8, 2021        Harmony, Hope, Peace and Love

From a distance the world looks blue and green

And the snow-capped mountains white

From a distance the ocean meets the stream And the eagle takes to flight

From a distance, there is harmony And it echoes through the land

It's the voice of hope; It's the voice of peace; It's the voice of every man

From a distance, we all have enough And no one is in need

And there are no guns, no bombs and no disease 

No hungry mouths to feed

From a distance, we are instruments Marching in a common band

Playing songs of hope; Playing songs of peace; They are the songs of every man

From a distance, you look like my friend Even though we are at war

From a distance, I just cannot comprehend What all this fighting’s for

From a distance, there is harmony And it echoes through the land

And it's the hope of hopes It's the love of loves; It's the heart of every man

It's the hope of hopes; It's the love of loves This is the song for every man


Songwriter: Julie Gold


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April 1, 2021     When Things Fall Apart...

...all is not lost. Things may not be what you choose but you still have options and choices.

In this situation, it's time to stop, reassess and choose anew. Here are some questions that can help:

  * What do you really want?

  * Why do you want it?

  * How is it different from what you initially thought?

  * Who else is involved or could be involved?

  * When is it desirable? Perhaps things are just taking longer?

  * How can you make that happen?

So don't give up. There 's always a way, even if it's a detour to your destination.


Also see our post of March 4: Through the Fog and Mist


Scary Beauty

March 25, 2021     How Does Nature Inspire You?

Ever since I first started taking photographs over 10 years ago, I've been inspired by dead trees. I know, kinda weird, huh?

I love their expressive shapes, each one with its own distinct message. Some appear dancing and whimsical. Others are strong and stalwart. Each one endures, even in decay.

They stand as a lasting tribute to a long life of nurturing from the land and giving back in a symbiotic relationship with other living things. Nature truly is amazing!

How does nature inspire you?


Cycles of Life

March 18, 2021       In Celebration of Spring

Springtime officially arrives on the calendar this week, whether it is expressed in your current weather or not. Rest assured, it is on its way.

Spring is an uplifting season. It's time for a change of mindset...to feel lighthearted once again. The air is fresh and the ground is alive, supporting new growth. Trees and plants reawaken with budding, colorful expressions. It's a time to plant and nurture.

In contrast,  what's old or weathered might show up as out of place. Perhaps it's time to discard what conflicts with the current pattern.

And so it might be in your physical environments, mental, emotional or spiritual lives. What's budding for you? What's ready to bloom? What could you discard? Time to ponder and tend your own garden. 


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March 11, 2021    Self-Renewal

Daybreak is also a time of renewal: to feel new again. The rising sun replenishes something within each of us that is hard to name.

Which part of you calls out for renewal today?


This is one page from my ebook called Dawn of Opportunity: Inspirations to nurture hope, courage and new beginnings. You can purchase this and my other ebooks at 

https://www.focusonnaturephotography.com/Books


Through The Mist

March 4, 2021     Through the Fog and Mist

Life doesn't always provide clear, easy choices. At times, the path is obscured or unclear, as if standing in fog. Your options are clouded. What we each want is the no risk choice.

But that's not always possible. Many times, what's most important is simply to move from one place to another. Take one step in any direction and reassess. Move up, down, left or right. For sure, the view from there will be different and can provide insight you didn't have before, hopefully making your path clearer.

And knowing you can always move back to where you were reduces any risk. The view upon your return will most likely have changed, too.

There's a photography lesson here, too. One shift in your point of view changes everything and the relationship of one thing to another within the frame. So shift your perspective and see what else adjusts with it.


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February 25, 2021   Courage to Open Your Heart

We must replace fear and chauvinism, hate, timidity and apathy, which flow in our national spinal column, with courage, sensitivity, perseverance and, I even dare say, "love." And by "love" I mean that condition in the human spirit so profound it encourages us to develop courage. It is said that courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can't practice any other virtue with consistency.

Maya Angelou, Even the Stars Look Lonesome


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February 18, 2021    Seeds of the Future

So many of us are buried in the demands of this single day that it is hard to look toward the future. While it is good to have a habit of being present or mindful to the here and now, that practice is not so good at the exclusion of nurturing the seeds for what you want in your future.

Could you set aside time to assess your future desires and goals? Make a long list of what you choose to create in or with your life. It won't happen unless you know what you are aiming for.

Once known, break those desires and dreams down in to smaller, actionable steps that you can integrate with your current daily plans. Bite-size regular steps will propel you toward those dreams and ideal life you imagined. Otherwise, those dreams may never germinate, but lay on the parched sand for eternity. 


I Believe I Can Fly

February 11, 2021        I Believe I Can Fly

You must know the song by that title from R. Kelly. It's a song of hope and determination, of belief in yourself and the power of human will. Look up the lyrics and I think you will be moved simply by reading them.

Also, there 's a quote attributed to Henry Ford that says whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right! Yes, we are only limited by what we think or believe.

One can remove that limitation by shifting your thinking. "I can...", "I believe..." and "I am..." are all powerful ways to plant new thoughts. Won't you try them for yourself?


It's All Connected

February 4, 2021        We're All Connected

Does it take a pandemic to really convince us of this truth?


One doesn't have to be highly sensitive to realize there is an invisible force connecting all of us. It's just as invisible as the virus gripping us now -- the one that is keeping us from seeing others' smiling faces or getting a good hug. 


I'm sure you've felt it in your life. How? Have you ever thought of someone and then get a phone call or email from them? Yes, that's it: connection. I'm not entirely sure how it works, yet it does.


We're all craving connection as we approach one year in lockdown. So in place of a hug, please try to "get" those in your life -- really understand them and what they are experiencing now and in the future. Explore their feelings and share yours, too. It's one way we can help each other.


Oh, what we all would give for a good hug!

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January 28, 2021         There's Just No Talking To You


I've noticed lots of talking these days with very little listening, especially listening to understand another viewpoint. No toleration. No compromise. No kindness. All that causes is a standoff.

Diversity is not only about race, religion or many other things. It's also about different life philosophies. Our freedom relies on it.

What can you as a single person do? When you feel the need to assert your point, it's your signal to stop, check yourself and start to listen. Please practice kindness and toleration as we all need it.


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January 21, 2021          Earthly Struggle


I was drawn to this image for the contrast -- not in color or light, but in the story. The tree shows a graphic earthly struggle to survive while the dancing clouds above, lyrical in shape, appear  juxtaposed, as if almost laughing at the struggle.


No doubts about it, 2020 was quite a year of grappling. Life as we knew it has drastically changed, some things forever while others might shift back in time. That's our earthly struggle.


Please remember that as we wrestle, there is always something to point to to help us shift and be like the clouds -- light, bright and freely moving.



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January 14, 2021             A Salute to Sedona, My Home


I am blessed to live in beautiful Sedona, AZ, for the last 16 years. I feel so grounded among the towering red rock formation. Their endurance gives me strength and feeds my soul. I love to find a hiking trail to travel, experiencing nature and learning some of her lessons along the way.  for me, it's paradise.


Castle Rock Glow

Taken from my patio during a clearing storm


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