Yesterday, I looked out my window and noticed a trail through our lawn to the meadow. I suspect a snapper or painted turtle visit because the trail was much wider than those made by the numerous box turtles who roam free around here. We live next to a creek and the wildlife is abundant yet always a delightful surprise. There are days that our lawn traffic mirrors the contrails in the sky. We live in a fly zone (birds and planes) south of the Philadelphia International, Newark and Atlantic City airports.
If you read enough blogs on the internet, you will surely come across a few that tell you to meditate on the things that stand out in your day. Such events are supposed to have meaning and are important for you to process. Well, the path of the turtle struck me as a worthy meditation. Sometimes I think they are my totem animal. Much like turtles who live in the water, I have always been the type to retreat into my world, learning and growing with only my close family and friends. Sporadically, I break out to create and share things of interest just like they come to the land to lay their eggs.
Yesterday I thought about how I have been delinquent in posting my blog. I write, journal, read and exercise my craft every day. But… WordPress is disappointed in my lack of participation in their world. I never think I have anything interesting to share. And, who cares?
“I care…!” The part of me who wants to share, interact and grow, screamed. But, my ego always wins. I know the ego has an important job, keeping me safe from harm or, worse… Ridicule! But, my creative side is telling me that if I keep shutting it up, it will shrivel up and blow away. I think of flowers at the end of their season and it makes me sad. There is always hope though, the seed pod. I could repeat the same patterns and rely on that seed pod, thinking one day, I’ll do it. But I know it doesn’t work that way. As I pass through one exciting or creative experience after another, I am missing opportunities to share and create. I am missing out on fun and growth. I am missing out on a like-minded community.
This past year I have focused on photography (no pun intended). I found a professional photographer, David Molnar, http://davidmolnar.com/ who puts himself out there on the internet to help others understand manual photography better. It all clicked for me while listening to his instruction. I get it now and broke up with my Auto settings. I confess that if I don’t pick up that camera every day, I forget how certain things work. But, that has more to do with all the settings available on my Nikon D5300. Sometimes, you need to keep at it. And, if he didn’t share, I wouldn’t have grown as quickly or easily.
Photography is a hobby and now I participate more on Facebook, joining several groups where people share their pictures. Blurry photos is one of my favorites. Have you ever heard about ICM (Intentional Camera Movement)? It’s a fascinating art form and fun. Try it. Also, Miksang Photography (Tibetan for Good Eye). It is the practice of synchronizing the eye and the contemplative mind. The goal is to bring the observer into the mind of the photographer at the moment the picture is taken, rendering a purer perception of reality, usually neglected. Subjects are everyday items, street scenes or moments in time. There are also black and white photography groups and groups for single subjects like nature, Zen and even the color blue. I didn’t find the pages on my own, I took the initial step to grow my community on-line and a like-minded friend saw my interest and showed me the way.
I have also found people to influence my writing. They have helped me to become a more productive, efficient and effective writer. I like the energy of Jennifer Blanchard Williams http://jenniferblanchard.net/ who is a self-published author. She also puts herself out there and invites anyone to watch and join her on her journey of discovery. She is a wayshower, motivator, is generous and just a neat person. Without her influence, I doubt that I would have advanced as quickly as I have this year. She kicked up many resources that helped me improve my habits, planning and story structure.
And now, I have more friends in my social networks on the internet who share their interest in photography and writing. This floods my news feed with the good stuff instead of the political noise and personal complaints of friends that wear me out. This change and the new information it brings has helped me grow and be happier.
Through both David Molnar and Jennifer Blanchard Williams, I found their inspiration, Jeff Goins https://goinswriter.com/ who is all over the internet. He’s releasing a new book Real Artists Don’t Starve. Yes, I pre-ordered. Because of him, I got back to my blog. I made a connection when listening to one of his webinars in which he said if you have a skill, share it. But I also know that if you share (teach) you also learn. Perfect example… This Summer I committed to teaching a writing program to a group of interested teenage students. I know it will help them but I am doing it more for me because it will make me accountable, it will keep me current and it will make me practice and improve my own skills. I will also get to meet, inspire and share more information with like minded people. So, through Jeff Goins and the others I have allowed to influence me, I understand that I can grow even further by putting myself out there, sharing and building my own like-minded community. If I share in my blog about what I am learning it will help me exercise my skills, grow and interact with people that have similar interests. I will be able to discover even more.
So, this is what I came up with meditating on the turtle’s path. And, it’s not lost on me that the path was made by a tortoise and not a hare because I have been slow to get to this point. Fascinating for me and I hope interesting to you.
I took the cover shot while on the ground. I apologize that the path is not as obvious as it was from my original window view from above. In that, there is another interesting point to make… Sometimes you need to rise above the noise in life to see your messages clearly. And, alas, the picture not taken is forever lost. The grass has since been mowed. Sorry! See what I mean about missed opportunities?! Grab them while you still can.
That’s all for me today. Got to get back to editing something I have been working on. I wrote a first draft in March, stepped away from it a little in April and have been editing ever since. You learn a lot during edits and self-reflection.
Be mindful of your view today…