Transitions

©2017IBKImage

Good Morning,
For awhile now I have been offering insight and encouragement in life’s transitions, through this blog and perhaps it’s been my life’s work for a long time. As I was moving some books from an old to new position this week, I picked up the 25th Anniversary Edition of William Bridges 2004 book: “Transitions …Making Sense of Life’s Changes”. Add 13 years to that and you have a book that has and is still making an impact on people’s lives 38 years later.

The original 1979 book and the teaching in it by Bridges, I now realize was the beginning of my understanding that change and transition are profoundly different The subject of the book in Bridges own words … “is the difficult process of letting go of an old situation, of suffering the confusing nowhere of in-betweenness, and of launching forth again in a new situation. … so (1) an ending, (2) a neutral zone, and (3) a new beginning.” The story of the Exodus at the time of Moses is certainly an example of that. Leaving Egypt; The Wilderness Life; and The New Land.

We often confuse the event – the change – with transition – our reaction and reorientation to the change. We believe that we can quickly go from one event (change) to another without the process of transition, however long or short it may be.

In future blogs I’ll revisit some of what I’ve summarized here, but for now I encourage you to think of some of your own changes and transitions and how they’ve perhaps “grown you” albeit often with hard work and pain.

Today’s image is in the Rhino Neighborhood in downtown Denver, where everything old is now new again and an example of major transition in a city that is one of the fastest “growing” in the country.
IBK

Posted in Uncategorized Tagged , , |

Aha At The End Of The Day

©2017IBKimage

Having just returned from my first trip to Montreal,Canada, I was eager to load digital images into my computer for review and processing. While waiting for the import, I discovered a photo I had taken at Berkeley Lake in Denver. Earlier in the evening I was trying to answer a question that one is always asked about one’s photography: “what kind of photography do you do?” It’s a simple enough question but I’ve really been struggling to answer it… portrait,landscape,nature,documentary,travel,street,wedding,commercial,architecture and so on?

In the midst of this muddling and frustration, an answer came. It followed a pattern: when one is busy doing something else, the aha often sneaks in the side door. I am a photographer who loves to document the extraordinary beauty in the ordinary and to write stories about what it’s like to be human in everyday ways and challenges and to encourage courage in life transitions. It’s a reminder to step into “who you are” and not get stuck by comparing yourself to others.

So today’s image is not from Montreal, but rather from a place I know well, close to home, at the end of the day and in this case a portrait and landscape all in one. 🙂
IBK

Posted in Authenticity, Courage Tagged , , , |

Pull Up a Chair

©IBKimage 2017

 

 

In the busy outside interactions of summer in the city, it’s often difficult to find a place of retreat, where one can stand back and observe what moments ago one was in the midst of. On a recent evening photo shoot, in front of Union Station,Denver’s newly repurposed and renovated train station plaza, just such a place made itself known. A breakfast restaurant with outdoor seating, was closed, but oh the delightful configurations of myriad plastic chairs at rest before the next performance.

In the midst of the surrounding hustle and bustle, I observed our two chairs leaning in for a chat and thought about many past joyous moments of sitting with someone in deep conversation, totally oblivious to what was happening all around. We’ve lost something when we so often engage in transaction with our devices while at the same time trying to experience deeper interaction with the human soul across from us. Many times not just wanting to experience deeper, but hungering for it.
IBK

Posted in Authenticity, Insight Tagged , , , , , , |

Changing Our Viewpoint

©IBKimage2017

A lesson I keep learning from my photography is that if you can’t capture a desired image which the eye sees, you have to move yourself to account for  the camera’s limitation.  Similarly, by shifting  position one can make an image look like it’s taken in sunny Italy, when it’s less than a half of a mile from a busy part of Interstate 70 in Denver.  In today’s image we’re seeing a pump house along Berkley Lake near my home, where I often walk in the evening when the summer heat dissipates.

 

Walking around this lake has also given me an opportunity to see some stunning sunsets, without the interference of electrical wires ubiquitous  in the alleys in my older neighborhood.  There’s a point here I think that perhaps helps us when we are anticipating, in the midst of, or just having encountered a transition of some kind.  Shifting our perspective and choosing (or being forced to by circumstance) to view a situation in a new way, can fix our eyes and hearts to perhaps see new viewpoints that can … in the moment … or after a passage of time, bless in new ways.

IBK

Posted in Courage, Insight, Letting Go, Reframe Tagged , , |

It’s Not ‘PERRRRfect’

 

©2010IBKimage

 

 

 

No matter where we go today we encounter the world of the perpetual “perfect” as spoken in cliche in many interactions.  I don’t think ‘perfect’ gives us enough vocabulary to describe a current situation and/or an often challenging transition that one might be in the midst of.  So today I encourage you to embrace the freedom of the imperfect …whatever that means for you.

 Today’s image breaks a lot of the ‘rules’ of photography but in the course of several gloomy days in a wet 2010 spring, it was an imperfect image that captured a beautiful moment of grace  as I walked my neighborhood that day.

IBK

Posted in Authenticity, Imperfect, Reframe Tagged , , , |

What’s Right In Front Us Often Reveals Next Steps

©IBKimage 2011

Six years ago can seem like yesterday or twelve long years depending on what has occurred in the interim. The lessons or reminders of that time are certainly a part of who we are today and yet in seeing something from the past today we are often tempted to add judgments about what we did or didn’t or could have done differently. What we have in front of us is all that we can respond to … in ways unique to who we are, our current situation, and what gives us joy even in the midst of challenging transitions.

Todays image was taken six years ago, a few months after my mother died. The sea as always is a place of blessing for me and its gifts nourish in myriad ways. And you?
IBK

Posted in Stopping, Waiting Tagged , , , |

In Walking Away, We Can Miss A Lot

©IBKimage2013

 

I spent a long weekend in Brooklyn, New York where I visited my youngest son.  We walked, we talked, drank great coffee, ate ethnic food and talked about the times we find ourselves in. All too soon it was time to go. I took the subway to Penn Station in New York, and then the New Jersey Transit to the Newark Airport and then to my gate,and a two hour weather delay …

 

While waiting and on the subsequent 4 hour flight to Denver, I thought about the millions of people who maneuver in urban contexts for work, and school and play and worship, and how amazing it is that people from all different places generally get along pretty well. Several people had offered assistance as I carried my rolling bag up the subway exit steps; answered and confirmed directional inquiries; shared stories of being immigrants who opened a restaurant using their Palestinian grandmother’s recipes … and so on.  Our waitress on one of our last meals together in the city, was a puppeteer and singer, songwriter, from Maine, who went to school in Colorado and knew the brother of my son’s high school friend from Lincoln, NE.

 

Perhaps because of the density in a large urban area, there is a forced closeness in encountering people who are not like us, and yet in our daily actions, and hopes and dreams, we are exactly alike.  When we have the luxury of living with more space, we might be tempted to walk away to our own comfort and miss the blessing of new insights. Pity.

IBK

Posted in Blessings, Insight, Others Tagged , , , |

We All Come From Somewhere We Consider Home

©IBKimage 2012

The place we currently live may or not be where our heart considers home.  I was born in Northwest Germany within a mile or so of the North Sea.  When I was almost 6 my family emigrated to the U.S. and we settled in South Central Nebraska … flat like Northern Germany but wide open spaces where patchwork quilts of prairie and farmland replaced the sea that one is always in relationship with when living near it.

Many years later I live in landlocked Colorado surrounded in Denver by beautiful mountain vistas, and yet as my mother before me longed for the sights and smells and sounds of home near the sea, (even though she adapted beautifully to her new land, and learned it’s ways and language, ) I too find solace in remembering where I came from and am nourished by the sights and sounds and smells of the water.

You all have places where you’ve come from and where your heart remembers  being home … sometimes it’s not the place itself, but the peace you felt when at a loved one’s home who resided there.  Anyway, I encourage you in this busy, noisy, chaotic world, to take yourself home for a bit and “sit with that for a spell”.

Today’s image is along the Eider River in Northern Germany at sunset where I got to be for a while. A river that cuts through flat farmland.

IBK

 

Posted in Aging Tagged , , , , |

Pepper On A Window Sill

 

©IBKimage2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many times when we are in transition we choose or have to learn skills not previously known that will help us travel a new path. This week I’ve been reading a book by Chuck DeGroat entitled: Wholeheartedness: Busyness, Exhaustion and Healing the Divided Self.   I was particularly drawn to a  a section in chapter 7 about “returning to our core, recovering our true self”.

 

  …”But this is the journey – from that lonely, exposed place where we find ourselves after clawing our way to  the top, to the lush valley below with streams of living water. The journey is from a place of exhaustion to a  place of rest, from a place of fragmentation to a place of wholeness and wholeheartedness. … in contrast to the upward mobility of our world, this is the way of downward mobility.I (Chuck) call this a descent into wholeness…. We become more whole as we unburden ourselves as we let go of what we thought we needed in order to experience what we already have.”

 

This last line of the quotation above, made its home in my thoughts today.  I/We so often work so hard to get to or through something  with our own effort and timelines when if we would pause to engage with what we already have, we might  discover some burden we could leave behind as we journey forth.

Today’s image was made on a day where I hit the pause button and noticed the light on a pepper in the  windowsill . It attracted my attention and provided, and still provides, delight.

IBK

Posted in Authenticity, Courage Tagged , , |

Off The Map

 

IMG_1656

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©IBKimage2016

 

In November of 2016 I spent the weekend in New Orleans to participate in a surprise 70th birthday event for a dear friend of 42 years. Having arrived a day early, and settled at the Auld Sweet Olive Bed and Breakfast ,I ventured out with a map. I was in a residential neighborhood called Faubourg Marigny, which, along with my inn, an 1830’s creole house, was a plethora of colorful residential historic homes of the “artsy” variety.The instructions  by my host were simple: out the door and to the left, and another left and right and I would find my way to  the French Market area; out the door and to the right several parks and other areas of interest.  All went well on day one .

 

The next morning I explored in greater depth and made my left, left, right and then  saw a sign indicating that a foot bridge was ahead and where there’s a bridge there’s usually water, so straight ahead. Hours later I looked at my map and turned away from the beautiful urban park along the Mississippi River and found the street to return “home”. I  realized that I’d made a mistake and started asking people if I was headed in the right direction.  Some said yes, others no idea; it was getting dark and my feet were hurting.  I approached an  older woman who was standing on the sidewalk.  “Excuse me, could you tell me if I’m heading in the right direction to get back to …?”  She looked at my map, put her hand on my shoulder and with a  lovely southern accent proclaimed:  “Well my dear, you’ve walked yourself  right off of your own map.”  She told me that it would take “at least an hour” but I would get there by following the path I was on . “Once you cross the railroad track, you’ll be just about home” she called after me.

 

Today’s image was taken on a side street near the French Quarter away from the crowds and for just a second on a cloudy day, as I looked back at where I had come to …”off of my map”, I was rewarded with light.  🙂 May your “off the map” exploration assist you in seeing new opportunities in whatever stage of transition you might be in, wherever you are.

IBK

Posted in Blessings Tagged , , , , , |