Category Archives: Insight

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

Also posted in Blessings, Others Tagged , , , |

Time Well Wasted

 

©2013 Telluride

©2013Ibkimage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, I had the privilege to hear “someone’s heart” about some major decisions regarding a hoped for direction in a relationship and a desire to engage in more frequent work or perhaps a career change. After several interactions and some movement forward, I received a note. In essence: “Things didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped and I made some sacrifices, but had I not taken this risk, I would not now know so much more about me … and then this:  “It was time well wasted.”  I was so moved by such a healthy reframe and have been “dancing” with the phrase ever since… time well wasted.  We usually say:  “It was time well spent” but this reframe opens  many possibilities.

 

We of course want to have a lot of memories of  time well spent but we often don’t get there because we think it was (or is) such a waste of time to spend time on something we want to do or be. It seems so frivolous or so much work.

 

Today’s image is a view from an abandoned cabin at the top of a trail in Telluride, Colorado. My photo friend dragged me up there to see this “unreal view” of a cabin with multiple windows and doors that each had a unique stunning view of the surrounding landscape. The only post processing work here is a slight crop to reduce the overall size of the image.  Ah…”time well wasted”.

 

What say you? Can you think of time well wasted that lead you to new places and insights?

IBK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Blessings, Courage, Seeing In New Ways Tagged , , , , |

Just because you can …

©IBKimage2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the last few months I have been engaged in a long distance remodeling project. Now that the project is almost complete I have reflected on how important it is to assemble a first rate team for such an undertaking.   Like an orchestra with a variety of players and  instruments contributing their own distinct tone to the whole, just so the role of the skilled craftsmen/woman provided their unique skills for an amazing transformation of a home with amazing “bones” but in need of some much needed renewal for a different time.

During this time I intermittently did some of the physical work of  deconstruction, which has it’s own rewards, but also it’s downside … in my case resulting in a shoulder that has needed some care from a wonderful team of physical therapists, and acupuncturists. It’s been a while, but finally I seem to be making progress.  Last week my physical therapist gave me a phrase that related to not overdoing it with the home exercises … “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”  What she meant in this particular case was that even though I might not have as much pain, I could still be overworking my muscles, and actually be impeding progress by overdoing it … you know, if a little is good, more is better …

Well, I can’t let go of that thought.  I changed it slightly as I started sharing it this week.  “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to…”  and by repeating it in various contexts, it (the phrase) has changed me.  I challenge you to apply this phrase to your own life and see what happens.

Today’s image is a humorous example of our phrase for the day.  The setting is Belfast, Maine, and just because they could decorate this old theater this way, doesn’t mean they should, or have to.  🙂

Best, IBK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Aging, Pruning, Seeing In New Ways, Uncategorized, Waiting Tagged , , , |

Welcome

©IBKimage2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are used to seeing things in certain ways that help us recognize familiarity.  Putting letters of a familiar word, as in our image today, in a non-standard position can make us feel uncomfortable.  It can also make us stop and think about how else we might want to express something familiar in a new way to perhaps  look at the parts that make up the whole or find a new application.

Our word today is a familiar one and we all have experienced what it feels like to be truly welcomed by someone; or perhaps we invite people in to our spaces to share our life in some way with them; we used to say you’re welcome when someone thanked us for something, but now we often hear:  “no problem,” which seems to answer something else.

I’d welcome the opportunity for some feedback about how you welcome the stranger in your midst(or family and friends.)  Perhaps you struggle to interact with those who are not you or don’t interest you.  Why is that?  These are some questions I’ve been living with this week. I send them on for further pondering.

IBK

 

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Inspiration, Uncategorized Tagged , , , |

Waiting

©IBKimage2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Very early one morning, in October, a group of photographers attending a Frans Lanting Workshop car-pooled to Four Mile Beach near Santa Cruz, California .  In the dark we gathered our equipment and layers of clothing and walked a half of a mile to the water. I had forgotten my headlight, but others guided us along the path with a variety of light devices .  We arrived at the water’s edge and heard the tide coming in before we saw it. After the initial shock of  the cold tide coming in over my water shoes ,worn for stability on the slippery rocks, I was overcome with emotion and could only weep at the beauty pressing itself into all of my senses and my soul.

 

We set up our tripods on the wet sand, and I peered into the fog and tried to find something to take a picture of.  Gradually I saw the shape of a surfer and then several more and then as dawn’s light appeared, the waves,  rocks, and vegetation magically appeared.  I took a few pictures, and  then proceeded to move to another view.  At that moment our leader Frans happened along and asked another participant and I if we’d like some coaching  in what we were seeing and so on.  Yes of course we did and he proceeded to tell us to watch how the incoming and outgoing waves created very different patterns and flows and many other things that I had never, ever, had thought about.  I can only describe it as a seeing beyond.

 

I took a few pictures and started to look for  another view.  Frans kindly but emphatically asked:  “Where are you going ? You’ve got a great spot here … work it … learn to wait for it” … and oh my, how those few words from a gifted teacher have taken me in new directions both personally and as a photographer.   My impatience and jumping from one thing to another has often stopped me from experiencing something that I was to learn.  I remember a long ago phrase that nurtured me well when I used to (and still do) get ahead of myself.  Wait, watch, pray, trust and obey.

 

Today’s image is from that sacred morning.  In the midst of the fog,churning waves and low light, our early bird is perched and … waiting.

It’s good to be back and in the coming weeks I’ll share some insights that I’ve been learning in a time of intense transition and … waiting.

IBK

 

 

 

Also posted in Inspiration, Waiting Tagged , , |

Photo Friends

Callas at Lakewood

©IBKimage2010

 

I’ve been away for a photography workshop with Frans Lanting and associates in Santa, Cruz California. (www.lanting.com) I first heard of Lanting when he and two other world renowned  masters of nature photography came for a two day Denver event in mid April.  I was especially drawn in by his emphasis on the importance of telling a story with one’s images and his availability to participants attending – as well as his kindness and humility.  After a break on the last day, I heard him say that they (he and partner/wife, Chris Eckstrom) had one spot left for a May workshop in Santa Cruz where they are based.  Impulsively, and yet knowing that this was the next major transition in my photographic learning, I got a business card and signed up with Chris via e-mail that evening.

 

Sixteen came ; from the west, central, and eastern parts of the U.S. and from Germany and Japan/SanFrancisco.  Interesting, curious people ; a variety of ages, and acumen and what we all had in common was a desire to learn and to “do photography together” for 3 1/2 intense days, and become better storytellers learning  from a master and his skilled and delightful associates . How divine!

 

In the coming weeks I ‘ll share more , gleaned from my own new insights and the encouragement I received during my adventure.   There were brief times when I wondered what I was doing there, and the old sirens tried to call me back  to interrupt my journey, but thankfully those times were brief and time and tide as well as new photo friends, call out to come and see.

 

Today’s image is a direct result of learning new ways to see.  It started out as a color photo of a planter full of calla lillies, exquisite in their creme and green hues,and ended up as a black and white exercise in the use of negative space.  Less is more.  “I’m listening Frans …”

IBK

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Blessings, Courage, Letting Go, Road Trip, Seeing In New Ways, Uncategorized

Do vs. Dew

©IBKimage 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Dear Readers,

I’ve taken a break from blogging because, quite frankly, I’ve just been worn out.  I’m learning that just because I can, I don’t have to.  Like the beautiful drops of dew in our image today, there are so many interesting drops of delight that can keep us fascinated and ready to engage in the next good thing.   There have been many good things this year and I’ve learned a lot, and challenged myself and met some wonderful people who have encouraged and nourished me. I’ve “tried on” new activities and discarded old ones (and some of the new ones).  Old habits came back to support me and to discourage me; friendships were renewed and deepened and others let go of; friends and acquaintances received serious diagnoses, and thankfully are recovering; grieving occurred and joy returned.  A year of being human.

 

I’ve also discovered again that it’s easy to let the good things crowd out the better or best things.  Much of my fatigue in the last month, resulted from activity vs. focused engagement on what is mine to do.  Yes of course a lot of our lives require daily maintenance and routine, and maintaining relationships, but if I neglect the inner life for too much outer activity, I won’t be able to distinguish the “dew from the do.”

IBK

Also posted in Seasons, Uncategorized Tagged , , , |

Take Me Back

©IBKimage2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Dear Readers:

After a two week hiatus or possibly three I’m back at it and delighted to be.  I’ve had visits from friends; our almost 9 year old grand nephew flew in for a visit; and tomorrow our younger son returns to D.C. after a delightful  time with us and other family members.  As grand as it’s been we all are ready to get back to our normal normals.   Watching the olympics and hearing the backstories before the ascent to the medal podium, reminds us again that the steps we take every day are the ones that will come to fruition in some way or other in the next week,month or four years. The time we invest with others, or to learn a new skill or overcome a prejudice or accept a health challenge, etc. does start with just one step.

I remember the exact moment I was finally relieved of the burden of believing that when everything is right and I had  the right tools, and I’d learned enough and I had enough money and …. then I would do x.  Now I know that as I begin somewhere the joy comes from the result of the discipline of using the tools, learning from doing the thing, budgeting money for my choices and by “doing x” I’m actually  able to look back with satisfaction that where I had been was not where I was now.  One of my late mother’s gifts was the phrase: “Every age is interesting and has its own blessings.

As this very active summer begins to wind down and my body is needing to be back in touch with a new normal, I’m reminded of a commercial from my childhood for a bath salt product called © Calgon.  A tired beautiful woman in the city would get into the back of a limousine equipped with a bathtub.  After a long soak (60 second commercial) she would step out of the vehicle dressed in evening clothes and ready for a night on the town with a waiting beau.

The tagline for the commercial: ” Calgon, take me away.”  It was my fantasy for a long time to take a bath in a moving car.  Fortunately, I took up photography a few years ago and can be “taken away” by todays image in Acadia National Park in Maine.  When I need a rest from the busy the sea serves me well.

Thanks for letting me meander and offer two blogs in one.

Joy,

IBK

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Aging, Blessings, Seasons Tagged , , , , , |

Let It Rest

©IBKimage2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The word I’ve been thinking about this week is fallow.  Generally we think of leaving a field fallow; it is plowed and harrowed but left unsown for a time to restore its fertility as a part  of crop rotation.  Leaving a piece of ground  fallow will also reduce the risk of disease or parasite transmission.  I experienced it this week in the form of people that came into my presence who are in need of rest after experiencing long seasons  of growth along with storms and other challenges; I noticed a garden area in my neighborhood that after 3 years of “nothing” seems to be sprouting new growth in our very premature warm spring. Some might recall that I didn’t send out a blog last week … my creative energies have been fallow after several months of learning,doing,scheduling,adjusting,recovering and so on.

The interesting thing about a fallow field is that it’s plowed and ready to do what “it” does; but it is intentionally not sown with new seed; its taking a break from providing a new yield at harvest.

What could you leave unsown in your life  in this season that will allow you to experience rest and restoration ?  What do you need to say no to be able to say yes to a fallow field or two ?

IBK

Also posted in Courage, Letting Go, Seasons Tagged , , , |

Just Function

©IBKimage 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are people that bring a smile to your face every time you think of them.  The moments in time that you are privileged to spend with them in the various seasons of your life, leave an indelible imprint on your life and heart.  One such person is someone whom I’ve rarely spent time with in person because of geographic distances over the years, but every now and then we schedule a “visit” and spend about an hour  on the phone, entering each other’s lives and “catching up” about where we left off the time before.  Almost 40 years later I’m still aware of a time when she gave me the gift of a wonderful collection of words that came from such a conversation.  I’m always challenged by them.

 

“The challenge is to not ‘over-function’ or ‘under-function’ but just function.”  What a wonderful antidote to the ubiquitous “perfect” that we are bombarded with every day , from the mouths of many in numerous contexts and our own “perfecto meters”.  The outcropping in today’s image has been functioning for  thousands of years, shaped by the elements, marked with upheaval,and gracing us with its particular shape and texture of rich and royal hues.

Could we just function today and celebrate the moment … or alternatively, just muddle through?

IBK

 

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Letting Go Tagged , , , |