Reflecting on the Way Out….

Way Out by Rick Martin Sep17
Life is never as neat and tidy as I would like it. My attention shifts from one aspect to the next, usually resulting in total neglect of at least one part of my life. I start to eat healthy, but can’t manage to exercise. I take time for morning prayer, but neglect to keep in touch with friends. It seems I am much better at focusing on one part of my life than I am at balancing the many parts of my life. So I was drawn to this incredible photograph by my friend Rick. He seeks out abandoned and deserted places and turns what others see as a lost cause into beautiful art. I look at his work and wonder about who might have lived there and what their lives must have been like. Most of all, I am intrigued by how light affects how I see the image. I have been turning my attention to long neglected areas of my life, cleaning out clutter and dealing with ancient memories that clutter brings up. Perhaps I hang onto things because I dread thinking about what those things remind me of. It is easier to box up the stuff and the past that goes with it than to the time to sift through it. Somehow I have wound myself into the darkest corner of that house of memories, with not enough light to discern what I am looking at, let alone what I need to address. And of course, I expect the way out to be simple, a single step, a single turning, a single change of heart. Yet how can that be when it took me forever and a day to get here? Why do I expect the way out to be any less complicated than the way in? A part of me has been dealing with the monsters in the closet, whether I chose to turn my conscious thoughts toward them or not. Unpacking the way out will take time and more than a little space for grace. Take time today to peek around the corner and take a look at what you hide in the shadows. Tomorrow or next week, clear out the cobwebs and clutter that gets in the way. When you are ready, wipe away the dust and look at that old memory calmly and clearly. Most of all, be gentle with yourself and let go of what happens next. Hold open space for something new and unexpected. Open your heart to a future beyond what you can imagine or hope for, a future that embraces the past rather than remaining trapped by that past. And always remember, it starts with just one step out of the darkness, one day at a time. Text by Connie Chintall ©2017, photo entitled ‘Way Out’ by Rick Martin©2017, used with his permission, All Rights Reserved. To see more of Rick’s work, go to http://www.rickmartin.com or http://www.abandonedanddesertedinvirginia.com

Advertisements

Reflecting on Anger….

It’s a bright, sunny morning, and I have a full day planned. I’m feeling better than I did yesterday, when I was ready to hand our dog off to whoever would take him. It’s funny how anger can warp your perspective. So I was drawn to this high dynamic range (HDR) photo taken by my friend David Buckwalter. I love how the colors pop against the sky, how details are emphasized, how a picture becomes a painting. David took this photo of a shot furnace at Fort Griswold State Park in Groton, CT. This morning I feel a bit ridiculous, after expending way too much energy on anger, rather than on resolving the problem. Our dog Hobbes has decided the new dining room carpet is a good place to relieve himself. The carpet’s colors camouflaged the stains, until my nose detected the problem this weekend. So I spent yesterday shampooing the carpets, after finding other hidden offenses. Just when I was ready to start cooking supper, the dog returned to the scene of the crime and defiled my nice, clean carpet. Before you ask, the dog is still here, although it’s a small wonder my family still is. I was far from pleasant company last night. There is nothing that frustrates me more than wasted work, especially when it’s difficult, manual labor. And truth be told, I started the job angry, because I was mad at myself for not figuring it out sooner. Getting past anger takes time and perspective. Anger may feel like strong emotion, but is often more of a chain reaction. We feel something now, then link this incident to others from the past, make judgments about ourselves and others, then over react. What we see and hear becomes like this photo, the dynamic range of our reactions is off the scale. Or perhaps we vent our frustration about one situation elsewhere, losing our temper in a safer place and time. Take time today to step back from anger, to consider your initial emotion, be it frustration, or disappointment, or fear. Look at the surrounding circumstances, relationships, and past history, to understand what set you off. Pray for God’s perspective, to see all sides, rather than just your own. And remember, when we invite the Holy Spirit to burn in our souls, we become a steadfast flame, instead of a shot furnace. Photo by David Buckwalter ©2011, used with his permission

Reflecting on Presence….

This morning I spent longer than usual outdoors, waiting for the school bus with my five year old friend Patrick. It’s delightful to see the world through his eyes, and allow myself to be a child again. So I was drawn to this stunning photo, part of a series called ‘Being with Trees’ by my new friend Heidi Anne. I love the colors of the sky as the sun filters through the trees. The branches remind me of feathers, delicate and lacey. This morning the sun was rising behind us as we stood near the road. Patrick wanted to throw rocks, and it would have been so easy to simply say no. Instead, I said yes and made a game out of it. We both turned around to face away from the road, and into the sun. While Patrick returned gravel lost in the lawn back onto the driveway, I took into the beautiful view. I don’t know about you, but being present is challenging. There are days when the cares and concerns of this life clamor for my attention, pulling me this way and that. I can so easily convince myself to rush from one task to another, hoping for a few quiet moments at the end of the day. Then there are days like today, when I find those quiet moments in the midst of the most mundane errands. A child doesn’t need scheduled activities or expensive toys – a few pieces of gravel can easily become a delightful matching game. The quiet we so vainly seek may be found in the joyful noise of a child, fully present to what life brings each moment, each and every day. Take time today to seek quiet contemplation amidst the busy-ness of life. Notice the sky and scenery, or perhaps the faces of those around you, allowing their voices to meld together and blend into the background. Seek to be present to all that life brings your way, without judgment as to what is or is not important. And remember, sometimes all it takes to be present is to say yes, and turn around. Photo by Heidi Anne Morris, used with her permission, to see more of her photos, visit http://www.redbubble.com/people/heidiannemorris

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 702 other followers