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LIFE IS A JOURNEY, not a guided tour :)

The Journey to Self

I believe that there comes a time in life for nearly every human soul walking this planet when they arrive at the BIG question… “WHY AM I HERE?” According to my spiritual belief system, which is VAST beyond description, I will say that I believe it to be true that there are few souls who enter this lifetime and just KNOW their journey, they don’t need to ask. Those souls come into this lifetime CLEAR and just move in the world in their SPIRIT DRIVEN PURPOSE. An aside here… The term “God” is used very rarely in my lingo for I believe the concept of this God dude was created BY man FOR man, because human beings simply cannot understand with their mind the vastness of CREATION, the UNIVERSE and plural of the latter. Einstein confirmed this! So, in my writings, I refer to God as the DIVINE, SPIRIT, the UNIVERSE. For me, DIVINE encompasses all as the concept of God as man has created it is VERY limited. Nonetheless, I offer my readers the “out” to refer to this IMMENSENESS as God. To each his own, live and let live, right? I didn’t always feel this way, to be able to not have to DEFEND my concept of the DIVINE, attempting in my debates to get others to get my “drift” gained through direct personal experience. In my daily attitude and actions, I strive to choose LOVE and TOLERANCE in the most colossal sense of both words. And to my readers, I say call it whatever you wish, as long as you FEEL that IT is working in your life and there to guide you at all crossroads, the ones that we trudge in both LOVE and FEAR, it’s all GOoD!

Back to my original point for beginning this blog… The reason WHY we are here? From my own person, I give you this account to believe or not… I have been asking this question on a conscious level since I was one and half years old. You might ask how a 18 month old baby asks this question because communication is completely limited at that stage of life? Well, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our consciousness is VAST and that we can ASK without using words at all. In a hypnotherapy session many years ago, I regressed to a place in my first home with my parents. The vision was very clear. I had a bad cold and was standing up holding onto the bars of my crib, eyes watering, nose dripping in a prison of sorts, a powerful vision if you can grasp it… My parents were arguing. And although it wasn’t posed as a question necessarily, what came through was this… “Why are you doing this with/to each other? This is not why we’re here!” So, at this tender age of 18 months, the light was turned on in my conscious being about the TRUTH, that we are only here to LOVE, to share the BLISS of the UNIVERSE with one another, to live in JOY and to share it with one another, all creatures and our beautiful planet.  Just ending this excerpt with the fact that we all have access to a KNOWING on a deeper level of our being that our mind cannot often translate to us. It’s all about the journey we take to come to this place of KNOWING AND FEELING DIVINITY within ourselves. My personal journey is what my first book is all about, the twists and turns of life that brought me back to the TRUTH of who I really AM. And at 48 years old, with an entire life ahead of me, I feel blessed beyond words to have “gotten” this on such deep levels of my being. This LOVE envelops my SOUL on a daily basis, allows me to share myself and that LOVE freely with all my brothers and sisters, all creatures great and small in the world in a WHOLE and beautiful way. Are there still not times of pain and learning? ABSOLUTELY! But if I go in with my eyes open, try to not let myself get enveloped by the emotions of the circumstances and simply ask to be shown the right direction to be led, the path is CLEARLY REVEALED. And that PATH is illuminated by the people I share my journey with on a daily basis, from precious loved ones to the stranger, the blind man in the waiting room at the doctor’s office that SEES me even though he lost his sight at age one. This blog is partially driven from an experience on 8/22/12 with Myron, my new blind brotha, a man who sees more than most people who have the immense gift of sight with their eyes. The lack of INsight... in my book, I elaborate yet don’t dwell on the darkness, the sludge, the roads of immense pain with glimpses of joy intertwined that I traveled to arrive at this place in life. It was by no means a simple journey as I know in my heart and soul that PAIN IS THE TOUCHSTONE OF ALL SPIRITUAL GROWTH. The book’s title is to be revealed soon. Ahead of it’s publishing, I can assure that you will be amply entertained because I am alive by the Grace of the God/Him <LOL! alongside a cosmic sense of humor! 😉

Leading to my conclusion of this blog… Overall, I have come to realize that life is driven by a POWER of LOVE far greater than ourselves. Once we accept this as the UNIVERSAL TRUTH for ourselves and ALLOW this power to guide us, we can truly surrender and move forward with the knowledge and carry the message to others. This POWER of LOVE shines in all our actions and attitudes of our daily life. I feel we are ALL on this planet to RECOVER, to restore our Holistic beings back to the TRUTH of who we REALLY are, and to live in the BLISS of life on a daily basis, to BREATHE in all the beauty our planet and it’s inhabitants have to offer. And that is IMMENSE! How much we choose to recover, is directly correlated to how much of this BLISS we can experience in our human form, how much light we can breathe into our cells. I humbly ask of you should you be moved by this entry, to please step back and ask the Great Spirits that BE just what you are here for and for the path to be laid out clearly. If you ask in all earnestness and with complete integrity and the WILLINGNESS to look at some “not-so-nice” aspects of yourself, the TRUTH will not be withheld from you. AWARENESS, humility as individuals and collectively, patience, grace and compassion are required for the times we are currently living in as they are seemingly VERY tumultuous. We see FEAR based craziness all around us, wars, increase in crime and addictions, a complete division of our view of government which, IMHO, is completely riddled with corruption (and for those who are awake to the TRUTH that large corporations and $$ are running the show) we see that this “system” hasn’t worked FOR the PEOPLE for a very long time and it is definitely time it changes in a BIG way. We are seeing natural disasters of magnitude we as a human race have not seen on our planet, ever. WE, as a collective consciousness are destroying our beautiful planet with our raping of the environment and our clear disregard for the immense RESPECT our mother earth demands of us. SHE is THE ONE who sustains our VERY existence and we (as a collective consciousness) are simply not giving the gal what she needs and SHE IS REBELLING in a BIG WAY! What I know in the depths of my being to be true is this… as a mass consciousness WE are being called to ask ourselves WHO we truly are and how we wish to continue. Are we going to choose FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real, quite evident through CONTROL and POWER with that silly green stuff $$ that basically holds no value any longer) and keep perpetuating the madness? Or are we going to move forward operating from a place of LOVE, the DIVINE that we all have a choice to call into our being on a daily basis? It’s our choice folks. And from an energetic standpoint, the vibrations of love and fear are just that, vibrations… AND if we are willing to call in that vibration of LOVE, our minds change, our actions change, and we literally transform the cells of our being on a level beyond comprehension to the human mind and even science at times. WE are the answer, each and every one of us individually first and foremost. WE will determine our future by taking responsibility for anchoring LOVE or FEAR in to our being, how humanity and our planet will transform. 2012 is not the end of the world as we know it, unless we know it in FEAR. IF we choose LOVE, it will be the dawning of a new world that can transform the human experience to one of LOVE and BLISS and the earth and it’s inhabitants WILL find PEACE and live in harmony. Here and now, I call you to the duty to live in LOVE and to heal ourselves and this stellar rock we roll on.   Namasté dear readers, Namasté 🙂

NOT ALL WHO WANDER ARE LOST… J.R.R. Tolkien

“Not all who wander…” has been in draft version for the past 2 plus months. It’s taken a long time to compose as I’ve been wandering 😉 I will preface this segment by stating that this is my blog and I offer my opinions and observations here. Your opinions matter to me and I welcome your comments.

As I stated in my first blog entry, the wanderlust bug bit me at a very young age. Life took upon a whole new meaning once I stepped foot off of U.S. soil and saw how other cultures and people exist. At that point, life for me became about new experiences, new encounters with people and places. Ironically, the bug coincided with my initial fascination with photography. I’ve not wandered without a camera since 1985.

Wandering into the blog world. When I first embarked on this WordPress thingy, it was last October and I was charged up about documenting the Occupy movement. Although I agree with most who argue that the US is still the greatest country to live in, I do believe that our government needs a serious overhaul. I became an observer of Occupy from the outside in Buffalo, a small but powerful movement, which like all the others, has since been disbanded by the authorities. Seems “Occupy” is still alive in the virtual realm, yet the physical presence of actual protests is being squashed at the inception of any non-permit issued collection of bodies in a public place. The United Police States of America? I must admit I lost my mojo for being physically present for Occupy after being in NYC @ the original OWS, at Zucotti Park. They tore down the encampment while I was there and I was actually glad because there were so many homeless and drug addicted who had wandered in. It was not a pretty place to be. While some people think that the movement majority was/is comprised greatly of the downtrodden, the unemployed, people with a lack of motivation who want some sort of handout, I can assure you that a large percentage of folks I encountered first hand were highly intelligent, professional people who have been calling for a revolution for a very long time. I am still aligned with what I feel the original purpose of Occupy was… very basically, to bring worldwide awareness to the FACT that our government is run by large corporations and that greed is completely destroying a once prosperous nation. There are many other facets that the 99% are debating and fighting for, such as ending senseless wars and instituting affordable health plans for every American. One of my personal favorites is reminding Congressman and Senators that they were HIRED to work FOR the people. I’m all down with Warren Buffet’s proposed congressional reform act. If you haven’t read it, please do.

Wandering away from Occupy… After spending time in NYC @ Occupy, it was clear to me that the media coverage  was not giving Occupy it’s due process and it never would. For many reasons, mainly a united, solid and focused leadership, I felt it to be futile, mirroring my sentiments about our country’s economic recovery. Unsure of what my future held, I ventured down the road into the unknown in my trusty “Westie” wondering what would be next for me? What would I do, where would I go now? Yes, I felt afraid. It’s been said by many great spiritual masters that all of our emotions are derived from either fear or love. One question that I had planned to try and find concrete answer via the people of Occupy was… why is this country in such upheaval? Are people protesting because they are angry, which boils down to fear? Are they afraid for generations to come? for their own personal “security?” 

[an aside here… I remember being part of the anti-war movement in San Francisco, marching in the streets against invasion of Iraq.  IMHO, there is no better city to protest in than San Francisco! What an incredible feeling to march down Market St with thousands of people who think the same about the devastation war results in for ALL involved except the very rich who profit from it. Yes, war is HUGE business! The general fear that existed around the protests post 9/11 was that our government would spend trillions of dollars and millions of innocent civilian lives would be lost. All, in this particular case, not to actually protect the citizens of this country, but? ____ You can fill in the blank but I’m sure there’s a BIG $ in the answer somewhere if you’re hip to the tricks. OK, so it turns out that there were no WMD’s. Anyone who has done research aside from what the media portrayed, knows that 9/11 was a horrible scenario concocted to launch the American people into FEAR. Yes, GW and his cronies did an excellent job of making the vast majority of Americans terrified about the “evil doers” striking again. LOL! another blog entirely… What protest all comes down to is the idealistic wish for an enlightened global consciousness, one that prioritizes human lives before greed and wealth. Not in our  capitalist “culture.” Money = power = security…… really??? ]

So the big question for my readers is… HOW DO YOU DEFINE SECURITY? Does it include one or all of the following? The full time job with benefits (a fast fading part of the American dream) the secure? retirement plan, 2.5 kids, a nice house, nice car(s), all insurances intact and paid, the perfect partnership/union, and maybe that superb 2 week vacation where you blow a huge wad of doe, only to return to work the other 50 weeks to repeat it the following year? Do you work to keep yourself and your family safe and secure within these constructs that society has created for us to follow? The aforementioned are all things that we are conditioned to believe make us secure and happy, mostly through the TV and advertising. As a culture based on consumerism, we constantly lust after new stuff. Advertising makes us believe we will be happy if we just have that new this or that… What is it that defines your security? What would happen if whatever it is, disappeared?

mile marker 0, Key West, FL

the end of the road!

WHERE MY TRAVELS LED… Thinking that I needed to establish some “security”, to find a job/job (because that’s just what “normal” people do ;-),  I figured I would take an old friend up on an offer to help him flip his house in Richmond, VA and try to find some work there. In late November of 2011, after just 3 days there, my instincts spoke loud and clear that Richmond was definitely not the place for me. After traveling all that way planning to settle down, I was confused. My mind was starting to operate from a fear place. I couldn’t quiet it long enough to see down the road from where I was. I lost my TRUST that an unseen force, my INSTINCTS, (some call this God) were guiding me. Yes, I refer to God as my TRUE instincts and vice versa. Some say it’s not humble to say that one IS God, that believing in such a way is egotistic, blasphemous, sacrilegious… Myself, I am very humbled to be a part of Creation as a whole, of this beautiful planet and it’s creatures. We are all connected to everyone and everything energetically. When we lose touch with this connection, the ego can come in and mess things up in a heartbeat if we let it. It’s sometimes hard to decipher what is ego and what is pure instinctual guidance. But I find if I get really, really quiet, the next step is revealed. Going deeper… We are born instinctual beings, just like animals, but with intellect and the ability to reason and communicate with language. Basically, the way I see it is IF there is an almighty being called God, he/she/it gifted me (and you too) with instincts to follow to connect to HIM, HER, IT, THEY, THE DIVINE, whatever you wish to term it. We fall away from instinctual behavior when the constructs of society are shown to us, starting at a very early age. We are not fearful by nature, we learn fear and fear is what keeps us in our mind vs. being instinctual. And when we begin to clear out all the riff raff that our mind tells us we should be doing and get really quiet with ourselves, our instincts speak to and lead us. The key is that we have to slow down enough and learn to listen to them. We have to deeply relax. <another blog entirely> So onward… From Richmond, I set out again with even fewer possessions in my trusty van and wound up in Florida, a state I really had no desire to visit, let alone live in! After house sitting for a friend near West Palm Beach for a couple of months, and having a showing and sale of my work, I figured I would drive down and check out the Keys. I had heard good things about them, but didn’t really know what to expect. I arrived in Key West on January 31st, thinking I just would stay a day or two and then move on. But where was “on”? This was the end of the road.

Reggie and Joe

Joe and his cockatiel, Reggie

On that day, I met Joe at Ft. Zachary Taylor, a beautiful and peaceful Florida State Park that is famous for it’s sunsets. Joe has a Westie, 4 years newer than mine in superb condition. He also has Reggie, his moody little cockatiel 🙂 Reg is obviously part of Joe’s family. People who have never traveled in these vehicles, sadly, just aren’t tuned into the unspoken connection we have.  There is a freedom like no other that the vehicle offers. Our vans are part of our “family.” When I met Joe, he said that if I stayed a few days in KW, I probably wouldn’t leave. I hadn’t planned to stay longer than another night… Well, two months later, minus a couple brief excursions to the mainland, I got in my sweet Westie and bid my “hasta luego” to a place that truly taught me that happiness is a state of BEING, not mind. That little segment of time in Key West also offered me a sense of freedom I had only ever had small glimpses of before. In a place where I often lived on under $10 a day and never lacked for anything, I became the wealthiest woman in the world. I found my dream job too! It’s pretty simple and it pays well. The description goes something like this… live simply, follow your instincts, live by the Golden rule, be grateful for EVERYONE and EVERYTHING you have, stay relaxed, and carry the message of freedom and happiness in daily life. It’s become clear to me how little I need to live well. As a matter of fact, the old saying “less is more” truly applies in my case. Basically, I want to thank the Universe, aka my Instincts /God for setting the stage for me to stay long enough in Key West for the magic to happen inside. You were spot on, Sugrue! 🙂

Westfalia heaven

Westies lined up @ Ft Zach

Wandering back to the topic of “security”… From my own personal experience, having had very nice places to live in the SF Bay Area, 2 cars, good jobs that brought in often more than enough $$, long-term, meaningful relationships, I can clearly see now that my true happiness, which some feel is derived from this “security” was never arrived at from anything material. Yes, there were moments of bliss in all aspects of my material life, but it all disappeared, slowly… by conscious choice and not.  Currently, I have very little of what society generally defines as security. My sweet old van, Westie, with 263K miles, has often been my “home.” Why did I put home in quotations? My own personal experience is that I have been forced to find my true home inside. Home for me has become not about the constructs or all the stuff within them that we surround ourselves with. Rather, my home is a feeling of deep contentment, that comes with the ability to fully relax in my own skin. Quite honestly, there are still times I question my current lifestyle, my ego comes in and tells me that I’m less than, and I start comparing myself to others who have all the schtuff that most people think makes them happy. Because I have always been a Truth seeker and ask for it to be revealed to me, I feel I was forced to let go most of what I thought my life was so that I could find true happiness and peace. There is a beauty like no other of truly living in the moment. My “home” expands within each mile I travel, with each photograph I take, with each new person I encounter on a daily basis. And I thank the Universe for all the wonderful people that have crossed my path, the souls that I have shared happiness and anguish with. For without the sour, we can never know the sweet. And Christoper McCandless said it best from “Into the Wild”… “Happiness is only real when shared!” 🙂

The journey of life is not a guided tour, it is an adventure. And although I would love to share more about the wanderings of Key West, I’m going to save it for another blog. I’m honored that a few of you will take time to read this. If I reach one person, I have been successful. (Please see my first blog entry for the definition of Success I subscribe to.) My closing words to the weary on this journey come from the book “Eat Pray Love.” I was deeply moved by the book and have since given many copies to friends on a Truth seeking journey.”

Liz Gilbert – “In the end, I’ve come to believe in something I call “The Physics of the Quest.” A force in nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity. The rule of Quest Physics goes something like this: If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.”

The Key West blog is coming soon. To the people I met and the incredible negative ionic, geographic situation of the place, I am forever grateful. What a colorful bouquet of flowers it all was. A large missing piece of the Truth was revealed to me. And I can conclude with one sentence… Fear is but an illusion and when we walk into the unknown and face it, the gifts that arrive are often wildly magnificent!

Namasté good people 🙂

Hello WordPress world!

Launching into the unknown – once again…

For 25 years, I have been at this love of photography. It’s been the longest relationship of my life and the love just keeps on growing.

To keep up with changing times, I guess I gotta blog, do some video and whatever else it takes to stay current with the race.  Let me tell you a little bit about why I am here…

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been a deep thinker and creative. I played musical instruments, I painted, I LOVED to dream and to create. After struggling with the decision between law and art for a college degree, I obviously chose art. While studying at Pratt Institute where my major was Advertising Design, I took a photography elective and was enamored. In the summer of 1985, I left U.S. soil for the first time and went to Israel for a summer photography program. My eyes were opened in a way that I never expected. Hence, came a great love and appreciation for cultural diversity and documenting what I experienced when I traveled. Wanderlust became my middle name 😉 And that dream of becoming a famous Art Director and making gobs of doe? It got left behind in the Dead Sea.

I live quite a non-conventional life. For me, it’s become about freedom to roam, to experience, to document. My needs are few and my wants even fewer. I share Christopher McCandless’ belief that the core of mans’ spirit is developed from new experiences. Travel has become a bit of an addiction, but it sure is a good one! It’s amazing how little one can live on, how little we actually need in life! One thing I have been certain of well before I became that wanderlust woman is that our soul is enriched not by how much we can accumulate and how seemingly comfortable we make ourselves by WHAT we surround ourselves with. My feeling is that our sole/soul purpose in life is to learn to learn to relax, and to love unconditionally both our amazing planet and one another. That is the message I wish to convey through my work.

I hope that the images you see on my site as well as ones inserted into this blog, enrich your soul. If they do, I have been successful 🙂

 

SUCCESS
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.