thursday || ebb and flow

“...wanting soul life without the dark, warming intelligence of personal doubt is like expecting an egg without the brooding heat of the mother hen.” 
― David Whyte

the partial list:: 
it takes time
i don't globe-trot or get to enough beautiful places, to take interesting photos
i can't spell and my grammar sucks
i take the same photos over and over and over
Basil is tired of posing and i am tired of taking photos of my latte
i say too much, reveal too much about my life
sometimes it scares me
etc. . .  

“Never let fear hold you captive. 
Never let self-doubt hold you captive. 
Never let frustration hold you captive.” 
― Roy Bennett

i hit the enable button and i think, okay then, it is done. 
not feeling the relief i imagined, i decide to let it ride out a bit. 
later, i go back and cannot find the page, it is not only enabled
it is gone. suddenly two years worth of thougts have vanished;
posts with stumbling words and unfocused photos for sure, but
words i wrote from my heart and photos i loved. . .  
i play it cool for most of the afternoon and then after dinner panic sets in. 
i start to google. when i later manage to dig it out of the recycling bin
on Squarespace a sense of balm settles in and i understand
just a little bit more about myself. . .

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” 
― Brené Brown

i see so clearly now how i stepped off my path. i understand
how i imagined this route was no longer viable, but rather
frozen solid at the edges and unreachable. i recognize how
self-doubt managed to drift in and ice up, chilling me to the bone.
the thing that daunts me however, 
is how quickly i jumped ship. 

“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” 
― Brené Brown

so i am back, with a pocket full of treats for this sweet pup, 
and a promise to myself to allow this space to ebb and flow.
an agreement to grant myself permission to not be perfect, 
but to always be myself and speak my simple truth. 
and always have hope. 

Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.
~ Bruce Barton

thank you so much for you kind and encouraging words, 
your suggestions and help. 
but mostly, thank you for understanding. 

finding my way. . . 
xoooox

play dirty || week 2

Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”
— Don McCullin

the week is full of movement as we hit the gym everyday; i even dig out
the yoga mat, and take a class. we take walks in the cold, bundling up
against the freezing temps and savor the clear, blue sky.
the dog whines because every morning his outside water bowl
is nothing but a block of ice. and we all rest in the sun, which
pours through our front windows. 

“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.” 
― Sylvia Plath

i spend a great deal of time during the week, thinking about my photography practice. 
i consider all the photographs i see in the course of one day;
photos on Instagram and flickr,  facebook and on blogs i read. 
i take note how i quickly scroll though hundreds of photos a day, 
stopping for two reasons. . .  i have a personal conncetion to the person
who posts the photo, or the photo knocks my socks off. 

Instagram facts ::
Over 40 billion photos have been shared
Instagram clocks up 3.5 billion likes every day
On an average day, 80 million photos are shared

i see so clearly that i am on a bit of photo overload. . . 
and i make a conscious effort to notice the wonderment of life around me. 
i aim to shoot with intention and purpose, reflecting on the moments that
deepen the meaning of my life. 

“America is the first culture in jeopardy of amusing itself to death.” 
― John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life

three things :: 
i bought this backpack and really like it so far (he says he will be able to spot me in a crowd now) 
if you are lucky enough to have a child in your life, check this out
new to podcasts? start here

Our work is to make ourselves visible in the world. This is the soul's individual journey, and the soul would much rather fail at its own life than succeed at someone else's.
~ David Whyte

i call this. . .  playing dirty 

“PLAY DIRTY! Dive into mudpits. Roll in old poop. Dig tunnels in the sand. You’re only a puppy once. There’s time to be clean later.” ~ anonymous

on a side note, i am shutting this part of my blog down for a bit. 
I will still be posting my 365, but i need a break from the weekly writing i think. 
i find each week it is harder and harder to come up with something to say, 
that is truly from my heart. so in a few days this page will be enabled. 
thanks so much for your support and understanding. 

xoooox, 
Cathy
 

wednesday || the dog park

Dogs invite us not only to share their joy but also to live in the moment, where we are neither proceeding from nor moving toward, where the enchantment of the past and future cannot distract us, where a freedom from practical desire and a cessation of our usual ceaseless action allows us to recognize the truth of our existence, the reality of our world and purpose--if we dare. 
~ Dean Koontz 

“One of the greatest gifts we receive from dogs is the tenderness they evoke in us.” 
― Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog
“On the other hand, dogs eat with gusto, play with exuberance, work happily when given the opportunity, surrender themselves to the wonder and the mystery of their world, and love extravagantly.” 
― Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog
“Dogs might love a place, as people do, but the only place they love beyond all others is the place where you are.” 
― Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

a couple of hours at the dog park. . . 
 

scheduling issues || week 1

Whatever the activity, once we love it, the task opens us to all that is holy and our effort leads us into the flow of aliveness that is within us and around us.
~ Mark Nepo, The One Life We’re Given

the week is full of aha moments, sharing, balance and joy. 
the sky is so blue and the air so cold, and the birds. . . 
eat us out of house and home. 

“And for a moment―for a split second―everything else falls away, the whole pattern and order of my life, and a huge joy crests in my chest. I am no one, and I owe nothing to anybody, and my life is my own.” 
― Lauren Oliver, Hana

my ocd kicks in and i wonder how to structure this once a week round up;
now that the true week comes to a close on Sunday which might cause problems.
so i bend the rules because i can and let it go, knowing that no one will notice but me. 
i settle on giving myself some leeway and a bit of elbow room, allowing
this space and myself to evolve and grow. 

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” 
― Pablo Picasso

i spend spend several hours organizing 2016 photos and setting up 2017 photo files.
i open a new journal and stack up my self-help books to give away. 
fearless and hopeful i have the tools i need to move through
life. . .  holding on to prayer, my breath and people i love. 
i clean out my inbox, unsubscribing to junk i never read, instead of spending time deleting. 
i set down my phone and let my iPad die. 
i let go and live in the moment and it is such a relief. 

“...there are often many things we feel we should do that, in fact, we don't really have to do. Getting to the point where we can tell the difference is a major milestone in the simplification process.” 
― Elaine St. James, Living the Simple Life: A Guide to Scaling Down and Enjoying More

three things :: 
i am thinking of buying this, anyone have a camera backpack? 
i watched this on Netflix, strange but good. 
my daughter-in-law has cool new stuff in her shop and makes the best lip balm around!
(also if you have a guy in your life with a beard her beard balm is awesome!) 

“The abundance of beards in periods of social unrest, times of revolt or upheaval, should be noted. It's the handiest way people have of making themselves mysterious.” 
― Mihail Sebastian, For Two Thousand Years

i call this. . .  geese on ice 

thanks for stopping by,
how was your week? 
xooox

wednesday whispers || quiet truth

Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything. 
~ George Hempton

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
~Mary Oliver

looking back || week 52

"Integrity is the ability to listen to a place inside oneself that doesn't change, even though the life that carries it may change."
—RABBI JONATHAN OMER-MAN

The wonderful thing about doing a 365 is the ability to go back in time and read what was happening last year, or in my case, the last few years. The day to day journey quickly resurfaces as i go back and reread different post. The pairing of a photo with the obscure hints dropped here and there about what was troubling me or what I was elated about brings back bits and pieces of each day and I feel pain, grief, joy, love, confusion, growth and familiarity. 

“And no one will listen to us until we listen to ourselves.” 
― Marianne Williamson

I have talked before about my struggle at times to define my purpose here, but this last year has morphed into one of those revolving doors, which I am comfortable cycling through, over and over again. I see so clearly now, why and how this works for me. 

I have put into place, piece by piece, a daily practice that feels authentic and honest for me right now. I have knitted together people and things that support this practice; listening to myself and trying not to emulate, but rather gather inspiration from those I admire and respect.  I have walked through all that doubt that had oozed into my life over the past several years, arriving at a place that feels different but normal again. 

“Always seek less turbulent skies. 
Hurt. Fly above it. 
Betrayal. Fly above it. 
Anger. Fly above it. 
You are the one who is flying the plane.” 
― Marianne Williamson

I have weeded out and recycled, nourished and pampered, felt silly and so damn smart. I understand I don't have all the right answers but I do have the tools to find my voice amongst all the muck life dishes up. 

“We walk through so many myths of each other and ourselves; we are so thankful when someone sees us for who we are and accepts us.” 
― Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

three things i learned this past year :: 
of all the "enlightening" books i read in 2016 (and i read a slew) no one speaks to me like Anne Lamott
meditation does not have to be hard, some soft music from Spotify (there are mediation playlist that are so good) ten minutes of quiet and my breath is all i need
there is no special formula for praying, no special time that God listens best, no rituals that need to be preformed or followed

Oh, my God. What if you wake up some day, and you're 65 or 75, and you never got your novel or memoir written; or you didn't go swimming in warm pools or oceans because your thighs were jiggly or you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It's going to break your heart. Don't let this happen.
~ Anne Lamott

how was your year? 
xooox, 

Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life - it gave me me. It provided the time and experience and failures and triumphs and friends who helped me step into the shape that had been waiting for me all my life...I not only get along with me most of the time now, I am militantly and maternally on my own side. 
~ Anne Lamott