I went out and got a Life Coach. I shit you not. I really did. And so far, she is doing EXACTLY what I had hoped she would do. She is pushing my ass to get out of my comfort zone. So much of my wanting to be perfect regarding my photography (so not ZEN) has prevented me from putting my photos out there, anymore. I still post to Flickr, but never on a regular basis.
Anyway, so the Life Coach has given me many homework assignments, but now she has given me a photography assignment. Here's what I was told to do: Print photographs that I think are good, print photographs that I think are NOT good, print photographs that I think are so-so and print photographs from photographers that I admire.
I started the assignment. We shall see what happens.
So, the next morning, I got up early. REALLY early. Why? Well, the balloons were supposedly flying at sunrise. So, I had this all planned. Made sure everything was packed, had my batteries charged, tripod ready, etc. I get there and find out that there's been a delay. Because of the wind.
Fricking wind. Uuugh. The wind is not a photographer's best friend. Nope.
So, I have no choice but to wait. And I could've stomped my feet and been a little brat about it. I had to leave and get back to New Orleans for a certain time. Eeek!
I started having these thoughts of :
"Great...I came all the way over here, got up early and raced down here and now the fricking wind is gonna make me miss the balloons."
But, that's not very ZEN-like, is it? Noooo! And since I'm all about being present and accepting what is, I took a deep breath and just...LET IT GO. I let go of the dissapointment and the expectations. And I just observed, took pictures of what what going on, struck up conversations with other photographers and just enjoyed the present for what it was.
Oh, and tried not to think about having to pee. Seriously. I had a big ass camera bag and a tripod. I was not going to try going in a portalet and risk any of my stuff getting pee on it. Gross!
So, here goes:
Oh, lookie...here they come!
It was amazing to watch them land. I can only imagine what it's like to be up in the air in one of these beauties. Cool stuff. :)
Awhile back, I took the girls to the Hot Air Balloon Festival. I have been wanting to go for a few years now. But, every time it came around, we already had something else going on. So, I was excited when this year, we were able to make it. And my sweet sister-in-law (Rachel) offered us a place to stay. (She & my brother live nearby).
While waiting in line, this man starts talking to us. I didn't get a picture of him, but I was tempted to. He was drunker than Cooter Brown. And aggravating. We made polite conversation. Thankfully, the line moved quickly.
We're in! Loving it. :) Felt like a kid in a candy store with my camera. So much to see and capture.
The girls with Aunt Rachel, taking pics on their phones.
Hey, guys, can I get a pic?
I got fussed at for getting close to the flames. But I stuck my pouty lip out and asked, "Pleeeease?" and...he took pity on me.
Again, pouty lip and pleading worked. I really felt the heat with this one. Wow. Very cool.
We had a really great time. It was a cool experience. Then, we went to Golden Corral and had bad steak. Ha! :) :)
My name on Instagram is Chasing Zen. People ask me all of the time...What does that mean?
They wonder if I'm Buddhist or if I meditate every day or whatever. Um, no. Here's the skinny: To be ZEN (to ME) just means to be present. It may have more components to it and I've read different books about ZEN and all of the meanings, but what it means to me is just simply being present to my life as I'm living it.
The reason I named the blog Capturing Life and Chasing Zen is because I love to capture life with my camera and I am constantly trying to remind myself to be present while life is happening. My brain is always in overdrive...jumping from one thought to the next. If you read about ZEN, it's called "monkey mind."
Anyway, that's all. I'm no master of ZEN. I have hardly scratched the surface. I am "chasing" it. And when I write "chasing," I am being a smartass because the act of being present is not something you can chase. You're either still and present or you're not. The end.
So, that's the story of the ZEN thing. Carry on. :)
When I was a little girl, my grandma used to take me & my brother fishing with her and her sisters. We did that a lot. I remember the excitement of getting ready and making our lunches, which were sure to include potted meat sandwiches. I will admit it, I absolutely loved them. I haven't had a potted meat sandwich in many years!
Anyway, one of my fondest memories is of going fishing with my grandma. I was very close to her. She died suddenly when I was 9. I still think about her all of the time.
This past year, I have gone fishing a few times. Only caught a few bass, but sure had fun in the process. I had forgotten how exciting it is to feel that tug on the line.
Mostly gone fishing with my friend, Kitty and her husband, Kurt. This was a selfie I took on Kurt's boat.
This blog was originally supposed to be for my kids. Since I have journals for them since I was pregnant for both, I thought maybe this would be a great way to write things in one place and I could later print books for them of my blog and they could both have a copy. With pictures! It sure seemed easier than continuing to write in their journals and writing about the same experience twice.
Then, I realized that it was a great way for me to express myself and I could have some posts that were just for me and that I get to pick and choose what goes in my kids' books. Win, win. Right?
What seems to happen is that our lives are moving so incredibly fast that by the time I have an idea in my head that I really want to blog about, the time to actually sit down and do it escapes me.
So...I remind myself that I have made a commitment to chase zen. Part of that is letting go and accepting what doesn't go my way. I will only stress myself out more if I don't.
I know I will never master the zen thing. And that's ok. But I am certainly better than I used to be. And for a control freak...well, that's pretty damned good.
It's a Friday morning. We leave the house at 530. Me, Mom & Step-Dad. I'm driving my Step-Dad's new Honda CRV. My Step-Dad is in the front with me & Mom's in the back. We drive across the Spillway as the sun comes up. Orange and pink streaks are spread across the sky. Mostly, we are silent.
Today is a big day. My Step-Dad is having an angiogram. Heavy stuff. Thank God my Step-Dad turned on the radio & found Walton & Johnson. Talk radio fills the silence. But we all feel anxious. It's palpable.
We arrive at the hospital. Time passes. Infomercials are watched. Tests are run, IV started, other children arrive.
We all kiss my Step-Dad & tell him we love him before he is taken to the cath lab. He tells me Happy Birthday. My birthday is tomorrow.
And there it is. The elephant in the room. He is scared he may not come out of that cath lab.
Someone we all know & loved died during an angiogram. And that is at the forefront of all of our minds.
He tells me Happy Birthday in case he can't tell me tomorrow. I say "thank you." I refuse to let tears fill my eyes. Refuse!
He is wheeled away in his bed by two cath lab nurses. Our large group is led to a waiting area. And the waiting commences.
And then - the news. There is blockage everywhere. Instead of stents, there will now be a referral to a Cardiac Surgeon who will determine whether or not my Step-Dad can undergo bypass surgery. Appointments are made, the beeping of the monitors is a constant reminder of an irregular beat, more tests are run.
Time passes slowly. My Step-Dad can't leave fast enough. If he could run away right now, I think he would.
He is being told to take it easy. No exertion, they say.
We are all tired. And anxious. And irritable. We are right there - on the edge of cracking. The ride home...uugh.
Arriving at home at 510pm, there's a message on the answering machine from the nurse at the Cardiac Surgeon's office. We have to be there Monday morning bright & early for labs, a CT, an office visit, etc. If all goes well, surgery is tentatively scheduled for Friday. A week from now. Wow. They're not wasting any time, are they?
The Cardiologist has agreed to give my Step-Dad something to sleep. Yes! We all have fingers crossed that he will be able to rest. To finally get some sleep. It's long overdue.
What an emotional day.
Addendum: It's Saturday. He finally slept well. And the first thing he said to me is "Happy Birthday, baby. I hope you have a good day."
This picture is pretty, yes? But wait…there’s more.
This picture represents something to me. It’s like a diary
entry. Yes, there are beautiful landscape
scenes that stir our souls. We capture sunrises, sunsets, beaches,
water…things that make us sigh from their beauty. But this picture…it does more
than make me sigh. It makes me remember.
Last year (May 2012), I was feeling so fearful about so many
things. I won’t go into detail, but I was hurting. I had a heavy heart. And I
pulled out a notebook and just spilled every worry, every fear out onto the
page. Oh, and I cried the “ugly cry.” I felt such relief.
After getting all of that out, I changed gears. I felt all
“Jerry Mcguire” and decided to write a mission statement. Yep, a mission
statement. Or really, just a letter to (insert drumroll)… “The Universe.” I was so determined, too. I wrote 2 pages on
how I was tired of being fearful and from now on, I was going to feel the fear
and DO IT, ANYWAY…whatever IT was. And I somehow determined that all I had to
do was keep shooting pictures every chance I got and I would be shown the next
step. Yep, that was it.
Shortly after that, I was invited to go on a boat to take
pictures. Um…what? This was not what I had in mind. I had been on boats in the
past and had bad experiences that made me FEARFUL.
No, no, no…I was not
But then, I
remembered what I wrote a few short nights before. Ok, so I had to decide…keep
doing what I’ve been doing and get the same results? Or face the fear and do
Anyway, the bottom line is…I went. And I’ve gone on a boat
several times since then. And I love it now. It makes me feel more alive…more
Lots of changes have occurred in this last year since I
wrote that little letter to The Universe. I’ve faced quite a lot of fears. It
has not been easy. But I did it.
This picture was taken this past weekend. The first time
since my “feeling the fear and doing it, anyway” anniversary that I have been on
a boat to take pictures. And while I was pressing that shutter button, I was
remembering the woman I once was. And I was feeling grateful for the woman I am
I guess it’s time to update the blog. I have gotten some questions from people and I apologize for not having the energy or the brain cells to respond. It’s just been a whirlwind, really.
So, here’s the thing:
I’m in the process of getting a divorce. Huge change of life situation going on here and it feels a bit like a roller coaster at times. I’ve been separated since November. Since that time, I’ve just been trying to find my way. Some days, I feel like I’m doing really well through all of this. Some days, not so much.
I’m trying to be the best person I can be throughout all of this. This is challenging, to say the least. I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job, though. So far.
I am so proud of my girls for the way they are handling all of the changes. I really couldn’t ask for more. They have been wonderful, really. Is it any wonder that I think these two girls that I gave birth to are the coolest people on the planet?
Throughout this whole process, I have been so grateful for the love and support that has been shown to me by my family and my friends. Unbelievable. It makes me want to cry every time I think about it. I have amazing people in my life. And I am so lucky that I have so many people who are there to lift me up when I am feeling down.
My photography has been a source of healing for me. So has writing. I don’t get as much time as I’d like to do either one. But I’m making the effort.
One of the things that I am struggling with is fear. Fear of this new life. Fear of the unknown. But I keep taking baby steps and reminding myself that it’s ok that I don’t know everything and it’s ok that I don’t have an exact idea of how things are going to be. IT’s OK! For a person who likes control, it’s hard to surrender. I know now that I must surrender to a certain degree. There are only so many things I can control. And I must surrender the rest. No amount of worry will help. I finally grasp this.
Thanks to all of you that have sent me emails, asking if I’m ok and why I stopped writing. I really do appreciate it. I will do my best to jump back on the blogging bandwagon. I can’t make any promises, but I’ll take it one day at a time and see how things go.