Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Being Neighborly"

My next door neighbor is a very feisty, out spoken 85 year old lady.  She lives on a big property with only her memories for company.  Originally from a big family where all the siblings were as outspoken as she, this diminutive, in size if not in spirit, old lady is now alone.  She never married and her closest family are on the east coast, as far from her Californian home as it's possible to get without crossing the ocean.

I have become terribly important to her as she desperately tries to maintain her independence fearful of being a burden on anyone.  What a dilemma!  I want to always be available to help her out when needed and yet losing myself to her every whim really isn't healthy for me, which ultimately won't be the best for her either.  I get stressed beyond measure as I shirk my 'real job' to help out a neighbor.  She, in turn, has to put up with my attitude silently because her usual means of defense is a very aggressive tongue which she can't use as she  can't afford to alienate me. How mean spirited of me and how humiliating to her.  I guess this is exactly what is meant by the expression 'as cold a charity'.

I was pondering this situation today as I walked her property checking for areas the need attention.  I couldn't help but think in a heart centered world all of this old lady's neighbors would be looking in on her and valuing her for her wisdom, her stories, her contributions to the world and she would feel valued and wouldn't laser people with her tongue - er, well, perhaps not as often!  So, that has to start with me.  How can I help her live her life with dignity?  It's very easy for me to say that she isn't my problem and no-one could blame me for staying on my side of the fence, but that isn't an option for me.  We are all brothers and sisters.  If one of us is cut we all bleed. As I prayed for coping skills and boundary reinforcements I noticed these ceramic doves my neighbor has attached to her palm trees.  Universal symbols of peace?  Perhaps my prayers were heard after all?  We'll see.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Present for Thunderheads

Did you know that the World, Universe, he/she God, call it what you will, loves us so much it is always offering us presents? One of a kind unique gifts that all too often we never even notice?

I live in the desert. Seeing any cloud is a rare and treasured occasion for me. So imagine my delight when those pure white puff balls lounged on the mountains tops above me for several days. This time I was present for my presents and it is with joy I'd like to share the World's gift to me through my lens.....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Battered Butterfly

I always find time to wander around in my garden at some point during the day. Usually the World has something to share with me .... well, always, but sometimes I'm too into 'doing' to notice. I've been trying to get a nice picture of a swallowtail butterfly all summer and the other day one was flitting around the lantana inviting my attention. I took a couple of nice images and it wasn't until I downloaded them that I noticed this lovely butterfly has had a few trials of it's own. Both wings were shredded.

How perfect! A perfect imperfection! If I care to look at anything deeply enough I'm sure I can find an 'imperfection' but isn't that what makes us special? Life experience can leave it's scars, but the healing, growing beyond and the wisdom learned that gives us our unique character.

Enjoy your life, little butterfly. You've earned it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Getting Back to Me

It's been one of those weeks that where the challenges have bombarded me from all sides. By the end of the week self doubt was setting in heavily - I could have coped with these better....why on earth did I allow them to get away with that? could I have forgotten that? - and so on. Finally, yesterday afternoon, late as the sun was going down, I 'remembered' that I've always found solace outside in nature. In this case nature was my back yard, heaven on earth to me. Soon I received the inner promptings to go a get my camera. The World had something to say to me through the lens.

I was reluctant as I could see there was only a few minutes of decent light left but when I have a camera in my hand my thinking really does shift. With that in mind I dug it out from where it had been buried all week and these are the messages that came to me from the World thru my lens.

Catching the last of the sun's rays this black bee was high up in the flowers selecting nectar for it's hive. No self doubt there.

On the edge of the lawn commanding attention is the grand old prickly pear cactus. This year it is laden with fruit and I was reminded that nature's bounty is everywhere.

Further along with my wanderings this scruffy little bird invited my attention. I was reminded that it didn't matter how I look as God created us and values us all equally. We are not ranked according to our 'plumage'.

By now it was bordering on too dark to take a compelling picture but the World wasn't finished with me. I spotted a dove settling in for the evening on a branch safely out of reach of opportunist predators. As I gave it my attention I noticed it's mate was on a branch beside it. Doves are beautiful peaceful creatures and when I saw the two of them on different branches it occurred to me I needed to bring some balance into my thinking to create space for that peace and tranquility I'd been lacking over the week.

Feeling calmed and comforted I put those crazy thoughts to rest for the evening. This morning as I was revisiting my pictures with the thought I could use a few of them in this commentary the World sent me one last message.....

"See? There really is nothing to be concerned about! I will even scratch my chops right in front of you because there is nothing to be afraid of."

This little guy was literally right outside my office window and I was able to pluck my memory card out of the computer, throw it in the camera and take this without leaving my seat. How's that for a metaphor?