Surround yourself…

with happiness.


We are like chameleons, we take our hue and the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.

John Locke

I came across this quote today and it deeply resonated. It got me thinking about luck and karma, and how important the choices that we make on a daily basis are.

Starting with who we surround ourselves with. I can’t begin to emphasize how important this is to over-all happiness. As humans we are not at our best being solitary but neither is it good to be around people who dwell in negativity. I think we do a great job beating ourselves up over past criticisms or life events that did not go well so it does become vitally important who you do allow into your inner circle.

Call it luck or karma but once you make the critical decision to be in a supportive environment, obstacles do begin to drift away. It takes time, commitment, and a lot of introspection but the benefits of living this way cannot be quantified.

And the good thing? Today would be a perfect day to start!

Friendship…

and conversation.

white staffordshire bull terrier tucked onder man's legs on sofa black and white


True happiness arises, in the first place, from the enjoyment of one’s self, and in the next, from the friendship and conversation of a few select companions.

Joseph Addison

These two, it’s rare to find one without the other and if I was the jealous kind I might wonder how that came to be in such a short period of time.

Friendships come in all shapes and sizes. How they start, how easy they are to maintain, and how some die, by-products of neglect or simply by exceeding their best by date. Friendships, like relationships, do seem to have a shelf life, whether we want them to or not.

The ones that I hold the most dear are the ones that can handle a little neglect. Those are the friends that know that space and distance can happen while we deal with our own lives. That periods of time without communication doesn’t mean that they’re not thought about.

I love the photo above. It’s not unique, it happens on most days that I will find these two together. They both get a lot out of it and on the days when I can’t be part of it, I can look at this picture. It never fails to bring a smile to my face.

A moment…

to remember.


If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.

Eleonora Duse

This week one of my blog followers lost a man very dear to her heart. As is often the case when I sat down this morning to write, one image seemed to fit. I know that she appreciated every day that she had and that is the message that keeps repeating itself. Louder each time so as not to be overlooked.

Live in the moment. Appreciate what you have right now. Don’t leave words unspoken and never wait for a better time to be happy.

The loneliness…

paradox.


The sky is one whole, the water another; and between those two infinities the soul of man is in loneliness.

Henryk Sienkiewicz

Loneliness is an interesting paradox that doesn’t always look like we imagine it would look when observing it from the outside.

It’s an all too common experience that isn’t alleviated by merely living with someone. Findings by neuroscientist John T Cacioppo in Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection indicate that long term loneliness can be as harmful to your health as smoking and obesity. Some of the side effects? Impairment of thinking, willpower, and perseverance which only serve to reinforce the feelings of rejection and isolation.

Not to be confused with solitude, something that I personally value as a time for reflection and recharging, loneliness can often feel worse when it occurs with-in a relationship.

The complexity of this subject begs for more exploration but until then, if you’re feeling lonely, please reach out to someone and let them know.

Scars…

from a different viewpoint.


All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.

Anatole France

On a recent flight my seatmate was a woman slightly older than myself but as you do in close quarters, we began to chat. Summing up your life history in a few short sentences is somewhat freeing. Each time you share your story, even if it’s with someone you’re likely never to see again, it opens the door to healing scars that may not be visible from the outside.

Gazing out over the mountains below she spoke with regret of the place where she had gotten married, a place that I have been to on several occasions and each time have been seduced by its beauty.

You see it burned in the fall of 2017, 19,303 hectares in the park itself. She said it was now ugly, it would never be the same, and she likely would not return. I was surprised by that reaction, so at odds with my own. I shared some images with her that I had taken over the last two years but where I saw signs of strength and survival she saw only haunting scars.

She’s a breast cancer survivor and I couldn’t help but wonder what she feels about herself when she confronts a mirror. When I see scars, especially devastating ones, I always think of the strength that it must have taken to push beyond that and to survive.

Change is a good thing. It gives us the opportunity to create a new narrative and to perhaps do a better job when we tell the next story.

Be optimistic, be brave, and most of all be kind.


Thoughts on inspiration…

from under a bridge.

a colorful underside of a bridge with sharp light segments and some snow

First you must have the images, then come the words.”

Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County

I photograph first and then I write, for it’s the images that speak to me.

I rarely go out with expectations of what I’m going to photograph. It’s far more interesting to look around and see what’s there, which was how I ended up under this bridge. I can’t even begin to estimate the amount of travel this bridge sees as it leads to one of the most picturesque mountain sites in the country.

Great movie, by the way, the Bridges of Madison County. Written in eleven days after the author spent some time photographing bridges proving once again that inspiration can come from the most simple of events.

Falling…

through cracks.

DSC_2661-EditThe cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.

Vladimir Nabokov

I look down from the 3rd floor in the early morning hours as the big city begins to stir. It has a life of its own, a rhythm, a pulse, this city that I am but a guest in.

I watch a man, perhaps younger than myself, push a cart laden with bottles and cans. He stops to check the dumpster and makes a selection of a handful of items.

I wonder if anyone misses him. I can’t imagine what his life is like compared to mine.

What happened that made him fall through the cracks…