Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Messenger with a Keen Eye Sight

The Snowy Owl is known as the messenger with a keen eye sight. In the world of  the animal spirit, the Snowy Owl is the messenger who glances into the soul to discern meaning and motives. The Snowy Owl is the totem of truth. 

Winter in Maine can be a challenge. Being a photographer, though, I enjoy the winter months to take shots of winter sunsets,  icy tree limbs, children's snowmen and the birds at my feeder.

This winter I heard about the arrival of some Snowy Owls in the area. This is rare here in Maine, especially for the owls to stay for awhile. As word among photographers spread, there were many photographers out to find the great owls. 

I had been itching to get out but my schedule was just not conducive to the time that might be needed. Plus, the temperature most mornings had been a brisk ten degrees which is not a temperature I enjoy shooting in. This week I could just not stand it any longer and fearing that the owls would disappear, I called a fellow photographer and set out to find the owls.

The temperature on the overcast morning hovered around ten degrees. My friend and I hit the road and I was determined we would find them. In fact, I thought the owls would just be waiting for us because I had finally found the time. We began searching for places that had been logged on a bird sighting app as to where the owls had been seen. The news was not good. Most of the sightings were stating that the owls had been seen five days ago, nine days ago and in some places up to two weeks ago.

Had I waited too long? Had I just not made this a priority? Had I missed out?

The first three hours proved to be an effort in futility. We drove to several areas and jumped out of the truck, scoured the area and then with no owls in site, climbed back in the truck shivering from the cold. 

How discouraging! We took a break and then decided to return to an area that we had tried earlier. We drove to a parking lot and two people were getting out of their cars and with binoculars in hand were looking off in the distance. Could this be it? A Snowy Owl at last in view? Was that an owl up on a roof?

Yes, off in the distance perched on a roof of a spiritual center was a Snowy Owl. We needed a closer view. We were off and "trucking." We followed the owl for over an hour. The sky cleared to a beautiful, cerulean blue. A beautiful backdrop against the owl. Our cameras were clicking continuously trying to capture the perfect shot.

Driving home, I was so glad that we had been patient. Sometimes, it is so hard to be patient. Whether we are looking for a new job, a new direction or working to bring a dream to fruition. 
Being patient can well be worth the wait. A Snowy Owl might appear.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Intense Passion

The words in Tina Turner's (yes I am dating myself)  very well known song, Proud Mary, starts by saying the song will start out easy but then it will end rough. When I think of Tina Turner, even today, she is full of passion for music. In my mind, she is intense, not rough.

I am known for being intense. Sometimes this has gotten in the way. I never seem to do anything "easy." I push myself. When I embark on a new venture, I want to achieve the best I can right away. This has always  been the case for me. I want to be the best mother, grandmother and sister. I want to be a great writer, artist, and consultant. I have had my disappointments like everyone has but I have a hard time letting go of my dreams of achieving my best.

One of my recent new ventures, is biking and swimming. I have had to give up running due to neuropathy so I have taken up swimming and biking. My daughters and I decided to participate in the Tri for a Cure, which is a swimming, biking and running event to raise awareness for breast cancer. I am doing the biking which is 15 miles. I have taken on the biking with an intensity to achieve this goal on July 21st for a dear friend who lost her life to breast cancer last year. Her picture is here.

Today (June 26th), I rode 15 miles in 73 minutes. I biked with an intensity and passion that I know will help me achieve the goals on July 21st.

Being intense can help us achieve our goals. How has an intensity helped you achieve your passion in work, life or relationships?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Perfect Day

The first song on Susan Boyle's Christmas CD, The Gift, is titled, Perfect Day. The words struck me this year as I listened to it over and over while driving in the past couple of weeks. The song describes sharing a day with someone and letting go of problems. The song is about being present and just enjoying the moment.

The chorus is simple and the words are repeated over and over. The simple words are "You're going to reap just what you sow." As I reflect on the last year the words are so true. This is a year I have been stuck. Not in all areas of my life but in certain areas. One of those areas is creating time to be creative. I need the creative process in my life. Being creative nourishes my soul.  

In 2011, many days I said, "I can't." I have had some physical challenges. I have been stuck in the "I can'ts." I can't because my body is not strong enough. I can't paint, write, walk, run or whatever. I can't.

 As I reflect on next year, I know I will reap what I sow in my relationships, my creative side, my work and my physical being. I will not stay in the "can't." I am sorry for those who look to my writings that I have been in stuck.

I want to thank my family for the "perfect days" we enjoyed.
I want to thank my friends for the "perfect days" we shared.
I want to thank my body for the "perfect days" I felt.
I want to thank the universe for the "perfect days" of wonderful work.

In the next few days, I will hold on to the perfect moments and be thankful. Happy Holidays to all and joy for the new year.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Reflecting on the Season of Hope

He leaned on the counter shaking his head and vigorously scratching out the name on the return address. I had just run into the post office for a quick drop off of one last holiday card and was ready to turn around just as quickly out the door. The man still standing at the counter caught my eye. He began mumbling something inaudible as he looked at the letter.

Looking at me, he said, "I don't know how to stop these."

I paused in my tracks. "What did you say?" I inquired.

"I get these letters and I wish they would stop."

"Could you contact them and ask the them to stop sending the letters to you?" I asked not knowing what he was talking about or who sent them.

"I wish I had never been in that hospital. They keep sending me these checks. I just saw a pastor and asked him to bless it. I am just trying to keep a roof over my head."

I didn't know how to respond. I slowed down my sense of urgency to run out the door and quietly said, "Maybe you can think of these as a gift that you need right now. A gift until you get back on your feet."

The man turned to me, reached out, gave me a hug and quietly said, "Thank you."

The traffic was bumper to bumper on the four lanes in the small community. Everyone was rushing to finish  their errands before the busy holidays. I was in the middle of the traffic rush and glancing ahead the light was green. Cars all around me were flowing at a speed that was probably faster than the posted speed limit. I was driving in the right lane of the two lane traffic on my side of the road. A car next to me suddenly opened their door and trash blew out. I thought, "How stupid to throw trash into the traffic right now."

The car door didn't close. A woman turned towards the door. I realized in an instance that she was going to jump. I looked at her. We locked eyes for just a moment. I screamed out through my closed vehicle, "Please don't. Don't jump." I knew she couldn't hear me but somehow we connected. She stared at me. I saw the tears streaming down her face. She turned and closed the car door.

I was shaking as I continued to drive. What just happened? I glanced in my rear view mirror. I could see the driver yelling at her. I could see her still crying.

As I continued driving and tried to calm my racing heart, I wondered what she was going through to make her want to take that action. If she had jumped, the chain reaction and the many lives she would have impacted in that split second would have been tragic. With the traffic moving so fast, she would have been critically hurt or killed. I would have slammed on my brakes (I am not sure why I didn't do this in the moment as it was) and other cars would have slammed into each other. Several people would have been hurt.

This woman, like the man earlier, was desperate. He wanted the checks to stop. She wanted to jump. I am relieved that she did not jump. I wish for her that in that moment she realized that she needed help but jumping was not the answer.

We may never know when we cross someone's path for a moment or a lifetime the true reason for our connection. We only know that we connected. I do know that in meeting even for a fleeting moment that there can be a connection and hope. We just need to take the time to slow down, be open, listen and be present.

I hope for you in 2011 that there will be hope for all that is possible. Happy New Year!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Rebuilding Ground Zero

November 10, husband and I were in New York city visiting colleges with my youngest daughter. As we were walking on Columbia University's campus, we heard whispers and then people pausing and looking around as if searching for something. People started hearing about a plane that had crashed near New York city. This was just two months after 911. Fear clutched at my throat. We walked to the car, turned on the radio and listened for any news. There was a plane crash but it did not appear to be another attack from a terrorist group. Still, we questioned, "Should
we continue with the tours or try to head for home?"

We continued with the planned tours and then, later in the day we walked down to Ground Zero, the former site of the Twin Towers. This was just two months after the terrorist attack and there were barricades keeping much of the area from sight. The scent of burning smoke still reached our eyes and noses. People were sitting on the sidewalks with tears or in prayer. The silence was eerie. People walked and conversed in quiet whispers.

October 28, 2010...almost nine years after the bombing. I was attending a conference in New York and had some free time. Within walking distance was the site of Ground Zero. I felt compelled to revisit the site. As I came closer, a rush of feelings came back from my previous visit years Businesses appeared to be back to "business as usual." People were rushing along toward jobs or errands.

The site had changed. Cranes graced the sky demonstrating the rebuilding of the former disaster. The pictures on the barricades were gone, new barricades surrounding the area were present and life appeared to be normal. I took some new shots of what is now referred to as Ground Zero and wondered if the people who work and live here think much about what happened here in 2001.

October 29, 2010...waiting for my flight to be announced for boarding. The waiting area was fairly busy. TV monitors were announcing the national and local news. As I glanced up to the monitor, a news item caught my attention. Airports were being put on high alert. I had noticed
that there were many delays from Pennsylvania, and yet, I was not aware of any major storms affecting the airlines. Our boarding gate was changed and I brushed my questions aside about the high alert.

Upon landing, I learned that the alert was a terrorist threat only this time it was packages discovered on UPS flights. As the next few days went by, more details unfolded as to the intent of the packages and the harm that could have occurred.

My plane landed safely and I was thankful. We cannot live in fear. We need to go on with our lives and rebuild but we have changed and we cannot forget those whose lives were lost on September 11, 2001.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Carrying the Weight of the World on Your Shoulders?

We are in "topsy turvy" times as I recently heard a colleague say. One minute the media reports we are headed for a double dip recession and the next we hear that the recession ended in June of 2009. If you are waiting for the numbers and economists to determine the direction, you may feel like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Yes, we can be on pause for awhile but each one of us has an opportunity to create something positive out of this time.

In meeting with colleagues and clients I am hearing comments
such as, "I am not sure I want to keep doing what I am doing. The business climate has changed." Or, "People are behaving and responding very different." This is not good or bad. It is just different. A need is being created to think in an innovative way about what we want for our future. We can be burdened and behave as if we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders or we can choose to find opportunities to move forward in a new and positive way.

So you say, easier said than done! Start small. Look for the things that you enjoy doing, the people you want to be with and where you can have a positive impact in the world. Choose to be positive! Start each day with taking a walk, meditating or spending a few moments about what you have in your life that brings you joy.

These are times that challenge our very being. Find joy in laughter, a baby's smile, enjoying a fall day, or volunteering to help a friend or family member. Let the weight of the world go.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Tribute to a Great Physician

He took my call even though the clock said the working day was officially done.

"What's going on, Diane?" he gently asked with a voice filled with sincerity and concern.

"Oh, I am not feeling well and was wondering..." I replied.

The doctor on the other end of the line calmed my fears, once again, and answered my questions. He had been my doctor for longer than I could remember. He devoted himself to his patients giving them the attention that they needed. He would make each patient feel that they were the only person that mattered when he was seeing or talking with them.

During my late husband's last days, he would arrive at our home at the end of what I am sure was a very, long day. With his scuffed, old brown medical bag in hand, he would walk in, spend time with Bob who was in a coma and I know he knew there was nothing more he could do. He would talk with the family that was present in a soothing, reassuring and comforting voice and then tell us to call him if we needed him even into the wee hours of the night or morning.

This was my physician, Dr. Hugh Harwood. As of June 30, 2010, he officially let go of his private practice and has gone on to do other things in the medical field. There are not many doctors like Dr. Harwood. He went, in my mind, above and beyond. He cared deeply. He helped me navigate through all of my pain, loss and joys that have been part of my life. He always listened.

With all of the changes in health care coming, I hope we do not lose the "Dr. Harwoods" of the world. Doctors who are willing to go beyond for the needs of their patients. Dr. Harwood was a wonderful doctor. I appreciate and will miss all that he did for me over the years.

Thank you, Dr. Harwood.