Friday, August 20, 2010

How did you start? And Where Are You Now?

So many of us start out in life just trying to figure out "how to make a living", but before this start we are never taught how to live.  We go to college  in order to increase our income potential, to secure a better or more powerful position, but we are never taught how to handle the most important jobs in life. We don't learn to be a friend, a wife/husband, or a mother/father. So it is no wonder we lose sight of what is important in life as we are climbing that corporate ladder consistently trying to make ends meet.

We  are programmed to believe that being a parent and/or spouse , a job that we are never able to retire from, is secondary in this society. Building a a career is what we are first taught to do before we start to build a life with others. Making money is more important than making a friend, hence the corporate culture.  By the time we figure it out and start to deprogram ourselves, we are usually between the ages of 50-60 and often times tired.. We discover that all we really have in this life is family and friends. 

All relatives are not family, but through the years you learn who they are and you learn to cherish such relationships.  All the things that we try to accumulate in life will come and go.  We buy more houses, cars, and many other possessions and we dispose of them just as often. There are often times when we dispose of people but those are the people that come into our lives for merely a season.

 Sometimes we make the mistake of trying to make those seasonal people permanent and it does not work out the way we plan, because they were not meant to be permanent, they have a job to do in our lives and that is to give us an experience that takes us to the next level.  When we learn that, we will accept why they are, and allow it all to unfold as the Master planned it. Hopefully these seasonal people will also teach us about those that are there in our lives on a permanent basis.

I have had many seasonal people come my way. I don't know what it is about me that draws them.  I believe it could be that I never meet a stranger and will talk to anyone on the street; or I still had lessons to learn.  As I have gotten older my instincts have become keener and most importantly I know how to read these instincts and I follow them.  This is mostly because I spent the last few years of my life with someone whom I believe was permanent but  was in fact a seasonal person.  I made the mistake or bad decision in trying to turn that person into something permanent in my life, but even that may have been necessary, because without the experience I would not  have grown to the point I am today. 

However, when we make the mistake of trying to make a seasonal person permanent in our lives.  the lesson is indeed much harder than if you hadn't.  It was not a terrible thing in hindsight, because I learned a great deal about people and a great deal more about myself, and for that I am grateful. The other wonderful thing is that I have had the opportunity to realize who my true friends are. I mean those people that are in my life by choice and are still there as strong as ever. I have been blessed with a few good friends that have withstood the tests of time and life experiences.  Those that never wavered even when my life resembled a train wreck, or a re-run of sort. They never left me, even when I wanted to leave them.  I have always enjoyed these friends, but I truly feel the love that they have shown me for many years.  I have always tried to return that love the best way that I knew how, and I have been told by them that I have been a loving and compassionate friend.

Now I want to continue to build on these relationships because they are truly the good stuff life is made of.  They have often been my rocks but I realize they have and will always be my jewels.  I feel rich through my experiences with my friends I can only hope that I am able to enrich their lives as they have enriched mine. Even though we are not taught how to be a friend, one can only hope to find their meaning of friendship, and once they do, they will understand that it is truly a gift.

Small Town, USA

There are many movies being made about small towns and a sense of community.  Does this really exist?  I really want to believe that it does exist.  I remember that kind of community in my old neighborhood in Savannah, Georgia.  I have missed that sense of community so much that whenever I dream of my living in a place or dream about my being in a house, it is always my old house in this neighborhood.  I have often wondered why this is.  I am often told because I have missed as well as desire this sense of community in my life.

 I now live in Los Angeles, California and thought that I would find a place that would give me this warmth and feeling of belonging, but I was mistaken.  I find that the people here are very different than what I am use to, not that it is bad, just different.  It may be because I am in a novel place in my life where I want to enjoy the journey and not just anticipate the destination.  Big cities are all about the destination.  Even though the lifestyle here is pretty laid back, but mostly for the young 20 somethings that are trying to find their place in the world, or not. I am sure that these small towns exist where the people know each other by name. There is one or two grocery stores, a main library,  one or two churches, well you get the idea.  I would love to spend some time in as many of these places as possible to see what life is really like.   Are these people kind to one another, do they look out for one another, do they respect each others lives, etc. 

I would like to see what it is really like living in town like Mayberrry.  How they respond to someone that has lost their home, or has a spouse or parent that is terminally ill.  Where they really enjoy simple living, and proud of what they do for a living.  Is the lady that sells her preserves good at what she does and is proud of that. Does she do it for the money or the love of preserving the best that nature has to offer. This is something that I would really like to explore and share with the rest of the world.  We can learn so much from others and I love to learn by watching how someone else lives and responds to life. I recently visited a place called Cambria, in California and I discovered that there is small town atmosphere like what I described above.  Where the businesses are locally owned and these business owners are quite personable.  The people care about one another and are in fact their brother's keeper. 

While chatting with Debbi, the owner of the Wild Ginger Cafe, I told her that this was the kind of environment that I aspired to live in, and she told me that Cambria was in fact the right place.  I also chatted with Vivian, who is African American and the owner of a yoga studio. We met her as she was headed to her studio for a yoga class that my daughter and I was just informed about and invited to by another woman as we were entering a sandwich shop located below the yoga studio. 
These people were like talking to long time friends or family.

 While in the sandwich shop we met a couple of African-American college students that were on their way to San Francisco, after leaving school in Los Angeles and they told us how nice the people were in this town. They said that their car had broken down, and the tow truck came, took their car to a shop and them to a hotel. The driver paid for them to stay in the hotel the first night and the hotel proprietor gave them a drastic reduction in rates for the three days that they had to stay and wait on the part to come to repair their car.  They said that they were just so surprised at the kindness that they were shown during this emergency.  This was confirmation for me even before meeting Debbie. I feel a bit strange making the race distinction of these people when it clearly doesn't seem to matter to them.  I know, it is hard to believe that this would even be likely in a small town.  We so often associate small towns with small thinking and to my relief, that is not necessarily the case. Therefore another stereotype thrown out the window.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Love Your Life Right Where You Are !

I am loving my life these days.  Working on my photography and my writing so that I can finally follow my passions.  I have always had several hobbies photography, painting, knitting, sewing, cooking, etc.  I have had to let a few things fall by the wayside, but photography is the one thing that has been consistent since high school.  There are many great photographers out there some professional and others are hobbyist.  I am working on making my passion for photography and telling a story into my life's work.  I may not be the best but I am planning to be really good at what I do, and I plan to do that by photographing what I love and that is people.  I have no interest in traditional portraiture, but in glamor and boudoir photography.  This is where I can put my make-up artistry skills to work as well as my cosmetology skills.  However, my true passion is documentary photography and photojournalism. With the latter I intend to incorporate multimedia skills.  This is all a work in progress and I am having a great time preparing myself for it all. 

I have always loved talking with people from all walks of life and learning their stories, and I want to tell some of those stories, with love, compassion, and authenticity.  I plan to spend the next fifty years of my life doing what I want to do. Following the passion that God has placed in my heart, in my spirit, and in my soul.  There are a lot of skill sets involved in this sort of work, but I have been working on mastering them. Digital photography makes it easy in one aspect and quite challenging in another, but I am up for that challenge, and am presently facing it head on.

  My love for people of different backgrounds and cultures also sparks my desires for travel.  My desires to meet people where they live, where they thrive, and where they love, in order to understand more about our differences, but mostly about our similarities.  I finally feel like I am ready for this, mostly because of my years of living on this earth that has brought about wisdom and understanding, often called maturity.  I am a firm believer that we are where we are in this life because that is exactly where we are suppose to be. 

We are not always where we want to be because we are not prepared or ready to do the things that we want to do and do them well.  Some people call it failure, I call it lessons in preparation.  That is what the last fifty years have been for me, hopefully it does not take as long for others, but I also realize that some never get there.  So for all the lessons and growing pains, I am grateful, because I am happy where I am. You know the most beautiful thing about it all is that I have a strong feeling that something is going to unfold within the confounds of the visual passions.  It may not manifest the way I plan, but I believe that I will be used within the loose boundaries of my passion.  I am totally opened to all that God has in store for me, because there is no doubt that it will be beautiful.  He has been preparing me for this for the past 5-7 years. n

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Daughter

Whitney boarded the plane today at about 1pm and we are never really too sad when she leaves to go back to school.  This time was not much different.  The difference came for me when I got home and walked through the door and she was not here or was not with me, then I wanted to cry.  I so enjoyed her.  This time it was a little bit different though.  I not only saw my daughter but I saw the woman, and that is an eerie thing for a parent.  I am very proud of the woman that she has become and the woman she is steadily becoming.  I taught her well and she listened.  I feel like I have done a good job. Being a mother was the hardest job that I have ever had to tackle and had to stay the course, which if you know me, you know that I will jump ship when it no longer serves me.  This was a job where that was never an option nor was it ever considered.  Even though I am still her mother, as I will always be, she doesn't need as much mothering anymore. She will always need my love and support, and sometimes guidance, but she no longer need it on a daily basis.  We make some good decisions and we make some better decisions, and that is what constitutes growth, and she is growing in such a graceful way, and I am so very proud of her.

 This is her last year of college after sitting out for a time or two, as most of us have done, and she is ready to embark on life.  The advice that I consistently give her is to follow your heart.  I tell her to  try things and if she doesn't feel passionate about it, move on to the next thing, because life is too short to spend the better part of your life doing something that you don't want to do.  Doing something that doesn't bring you joy. There are going to be many things that you will encounter in life that is not the most fun or exciting thing to do, where you wish you could do anything but that, but those things should be bridges in your journey, not the journey itself.  I tell her to follow her heart and do what truly makes her happy, and if she doesn't yet know what that is, then keep moving and doing until she finds it.

 Next year this time she will be moving back to Los Angeles and I am looking forward to her being out here with me.  We are not just mother and daughter we are friends and truly enjoy each others company. I love you Baby Girl!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More Changes

I am about to turn fifty and am really excited about it.  I am once again noticing some major changes in my body.  I have had two major surgeries in the past 6 mos and am about to have another, and I am sure that these surgeries are taking their toll on my body and energy level as well.  Things are going even further south, and my energy level gets depleted a great deal faster than before.  Unfortunately I have to wait until I recover from the next surgery to work on strengthening various muscles and rebuilding stamina, but I am ready for that challenge.  It is frustrating to me at times that I can't go and do the way that I use to, but I believe that even though it will not get back to the point of yesteryear, it will vastly improve.  Hell, I have things to do and things to see and working on freeing up the time to do them, so I must have the energy to make it happen.  I do realize that it is going to take more time for a full recovery than I anticipated, but I am looking forward to the day, when I don't get tired after a few days of doing what I love to do.

 It is comical how when you get a certain age you no longer want to do the exercises to keep things toned and tight, you are now wanting to do the exercises that strengthen those well used muscles as well as hiking or cycling to build stamina.  The physical appearance become less important and the physical ability become more.  The beauty of getting older is well embraced in my life and I hope it is as well embraced in yours.