A Place that Time Forgot

In the heart of the sizzling arid Karoo lies a small quaint village…Nieu-Bethesda…A little artist town with dusty untarred roads…approximately 50K (31 miles) from the town of Graaff-Reinet…

Karoo…not a Kangaroos in sight…maybe a herd of  Springbok or the ever present dorper sheep with their distinctive black heads…a mountain tortoise crossing the road…now and then…clean shaped hills or koppies capped with the hard jagged rock formations formed over millions of years..

The original inhabitants were the Bushman or San people…who named the area the “Karoo”…a Bushman word meaning “dry space”…

I had never traveled into this semi-desert region since I arrived in South Africa… on the central plateau of the western half of South Africa… place of relentless sunshine… a vast, open, arid region dominated by low-shrub vegetation and abundance of rock cropping’s…

Halfway to Camdeboo National Park in the Karoo

Doesn’t look like a desert…looks can be deceiving though…in stopping to take this photograph…the surrounding area told a vastly different story…the photos below were all taken at the same location…recent rain in the area had brightened up the brown to a more vibrant green…

Mr. P and I had taken a couple of days to breathe the desert air to check out a birding route that was located in a national state Park named Camdeboo…a park that literally surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet… over 240 bird species and the famous breathtaking Valley of Desolation…towering dolerite columns rising to heights of up to 120 meters…formed by volcanic and erosive forces over a period of 200 million years…Wow!!!

It was over 100F that day…hot and windless…sweating (or glistening as the ladies are more prone to do) as I climbed over stones and up a narrow dirt path to the top…the view was breathtaking…towers of Sheer cliffs and precariously balanced columns of Dolerite rise 120 metres from the valley floor … worth the trip to see what millions of years have created…makes me wonder what the next 120 million years will create on this magic blue marble in the sky…

We still had some time in the day and following the suggestion of our hostess at the B&B…we took a short drive to visit the renown “Owl House” in Neiu Bethesada…off we went to check out this quirky little town…

Almost missing the turnoff…just a small country road…surrounded by fence…scrub land…with interest in what we might find…we traveled on…

The narrow road started slowly spiraling downward…descending we were on the outside edge of the road…I held my breath, closed my eyes, and wondered if we should go back when I saw a car coming towards us…just nowhere to turn around… and …after all…just another adventure

Breathing again at the bottom of the hill…we continued forward…around a sharp bend in the road…almost running into a white farmhouse smack dab in the middle…delineating where the road changed from blacktop to a dirt and gravel lane…how could we be on the right road to the famous “Owl House”…where thousands of visitors stop in to see this treasure of either weird or wonderful (depending on your preferences) art is located…onward, Mr. P…

Dusty, dirty road that seemingly led nowhere…passing abandoned buildings…now only inhabited by Mother Nature and her children…

Like a valley of desolation…everything in ruins

We continued…the road would eventually end up somewhere…we hoped…

Tree lined dirt roads…a dusty padstal…which is an Afrikaans word that many locals use, and roughly translated means “shop next to the road”… so, there was life somewhere…at least at one time in this remote part of the world…finally the town came into sight…

Quiet street scene in Nieu Bethesda
It was not what I had envisioned…but there was an other worldly charm about it…https://www.karoo-southafrica.com/

Our first stop was not the “Owl House”…but the Kitching Fossil Exploration Center…Mr. P’s ongoing fascination with dinosaurs, our history, and how the earth began…

A small museum that shows fossils of life 50 million years before the dinosaurs…what life was like in Nieu-Bethesda 255 million years ago…James William Kitching (6 February 1922 – 24 December 2003) was a South African vertebrate paleontologist who was born in Nieu Bethesada…at six years old he scoured the countryside to find specimens for a paleontologist named Robert Broom…his becoming one of the world’s greatest fossil finders had begun…I had never been aware of the life in the Permian Period, “populated by mammal-like reptiles called therapsids”…learned something new

https://www.sa-venues.com

Down the street to the where Helen Elizabeth Martins who was a shy, retiring recluse… rarely seen outside on the streets of Nieu Bethesda… where she create a magical inner kingdom that she breathed into life…

Miss Helen’s imagination transformed humble materials such as cement, glass, mirrors and wire into a secret, magical world that she shared with few, drawing upon Bible stories, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Orient, and everyday objects – all of which blended to create a personal cosmology.

https://theowlhouse.co.za

Her life had been tragic and unhappy…after the death of her mother and abusive father…she began to use her inner creativity and imagination to transform her home into a wonderland of color, light, and texture … an escape from the dullness and despair of her previous life…

She transformed every space within her house…changed by finely ground glass of assorted colors using an old-fashioned coffee grinder…

The sadness of her life was palatable to me…the black ground glass in her father’s bricked up old room…called the Lion’s Den… the fact that she committed suicide when she found out that she was going blind due to the long-term exposure to the crushed glass she used…yet, she had been happy creating and envisioning new work daily with her helpers…and left behind the richness of an “outsider” artist …

“Over the years Miss Helen and her helpers added to the mostly quasi-religious tableaus. Mythical figures started to appear, half human, half creature. Today it is a forest of some 500 statues, intense, baffling and compelling. Miss Helen committed suicide in 1976 by swallowing caustic soda. She left behind a legacy of intrigue – her kingdom sparks the imagination like few other places in South Africa…”

https://www.sa-venues.com

At the Owl House…I focused on the beauty that spoke to me…the vibration of the earth…alive and creating poetry for those who listen with their heart and not just their eyes…for me it is always in the perspective…

I embrace the journey to Neiu Bethesada…not what I expected…”old places have soul” …a place of that will fill my own soul in the remembering… may your journey’s take you to all the magical places you never even began to think about…

Love, laughter and lots of magic for your life travels…

Floral Bouquet for You…

“Flowers are the music of the ground. From earth’s lips spoken without sound.”

Edwin Curran
Blossoms Dreaming

Flowers are a gift from the earth…this blog is to celebrate those gifts…a pairing of quotes and images to brighten your day…

“Like wildflowers; you must allow yourself to grow in all the places people thought you never would.”

E.V.

Open the Bloom of your heart and become a gift of beauty to the world.” ~Bryant McGill
“A flower blossoms for its own joy.” ~Oscar Wilde

“Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.”

Jim Carrey

A Flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms. ~Zen Shin

“We don’t ask a flower any special reason for its existence. We just look at it and are able to accept it as being something different for ourselves”

Gwendolyn Brooks

“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”

I hope that you have enjoyed the beauty of our nature and it brings peace to your soul….Much love, joy, and peace for your day…sent with love❣

***I would enjoy hearing what your favorite photos are…I need three to enter the Photo Competition at the end of the month 😃

The Path Mr. P, Bacchus (our faithful companion) and I Walk…Port Elizabeth

Delightful Disappointment

“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment. ”

― Ansel Adams

Sometimes it is just best to enjoy the moments…when everything seems to be failing…falling apart and nothing seems to be cooperating with your agenda…find some pleasure in what is and let it wash away every drop of frustration…sometimes you may find what you were really needing in the space of time you are in…

Yesterday was like that…the photographic club takes a yearly outing for a Whale Dolphin and Penguin Island Cruise…last year had been my first and I had been new to the club and just relearning the new camera equipment and post processing applications after several decades of being out of the photography business…I felt exhilarated…everything was going to be perfect…well, I girl can hope and if I had come back with even one or two awesome photographs I would have been satisfied…I must not have gotten to 10,000 yet🤣…“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” ~Henri Cartier-Bresson

The weather had predicted rain…but the day was grey…but not raining…everything packed…lens, camera, extra batteries, snacks, water…and off Mr. P (with his binoculars) and I went…we met up with the other camera fanatics at the pier…there were more than the boat could take, and we split into two boats…

Off we went…the men in black leading the pack

The water was incredibly choppy…I had chosen a seat in front of the cabin…most had chosen to seat under the canopy…I wanted to photograph different viewpoints than the average…and then it started…

The front of the boat went up and then it went down, and the salt spray came up over the front of the boat and smacked me…from the top of my head to the seat of my pants…looking like a bedraggled puppy at that point…I wasn’t about to give up my prime spot for a little water…luckily I had used my coat to cover the camera…I would see something that I wanted to take a picture of and the boat went up and down again…as I tried to get my balance…I would slide the other way…back and forth…up and down as we headed for the island…giving up after the numerous time and with no respite in sight…I wrapped the camera up and enjoyed the sea air and roller coaster ride…it became rather exhilarating…not worrying about camera speed, aperture, ISO or composition…I breathed and smiled with the beauty of life…salt…sea…blue of sky and water…the most healing medicine for that frazzled feeling…

The sea was filled with diamonds…for the bride-to-be…the variegated colors of my entire world at that moment were too numerous to name…the white of foam and clouds…aqua…green to dark blue…shades of clearest turquoise reflected in the playful wild splashes of waves hitting the rock and bursting into joyful exuberance…I was beyond contented…

I did not come back with one photograph that I felt was great and none were exceptional…too much distance…too much movement…but sometimes we photographers just need to lay the camera down and breathe in the world and the creative energy that the entire world is filled with…

“Life keeps throwing me stones. And I keep finding the diamonds.” – Ana Claudia Antunes

LIFE IS FULL OF MAGICAL DIAMOND MOMENTS….hope your life today is full of them

With Life, love, lots of laughter and magic💖…Renée

We Rise…by Lifting Others

The same blood runs through every vein on earth…and no matter what our skin color…beliefs…customs…when we are cut…we all bled the same…Red

Beauty can be found in everything, and I choose to see and remind myself and the world that there is love and hope despite the ugliness that is so prevalent throughout our world…and unfortunately through history…yet sometimes the abundant odiousness of misery rises and slaps me in the face…reminding me of my blessings and the suffering of most of the humanity on this blue orb of life…

I am abundantly and richly blessed…I am not affluent nor do I have a MAGIC money tree growing in the back yard to pull cash off at any whim…no hidden stash under the mattress…but I do have enough to eat…a warm bed and a home…and people who love and care for me…

Growing up I was the oldest of six in a small country town in the backwoods of Wisconsin…my father failed as a farmer and working at a sawmill was seasonal and not profitable enough to adequately feed his family…we did not live on the street and my mother worked miracles by feeding us cow tongue and dandelion greens😂…a chicken thigh or drumstick on a Sunday was a savored delicacy to eye, nose and belly…

Although it is not the abject poverty that I encounter daily here or that I encountered in Columbia…there is an incredible deep-felt sense of empathy for what poverty does to a human… my heart hurts with the knowledge that with the empty stomachs resides the persisting enveloping darkness of loneliness, despair, and hopelessness…

The poor are the unseen…unwanted, unloved, and uncared for…

“There is something about poverty that smells like death. Dead dreams dropping off the heart like leaves in a dry season and rotting around the feet; impulses smothered too long in the fetid air of underground caves. The soul lives in sickly air. People can be slave ships in shoes.”

~ Zora Neale Hurston

“The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

Carl Sagan

I could write a million words and that would not be sufficient to create a complete picture and even the photographs can only provide a glance…a snippet in time of the life of those that are less fortunate…we have issues of poverty in the United States…there are no simple solutions…but we are one and we can feed one…

Mr. P & I see the overwhelming need every day that we navigate the city…there are the car guards in every parking area (Car guarding is a distinctly South African informal sector employment activity. A car guard offers to guard vehicles in a public or private parking area for a donation. Car guarding enables an unemployed person to earn some income) …beggars…young and old…black and white…others at every stop light selling what they can beside the road… whether a bag of oranges, a homemade product whatever they can…knocking on your window to try and persuade you to trade a few rand for their merchandise…those who wave their paintbrushes for day labor…

A loaf of bread and a package of hot dogs is R40 (40 Rand = $2.60 Dollars) …I know that everyone has their hand out for your contribution…and so many have their own life needs…but I felt that I could ask if anyone wanted to give a small donation to help me to give to those that cross our paths…keeping nothing for myself…but to provide a meal or a coin donation for those who are in need…what do you think?

In the Darkness…we are the Light

Much love, magic for your day and laughter (even if on some days it’s through the lump in your throat and the tears in your eyes) .

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Amakhala…Game Drive

Another Day Another Sunrise

With over 240 different birds in Amakhala…no sounds of morning traffic…I woke to lovely songs of the birds…Mr. P grabbed his binoculars to tell me the names since he the avid birder…I just enjoyed the melodious sounds…opening the tent to sunrise light and grabbing a cup of coffee…I crawled back between the warm covers and just luxuriated between the sheets…no rush to get anywhere…time just delightfully relishing the morning until the grumbling stomachs forced us from our indulgent pleasures…

September is still a little cooler and I debated whether to shower in the “great outdoors”…thinking I might have to contend with something besides Mr. P and the chilly morning…picturing Norman’s trunk coming over the top…closing my eyes and I could imagine being in the middle of the jungle under a waterfall…only with warm water…I do think Tarzan would approve…definitely a repeatable pleasure-loving experience…

A short jaunt to the dining room…friendly morning greeting and smiles…no skimpy buffet…an eye pleasing array of cereals…fruit…cheeses…jams and all the accompanying accouterments…the fresh air is a great for the development of monstrous appetites…so we dug in…several times…breakfast was leisurely…the butler then handed us a menu for a “hot” breakfast…we had no idea that we had that option…vacation and over indulgence are a synonyms…do I need say more…

After breakfast we sat on the veranda outside of the lodge and watched the antics of the Nyala and Impala as they grazed the grounds…and Big Daddy trying to keep his harem in line…

Grazing Female Impalas

As a photographer…I couldn’t sit still for long…after running breakfast off…lunch was served before our game drive…there are not enough superlatives to use…

The mist was nippy and enveloped us with a cool hand…provided with warm ponchos and rain gear…it didn’t stop us…hopping up on the land rover…we were off with one of the most knowledgeable guide that I have come across with…

Game Drive View

Our guide would stop and show us indigenous plants that were used for natural medicine…such as a plant that if you pricked your skin…it would go numb…used for toothaches…species that were used for colic and almost anything that ailed a person…you forget what people did before there was a doctor a phone call away…we made a special stop so he could show us this particular spider that he watched spin and weave…never a question that he didn’t answer with pleasure…and I’m sure he heard them all a thousand times…

Surreal & Beautiful…it was like living inside a movie scene..

Every moment was full of amazement…but if I had to choose one favorite scene it would be the magnificent lion brothers…it was misting..yet there they were sleeping as though they had not a worry in the world…mist on their manes…sparkling like they were sprinkled with diamond magic…we turned the engines off and just watched them…

They are brothers and appeared almost human in the way they behaved together…I could just image the older one thinking…”sheesh, such a clown”…and then the younger rolling over and putting his paws on his brother…”but I just Looove you, bro”…

Giraffes are fairytale animals…beautiful faces with big eyes…I have this fascination with them…maybe because it was the first animal that I saw in the wild when I arrived here in South Africa…there is something so regal about them…

“A giraffe is so much a lady that one refrains from thinking of her legs, but remembers her as floating over the plains in long garb, draperies of morning mist her mirage.”

– Isak Dinesen

I am at a lost to describe the thousands of Mother Nature’s miracles that we saw that day…I do hope that you enjoyed the game drive too…❤

There is something of the marvelous in all things of nature.  

~Aristotle

~Sent with Love, laughter and magic

Amakhala…Nature in all it’s Glory

“The beauty of Africa is not man made, it is natures gift to humanity.”
― Paul Oxton

When life becomes hectic and emotional turmoil…the panic…agitation…and confusion surrounds the soul…John Burroughs said it best…”I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

Amakhala is such a peaceful balm…nature’s delightfully restful and calming potion

Situated only about an hour (84 km) from home…a luxurious Safari Lodge is hidden in a valley of native bush…Amakhala is home to 5 of the 9 plant biomes here… the most common biome is the Albany Thicket, which is made up of dense shrubs, herbaceous plants and succulent trees…

Mixtures of Rich and Subtle hues being brushed against the canvas of the evening sky

This is a “Certificate of Excellence” award winning four star safari lodge…beginning in 1999 as a joint conservation venture between 6 families that were direct descendants of families that settled in the area in the 19th century to farm sheep and cattle…little by little the land was rehabilitated and animals that had freely roamed the area were reintroduced

One of the unfortunate consequences of Pandemic has been the loss of bookings in the tourism industry…with an unbeatable package deal we were able to book a 2 night, 3 day Safari package…a new mind boggling event in my life living here in South Africa…

I felt like I had been dropped into a magical wonderland…better than any “rabbit hole” I had gone down before…the colors of this world…the natural smells of earth and nature…the exquisite culinary tastes…the feeling of peace and calmness that can only be found in the wild…

Greeted by the most warm and amicable staff…we were immediately made to feel right at home…Norman being the most surprisingly unexpected of our welcoming committee…

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals… In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.

~Henry Beston

Norman is the wrinkly grumpy old man bachelor that freely roams the park…after luggage drop off and stretching legs…we had almost gotten to the parking area and out of the bush comes one of the largest elephant that I have encountered…and I have never seen Mr. P. reverse so quickly…Norman just slowly ambled down to us…taking his sweet time to come and investigate who the new interlopers were…

Like a crotchety old geezer…didn’t care that his lunch crumbs were still stuck on his truck…he continued to snack while he contemplated whether we should be allowed to stay…finally deciding that we were harmless…he slowly sauntered off in search of more twigs and leaves to fill the never ending elephant pit of a stomach…an elephant’s life…eat…sleep…and poop…eating about 16 hours out of the day…sleep 4 to 6 hours and producing lots and lots of manure…200 to 250 pounds per day… oh, and produce enough methane gas – LOTS AND LOTS OF GAS😂…Properly equipped, a car could travel 20 miles on the amount of methane produced by one elephant in a single day https://elephantconservation.org/elephants/just-for-kids

Quotes about Elephants (182 quotes)

I just adored the time worn gnarled and tuskless Norman…he made the entire stay specially entertaining and we missed him when he left to wander far from the camp…

A refreshing chilled glass of lemonade while checking in and then we were escorted down a path winding through native brush…escorted to our tranquil suite…tented and thatched…the perfect combination for me…I think it was what I’ve heard described as “Glamping”…the experience of the “Great Out Doors” with the essentials of mattress, indoor toilet and running water…this was the epitome of elegance and good taste…wrapped with the wonderous sight, smell and energy of nature in all of her abundant splendor…

After a deliciously scrumptious dinner…warmed by the fire and conversation with new friends….we were escorted back to our hideaway…with all the fresh air and excitement we fell into an exhausted sleep….dreaming of all the wonders that the next day might hold…

“A well spent day brings happy sleep.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Focus your intention on your dreams, you can wave magic when you set your heart and mind to it – Author: Miranda Kerr

Hiding Among the Tall Grass…

“That’s your solution? Have a cookie?’ Astrid asked. ‘No, my solution is to run down to the beach and hide out until this is all over,’ Sam said. ‘But a cookie never hurts.”

― Michael Grant, Gone

I was going to write about the incredible adventure at Amakhala Game Reserve…7500 ha, Big 5 and an accredited luxury four star Safari Lodge is nestled in a valley of indigenous bush…that Mr. P and I had a couple of weeks ago…with Covid came the loss of revenue and bookings at all the game Reserves and Parks…most are offering incredible discounts to native South Africans…A first for me

I will write and display the pictures of this magnificent…breathtaking…phenomenal…adventure…soon, I promise…I digress…

From the quote, I am sure that you could discern that I am deluged with things that need to be accomplished and not quite sure how to get it all done in a manner that doesn’t just cause me to have to take an emotional and physical timeout (I have been there more times that I want to remember)…being an HSP or extremely sensitive person defiantly adds to the need to proceed deliberately and calmly forward and not to the nearest exit…

Practicing what I preach…Breathing…Breathing…Deep…long and intentional breathes…practicing mindfulness…

Having finally found my path in retirement…now I experience that “in-your-face awareness” that time is shorter…more fragile…I am just now catching up with the world…knowing that I don’t have all the experiences and life information that most people do…

My childhood consisted solely of being raised in an unusual religious organization with it’s novel ideas of how we should live to be worthy of a beautiful afterlife…I was not allowed to listen to music (other than was of the Christian genre)…no television…no reading of anything other than the bible or books that were written by the leader…no school activities…nothing that would “infect” my mind…curtained from reality…

I am about 30 years behind in everything…which is not all bad…everything is a exciting new adventure…which I absolutely am in love with…

The focus is my supposedly retirement is finally on my creative endeavors…with the “magic number of greatness” supposedly 10 years or 10,000 hours  to become a “master”…I freak out about not doing all I want to do and become…although now there are alternative thoughts…such as this by…


Matt Trajkovski
…Founding father, EScooterNerds, LearnDigitalMarketingApp

“I like to couple it with another rule that everybody knows – the 80/20 rule. Together the equation becomes like this: You can become 80% as good as a master with only 20% of the 10,000 hours. That’s an expert for 2,000 hours. Keeping mind, if you’re 80% of a master of something, you’re probably already in the top 5% in the world for that field. And 10,000 hours, you’re great in 5 fields. You’re probably Elon Musk by that time.”

I can still become really good what my dreams…80% is acceptable…although the perfectionist is screaming in the background that it is not🤣…I’m ignoring her and going with the child that colors outside the lines with great joy…

Just to share with where I’m at and what I’m struggling with at the moment…where I want to be in the future…

I have always loved photography and do have hours of experience…though more on the other end as a photographic artist…retouching negatives…restoring old photographs…but before all the “modern” equipment such as digital camera’s…postprocessing with Adobe…ewww that is “old”…

*Goal – to be a Master Fine Art Photographer and sell prints…

Writing is a relatively new endeavor…starting about 4/5 years ago when a novel starting growing within me…and it hasn’t left…but I have so much to learn to write well…and reading to catch up on…

*Goal – to write a fantasy trilogy (Skye Phoenix)

Those are my two strongest and important goals…(Outside of my first priority, my relationship with Mr. P) but by no means the only ones…becoming Bilingual, healthier, more spiritual…traveling…strengthening relationships with family and friends…

I know that it is said that you need to focus on one at a time…but every time I focus on either the photography or the writing…the other sticks it’s head up…seeking attention with an entry for a competition in photography or a request to complete a writing challenge of 1,000 words a day…

Then there are the everyday projects that need to be completed…the completing of restoring the house…painting…plastering…I also try and keep up with the accounting for Mr. P’s company (personal secretary…which has it’s benefits)…walking the dog (which is a duel purpose activity)…cooking meals…and I could go on…

Would I trade any of it…No!!!!!!! I do enjoy it all…yet I am still teeter tottering and trying to find the balance..

Finding Balance

“Somehow, we’ll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.”

― Brandon Sanderson, The Hero of Ages

Any comments as to how you find balance in your life while pursuing your goals in life would be most welcomed…

Sending Light, love and magic for your day…I think I’ll go find some pink marshmallows…

Couldn’t find the pink marshmallows…but my pink elephant appeared…this is “Norman” from Amakhala (although he’s not normally pink…after a hot chocolate with a big dose of Kahlúa…he’s my pink elephant in the room…

“Norman”

Looking for the Future…

“The fog of illusion, the fog of confusion is hanging all over the world.”
– Van Morrison.

Lost in the misty fog of life…that’s how I feel most of the time…unsure of where to head next…how to proceed forward into a place that I’ve never been before…I wish we were handed maps when we were born that would lead us directly to the path toward the purpose we were sent to fulfill…

I probably still would have tossed the map out the window…I have never liked being told what to do and imagine all the excitement that I would have missed…

“Sometimes when you lose your way in the fog, you end up in a beautiful place! Don’t be afraid of getting lost!” ~Mehmet Murat Ildan

Often when we feel lost…the mind and heart are not working in harmony…it does not mean that we’re doomed to wonder around in the cold misty gloom that blankets us…for often it is just a knocking at our heart… a call toward something better…if we were contented with the status quo…there would be no impetus to search for the warmth and light we yearn for…satisfaction of the soul…

It is good to feel lost…because it proves you have a navigational sense of where Home is. You know that a place feels like being found exists. And maybe your current location isn’t that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy feeling of lost-ness just brought you closer to it.”

~Erika Harris

Venturing into that grey unknown frontier is intimidating and downright scary…that cold tight knot in the pit of your stomach that never seems to go away…it’s really just butterflies waiting to be released to fly…leading you to an enchanting place of freedom and possibility…

It really is OK

I promise…we all feel alone and lost at times…everybody…no matter how bleak the road appears you won’t feel that way forever…but how we travel through is important and can make the arrival time of our destination appear on the horizon more expeditiously…

“I give you this warning: your journeys will rarely go as you plan. You will make mistakes, and you will feel lost. Whenever that happens, look to the light and keep moving forward in faith.” ~Seth Adams Smith

I am not a doctor or a psychiatrist…and I don’t have a magical quick fix (my wand ran out of fuel and is in the shop)…but I humbly offer what works for me…

Sit with the feeling...The first step for me is just to sit with any turbulent and nightmarish emotions…just watching while they swirl and dance their crazy black tendrils…and not becoming overly attached or overanalyzing (which I do a lot)…knowing it will be ‘ok’…although it may take awhile…”Sitting with our emotions simply means allowing them, resisting the urge to get rid of the pain and not judging ourselves for having these emotions”…it is a lot more difficult than ignoring and/or dismissing them…it’s painful…often the first thing we do is to try and numb those feelings by a glass of wine or three…food…work or anything else to soothe the discomfort…the key is to ‘avoid’ those distractions…distractions that often just adds to our exhaustion…

Stay in the Present...it will help you get your bearings…figure out where you’re at… you have lost your compass…that vision of your life and the future..at the moment…wandering around aimlessly can be very dangerous…it’s a survival necessity to pause…like getting lost on a trail in the middle of the forest when the sun has descended…Stop, throw on an extra layer, relax, have a brew, and then pull out the map…often a sleep and a new day will bring new light…

Healthy Habits…Eating…this is critical for me...I crave carbs when I am stressed…it is a natural serotonin booster…and makes me feel better (for a little while until I crash…then crappy)…Exercising…A good cardio workout…Yoga is significant in unlocking of stuck energy for me…Meditation…doesn’t have to be traditional…just sitting in quiet…focusing on your breathe…reciting affirmations or scriptures….whatever makes you feel positive

Change Your Environment...Taking a walk in the fresh air and just concentrating on what’s around me changes my perspective…grounding or realigning your electrical energy by reconnecting yourself you to the earth…walking barefoot…lying on the ground… even swimming or wading in a lake or stream…sounds very woo-woo…I love this and is extremely calming…one central theory from one review study Trusted Source is that grounding affects the living matrix, which is the central connector between living cells…before you just throw the idea out…it wouldn’t hurt to try it…..

Take Action...Read…Listen to Podcasts or whatever presents itself in your search for self development and understanding…Seek and the teacher will come…Journal a lot…writing helps me to put all the jumble on paper and often I can sort through the threads that need to be thrown away and those I need to continue to follow… Deliberately be grateful…even if it’s just for your gift of that moments breath…

Go out and do things that make your life feel full of purpose and meaning. Identify what it is that you love doing (Not your mother, sister, husband or friend…especially society and social media), what brings you joy and get out and do more of it. Remember, nothing changes if nothing changes…do things to create meaning and purpose…

And never ever be afraid about Asking for Help…Friends…coaches…doctors…you are a valuable part of this world…very important to those around you..so many people care and would love to support you…they’ve been there…

“Light is coming to give back everything the darkness stole” @Naijamisfit

Love💓, laughter🤣 and magic🦄 for your day…

Is Art A Spiritual Practice…

What do you get when you shake and stir the emotions of feeling selfish, silly and way too old…a painful anxiety of unmasking my soul to critics…fearful that if I expose that creative dream to the light…”poof” like dandelion fuzz it would disintegrate again…worrying that it is an egotistical pursuit…sprinkle that with the musing with that following my joy might divert me from my mission in this life…hmmm…crazy exhausted with the overwhelming smell of burning rubber in the background…(which comes from stepping on the brakes and gas at the same time)…

Every artist dips his brush in his soul and paints his own nature into pictures.  

Henry Ward Beecher

My lifelong personal mission statement has always been to be a conduit of God’s love to this world…and it feels less than noble to be so excited about sharing my photographs and words…receiving wonderful support from those who view my work…isn’t the spiritual life meant to be hard and painful…

Wrestling with the dilemma has been a hellacious struggle…the creative dream and growth in writing and photography fills my life with happiness and joy…so I prayed…begged for guidance…as always, when it’s time…the teacher will come…not in my desired timing…of course…but when I was ready…it did…

Two books…one that I held for a while…but never read…The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and a lesser known book called The Soul of Art by Alfred J. Garrotto…both very supportive of the idea that creativity and spirituality are intrinsically linked…

The heart of creativity is an experience of the mystical union; the heart of the mystical union is an experience of creativity…” The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron

Last week I entered 8 photos into the PSSA(the Photographic Society of South Africa)…it was my first time for National entries…and only the second time for entering my photographs…I was fortunate to be able to enter free of charge because I am a newbie here…a level 1…but then everyone has to start somewhere…these are the ones that I submitted..my first entries were given gold and even better a certificate of merit…so now the question definitely needed answering…

Each photograph was taken with love and appreciation…some with exquisite joy in the beauty…some with pain…to be reminded of the poverty of the world…physically, emotionally, and morally…

It is said that, before being born, each soul is kissed by God. Then it goes through life always, in some dark way, remembering that kiss. The soul measures every experience in relation to that original sweetness . . . . To be in touch with your heart is to be in touch with this primordial kiss, both its preciousness and its meaning.

The Restless Heart Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

“As an artist, we are channels of the divine, fingers pointing heaven-ward. We are not the source of our gifts. We are individual points of light among the billions of stars that Creator-Spirit has splashed across multiple universes.”

Artistic imagination fills that void, showering us and our planet with wonder and hope. Artists’ message to our audiences is, “There’s more” . . . more than what we see and feel, more than the sum of our daily anxieties and fears. The Soul of Art, By Alfred J. Garrotto

I have done nothing to deserve these gifts and I am not worthy…any talent that I may have is unearned and unmerited…truly a gift of grace…to an imperfect human from a perfect God…to honor the gifts that I have been given, I still must do my part to cultivate and use them to make the world better…to share with an open and joyful heart…not as an egotistical pursuit or for personal accolades…it can easy to do…

All of us in the arts need to hone our craft through dedicated study, rehearsal, repetition, practice—even when we don’t feel like doing it and especially when we think we’ve maxed out our potential. How can any of us know that we do not have one more, or multiple, works within us that may exceed anything we have yet produced?  Am I too old to keep going? Too sick? Or just too wearied by past failures?

https://www.scribd.com/read/336109402/The-Soul-of-Art#

Perfecting the crafts of writing and photography will be a delightful lifelong challenge…I must put in the work that the gift requires to be more effective in touching lives…not allowing self-doubt and the fear of failure and criticism to bury my gift that may be used to return beauty, joy or inspiration…to lift humanity from its daily muck and mire of routine…causing someone to stop and breathe…if only for a moment…

May my heart always be filled with compassion to share a journey of hope and vision in a world of hopelessness and seen in all it’s ugliness…may I be given the virtue of humility realizing where my gifts come from to make the world a better place to live, joyfully sharing my gift with an open heart…for I have done nothing to deserve any gift that I have been given

I am only the “pointer” to the one that is the originator and creator of gifts…I am only the steward…a guidepost…so to speak…along this journey of life to the compassionate presence of a loving God..

I am only a conduit of God’s peace and love…allowing God’s love to flow through me...my service to others is my artists’ purpose…may my gifts to the world be wings that lift those that experience my words or images to be lifted out of the routines of the day to day and remind them that there is more…to discover within themselves their magic…their passion and joy…their own art and what is best within themselves…

Artists channel Creator-Spirit’s beauty, compassion, and love. Our mission and call is to bring some-thing into being where before there was no-thing.  Our ultimate gift is that, like Creator-Spirit, we do not hoard our transcendent experience and its fruits. Art is our “voice.” We cannot, we must not, remain silent. If we engage in the arts merely for our own gratification, we risk forfeiting our claim to be artists. Recall that art, like love, requires that it be given away. ~Alfred J. Garrotto

Any talent that I have is God’s gift to me, and my gift to Him is what I do with it…

I am a humble artist molding my earthly clod, adding my labor to nature’s, simply assisting God. Not that my labor is needed, yet somehow I understand, my Maker has deemed it that I too should have unmolded clay in my hand.  

Piet Hein

Dedicated to the love of my life Mr. P…who pushed me to fly and is the “wind beneath my wings” every day…and the support and encouragement of all my friends and family💓...I could not walk this path without them

Sent with prayers for Love, laughter and magic in your day