photography

Monday Meditation: The Power of Disconnecting

Soft music plays on my computer. Incense burns beside me, white sage and lavendar, to calm and cleanse. The crystals are arrayed in a grid before me. Tiger’s eye for focus. Selenite to cleanse. Citrine for happiness. Carnelian for energy. Amethyst for clear thinking. Snowflake obsidian for protection. Dragon’s blood for creativity. I close my eyes, taking a deep breath in. Letting my mind drift, falling into the music. Clearing it of all the clutter that bogs the modern mind. All the negativity and drama. All the fear and uncertainty. It’s like a shower for your mind. Coming out clean and refreshed.

I posted a little while ago about my discovery of crystals and meditation. I admit, I used to laugh at it. I was taught to fear it. That is was evil. That it was going to send me to hell. But growing up has taught me a few things. That the only truly evil thing in this world is to live with a closed mind. To not be open to new things. Because sometimes the thing you need the most is the thing you never thought you would do.

Like a lot of other people in this world I’m caught up in electronics. I’m on Facebook way too much. I’ve been haunting Instagram lately, trying to get my photography out there. And even though I try, you can’t help but be caught up in the latest ‘oh my god can you believe this’ drama that the media cooks up. The fake news, the people that believe it, the storm that never seems to go away.

Sometimes its nice to remind myself that I need to disconnect. To get away.

Yesterday I went trials riding with my boyfriend and some other friends. The place is off the grid. No phones. No messages. No media. Just a whole day in the sunshine. In the mountains. Talking. Laughing. With nothing but the bird song and the thrum of the motorcycle engine. Working to perfect that wheelie. Speaking of which, finally got my nose wheelie! Working to get up that rock without hitting that skid plate. Working every muscle in my body until I’m exhausted. Happy. Cleansed.

Tomorrow I’m going to go horse back riding. No phones. No messages. No media. Just me and the horse, talking to each other. Working together. Feeling the power of this 800 lb animal beneath me. The energy of it. I always end up exhausted and dirty, but feeling amazing.

Tomorrow night I’m doing yoga. Started doing it two times a week with the boyfriend. 45 minutes of no messages. No media. No phones. Just stretching and listening to the calming music. Feeling the energy flowing through my body. Feeling the muscles stretch. Discovering the muscles that haven’t stretched in a while!

And meditating in the mornings. As I was meditating this morning, I felt driven to write this little piece. Because I’m realizing how connected I am to my phone. I was on it first thing this morning, before I even got out of bed. And why? What was so important? Nothing, really.

It’s easy to get caught up in drama. In news. In negativity. I don’t realize how much of that stuff I carry within me, long after I’ve shut off the phone. How much it affects me.

Not to say I won’t ever get on Facebook again. Obviously I will. I’ll message people, talk to them on the phone. I’ll watch a TV show tonight. Because there’s nothing wrong with technology. With the modern world. With entertainment. I mean, this blog is my journal. I want to grow my photography, and that takes social media. I’m going to school to be a technical writer, and most of that’s online nowadays.

It’s when we get too caught up in the negativity. In binge watching (oh yes, I’ve lost many days to watching TV). In obsessively scrolling for the latest ‘news’ from our friends. In the fake news and drama that it becomes hurtful. Harmful. Wasteful.

But I wanted to write this piece as a reminder to myself. And to whomever else might need it this morning. We need to take time to cleanse ourselves. To disconnect from the world. To wash off all the negativity and drama that life sometimes feeds us. To stop that ‘blah’ feeling, the one that seems to drag us down but we don’t know what it is.

So find the things that cleanse you. Maybe its exercise. Maybe its curling up with a good book and a cup of coffee. Maybe its crystals. Or meditation. Or playing a game of pool with your friends. Whatever it is. Just disconnect from the phone and go do it.

Find the energy that feeds you. That cleanses you. Disconnect and find your own peace.

 

Creating My Little ‘Me Space’ in the Office

There are two things I love doing in this world. Walking into a bookstore, inhaling the smell of all the new books, pulling in the creative energy of all the unexplored stories. And my new favorite, walking through a crystal store and connecting with stones.

I know, you might be thinking I’m crazy. I grew up believing that people who liked crystals and incense and things were crazy, weird, etc. But ever since I was a little girl I’ve always felt drawn to rocks. To the earth. It’s one of the reasons I love my move to Colorado. I love the energy of the mountains. Their strength. Their timelessness. Their power. There’s nothing more cleansing and rejuvenating for me than a long walk on a quiet mountain trail (if you can find a quiet mountain trail anymore around here).

A year or so ago I started getting introduced to the idea of crystals. That certain stones have properties that can affect us, our emotional and physical well-being, and the environment around us. I’m just a baby in this, but I love learning more about it. The more I learn, the more I come to understand that there is so much about our world that we do not know. That if we open ourselves up to new things, we might be amazed at what we find.

Today I found a new crystal store. The trip in itself was fun, because I discovered this old, seemingly abandoned amusement park right down the road from me! I didn’t really have time to explore it, but it looked pretty awesome.

The purpose for the visit was not only just to get out of the house, but also to find some things to decorate my side of the office desk. To create a positive energy space that I would want to sit at. That would be conducive to creating. To writing. To doing my art. To doing my photography. A space that would be me.

The store had everything, and I just spent some time walking through it. Not looking for any particular thing, just wandering around. Waiting for a stone to ‘talk’ to me. Not physically talk, obviously. The only way I can describe it is like a very soft humming in my bones, in my body. The moment that stone connects with me. Sometimes I find stones that are just pretty and beautiful. Other times I connect with stones because of something going on in my life. Today I connected with a little piece of mookaite. Didn’t know what it did, just knew that it needed to come home with me. Come to find out mookaite aids in helping stomach issues, and that’s what I’ve been dealing with the last couple of days.

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Mookaite (a form of jasper). Inspiration. Problem solving. Shielding. Helps with stomach issues.

I got four other stones along with the mookaite, one a pretty geode I just got because it was beautiful. Along with an incense burner, with some white sage and lavender sticks, because I love things that cleanse and balance. And I just love the smell of lavender!

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Now some may scoff and say “Do you really think these rocks will cure anything?”

I shrug my shoulders and say “I don’t know. But I know how they make me feel. How the thought of having them around makes me feel. And if nothing else they are beautiful.”

So now these sit on my desk, along with some other crystals and my snow leopard statue. I have loved snow leopards since I was a little girl, always having to go see them at the zoo. Recently I was reading about spirit animals, and I think that if they are true, than a snow leopard is mine. Connection to the Earth. Balance. Connection to the inner wisdom inside of you (I’ve often been told I’m very self-aware, even if I haven’t always listened to my own wisdom). Inability to tackle problems face to face. Preferring not to jump into a fight or unknown situation until I know that I’m not going to be attacked from behind by some problem (that one is me to a tee). Silent (I can talk to people I connect with, but love communicating through writing so much more). Solitary (I like people but as an introvert I gain my power from time spent alone). I am slow to anger but when it is roused it is fierce. Yet if I do not find an outlet for that anger it is often internalized, causing all sorts of problems.

So I have a little snow leopard statue that watches over me, alongside my stones and my incense. And while it may just be a ‘peace of mind’ thing, or just that my little corner of the office now feels like ‘me’, I do feel a shift in the room. In my creativity. It feels welcoming. I can feel the words, the pictures, the energy flowing through me. I feel calm. I feel at peace.

The point of this was not really to say “Oh my God! You have to get into crystals and spirit animals and…” Although, yes. I really enjoy my crystals and I do believe they have a healing presence in my life. Along with other natural, holistic herbs and oils I’ve been using.

The point was just rejoicing because I’m happy in my new space. And to maybe encourage anyone who reads this to create their own ‘me space’. To open their mind up to new possibilities. But mostly, if you are a creative person and you’re feeling ‘blocked’, make a ‘me space’. Fill it with the things that are you. That make you happy. That give you energy. The things that resonate with you.

Don’t be worried about what other people might say. I know there’s a lot of people that would call me weird and crazy, but I just embrace it and say “Cool! I’m weird and crazy! I’d hate to be normal.”

So be cool. Be crazy. Make your own ‘me space’. And enjoy!

 

 

When I was a Tree…

 

“If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.” Jim Rohn

Recently I picked up a camera, and found that I really like photography. It’s finding art in the world around me. The colors, shapes, lines…I love it. Going through photos today, I saw this picture. Silent sentinels, rooted to the spot, always the same as the world changes around them. And this quote popped into my mind.

I’ve recently made a lot of moves in my life. Moves that have been amazing for me. But moves that haven’t come without their own storms, and losses.

These losses have been a lot, including a good friend that I’ve now become estranged with, and have been plaguing my thoughts recently at night. But when this quote came into my mind I realized something. I’ve been a tree for most of my life. Yet I got tired of that life. I got bored. And I changed it. I became something else. Something better. And sometimes that change means leaving behind things that were a part of your past. It made me think that maybe there should be a second part to that quote. Something along the lines of “Don’t remain a tree just because that’s what all your friends are. You don’t have to remain a tree just because that’s what you’ve always been.”

Tomorrow I’m going to get up and go running. I don’t particularly like running, but I needed to do something to start working out. So three days a week the last two weeks I’ve been going for a run when I get up. I run slower than a turtle through molasses, but I run. The first few days were rough. But now I find myself looking forward to the run. To those moments of peace. Of running past the pond, seeing the cormorants. Those surprising mornings when the pelicans show up. Watching the magpies hopping around. Feeling the energy of the mountains in the distance. The warm sun on my skin.

Right now I’m sitting here editing photos. A new plot twist for a book spinning through my head. Sitting on the deck with my boyfriend, looking out at the hazy mountains in the distance. Thinking about my story that made the finals of a contest because I finally had the guts to enter one.

The point is that my life has changed. And it changed because I moved. Not just physically, although that’s been a big part of it to. But also mentally. I moved from a place where I thought I was worthless. Where I thought my life was nothing. I moved from a place of guilt and shame and to a place where I started believing in myself. Standing up for myself. Fighting for myself.

I stopped beating myself up over things that had happened in the past. I stopped blaming things, other people, myself and just moved on. I set down all the heavy emotional baggage that I’d been carrying for so long. I took control of my life.

There’s a lot of things I can’t control in my life. I used to waste so much energy on them. What people thought of me. How other people acted. Other people’s expectations of me. Living by other people’s rules. Worrying about other people’s opinions. Letting people do things to me and not making a fuss because I didn’t want to be a ‘bitch’. I used to worry and obsess (thank you anxiety) to the point I would become paralyzed. I shut down, including my life. In my private mind, I was worthless and dumb and no matter what I tried I was a failure in other people’s minds. I became a tree. I stopped living. I stood still.

And then one day, I had enough. I was tired of being told I was wrong. I was tired of paying for other people’s issues and insecurities. I was tired of putting my life on hold so that other people didn’t feel bad. I was tired of people putting me in molds and then getting mad at me when I didn’t fit. I was tired of letting myself down, of not being the person I knew I was because of the person that I had always been. Of always apologizing for everything. Tired of running around the hamster wheel, spinning around but never going anywhere.

So I grew up. I got rid of my roots. I moved.

Is it always easy? No. Even though I’ve been enjoying running (more than I thought I would), it’s still a struggle every time I hit those first few strides. I still have to push myself up that hill. Still have to push myself to keep going. Past the doubts and fears. Past where my body starts making excuses, wanting to stop. Past that point, and onto the point where it starts to become fun and relaxing. To where my body stops complaining so much. To where I feel the positive energy. Feel it refreshing me. Feel the rush of endorphins that make me excited to get back home and start my day. And that’s just one small change I’ve made to my life recently.

It’s not easy shedding things that you’ve had for a while. Thoughts. Habits. Friends. Memories. Familiar places and things. But sometimes you have to. Sometimes you have to drop the baggage. To rip up your roots, to move away from the spot you’ve rooted yourself to. To try new things, even if you might fail. To dare to become something new, even though it’s something completely different from what you’ve been before.

Some people like being trees, and for them, that’s fine. But I think I’m done being a tree.

Don’t let people make you feel bad for not wanting to be a tree anymore. I’m really lucky. I have a boyfriend and friends around me now that push me, even on the days when I fall back into old habits. Who support me. Who love exploring and adventuring and trying new things as much as I do.

Those people who try to make you feel ashamed for moving? Usually just jealous that they can’t find the strength to do the same thing. To change their life.

I used to feel shame for changing. I thought for a while I was pretending, or being something I wasn’t. But then I realized that being a tree was when I was pretending. That the old part of my life wasn’t being true to me. And any person who wants to make me feel ashamed for changing, really doesn’t understand who I am at all.

The truth is life changes all the time. Every day is a new day to discover something new about yourself. And we are under no obligation to live our lives for anybody else other than ourselves. Or to continue living them a certain way. If you want to try something new, go for it. If you want to explore new things, go for it. If you want to shake a bad habit, good for you. If you are unhappy, move.

We are not trees, and I am so grateful for that. I never want to be a tree again.

Fun and Friends at the Gallup Trials

Wow, what a weekend!

We just got back from the Gallup trials down in New Mexico, and it was amazing. First off, I’ve never been to Gallup period, let alone to ride. But I love anything down in New Mexico. I love my trials family down there. And I grew up falling in love with the Tony Hillerman books, and everything here was like stepping right into one of those novels. The desert landscape, the mesas and mountains rising up into the distance, places like Gallup and Shiprock.

So first impressions…

I love the town of Gallup. It’s very quaint and full of touristy stuff, but also full of a lot of history. The whole town just gives you this quiet, slow-paced sort of vibe. Everywhere you look is color, and a lot of the stores have gorgeous old original signs that are just really cool. There’s a lot of open, free parking and parks and stuff to do. And the food! The food is outstanding. We ate at four different places while we were there (Sandra’s Cafe, Jerry’s Cafe, Gerrano’s and El Rancho) and each one was better than the last.

Going into El Rancho was fun. There’s so much history there. Wandering down the red carpet halls, looking on the name tags to see who had stayed there. Hearing the story of how John Wayne rode a horse all through the hotel and into the bar. Seeing all the old photos. The giant amethyst geode. The furniture made up out of cow horns and wagon wheel motiffs.

But now to the main event. Trials!!!!

We got there on Friday and just spent some time playing around. It’s an amazing motorsports park owned by the city! It’s huge, and what’s more, people want us there. It’s really sad how many times motorcyclists get kicked out of places, so having an entire city welcome us with open arms is absolutely awesome.

It was actually kind of scary pulling into the pit because instead of the field of trailers we were used to, we actually stumbled into some kind of National Guard war games. Oops!!!

Friday night was when we visited Jerry’s Cafe. It’s small, and there’s not a lot of seating, but the food was so good! I don’t really handle spice well, but since I’ve been dating Dave I’ve been getting a crash course and getting accustomed to it. The green chili was so good, and the rellenos were to die for!

Saturday dawned sunny and warm, and it was FUN TRIAL day! Of course, Dave and I went out scoping the numerous trails in the area first. It had been three weeks since we had last rode and it wasn’t long before my legs were crying. But the views! Riding along ridges, high above the desert and the city, nothing to obstruct your view.

So what is a fun trial you ask? Basically we all spent some time setting up five sections, and ran a ‘gate’ trial. By gates, meaning that we put gates in the section on obstacles, and each gate was worth a certain number of points. To get your points, you had to ride through the gate and ride the section clean (meaning no putting a foot down). Put a foot down…no points. So even though you might have been completely awesome and gotten every gate (including not crossing your tracks or backing up), put one foot down and all your hard work and eleven points goes down the drain. The New Mexico group did something really cool too, where they gave a points bonus to the lower level riders who maybe didn’t have the skills or confidence to rack up a ton of points. Meaning that novice riders got 9 points, amateurs got 8, etc etc down to champs.

We got in groups of five or six and headed out. It was so much fun just competing to compete. No medals. No year end trophy. Just pushing yourself to see how many points you could get, balancing that against having to ride clean. There was even an ‘endurocross’ section, with hills and tires and a twisting track that we raced on. Best time would get points. I knew I wasn’t going to challenge anybody for time, but it was fun racing! Especially because I could have taken the lower level route, but I chose to take the harder route over the hills and big tractor tires and actually managed to make it around without crashing. The guys in our group were having a blast trying to go faster than each other.

The end of the day came, and I didn’t win anything (the winner got a brick with Gallup scratched into it), but I ended up 18 out of about 33, which was pretty cool. But I couldn’t stop smiling. This is what life is for me. Good friends, good fun, and spending the day with people that make you smile and laugh. Not to mention I put in some kickass riding.

Supper that night was Gennovo’s. If you ever go, get the chile rellenos. You will not be disappointed!!!

So Sunday came, and it was another amazingly gorgeous day. And it was time for the regular trial. Lower classes were up first, and I wasn’t really sure what the day was going to hold. Gallup is dirt and rocks, but the dirt crumbles, so the possibility of not having traction in certain places was a major possibility.

The sections were everything I could have hoped for. Tight, twisty technical. Unfortunately, my score didn’t really reflect my riding. I ended the day with four fives. Once because I slipped off a slanted rock. Once because I popped over a rock and Spitfire (my Beta bike) decided to pop herself into neutral and dump me on the other side. Once when I missed a gate (all the rocks look the same on the hillside!) and once more just because at the end of the trial when apparently my bike was tired in a turn and decided that she needed to lay down. Unfortunately that meant I ended up in a thorn bush with a bent clutch lever. Bad bike!

But I also had some really awesome saves. I’m getting better at riding things in second gear. I hope to actually get some video of me soon, but of course I always think of video AFTER the event. Which is so helpful.

I fought for a lot of things Sunday. To save points and get myself in better position to ride well. And that’s what I love about trials. It’s not really a competition against other people. It’s a competition against yourself. To ride that section clean after fiving it. To make it up the scary rock. To find that line that sets you up perfect for going in this curve. All the people that watch and encourage you. Give you tips so that next time you can pull off the perfect line. That one moment when you try so hard and finally clean the monster section that defeated you the first two loops.

I ended the day four out of eight for the amateur class with 37 points. Kind of sad point wise because I felt I rode a lot better than that, but I did have the four fives. And it was still a really great day, so I’m proud of my ride.

In the afternoon we checked upper section 3 (sportsman class up to pro). I finally pulled out my camera because I wanted to play with my polarization lens. I also had read some tips to start using a new more manual function on my camera. The section we were in wasn’t great for what a lot of people think as “action shots”, the big jumps off of rocks and stuff. But I loved the way our section was. It was a fight uphill, turning around on the face of the cliff, then back down through a slick dusty section filled with large rocks that moved and constantly shifted during the afternoon as people hit them. Still, most people rode it clean or with just a dab. However, more than one person got to the top, turned to go back down and exclaimed “That’s a lot steeper than I thought!”

Everything looks bigger when you’re actually on the back of the bike.

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It was a great afternoon, and sadly it had to end, but it was a great ending to a great weekend. That was the evening at El Rancho, and then just chilling out in the hotel room after a long, happy day.

I love the New Mexico group, and I can’t wait to go back. So until then, Trials Up!

Just Because You Haven’t, Doesn’t Mean You Can’t

“How will I know who I can become if I don’t give myself the chance to try new things, to push myself beyond my normal boundaries? Who might I be if I am away from the things that I currently use to define myself?”
― Eileen Cook

 

So for the last few years I’ve wanted a DSLR camera. You know, one of the ones with the interchangeable lenses which takes the really amazing photos you see in magazines. Or the ones framed up on people’s walls. Not that I really thought I could be a professional photographer or anything. I just loved the art aspect of it.

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