Spirit of Dragonflies

Guide to Awakening Your Inner Self – Begin Your Creative Journey Today


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A Face In The Crowd

Create an image that represents being “a face in the crowd.” Explore silhouettes, shadows, orientation, and other ways to mask your subject. As you hide the defining characteristics of your model, notice which traits continue to stand out. Without facial expression, can you tell how someone is feeling? Without color, does your impression of that person change? If portraits aren’t your thing, get even more creative with your use of shadows, reflections, animals, and patterns to represent a sense of anonymity.

Explore the use of anonymity to express both that which is common to all of us and the uniqueness that stands out even when the most obvious parts of us are hidden. Just as all of us can oscillate between conformity and individualism, allow your photo to do the same.

The time when most of you should withdraw into yourself is when you are forced to be in a crowd. ~ Epicurus ~

This week I decided to share black and white photos to see if they captured the feeling from the moment the photo was taken. My main subject matter being my grandson, daughter, and son-in-law plus one random window scene of an unsuspecting subject sitting in a crowded restaurant.

Even in the midst of a crowd, many people still seem to be alone whether in their own thoughts, due to avoidance by those around them, or their deeply involved with one or two people they are interacting with and don’t seem to notice the crowd.

While sitting in a crowded restaurant I noticed two women deep in conversation unaware of those sitting at the table next to them or the presence of the waitress. When I walked outside I noticed one of the women in the window and snapped a photo.

As you wander around you will notice a face or two in the crowd who seems to be alone in thought oblivious to those around them. They may walk into the gate, the trash can, or another person. That other person may even be you.

I love observing a parent walking with their child, especially when they are caught up in the moment enjoying the moment. Those are very precious times to observe. Even more precious when it is yourself witnessing the bond between your own child and grandchild.

Do you enjoy being in crowded spaces? Do you notice who is around you? Do you feel joyful witnessing others having fun? Or, do you avoid crowds?

I prefer to be in the woods or at least in nature where the crowd I encounter is a variety of trees. My second favorite place – a book store, preferably a second-hand book store where the shelves are crowded with books.

I love people but crowds can be exhausting. Everyone moving at a different pace, high energy, low energy, negative and positive rolling like the waves of the ocean pulling and pushing. With tinnitus, crowds can be overwhelming and the noise can remain banging around in my head for hours after I return home to a quiet house. Outdoors is easier than inside because the noise has more freedom to be absorbed by trees or dissolve into the air. Inside, the noise bounces from wall to wall, ceiling to floor like a volley ball or tennis match in a never-ending cycle. When outside, I love to sit and observe people especially when they are laughing and enjoying their time together. It raises my vibration seeing others in such spirits.

Don’t worry, if I see you chances are you will not be in one of my photos. I prefer nature photos to people because people want to look at their photo and have you delete them until they approve. The only time you would be in my photo is if you happened to be standing near one of my children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, or friends children. I love candids of children playing and enjoying life or adults caught in a moment of joy and play. If I see you dancing or playing in a park, well then you may be in one of my photos.

Love and Light!
If you would like to view more photos from this week’s challenge or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/a-face-in-the-crowd/


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Sweets for the little Sweethearts

What does sweet look like to you? We look forward to your photo submissions this week!

 

It doesn’t seem possible it was almost two years ago that I spent the week before Easter with my daughter and her family in San Diego, CA. We had such a lovely time. One of the special events was meeting up with her friends and their children to see the Easter Bunny. Addy and Tanner were enjoying the window display in the confectionery shop.  Little Addy pulled up her pocketbook to see if there was any money hidden within. Love her expressions. When both Mom’s said I could treat the little ones we went in and picked out the cupcake both agreed upon. They brought their sweet out to the table, cut it in half and enjoyed every bite. If I could eat gluten I would have been enjoying this with them. Look at those sweet little faces enjoying their sweet treat!

Or, you could select a little healthier sweet treat to enjoy.

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I can’t take any credit for this photo – borrowing it from my daughter because it is one of my favorites. This little guy truly lives mindfully – in the moment. Look at the joy on Colt’s little face as he bites into this sweet strawberry, savoring the moment.

That was then – This is now:

 

I made a Mickey Mouse cake for Colt’s 2nd Birthday. He loves wearing masks and decided to wear his new Batman mask and cape for his Birthday Party. Something about wearing a mask and cape seems to make you feel invincible or at least invisible – not really sure which but it was fun watching him sneak a little taste of the frosting. When he noticed I was watching he said, “Mmmmm, Mimi this is delicious.” Then he stuck his finger in the frosting and tried another little taste. What a sweetie enjoying his sweet Mickey cake.

Do you still have the innocence of a child within? Do you find yourself staring in a glass case at a confectionery shop eyeing the sweets? Or, do you still sneak a little frosting from an uncut cake? Go ahead – I give you permission:)

Love and Light!

If you would like to view other photos for this week’s challenge or submit your own, please click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/sweet/


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Tour Guide of My Childhood Home – WPC

Share with us an image, or two, or three, (or more!) of where you live. For bonus points, tell us what it is about the photo(s) that you love. I can’t wait to go on a fantastic virtual tour of the world, courtesy of photo challenge participants. Away we go!

As I am not really attached to where I currently live it seems quite fitting to give you a little tour of the town and village of my childhood. The same place where my mother and her 13 siblings were raised, many remained to raise their own children near the family home in the village. It is also where my sisters and I raised our own children and my granddaughter spent her childhood living there as well. Stillwater is near and dear to my heart and I visit weekly, still participate in a monthly non-fiction book club, and return for walks in the Saratoga National Historical Park and National Cemetery (Both are actually located in the town of Stillwater located in Saratoga County).

Here we go on our tour:

As you pass through Mechanicville on your way to Stillwater the first sight that captures a passerby should be the truss bridge spanning the Hudson River. The colors change with the seasons, time of day, and weather. When I would travel home to visit my mother, the first thing that felt like home was the bridge. Just like an old friend spanning the river waiting to say “hello, welcome home.”

As you drive into the village of Stillwater stop in to visit my niece at the local library. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and sit in a comfortable chair with a good book. You may find me there on a random Saturday morning facilitating a Vision Board class. There is fun to be had by all ages.

In the summertime there may be a small parade heading down Hudson Ave with children, firetrucks and possibly kids rides and games at the American Legion after the big event.

After the library you could walk over to check out the Stillwater Blockhouse Museum. After learning about the history and viewing photos, take some time to sit on the bench and enjoy the view of the peaceful  Hudson River.

If your interested in learning more about the Stillwater Blockhouse Museum or the Stillwater Library, click on the links below:

On the way to north on Route 4, heading out of the village toward Schuylerville, stop by the Saratoga National Historical Park. It will be well worth your time no matter the season.

If you are interested in learning more about the Saratoga National Historical Park, Saratoga Battlefield to us, check out their web page here:

After Saratoga National Historical Park, stop by the National Cemetery. There is a quiet, sadly peaceful atmosphere. The grounds have been set up to be beautiful in all seasons. The spring is my favorite. As you drive, or walk, through the trees are all in bloom and it brings the cemetery to life with birds, squirrels, deer and other critters roaming in from the surrounding woods. Last weekend while I was walking someone was firing a rifle – maybe a firing range but not sure. All these brave souls laid to rest with guns being fired nearby makes me think of the waste of lives guns can bring upon families.

If you are interested in learning more about the National Cemetery check out this website:

Population in the 60s was just shy of 1,300. In the 70s and 80s it grew to around 1,500. As of 2000 the population fluctuates between 1,700 and 1,750. There are still some farms that have not been turned into ugly condos and some forest still exist even though Luther’s Forest of my youth is now housing with roads named after the trees they deforested. The aunts and uncles that watched out for us in our youth are now all deceased. Many cousins have moved on to new horizons as have two of my sisters and most of the nieces and nephews. I feel fortunate to have my sister living in our childhood home and my niece living nearby the family home. Stillwater is fortunate to call her their local librarian. It is nice to know that I can still ‘go home.’

If you are looking for excitement and adventure, Stillwater is not really the place to visit. Just as the name states – still waters are what you will find. Mainly rundown now since all the factories closed in the late 70s, early 80s. It is a sleepy town and most of the residents travel a half hour or more to work every morning and afternoon. If you are looking for a little peace and quiet then stop by. People are friendly. You can always stop to Pat’s Sub for a bite to eat or the two/three local pizza shops. Fill up your car at the Stewart’s Shop and your within a short drive to Schuylerville, Schaghticoke, Saratoga Springs or Clifton Park.


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Variations on a Theme

 

This week, use your camera to discover the endless variety that one thing can contain. It can be a single photo featuring some visual play on repetition and variation — ducks in a pond, each swimming in a slightly different angle, or a wall of stained glass in a church, each panel echoing the other. You could also opt for a series of shots showing the same place, person, or object in slightly different light (literally or figuratively, as the case may be). If you’re not sure how to approach this topic, just let your daily life guide you: every day, you probably repeat several actions, movements, and rituals without even noticing. Choose one and show how even within this repetition, there’s a wide diversity of experience.

“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.” ~ William James ~

Slow down and pay attention to the world around you. Breathe and enjoy every moment noticing the subtle changes in the world around you, this will allow you to notice the subtle changes occurring in yourself if you take the time to connect with nature all the beauty in our lives.

Love and Light!

If you would like to view additional entries for this week’s challenge or would like to submit your own, please click on the link below:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/variations-on-a-theme/


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Variations on a Theme – WPC

This week, use your camera to discover the endless variety that one thing can contain. It can be a single photo featuring some visual play on repetition and variation — ducks in a pond, each swimming in a slightly different angle, or a wall of stained glass in a church, each panel echoing the other. You could also opt for a series of shots showing the same place, person, or object in slightly different light (literally or figuratively, as the case may be). If you’re not sure how to approach this topic, just let your daily life guide you: every day, you probably repeat several actions, movements, and rituals without even noticing. Choose one and show how even within this repetition, there’s a wide diversity of experience.

“I want to live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.” ~ Sylvia Plath ~

I love visiting the same areas at different times of the day and year. It is a gift of nature that those living with the changing seasons experience. The sky is ever-changing shades, tones and variations which bringing a new perspective to those paying attention. We witness the vibrant greens of summer become blanketed in orange/red/green/brown leaves of fall as the grass becomes brownish orange. Then as winter sets in if we are lucky we witness a blanket of white covering the trees and ground which then becomes spotted with brown and then green once again. It is amazing to witness. The sky also dazzles the senses as it varies in color throughout the day and year. Vibrant blue, grey, pinks, oranges, varying shades of red become blackened as the night sky brings sleep and rest. We leave knowing that tomorrow we will experience everything anew.

Saratoga National Historical Park is one of those locations which fill my heart with many emotions. It is a place which I return for peace, comfort and rest. This is a location shared over the years with family times – first as a child with my own parents and then with my children, nieces, nephew and friends. It is this location where I prepared myself for BASIC, where my children and I hiked, learned to cross-country ski, and a refuge when I passed through challenging times in my life. It is a place as Sylvia Plath shared where I “live and feel all the shades, tones, and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life.” Wherever I have traveled, this location remained in my heart and upon returning to ‘home’ it is where I visit to renew myself.

Do you have a location that means ‘home’ to you outside of the place where you grew up? A place that lives within you even if you can’t return.

While away from my home and children during BASIC training with the Army National Guard I first experienced the ability to meditate – more of a visualization. When sitting in the hot Missouri sun between class or exercises I would close my eyes and return home to the hiking paths with my children and nieces/nephews. We would be exploring and laughing. The younger female soldiers would ask where I had gone because they noticed I wasn’t responding to them. I shared that I went home in my mind. These young women noticed that I remained calm and peaceful after my little visualizations and wanted me to teach them. Some were able to learn and carry this with them to their next station or when they returned home to class. Eventually I could visualize and ‘visit’ with my eyes open. The only way they knew was if I didn’t respond when they spoke to me. This became very helpful when we were we living on four hours of sleep.

For anyone who lives with tinnitus, learning these methods may bring peace to your life. It may not stop the noise in your head but it will definitely help you learn to live with this constant noise. This I know first hand, as meditation and visualization have helped me live a productive life in spite of the constant bells ringing in my head.

Have you ever experienced visualization to bring peace into your life? Or, have you been in a stressful situation where meditation brought a sense of peace and calm to help you through?

If you are interested in learning more about visualization, meditation or living mindfully please complete the form below or email me at spiritofdraginflies@gmail.com. Let’s discuss next steps to help you bring some peace, tranquility, calm and mindfulness into your daily life.

Love and Light!

If you would like to view additional posts for this week’s challenge or would like to submit your own, please click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/variations-on-a-theme/

 


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Inspired by Silence

How would you capture silence in a photograph? Is it a positive image like this one, showing a much-needed break? Or is it the opposite, revealing the lack of communication in a friendship or the dangers of not speaking out? Show us your interpretation in a new post.

Walking in the evening allows the walker at time of silence and peace. It is a time for contemplation, to see the world around you in a new light, to allow yourself to open up to new ideas.

Walking around Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY amidst the evening lights bring a sense of peace. The lights guide the walker along sidewalks to the hotels. Although I’d rather have the lake lit by moonlight and stars, the reflections are quite captivating. Even on a cold winters night it is quite a sight to see.

It would have been wonderful to have been in the same location the night of the blood moon. On the evening of the blood moon, I stood in the silence of the night in my yard, hand steady as I focused my camera, held my breath and click – the glowing red moon and stars were miraculously captured. The moon and I became as one for a few moments that evening.

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Silence can be found in so many places if you allow yourself time to enjoy the stillness. Alone at the edge of a lake on a rainy day, looking out to the clouds lingering over the mountains a sense of peace may embrace you. Contemplating life as you realize how small you are in the big scheme of things, you may realize we are all here for a moment in time. At that moment you may realize that you should be enjoying every moment – you should make your life worth having been lived.

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It is time to enjoy every moment before a permanent silence takes over. We all have choices so make the best choice and live your life to its fullest. The cemetery can be another place to contemplate life, enjoy nature and focus on living and the life you wish to live. What is it you would like to accomplish before your last breath is taken?

The time is now. What story will you write about your life?

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Start scripting your life story today. Don’t hold back. Live BIG and enjoy every minute. Take time to be silent and listen to your inner wisdom. It knows the truth and will guide you in those still moments in time. Then get out there is enjoy – dance, sing, take chances, try new things.

If you are ready but unsure what steps to take contact me and we can work together to script your story and help you take the steps leading to your greatness.

Love and Light!

If you would like to view other photos or submit your own, please click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/silence-2


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Winter’s Silence

How would you capture silence in a photograph? Is it a positive image like this one, showing a much-needed break? Or is it the opposite, revealing the lack of communication in a friendship or the dangers of not speaking out? Show us your interpretation in a new post.

 

“Deep within the winter forest among the snowdrift wide, you can find a magic place where all the fairies hide . . .” ~ Author Unknown ~

 

 

“Silence is an empty space, space is the home of the awakened mind.” ~ Guatama Buddha ~

After a nice walk in the silence of winter I love to go inside and pour a nice hot cup of tea and enjoy the silence of my warm peaceful home. I feel blessed and privileged to live this life of mine and to balance the peace and quite of home with times of interactions with friends, family and coworkers.

Love and Light!

If you would like to view additional photos or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/silence-2/