From Day into Night, the 2015 Reminder to Be Present

“Look, look outside” someone excitedly instructed.  I’d been sitting in front of my computer for hours and still internally berating myself for not getting anything done that day and it was already 4:30 p.m.  With hesitation and curiosity, I stood up walk over to the double glass doors that opened to the upper level balcony.

I was struck and momentarily seduced by the colors of the day bleeding into what was about to be night.  The shades of blue, gray, white, hints of pink and many other shades breaking through as the day was slipping away at that moment.

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Photo by Shanta L.E.

I instantly forgot about beating myself up for what was and was not completed and had appreciate what I was seeing (and of course snap a picture).  It is also times like this when someone interrupting was a welcome reminder to be present and appreciate the view that is unfolding right in front of your eyes.

Do you have moments like that?  Where the reminder to be present was louder than the call to plan for a future that has not happened yet?  This slice of a moment is also a window into how my New Years turned out.  I had pieces of the outfit and stunning jewelry picked out along with amalgamated images of what New Years was going to be, then it just happened.

The clothing was unexpected-in fact an old sweater, corduroys, and a fancy coat to be exact.  The destination ended up being some place between a little bit of first night at North Hampton; eating black eyed peas for good luck with friends on the actual day of new years; and the transitional bridge that included mild conversations in a house tucked away in the woods with near and dear ones as I got a chance to witness teenagers celebrating their new years with a camp fire, laughter and acoustic guitar.  For those teens, it seemed to be that simple –as they seemed to just enjoy what was as opposed to being frustrated about the visions of a New Years celebration that was not.

These images provided a certain stillness and a reminder.  You see, I don’t do resolutions and I have long stopped that madness that felt more like self-defeat.  Instead, it has become appreciate the little bit towards the better everyday.  That is what these moments were, little bits and pieces of 2014 reminding me that 2015 was in fact a new year but also just another day for a new beginning.

Ways of Just Being without Apology

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Photo by Shanta L.E.

There is a beauty in accepting people, places and things as they are without expecting or wanting an apology for how they have become.  Based off of recent events, I am discovering that as I become more vintage with the passing of time, I no longer want to apologize for all of the ways that I am imperfect, the stories that I carry, the rawness, and sometimes abrasive surface.

Perhaps I should lend context.  Last night, I shared a story with someone.  I did not prep them nor did I provide any cushion for my sharing, instead I just spilled.  This lead to a certain discomfort, upset, frustration, and many things that I (as the sharer) did not expect.  As I received feedback and this unexpected response, all of the things I’ve been told before about difficult pieces of my personality were echoed.  My jagged edges, delivery, and so many things that are not always visible in some of my interactions.

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Photo by Shanta L.E.

As much as I have a certain charm, sometimes I misstep;
As much as there is polish, sometimes there is a rough surface that either splinters or cuts others;
As much as there is a sweetness there are some sour & tart bits.During the course of the conversation, I noticed how I did not apologize for what I shared nor did I want to soften some of the rough surface I’d presented.

As with many of my interactions, this one provided some material for thinking, writing, and considering all of the ways in which all of us become.  As I am discovering a beauty in just being, I am learning about accepting all of the ways that others bring these things to the table as well.

There is no resolve for my interaction of the conversation that surfaced last night but just a thought of the moment:  Alongside of the apologies that must exist for all of the ways that our being may cause discomfort for others is the importance of allowing things to just exist with all of their stories, scars, cracks and dings.

**Photos used in this post are from my vintage, proudly unfinished table.  I debate whether or not I will leave it as is, your let it tell the story with all of the imperfections upon its surface.

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Photo by Shanta L.E.

Vulnerability–What It Is & What It Isn’t

 

VulnerableI was engaged in a conversation the other night with a friend.  I shared a couple of stories with her about various happenings in my life and at one point she responded ,  “That is why I am confused with you, you say you like vulnerability but….”  and she attempted to point out some fallacies in my claim to appreciate vulnerability.  This particular conversation and many others I have had with my friends or acquaintances around this topic of vulnerability always left me with more queries than resolve.   What is vulnerability exactly?   What are some clear definitions of what vulnerability is and is not?

vulnerability-assessmentThe title of this post is a bit of a trick.  In other words, I don’t have any answers nor could I proceed in providing a clear construction of the concept of vulnerability.  I have many metaphors to describe it.  For instance, my favorite is comparing it to disrobing and the feeling of one being naked in the world after having shed the protective layering of clothing.  The Webster dictionary defines it as “the quality or state of having little resistance to some outside agent” but how does that relate to what vulnerability will be for you versus what it will be for me?  One person’s disrobing or attempt to illustrate one’s vulnerability could be construed as the presentation of yet another wall depending upon the viewer.

imagesI think back to the conversation I had with my friend and many other moments where I felt like I was peeling back the layers to share more of myself.  However, to those who were bearing witness, my disrobing was just a minor pin hole within a impenetrable wall–in other words, it was not perceived or received as my vulnerability.  Over the years of experiencing he spoken or unspoken “You are not letting me in” messages from loved ones and also uttering those words to others, it has become glaringly (and sometimes painfully) clear that it is purely subjective.  This is the most difficult to accept when engaging with partners or close friends.  I have had many moments where I have entangled my concept or understanding of what it means to take the defenses down and dismantle the walls and pushed it onto others.  It lead to a lot of frustration, but most importantly, in my past selfish missions to seek what I defined as vulnerability from others caused me to miss what was unfolding in front of me.

Thus, I have no answers to offer because after all, vulnerability is your very own to define when, where, and with whom you decide.  Being let in is an act of just allowing it to happen and accepting the ways that someone may choose to let you in as opposed to defining the terms or circumstances for their disrobing to take place.   That may be all you ever need to know about what vulnerability is and is not.

 

Feeding Mindful Hunger

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As a child, in order to firmly encourage that I eat all of my food my mother would eventually become upset and say something like “then starve” as the alternative.  Most recently, I thought about starvation or even the topic of hunger as it relates to the various relationships we allow ourselves to engage in.  Especially this time of year during the holidays and with winter around the corner, it is easy to feel like one is being “starved out” of love if there is a partner missing or friendships that feel like they are bottoming out as the cold approaches.    Of course, there is the alternative.  Being full and jolly off of that which lacks depth because it is filling in the moment.

This in fact does feel like we are being fed doesn’t it?  And by fed I mean whatever ache or hole we had for companionship either through friendship, love or other means seems to be filled.  And sometimes, it is not until months or years later that we realize that which we thought was filling us was actually causing harm until we are left with our tummy aches from dining upon these hollow interactions.

This has been in my own very back yard as I have been thinking about some of the friendships that I have that have been quite filling but now, they leave me either in the state of hunger or suffering due to the faux full bellyache.  The statements my mother once made to me about starving as the option appeared as clearly as if I was still that little girl sitting at the dinner table who chose to quote unquote starve rather than eat something that I knew my spirit would not truly enjoy.

That was wisdom that I did not realize at the moment but it is something I am tapping into now and something I offer up to you.  The metaphorical starvation as the alternative to being full is not a bad thing.  In fact, maintaining an empty stomach from being intentional about who or what you allow into your life is way more filling than having the so-called feeling of satisfaction from hollow connections.  Next time you are faced with a situation that involves being full off of the crap a relationship has to offer or just remaining hungry from what you really want, consider the hunger as the most noble form of your self refusing to just be filled for that moment.  Just starve.

Chasing the Rain with Our Pails

It occurs to me that many of us use our pails to go chase the rain even while we ignore the fact that we have summoned a juicy deluge in our lives.  We are still looking to collect more drops that will equal to some great whole.

2b0a03b924d91b99658385050ac561a8At some point, we have to ask ourselves when or how will we be enough if we ignore the face that we are already swimming in that which we are trying to catch.

 

 

Allowing What Should Not Happen….

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Sometimes I wonder why & how it is that we keep allowing the things or people that should not happen in our lives.
Some even refer to this as a waste of time.

However, without these “should nots” we would not be able to measure the true breadth of our feeling nor our vitality.
For life’s surprise misfits and unscheduled marauders help us to become….

Shanta L.E.

Perception We Help to Build

Perception is our reality and is just as much of a prison as the actions we provide for others to draw conclusions about us.  Let me further explain.  Last month, someone shared something with me that went a little something like this:

“I like your energy, how are you are, you are really social.   Then one day a few years ago, I saw you having a conversation with a friend and caught pieces of it.  I guess you and your friend were complaining about your men, and I understand that, but  I did not want to become either of the individuals mentioned in your conversation!

This beautiful messenger forged ahead to state that while he liked me as a person, he formed a perception about me based on what I said that day.  I could’ve gotten upset, accused this person of being narrow minded, and all sorts of things but it was the moment of a pause.  What did I say the day he caught “pieces” of my conversation?  How ugly did I become in that moment?  Was it something that could have been reserved for another moment (especially if it involved venting)?    Whoever was the subject of that conversation, did they even deserve that?

As I listened to this person share their vignette about their perception of me, my mind looped around thinking about the power of perception but also the other side of it.   Yes, we say that perception has the power and we talk about its deep limitations because of the fact that it is based on the gaps of information we fill in ourselves.

However, perceptions do not exist unto themselves, we help to encourage and build them at times.  In this moment, I provided the material and helped to carve this gentleman’s perceptions with my own hands.  If actions were speaking louder than words, then based on this particular freeze-frame, I did not appear so ideal.  I am not going to claim I learned my lesson, perhaps I can still be seen being caught off-guard in public.  But the experience of being told what image of myself I was helping to craft humbled me.  It was also a reminder that as we talk, walk, and commit many other actions in public, these are mere invitations to others.

What is the face of surrender?

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If surrender had a face, what would it look like?  This is the same question I posted on Facebook but it was also a question that was birthed in my mind during my break at work.  I paused in my short walk along the water as I watched a leaf fall to the ground.

_DSC0180_newThis was nothing special because all of the trees are shedding their leaves this time of year.  I watched as another leave detached itself and floated to the ground.  I started to take a careful look and the word that seems to be always with me appeared-surrender.

If surrender had a face, it is indeed the child of Autumn, a leaf.    The leaves change colors, depart from branches to embrace new environs (whether it is soil, concrete, water, etc.), become pierced with holes, moved by the wind, and/or discolored._DSC0190_new_DSC0197_new Without uttering complaints, the Autumn leaf just is.  It does not explain away the shift or change upon its body anymore than it would explain its living and death—it just surrenders to it all.

What is the vision of your surrender?
*Originally posted on storieswetellphotography.com*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without uttering complaints, the Autumn leaf just is.  It does not explain away the shift or change anymore than it would explain its living and death—it just surrenders to it all.