Thailand, Chiang Mai and Days 3 and 4

952AI love this photo both because of the solemnity of the pose as well as the tactile nature of the piece from all of the gold leaf that Buddhists have rubbed onto the icon. The application of the gold leaf was another way to send your wishes out into the Universe. And if I had to guess, my wish at the time I took this photo was perhaps more time to take photos and a little less time with the group.

I have been struggling with whether or not to express how I really felt on parts of this trip because it might hurt someone’s feelings. But in the end, I think I have a readership of five on a good day and my blog has never really been about anything more than writing, preserving some things for my son and processing how I feel about certain situations. And so the gloves come off and away I go. As I have previously mentioned, the group I traveled with was extraordinary but that does not mean all things were perfect all the time. As with all group dynamics, there were moments and exchanges that I could have handled better – and not to finger point, but there were times when some folks in the group were just rude.

From my perspective, I tried very hard to keep up with the group and to never make them wait on me because I wanted to take one more photo. I could have visited a dozen more temples and taken a thousand more photos. But by the time we hit days three and four in Chiang Mai, the majority of the group was “templed out”. Each new location brought eye rolls and sighs of dismay that we were seeing yet another gold Buddha. And while many in the group may have thought I did not hear or didn’t care if I did, the temples were the main reason I was there. As a result, I started to get a little resentful that while I was acting responsibly, being prompt and deferential at their activities, they were beginning to get a little fed up with what I wanted to do. Continue reading “Thailand, Chiang Mai and Days 3 and 4”

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365 Reflections – Reflection 58

131ALast Saturday was my day for a photographic field trip. The location at the top of my list was a site I failed to access the first time I visited. Without repeating the behaviors of some of those “stupid criminal” stories you’ve surely heard, let’s just say the site is only accessed through private land which is surrounded by a fence, or two, or more… My first attempt resulted in dozens of blackberry brambles and a lecture from a very astute neighbor complete with threats of notifying the police. With my second attempt, I did a little bit more thorough homework and developed a better plan with the help of some aerial photography. Never underestimate the power of the internet and the determination if a stubborn, middle aged artist.  

The site is not one an average person would likely be aware of. It is abandoned and in serious decay – which is part of the reason it had so much appeal to me. I was sure I could get some terrific photos. In the process of taking photos, here’s what I discovered about myself:

Continue reading “365 Reflections – Reflection 58”

Thailand – sort of…

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Behind the scenes, so to speak, I have been diligently working on the photographs of my recent trip to Thailand. This is no small feat since I took over 1800 photos in two weeks. What I have tried to do, simply for my sanity, is, for each blog post, to display a photo from the trip that is from the city we were visiting or the activity we were doing. Well, we were only in Bangkok for 3 days and I have really exhausted what I want to say about Bangkok but I have not gotten through processing all of the Bangkok photos. My head can’t move on to writing about a new city until I have finished with all of the photos of the current city.

While I could have very easily dumped all of my photos into Flickr for the world to see and not taken the time to do any editing, I am really trying to develop an on-line presence. As a result, I am being very critical and only posting photos that I find beautiful. And, in the same way that I am not posting link-backs to things I mention in my blog, I am trusting that the folks I traveled with have many of their own photos and are not relying on me to be the group historian.

Continue reading “Thailand – sort of…”

365 Reflections – Reflection 5

I018 love to write. But I have not always done it. The evolution of my writing coincided with the advent of email and, oddly, internet dating.

In the early days of on particular internet dating site, there was a very strict protocol of getting to know someone. It involved a lot of back and forth communication via surveys and questionnaires and only after you were satisfied with these did you actually communicate and that was usually written – at least initially. At the same time, email became more prevalent in the work place as well as a great way to stay in touch with people.  During this time I developed a conversational style of communication. My writing evolved over the years and I was able to tell stories and my first blog was actually called Storyteller Lisa. From there, I realized that I could also use my writing to convey my thoughts more clearly and that’s where my trouble began.

Continue reading “365 Reflections – Reflection 5”

Just being me.

I am starting to feel like myself again and it feels great!

I know that is an odd statement but it is true in so many respects.  After I graduated in June, I was fortunate to start a job on July 1st. And regardless of how that job turned out, I stand by the word choice fortunate. It was a time in my life when I was not sure where my next dollar was going to come from and I had started the application process for food stamps. Then along came the job and the money issues were temporarily solved. Unfortunately, by the end of the first week, I knew this job was going to be a challenge and by the end of August I began working a second job part time just in case my daytime boss decided to fire me. I never meant that to be a self-fulfilling prophecy but I am a realist and when the writing is clearly on the wall, sometimes it’s just best to read it and prepare…

In Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I would drive to downtown Seattle, work all day and at 5pm, get in my car and head to my evening job where I worked from 6pm until 9:30 or so. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I rode the bus into downtown and then the bus home again. Saturdays were spent working as well and it is easy to understand how my yoga practice got derailed. No excuses though. I clearly could have made the time in the early morning hours and I did try by going to a 6am class during the week. I did not find the class challenging enough and as a result didn’t stick with it.

Okay, fast forward to leaving my job and finding myself with a little bit of free time until I can get more hours with my part-time job. So you would think I could get to all the yoga classes I would want. However, the studio I joined this spring has done some revamping and the morning class selection is just not quite what I am looking for so I finally turned to the internet and a website called YogaGlo.

It is all I can do to contain my sheer happiness at finding this website. I can practice whenever I want, and select the exact classes I want. And, as odd as it sounds, I can practice alone. That may sound strange coming from someone who talks about our connections and who has worked hard to build a family of like-minded people, but it’s true.

One of the issues I have had with my yoga practice is that while I absolutely love the community, going to a new studio or taking a class with people I don’t know has brought up some issues. For example, I have very flexible shoulders as you can see from the photo here. I am also very strong from years of weight lifting and a super competitive ego and with my height of 5’10” I have a significant wing span. As a result of these factors and of practicing for several years, I tend to head to the back of any class I am taking so that I can do my thing and not be in anyone’s way. However, on more than one occasion, I have had teachers apologize to me after class because they thought my practice was so advanced that I did not get anything out of their class. That is so very sad to me and not the reason I practice yoga at all. And trust me when I say that my practice is not that advanced. I’m just bendy and strong.

That’s why I am so happy with YogaGlo. I can do my own thing, kick my own butt and practice on my own without anyone thinking I am showing off or trying to steal the limelight. I can just be me.

Letting go.

For the next thirty days, my goal is to try something new every single day. Two days ago, I publicly, via Facebook (go big or go home…), asked for help. And, not surprisingly, the fabulous yoga family of mine, rose to the occasion and, as a result of their support, I neither felt bad nor embarrassed for asking.

Yesterday, I did something a little different. The day started off normally – it was Sunday and I went to yoga. During yoga, I decided to head for the sun and take a road trip. I thought it would be great if my son went with me. After class, I called home to get him started on getting his things together. His response was tepid at best. After all, he is 15 and he was weighing spending time with his mother versus spending time with his best friend. Initially, my feelings were a little hurt. But, from the practice of yoga, I felt myself do something new. Somewhere, between the trip back to the house and the intervening trip to the grocery for supplies, a shift occurred.

I let go of the need to influence the outcome of my son’s decision.  It was me that wanted to be in the sun. And after I made the decision to go with or without him, I let things happen in their own time. I didn’t pepper him with reasons to come with me. I didn’t try to bribe him or guilt him into spending time with me. I went about packing and when he wanted to talk to me about how he was not sure what to do, I listened. I didn’t try to win.

There are always going to be occasions where there is a need to try to sway someone to do something. Try getting a two year old to do anything without some sort of persuasion. But part of my journey is learning not to always bend the will of the Universe to mine and to let go. So I did.

And we had a lovely road trip and told stories and shared a meal and had a terrific time.

Namaste.

I need help.

Good god. Do you know how hard that phrase is for me to write – much less use as the title to my blog? But it’s true – I need help. I have a wonderful opportunity to travel to India and volunteer in a school with some very special children. Here is a link to the organization that runs the school.

Five years ago, I would have never dreamed that India would be a place that called to me. It has been through the practice of yoga that I have found this desire. In trying to objectively look at my reasons, I don’t know that I can pin down exactly one. I know that traveling without a group is the next step in my travel evolution. This itinerary will be mine alone. I know that I want to be able to say that I have stepped on yet another continent. I also know that I would love to see the Taj Mahal. But I think more than anything, I want to be around and hopefully share or help with some grade school age kids.

In truth, I am not all that sure of what I have to offer these kids more than an open heart, the ability to give very good hugs, a quick smile and a somewhat loud but very sincere laugh.

What I need help with, being an unemployed but highly motivated artist, is funding for the trip. What I propose is a barter system. What I have, for the next five weeks anyway, is plenty of time to produce  – be it my own original doodles, seen below, or my photo blocks, also seen below. Or, based upon a leap of faith, I can also offer prints of any of the images I take while on my trip.

It is hard for me to ask for help but easy for me to offer a service. If you like what you see, please feel free to comment, order or share my blog post with others.

Namaste.