Kripalu Mindful

I recently had occasion to visit the kripalu Institute of Yoga and Health, in Stonebridge, MA, while dropping off and picking up daughter Bridget for a certificate program on Mindfulness and Outdoor Leadership. This would be a great quarterly visit for me for R & R - a service which they pride themselves. I can see myself capturing a piece of nature and image reflecting, with the changing seasons - what a beautiful setting, and accommodative to meditation and a recharge.

Mindfulness in Nature Sony RX100 VI 61.19mm 1/3200 sec f4.5 ISO 2500 multiple stitch


Vermont Horizons

The horizons of Vermont are speaking to me. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to hear the appeal - the calling to capture moments of beauty of the ever changing touch of sky, light, on Adirondack, Green Mountains, Lake Champlain, and many Vermont valley vistas.

My brother Richard recognized a frequentcy of attention receiving horizons in my images before I did. He invited me to include 24 horizon images for his third book of poems - Smell the Roses, Feel the Soil, Reach the sky. He offers, in the introduction, his observation: "Mike’s visions are of and in the light—toward the eternal horizon.”

Richard died August 8th, 2018, advance of finishing Smell the Roses, but not before gracing me with focusing my passion to capture horizons and reflect deeper on those that hold my attention. I am grateful.

Sun Spots PhaseOne IQ 180 240mm 1/3 sec f16 ISO 35 stitched

Vermont is horizon paradise - so many unobstructed views of wide expanse horizons including interesting environs - water, mountains, valleys. And, if the view is obstructed, take a pleasant trail hike a short distance to the top of the low mountains and be delighted by spectacular earth contours, enhanced by frequent cool cloud formations and sun-ray penetration.

Fallen PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/800 sec f11 ISO 35 stitched

General Store Speak

My daily stop at the General Store, a Walmart in a thousand square feet, in the sleepy village of Tenants Harbor Maine, during my respite with family friends, September 8th to the 15th, was a delight. I loved the feel of the local hangout - it took me back in time - a simpler time, where we took the time for friendly chat, about whatever, with neighbors.

I slipped out of our Home Away from home, at day break, to capture a little new light on harbor highlights. After a play in the Golden Hour I would visit the General Store for a muffin… and maybe a morning greeting from local folk.

One morning, a few days into my stay in the faltering fishing village, I noticed a man in the General Store that I had seen each of my visits. I said - do you come here every morning? That’s all it took to get him going - louder as he went on. He finally respected, as he was more and more animated - “Am I getting too loud?”

I’ll call him Charlie. Charlie lived his sixty some odd years in the village and kicked off most days at the store, the only store, the General Store, in Tenants Harbor. He said “This is dog’s country”. I said dog’s country? No, dog’s country. I asked again, dog’s country? He said God’s country - dog spelled backwards…G O D! I said Oh, God’s country! He then went on for ten minutes about how the town has been going to the dogs with more and more fishing regulations and higher taxes.

He, no doubt, loves his life in Tenants Harbor, albeit, not all village happenings are in his control. We should all know, all is not in our control. Nature is a wonder, and doesn’t always give us enough time to prepare for every happening….. MICHAEL, for example!

As a mid-western flat-lander, I marvel at the ocean’s routine, in Tenants Harbor, of rising and falling, on it’s shore, nine feet, a couple times each day. And, how the shoreline infrastructure is designed to accommodate the wondrous way of the water. Like nicely fitting cloths allowing for the heave and contraction of unconscious breathing, shorelines and docks allow for the rise and fall of an unbelievable amount of water. I image the locals response to the major move of water is like their unconscious acceptance of breathing.

I love it.

RISING TIDE PhaseOne IQ 180 240mm 1/15 sec f11 ISO 100 2 images stitched

LOW TIDE PhaseOne IQ 180 240mm 1/50 sec f11 ISO 100

Alzheimer's Walk

Last year we walked for Alzheimer's in Minnesota in celebration of fifty years of marriage. We also walked in Vermont where we now live. We raised over $10,000 for a mighty effort to find help with a growing problem, thanks to friends and family - a great cause - fighting a dreadful disease. Thanks to all involved.

We are a year older and still fighting the affects of Alzheimer's. It's 51 years together and we'll take them, one year at a time.

It's just a 'walk in the park' in Vermont, 9/16, this year. Each new day is as precious as our fiftieth anniversary. 

Thanks for any consideration you give to help in our fight. http://act.alz.org/goto/Whichwayers.

Love and health to you and yours,

Mike

The Time Has Come... For Change

My brother Richard died August 8th, 2018. I sent him a Love Letter on August 6th. I dated the sentiment August 8th, my 72nd birthday. I thanked him for his 'presents' to me. I wish to share with you my feelings, including a PS, I write now, expressing additional feelings regarding the news that more than 300 priests abused 1000 or more children in Pennsylvania - the straw that breaks the back - it's time to SCREAM - a time for ACCOUNTABILITY - a time for real CHANGE.

8/8/2018

My 72nd birthday

 

AWR. Richard. Dick.                       

In Hospice

A Love Letter

From Mike - your youngest brother 

Just fourteen years your younger

 

Richard. Dick. You are gift - Always inviting - Always welcoming. A present to me. A present to all. Thank you for your loving embrace.

 

And, so serious and determined - to make a difference with the seemingly insurmountable task of bringing to light the reality of Catholic authorities gone wrong - very wrong - as large numbers of priests, bishops, and even cardinals sexually abuse children. Maybe worse, is the coverup – the system, knowingly, quick to pass abusers from parish to parish, hiding the family member’s crime – a costly sin…. and by our religious leaders!

 

You have made a difference – a huge positive difference – a legacy that will last for your eternity. Coming from within the troubled system, you were willing to face the truth about your religious family and do something about it – a herculean task – David versus Goliath. It must have been a very lonely and painful task to take on. You were courageous to tackle the task. 

 

Now, nearly thirty years after the publication of your book, A SECRET WORLD, Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy, the truth of abuse within the Catholic hierarchy is common knowledge. The system has started a mend, thanks to your assist in spotlighting the problem. I am proud of your presents. By the way, I have seen the movie Spotlight several times and count the mention of you as a source to the Boston Globe about priest pedophiles, as nine. 

 

I remember you and Marianne welcoming Patty, me and Bridget to your home in Baltimore, - it was 1990, about the time of A SECRET WORLD release.  You talked a lot about the contents of the book. I was stunned, probably in disbelief, thinking how this can be – maybe a few not keeping their vows, and fewer abusers - but so much? How can the problem be so pervasive? I am naïve.  This was too much for me to absorb at the time. Probably too much for the world to absorb, at the time.  How can this be? I thought – Is this the twilight zone? Time is telling. Truth is healing… in time.

 

I remember mention of Father Andrew Greely, a sociologist and successful fiction author, criticizing your numbers and your credentials. With time your numbers proved to be accurate. Your experience and tenacity to go after the truth, regardless of where it leads, is nothing short of Devine Providence. 

 

Abuse by clergy was unspeakable – not possible by the God-blessed beings – priests - on the parishioner’s-given pedestal. Given the magnitude of the abuse within the Catholic hierarchy and the degree of disbelievers, your patience with progress has been amazing. There was reason to come out screaming with accusations. You nurtured the situation so well. Now you can scream!

 

I love your line I heard in conjunction with doing your 80th birthday book, – “The largest task in life is to love. And love is the only thing that lasts, everything else melts away”. Love you have – evidenced by all you touched – family, abused, friends and even Church. In the case of Church, let’s say, tough love!

 

I too believe love is our highest priority. My best work as a Life – Wealth planner is possibly now, having realized, in my mid-sixties, that the Love Priorities of Self-realizing, Connecting, and Giving are the focal point of a strong process to realize one’s success. 

 

I define success as the realization of your unique good – doing what you love… your God-given talents, revealed by being open to your unique driving forces. And, being willing to follow those forces to where ever the passion persists. You have. 

 

I love that you invited me to join you doing your third (trilogy) book of poems – SMELL THE ROSES, FEEL THE SOIL, REACH THE SKY. I didn’t see how this would work. But, it has evolved. You saw the possibility from the beginning and, thanks to your prodding, I am beginning to see the possibility. 

 

SMELL THE ROSES is a book about love, and hope for more love. This is a theme we both are passionate about – what a great compliment to I CONFESS and COURAGE AT THREE AM.  

 

What’s to be? Like your Last Supper needlepoint, what is has great value, like Durer’s Salvator Mundi. What do you wish for the unfinished? 

 

My image, RICHARD, Reach the Sky, I captured during my visit with you, in La Jolla, in recent May, has much meaning, to me. It symbolizes the love priority of Self-realizing – reaching the sky – success – colorfully, and not without bearing harsh elements over a long period – dealing with pain and suffering. 

Richard Reach the Sky

You are “a life well lived”. Your legacy is a love example that will positively impact many, more than you can imagine. What a Wonderful life. I will miss you. I love you and feel your love.

 

PS You won't believe it, or maybe you will, but a week after your death the news of horrendous abuse  by priests in Pennsylvania hit the world news. The Church appeals for forgiveness - I imagine much more - forgiveness is holy, it is worth attention - accountability and change are just - IT IS TIME FOR JUSTICE - TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES. 

Here is what I imagine - All involved, including those who covered up, in any way, immediately resign and begin self-flagellation. This, unbelievably, includes 50% of the Catholic Church hierarchy. Celibacy is optional. The positions of priests and nuns are eliminated and replaced with Ministers. Gender makes no difference. Ministers are well educated, including versed on your writings. Ministers contribute to the level of their God-given talents, driven by their unique passions. Truth and love run rampant. It is good and right. 

Hope to see you... not too soon.

Love, 

Mike

AWR Laughs

RICHARD - REACH THE SKY

Richard and I were working on a book together at the time of his death, on my birthday, August 8th. It was tentatively titled SMELL THE ROSES, FEEL THE SOIL, REACH THE SKY. It was meant to be his third book of poems. I think of it as his Trilogy. The first book was titled I CONFESS and second titled COURAGE AT THREE AM. Both are personal, soul searching, deep, and sometimes funny. I am sure, both were gut wrenching and, at the same time, rewarding to write. I read each five or more times, gleaning more insight about my famous brother https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/richard-sipe-pattern-deceit-celibate-culture-was-his-wittenberg with each read. Poems, with so much to read between the lines, have always been hard for me to glean intent, from just one read. Like a good photograph, I want to revisit for more and more feel. 

SMELL THE ROSES was meant to be a book about love, and hope for more love. This theme would be a nice completion to Dick's Trilogy. My input would be photos of the horizon - then Dick invited me to write captions to the photos - then reflections - then memoir like comments and feelings - then he invited me to let it all out - deeper and deeper, - he encouraged and encouraged, and I learned from his mentoring.

I learned that reflections, attached to my photos, is most rewarding. I am now doing reflections for my photos for my water quality coffee table book I am doing with Trevien Stanger, environmentalist writer - OUR BASIN OF RELATIONS. Thank you Richard for your mentoring.

Richard said "The largest task of life is to love. And love is the only thing that lasts, everything else melts away". I love the thought. He said he was inspired by my thoughts on the Love Priorities of self-realizing, connecting and giving. He certainly was an inspiring example of SCG. 

RICHARD REACH THE SKY, PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/30 sec f11 ISO 35

TDY, it is ... for nowI

I tried to bring in help for Patty - she's not ready - it didn't work. It went ok for a couple hours, and then the aide, a fine person, was asked to go home. She did. This is the third time I tried - I stroke out. The VNA is probably going to ignore me, at least for awhile.

Patty and Mike in Seattle in 2016

I know. I know. I shouldn't take this on full time, but I am going to. I am going to look at it as TDY - Temporary duty. Actually, I feel  good about it, for now. Patty is my top priority and sometimes our top priorities take us out of balance for awhile. 

With being out of balance in mind, I will take advantage of Patty wanting me to do what I want - she not expressing any desires - and arrange for things to do together that I desire. For instance, I want to see my Fidelity adviser in Portland Maine - I called today to arrange a visit. We will meet with him for an hour or two and spend a night at a B&B on the ocean, which will include both of us getting up at dawn to walk the beach and seek an image to capture. I will do the same type of thing in southern Vermont, while going to the Robert Frost museum.

Some parts of these short trips Patty will enjoy, I know. She may not express pleasure but I get glimpses of joy in the eyes. Regardless, I am going to seek beauty and enjoyment, with Patty. It will work for awhile. I can't think beyond.

And, when at home, I will spend some time in the field, watering the saplings, or in the Studio, making big prints - both activities are like being in the back yard. I will put a camera's eye on Patty to always be in some contact. She doesn't like to be alone, but is reluctantly ok with it, until she calls - gone an hour or two - and wonders where I am. I know I will be in and out of the house, a lot, but I need more exercise anyway.

Am I crazy? You'll let me know when I am too far out of balance, won't you?

 

Patty... today

Patty is lucid... sometimes, but not today. 

Patty, A Pecious Moment

Patty is pictured here on June 20th, after granddaughter, Avi,  encouraged and assisted her in showering, shampooing and dressing with fresh summer-like cloths - something I have not been able to get Patty to do.

Now... today - Patty should not be left alone. She does not want to be alone. The problem is - Patty doesn't recognize the need for outside help and is offended by the mention of it. In my attempt to bring in aide she made a stink and told them to leave.

Really, it is not Patty that needs help, it is me. I have been leaving her alone for an hour or two while I tend to the farm - close by, but now, too far away.  She wonders to the other half of the multi-generational home where Jessica already has her hands full with a toddler and a new born. Yes, Patty now needs full time watching and assisting. She doesn't recognize it, but I now do.

Patty says "I'm (speaking about herself) not in a good place today. I'm totally out of wack. I don't know what is going on". She doesn't relate to Alzheimer's - at least her having Alzheimer's. She says "where are we?" She said once she thought we may be on temporary duty with the army or some non-profit, and that we would be going home soon. She twice wondered who I was, and is now frequently asking questions about who are family. The longer term memory has been good, up until now. She moved one more step down stream and it is now serious - I can't just run out for an hour or two. What do I do? I have to force the issue about outside help or go on TDY for real, 24/7

Patty said "I don't know rather to cry or scream", when she was feeling most out of sorts. I now feel the same - I don't know rather to cry or scream.

 

Connecting at Walden Pond

It could be any pond - Minnesota has thousands. It's not any pond, though - it's Walden Pond. I felt the reverence for nature, Thoreau, Emerson, during my brief encounter. I will go back - a draw to the wild, respect for nature blaring. I love it.

Concord is not rural. The Walden Pond State park is a quiet wilderness, aside suburban Boston population, accessible for the price of limited, controlled, parking.

I was dismayed to see the parking areas were only open from 7:30am to 7:30pm - missing both sunrise and sunset.  We left the parking area at 7:15pm - plenty early to counter my fear of being locked in for the night. I drove around desperately looking for a spot to park in the morning. How could I be so close to Walden Pond and not be in place to capture magic at sunrise?

Serendipitously (maybe not), we encountered a park ranger who graciously heard and responded to my plea for access at the sun's coming and going. He said "I'll watch for you at the gate... it's ok until 8:pm, and even if it is five after eight, I won't lock you in." This was thoughtful but still a bit early for sunset. How about sunrise at 5Am? The smily, thoughtful ranger directed us to the fishing access parking that opens at 5am.

I am there at 5am, thinking I would be alone - I usually am, along Lake Champlain or one of it's tributaries at sunrise. I think I got the last parking spot of the 15 or so spots. Fishers, swimmers and even a saunterer were there, quietly communing with nature. Wonderful.

Walden Pond, PhaseOne IQ 180 50mm 1/20 f14 ISO 35

Walden Connecting 1, PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/13 sec f11 ISO 35

The well outfitted fisher in this image said Walden Pond is his second home this time of the year. With a proud smile, he spoke of fishing the pond 65 years ago with his father. I have another image of him lifting high, for me to photograph, a 3 1/2 pound trout he expertly hooked, wading to his thighs to net.

Walden Connecting 2 PhaseOne 35mm 1/50sec f11 ISO 35

Carol is sauntering with sandals this dawn, making her way around the 1 1/2 mile pond sand shore, napping a stray can and one cigarette butt, doing her part maintaining pristine. Carol spoke of living close by, the last 35 years, and enjoying yoga often, near the Thoreau site, over looking the pond. Today she reflects from a perfect perch, the sun reflected at her calf. 

RICHARD

I visited Richard and Marianne, my oldest brother, and sister-in-law in LaJolla, in May. It was a special visit for me.

Richard has been in and out of the hospital recently. He is flirting with death and now restricted to a wheelchair, at home, with very supportive home health care. 

He is tired and needing much sleep, during the week of our visit, but energized by the many visitors - close relationships - that he jokes are the benefit of the flirt.

No fear of death - prepared, I guess.

He feels good enough now to recommence his poems - every word deserving fixating on, for me - gleaning more understanding of he, who is such a great example of SCG - a mentor to me.

Richard speaks of integration of life and death - death - not dark but light...  a new light. He speaks of the light, colors, different dimensions that are unknown, inviting, colors like we might get a glimpse of in nature.

RICHARD PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/30 sec f11 ISO 35

The morning after talk of life and death, serendipitously (maybe not), I find myself in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, at dawn, looking to capture an interesting image of the rare, native only to California, protected Torrey Pine.

If I am not mistaken, the image above is not a Torrey Pine. However, I was drawn to the unique view. I call it RICHARD - an unexpected gift, presented to me at the instant light touches the sky reaching branches.

Interpret what you see. Art, photography - like poetry, offers a personal take - that's a beauty of the gift to me.

RICHARD - I see a colorful beauty contributing growth, reaching to the light, truth - color enhanced by the light - standing out from other natives - the result of elements experienced - rain, storms and now a golden glow of morning sun. I love it. I love you Dick. 

Future Feel

One of the most powerful steps in the Love Priorities process is the Future Feel. I describe it as a short exercise, maybe a meditation - What do you feel while meditating on the nine activities of SCG (Self-realizing, connecting and giving) - Learning, Serving, Mentoring, Exploring, Relating, Playing, Protecting, Contributing, and Transferring? The power with this brief endeavor is thinking about it in context of the rest of your life. Probably, but not necessarily, the older you are the more impactful. Also, I expect it will be more beneficial with major life transitions.

I am now older, and I am going through transitions - Early retirement from AIS Planning, Patty's Alzheimer's, my stroke, move to multi-generational home in Richmond, Vermont., constructing photo studio, deeper involvement with nature - all are affecting my current Future Feel....  and/or, are a result of priorities I previously set with earlier Future Feels. I strongly believe that we do what is our highest priority, and we never get to lower ones. We deserve, and it is intended, that we do our highest priorities - the activities we love, involving the people we love. Life is too short to be putting off to tomorrow.

Future Feel Abstract PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/5 sec f14 ISO 35

The past is gone; it's color and glory buried. The residuals are memories, many a blur.  Hopefully, there are effects of good deeds - all actions leaving some imprint. Now is the time to do - no better time to step to our light, using our past as a footing - doing what we love - with those we love.

Bigger is Better. Exploration

Burlington Community Arts has eight of my approximate 22" by 40" horizon images exhibiting at the UVM hospital.  I framed the images without glass, using a protective spray as a preservation replacement. I did this for a couple reasons - the larger glass framed images are too heavy, and I am anticipating moving to, as big as, 40" by 80", where traditional framing is clearly prohibited. I am having a good response with the no-glass approach - within a week I had two orders and a number of positive comments from the hospital exhibit.

I am reluctant to move to canvas, but I think my exploration to Bigger is Better and capturing "my image of a lifetime", prescribe the risk of exploring new approaches.

I am also drawn to 'photo painting'. I like to photo paint to the point of not knowing if the image is a photo or a painting. I however am finding myself liking an application of painting beyond that subtle 'not knowing' point. Which do you like best?

Flaming Sycamore PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/15sec f/10 stitched

Flaming Sycamore heavy painting applied

This is a rare site of a tree, in this area. I found it in Shelburne at 5am as the new day sun was touching the tips of this majestic beast. I was met at the fence by an inviting master walking her dog. She was aware of the attraction and invited me to park in her driveway. I must bring her a proof, and see if she approves. Which one should I bring?

Time To Settle

It's time to settle down - it's about time, being 72! - our new home on Wolf lane, in Richmond, VT is the twentieth place we've lived in - almost as many as George and Barbara Bush.

A successful contractor client said to me in the 70's : "stretch to the home of your dreams as soon as possible and stay there forever - it will be your best investment." I thought I was doing that  with the house of our dreams we custom built in 78 - that was ten or so homes ago. What's the deal? Patty says I am restless. I say dreams change!

Enough is enough though. This is our last home....it almost has to be....it is a "multi-generational" home, and work place, with Michael and Jessica's family - we're locked in, so to speak.  Patty's reaction to my last home comment is : "I've heard that before"!

I got to say - this new arrangement is ideal for us. We'll see if my idealism plays out. 

courtyard view

The photo studio is now under construction on the 17 acre parcel. I am excited to get a larger printer, in the studio, and take my landscape photography to the next level. I am also excited to create a mile of nature trails on the property and have the property a magnet for family and friend visits. Please consider a stop by.

Studio Start

We should be settled in to home and studio by summer's end, just in time for a relaxed Fall view of one of the world's best destination areas!

Narcissism or Self-Love?

I'm no psychologist, and I'm going to act like one. 

There is a big difference between being narcissistic and having a strong, healthy, self-love! One is bad, and the other is good. The line was blurred for many in my generation. It is clear to me now -black and white. It is interesting that, still, a listed synonym of narcissism is self-love. Maybe many are still confused.

Growing up, I heard, and Patty heard, words to the affect of "don't give him/her a compliment....they'll get a big head." This was especially true with my dad and her mom, and the nuns and priests that surrounded us. What were thy thinking? All was focused on others... the poor pagan babies. Didn't they know that we are better able to love others while loving ourself!

I guess the way to be then was grace with sacrifice and even self-flagellation for the sin of personal pleasure. Patty talks about the last time she went to confession when the priest said "think of all those boys in Vietnam". Thank God for reason, independence, and Inner Wisdom.

Winter Bloom PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/5th sec f11 ISO 35

Balance is the key word here - Loving others as we love ourself - there is no other with narcissism!

Nature reflects the beauty of balance. I learn by looking, listening and reflecting....or maybe it is day-dreaming.

Is Wine Fine?

I'm getting mixed messages about the wisdom of drinking a couple glasses of wine with diner, while suffering with Alzheimer's - some websites say it is good - mostly though, from the medical people, I hear it should be avoided. At this stage, I am beginning to think - screw it - if you enjoy it (for whatever reason) go for it!

We have made eating out, once a day, a routine for Patty and me. Frequently, wine is available at the places we like. Invariably, I am ready to go while Patty is sipping on a second glass of wine. I get irritated, watching, while I feel this is not good for her. I avoid ordering a wine for myself, thinking Patty would follow..... I mean,  I have to help her with getting through the menu, knowing she is going to end up with a grilled cheese or chicken caesar salad. I would think she would forget about the wine, but no way. Patty orders the Chardonnay anyway. 

Last visit to the memory clinic resulted in a score so low for Patty (10 out of 30) that the provider said "I think we are done testing ... and we no longer think it is helpful to take any Alzheimer's medication." I possibly heard a sigh of relief in the room, from the provider and me, knowing that the fight for cooperation, at least on these two fronts, is over.

This is a hard disease to have and be near and dear - it's so hopeless - some Woolsey sarcastic humor is probably good - I remember, back in the 80's, when dad Woolsey had Alzheimer's and his kids moved him to New Hope, MN and he said "I guess it's No Hope for me now"!

 

 

Crystal Clear Sub-title Search - Help! Please.

About fifteen years ago I fell in love with the Champlain Valley - Lake Champlain and tributaries, Adirondacks, Green Mountains. I see it as one of the most beautiful areas anywhere. I knew then I wanted to capture it's beauty in photographic images, and share it with others.

In the last fifteen years I have taken over ten thousand images of the Champlain area, using the most diligent processes and best equipment I could muster up. I am serious about capturing my image of a lifetime that when printed large and presented nicely on walls will capture and keep the attention of all that view it. I might just capture that image right here, in the Champlain Valley - it's that beautiful ....to me... can't you see...(as the song goes)

Last Light Canon EOS 1DS Mark III 350mm 1/20th sec f9 ISO 100

A few years ago I got involved with the Vermont Clean Water Network - a network of people and organizations interested in revitalizing and keeping the water of Vermont clean. The cause of a having a culture of clean water, in the Champlain Valley, attracted me and gives special purpose to my project of capturing the areas beauty.

A couple years ago, I joined forces with Trevien Stanger, after reading an article he wrote for the Burlington Free Press called Thinking like a Watershed, to produce a quality 'coffee table' book. The book will include inspirational writing and beautiful images. Trevien is an environmentalist, writer, poet, educator, and great enthusiast of life, I am fortunate to be working with him on this project.

I am happy to say we have moved the project along enough to have attracted a number of clean water experts that have written a piece for the book, and a publisher interested in publishing it. 

We now have to commit to a title. We are crystal clear in agreement about the main title - OUR BASIN OF RELATIONS. (we will have a fun black and white graphic of the Lake Champlain Basin on the cover) We are not yet in agreement on a sub-title. Since I have never intended for the images (you can view images at www.mesipe.com, under Lake Champlain Project) to be documentary in nature, it is a little tricky to integrate images and words to present the book as a unique combination of inspiration, education, motivation and image beauty appreciation.

Please give me your thoughts about a sub-title. I know that is hard, not having the piece of work to look at. In my view our audience are people who love the Champlain Valley, are proud to live in or visit Vermont, who want to view the beauty of the area, and people who are on board with keeping the water clean. 

Sub-title ideas suggested - to like or build on:

Seasons

Protecting what we Love

Honoring  what we Love

Creating a Culture of Clean Water

Honoring the Water

Thinking like a Watershed

Clean Water and a Culture of Care

Where our Lives Flow Together 

We are looking for input so we can further our discussions and make a decision. Please don't labor it - just a quick reaction is great. 

Thanks for your input

 

Advocating is easier said than done, for me!

I still answer the phone sometimes with - This is Mike, how can I help you? I ask Patty - What do you want? Where do you want to go? What can I do for you? She says - nothing, no where. You would think after 50 years I would know the answers to these questions. And, often I do, but still, I ask - What can I do for you?

I am not naturally an advocate. I profess in ADVOCATE PLANNING - your advocate knows your history, dreams, values, passions and plans, maybe even better than you do. I even have fifty foundation questions to stir discussions. Yet, I serve as a broker - How can I order up what you want?

Nothing wrong with a broker - finding what people wanted served me well in my career. Now I recognize there is a higher level of serving - planning - advocating - loving. 

Cold Winter Day Hasselblad Stellar 10.4mm 1/2000 sec f1.8 ISO 80

SCG - Simply Saying - Love

What am I tying to say with the principle-based, love-priorities process and SCG - Self-realizing, Connecting and Giving? I am simply suggesting a template to focus loving self and others. I am not suggesting personal values, but suggesting universal principles for which your personal values will fit.

Focusing our priorities on our passions and proclaimed purpose with SCG is key to loving. We all want to be loved - that is universal. Love can not be demanded. Love is not an entitlement. We don't receive real love by being victims. We can not control being loved. We can, however, control how we love. We receive love by giving love.

Sunrise Dingle Bay, Canon EOS 1DS Mark iii 70mm 1/250 sec f9 ISO 200

An important concept in the process is simplification. Like a fog in the bay, details don't distract. We focus on a center of interest (our passions and purpose) and the details come into play, gently, like sun burns off the fog. A focus on your top priorities - your passions and purpose, by relevant learning, serving, mentoring (the self-realizing activities), exploring, relating, playing (the connecting activities) and protecting, contributing, transferring (the giving activities) is an effective planning process to get the most from your resources of money, time and health!

Like with photography, using a good, easily doable,  process results in continuous improvement and your unique best results. I love it.... and I would love if it resonates with you.

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Images of 2017

I know you have been holding your breath waiting for my favorite 16 images of 2017!...No more pain...  Here they are: http://www.myscgpriorities.com/best-of-photography-2017. 

Amalfi, PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/100 sec f12 ISO 35

My favorite image of the year is Blue and White, Positano. I've posted the image a few times already, so I am not going to post it here. That said, I must say - I can't get enough of Blue and White - I have printed it, large, as a  house warming present, for our new home on Wolf Lane.

2018 should be a great adventure. We get into our multi-generational home in March-April and the Photo studio should be done by June-July.

I am anxious for the studio to receive the next generation printer to 'go real big' - prints on canvas 40"x 80". 'Bigger is Better' has been my objective and I am finally prepared to do it right. I was going to use 'Bigger is Better' as a logo tag, until my professional photography son said it was tacky. Instead I am using 'Nature inspired imaging' - a little more classy, I guess, and clearly true, too.

 

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY NEW YEAR - Symbolism in Proximity

It is appropriate that Christmas and New year celebrations are so close together - we stop our busy lives, to celebrate the birth of LOVE and start anew, given the possibility of a fresh mindset - to 'love where there is hate'.

I love the words of Francis of Assisi - the Simple Pray - they inspire this simple, but logical, mind. I must learn more about Francis.

"It is in Giving that we Receive". I meditate on the prayer's simple concept, especially during this dual purpose pause. 

On point, at this Holy time, I also meditate about the Jesuit phrase - ALL IS GIFT -  introduced to me by (and lived by) Jim Tures (012345 - 120797) - all I receive and all that I am able to give is divine derived - realization of which, paves the way to my life's purpose - success - The realization of my unique good.  

All my 'revelations' about the power and process of SCG - the Love Priorities, that came to me at the start of this millennium, were made possible by being quiet and listening to the words of Francis and Jesuit Jim. I am grateful. I am open to my Inner Wisdom, from which comes good. I believe.

Christmas and New Year Contemplation

Love and Nature

Splendor in nature is wonder forthcoming. Follow the flow, portage our passions. Open to love, and Love will be with us - certain as springtime streams snow covered mountains.

Stowe Stream, PhaseOne IQ 180 35mm 1/10th sec. f11 ISO 35

We are Nature's gifted souls. Hear Inner Wisdom - Love abounds. All is precious and pristine - reflect - respect and protect. We are bestowed free will to realize our unique good.

Merry Blue and White Christmas... and Happy New Year

from Vermont

May Love be with You

Ryle, Jessica+, Emmett, Mike, Patty Spruce, Bridget, Avi, Michael