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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

It's Just a Picture.... or is it More?

Once in a while, a few times a year, I come upon a scene and know I have a fine print, even before I capture the image. It's an exciting feeling. I get entranced by a passing moment in nature. I lose myself in a frantic to freeze a moment I can process, interpret, print and share. 

Not until a print is processed and produced do I fully understand my feelings at the time of capture. Sometimes I create affects in a image to enhance my interpretation. It's more than snap and share, for me. I love it - the capture, interpretation and presentation. Big and Beautiful, with a lasting good feeling, is my quest.

The gift for me is the moment, offered by nature, for personal interpretation.  My images are not created with talent to originate and emote. Rather - I am very grateful for the messages I feel from the gifts I receive from the natural world. 

Blue and White, Positano has held my attention since I saw the scene upon approaching the beach on the Mediterranean sea, in Positano, Italy, last March. (maximum print size - 43" x 50")

Blue and White, Positano PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/40 sec f18 ISO 35

The blue and White floating companions are a perfect foreground to the blue and white of the infinite sky and seemingly endless sea. The white vessel, love - the guide.  The sea - life's journey. The sky - culmination. The blue boat - humanity (me), leans to love for courage, in anticipation of the, sometime, stormy seas.

Walking - by Thoreau

Methinks, sauntering, about nature, is my new speed.... and that is good.

Thoreau talks of sauntering in nature as a spiritual crusade, seeing the "Holy Land". "We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure , never to return - prepared to send back our embalmed heart only as relics of our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again - if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man - then you are ready for a walk.... a noble art...."

"Some of my townsmen, it is true, can remember and have described to me some walks which they took ten years ago, in which they were so blessed as to lose themselves for half an hour in the woods; but I know very well that they have confined themselves to the highway ever since."

Thoreau had a high, desirable, spiritual expectation of his frequent sauntering in nature, with little expectation of what was ahead, while seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting and feeling the sensual present. I love it. 

Field Road, PhaseOne IQ 180 120mm 1/13 sec f12 ISO35

"My vicinity affords many good walks" - Thoreau speaks of the "Old Marlborough Road", a discontinued road that most communities have two or three such pathways. Our Field Road is my Old Marlborough road, leading, perchance, southwest - sunsetting light seeking, across the field, by Johnny Brook, to Green Mountain foothills. 

Late in the light, a short while ago, I found myself walking on a new path in the woods, a short distance off my Old Marlborough Road. I was sauntering on a new bike path, watching the sun penetrating the woods, wishing to capture a moment, with the light just right on a memorable site.

Golden, PhaseOne IQ 180 80mm 1/25 sec f11 ISO 35

I lost myself in the woods - literally - it was soon after the sign for a new path alternative - The Grim Reaper. I blamed getting lost, on the fallen leaves and the newness of the path. I thought about Thoreau speaking of the safety of the America Woods, then I thought about the reports of Bobcats and Bears in The Green Mountains. I walked North East - opposite of the venture out in the woods. A while later, I saw a house. I moved to it, found friendliness and walked the roads two plus miles back to home base. Needless to say, I am not one with the wild - not just yet. I can say I got lost in the woods though. Thoreau would be proud of me, being kind, as he was. 

"So we saunter toward the Holy Land, till one day the sun shall shine more brightly than ever he has done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bankside in autumn."

I wish to go to Walden Pond in Concord, MASS and hope I will wish to go again and again - to walk in the steps of Thoreau, and learn more, as have many before.

Secrets Scar - True Stories Heal

While contemplating this writing, about the Giving principle activity of transferring - stories, values, and other valuables,  I reread chapter 8 of my book ADVOCATE PLANNING, To Do What You Love To Do - The value of histories and life stories.  The read is worthwhile wisdom to ware, ..... if I must say so myself - better than I remembered. I invite you to go to Book on this site, download the book, and read chapter 8 - it doesn't take long to read. It confirmed to me logic, motivation, and ways to transfer - give value - to people we love.

Scars, Hasselblad Stellar 21.77mm 1/2000 sec f3.5 ISO 400

"It's our little secret", said dad, on his death bed, to his secretary/mistress , with unintended ears present - worth a laugh or two... later... with siblings. The condoned close relationship with Shirley, over a fifty year period, was no secret. We just acted as though it was.

The "little secret", was emblematic of many of my parents realities needing to be secret. Mom and dad were secret souls, treating us a bit as 'subjects'. Yet, evidence of great influencing attributes, is all ten of their children, productively doing their passions. Method in their madness?

"Who was that mask man [woman]?" I asked mom, after dad's death, why she tolerated his relationship with Shirley. She said dad would have gone crazy without Shirley. An act of love? Or, a reprieve from madness?

I spent years in 'therapy', culminating with ten page letters to each of my parents. I stood up to them - to power. I pulled the curtain down. I was looking for truth - not about Shirley - about love - love of self and love of others. I confronted each, separately - faced resistance, learned about power and self-esteem. It was an extremely growing experience for me - maybe why I came up with SCG - the Love Priorities, and dedicated so much time in writing the book and doing this blog. I am grateful. I can't speak for my parents, but, I felt closer to both of my parents, understanding better their story, having confronted them. I value love more having worked at it.

I had to fight to get a glimpse of my dad's love. At my dad's death bed, I asked, with interest, not demand -  Do you love me? - He never before, expressed, in so many words,  his love for me. He sobbed, repeating five times - I love you. I believe it was a cleansing moment.... for both of us.

Docks in a Row, Hasselblad Stellar 11.18mm 1/25 sec f4 ISO 80

My experience with my parent's and my own story, as well as learning from client situations, has convinced me that 'the true story' is as valuable as money transferred to our loved ones - especially where there is the expression of love. Even where love is absent, dealing with the true story, provides the logic of the story, giving a base to build love relationships.

I am telling my story. I am expressing my love. I am getting my docks in a row, to love more, before my next season. I love it.

The Weight of Hate

Why so much hate? I don't understand. Hate hurts - not something someone would voluntarily choose. Is it an uncontrollable human condition? Is it societally agravated by Hollywood, political opinion newscasts, religious zelots, social media, or even video gun games?

Why is there so much divisiveness? Many seem to not want to even listen to 'the other side', more less study alternatives to their own positions and learn from thought diversity. 

Splash, Hasselblad Stellar 16.2mm 1/2000 sec f4 ISO 80

I am concerned. The weight of hate is affecting too much, even long-time friendships are axed with an opposing political position.

Instead of celebrating differences, some people hurt so much they lash out at innocent bystanders, knowing the consequence is their own demise. Is this their cowardly escape from powerful influences that contribute to their weight of hate that they feel is futile to face?

Are societal stresses so great that hate is becoming vogue? So many questions!

I can think of but one remedy for hatred - LOVE - While hate hurts, love heals, and delights the psyche. Love invites diversity of thought. Love listens. Love lasts. God is Love. Love is Light.

A couple years ago, the devastated parishioners of the Charleston Church expressed the power of love. I am hearing the same from the survivors in Southerland Springs. Do we have to be pushed to the brink, to see the power of love? 

Do we need guards at the gates of all our churches!

Serenity, Canon EOS IDS 90mm 1/640 sec f11 ISO 100 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please Don't Judge Me

Love me - Judge my ideas, my photographs - that's how I learn, better understand. As for me, "grant that I don't seek, so much, to be understood, as to understand".

We, as humans, have a tendency to leap to a conclusion - we hear a few facts, abstract, and leap to a conclusion. Now it seems the tendency goes beyond a leap to a conclusion about a fact, but a person - almost to the point that if a person thinks differently than me there is something wrong with them - I hate them - Why doesn't everybody think like me? - Like what I like?

Sun Rain Birch Canon EOS IDS Mark III 90mm 1/10 sec f18 ISO 100

Daily, I affirm my mantra - Love in the Moment. Part of my mantra is an affirmation of contributing my uniqueness, and accepting the uniqueness in myself, as well as that of others, without judgement, with respect, patience, and a sense of humor. That is easier said than done. When I am 'in the zone' with it, though, it sure feels good. I love myself for who I am, what I feel and think. And, I love others, unconditionally, for who they are, with all that they differ from me. How sad it would be if all were me.

A Worthy Cause

Patty said, once, "I'm not walking - how embarrassing." Then she said "I don't have Alzheimer's, I just don't pay any attention." We did walk, in both Minnesota and Vermont.

It is easy for Patty to do for others, and hard for her to have others do for her. We walked for others ... for us. I deal with this daily with Patty. Sometimes, I wish she were more self caring. Maybe she knows best - that "it is in giving that we receive", as in the simple prayer. Yah, but a little self aware and care might be good, too! Is she using a defense  mechanism? I hear denial is common. I can understand.

It's too complicated for me. The Alzheimer's Association has been a big help in giving me counsel and comfort - direction. They are dedicated people; dedicated to not only the research to finding a cure - the first person to survive the disease - but helping deal, for all involved.....and, this is big. HELP WANTED - more patience and seeing more humor....and reaching our fundraising goal.

 Alzheimer's walk, Vermont

Alzheimer's walk, Vermont

Our team, The Whichwayers, fundraising goal is $10,000. Between Minnesota and Vermont we have raised $9,145 - close, but no cigar. Wonderful help from wonderful people. I asked family and some friends for money, in conjunction with celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary, and received this great support. I feel good about the way we celebrated our fiftiehth- thank you very much for those who celebrated with us, in-kind and/or a contribution.

Now, I ask again, to a wider audience, so we can reach and go beyond The Whichwayers goal!

Will you help us and the Alzheimer's Association reach our goals -a cure, counsel, comfort? You can donate on-line by going to http://act.alz.org/goto/Whichwayers or send the Alzheimer's Association a check in the mail: Alzheimer's Association National Office, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601 in the name of The Whchwayers, Minnesota or Vermont.

Alzheimer's - Looking for a Cure

This is my Purple Purpose image - I am reaching out for others, for myself, to come together and contribute, or add a bit to your already generous contribution.  Patty is in this image, as family and others support. Human kindness will prevail, and progress, with this mean disease, will be made. Thanks for your consideration........and, I promise, I won't ask again.....at least this year.

 

 

 

 

Horizon Revisited

I'm thinking clearer today....In my blog of July 25th I defined the Horizon as the area where the sky appears to caress the earth - not so my small minded photographer. The sky caresses the earth, and some times pounds the earth.... note Harvey! 

While thinking deeper about the horizon, I feel a desire to go beyond the skyline - the sky, air and all that comes with it, like water, is vital to our being. Water and Air can also be powerful and dangerous forces. We can't live without either, and how little control we have over nature, doing it's thing.

Respect, Protect, and Connect - we are all in this together. We have God-given strength to deal, and how sweet it is to see people, non-dualistically, come together and help each other.

The earth is a spec in the sky, non-recognizable a relatively short distance into the Cosmos. This blows my mind and reminds me of the lyrics of the song I Believe - "every time I touch a leave or see the sky, I know why, I believe"elvis presley i believe the gospel masters

 Lakeside Hasselblad Stellar 10.4mm 1/2000 sec f2 ISO 80

Lakeside Hasselblad Stellar 10.4mm 1/2000 sec f2 ISO 80

50 Years of Bliss! 8/25/1967 - 8/25/2017

50 years of bliss - I got a hefty laugh with that comment - I knew I would. We've had our share of struggles in our marriage, and much growth and love. I am grateful for the time.

50th with Family at Inn at Shelburne Farms

My life is dedicated to the "the love priorities" - SCG - a principle-based, love of self and love of others, priorities process. As you know, I wrote a book about it as a retirement gift to clients, friends and family. Patty inspired me with much of what I learned over the years about love and advocacy. I make the process seem so complicated. Patty makes love seem so simple.

If the action of putting another person’s interest in front of your own is a sign of love, Patty clearly loves me much. If only I could be so pure.

 

Horizon

Horizon - the area where the sky appears to caress the earth.  

3000 Sun Rays Canon Power Shot G-10 8.9mm 1/400 sec f6.3 ISO 100

I was not aware that skies were dominant in my photos (www.MySCGpriorities.com) until one of my biggest photo fans, my brother Richard, said he is seeing more skies in my images. By God, I am looking to the skies more - over 60% of my favorite images, over the last few years, include sky as an important element. Richard delighted me by inviting me to submit 24 representations of skies of the day, for his next book of poems. I love it! And....thank you Richard, for causing me more self-awareness.

Natural beauty has always been the draw for me; gifts, if you will. I go to a place that I think will catch my eye, and freeze, for a life-time, a passing moment that delights me. I don't create beauty, I capture it.. 

Amalfi Coast Phase One IQ 180 80mm 1/500 sec f11 ISO 35

My photography continually reminds me that "All Is Gift" (012345) - All that I receive and All that I am able to contribute.

I look to the horizon more now than ever, the next moment - a mystery - literally and figuratively. Thank God I see so much beauty!

 

We Protect What (Who) We Love

Sorry for using the presumptuous, all-inclusive, pronoun we, in the title of this blog, but that's how I feel - "protecting" what (who) we love is a universal truth and a natural phenomenon - as natural as a mother bear protecting her cub. 

PROTECTING is one of the nine activities that I define as the LOVE PRIORITIES in ADVOCATE PLANNING; To Do What You Love To Do (a free down-load, under BOOK on this website www.MySCGpriorities.com). I feel passionately that a simple process of focussing on our love priorities will be most productive for us, result in doing, what we love to do. "Protecting" is all I am addressing in this blog, because that is where my mind is now; having just past a kidney stone and appreciating the value of drinking a lot of water - I love water. I want to protect clean water (a topic for another blog).

  THE LOVE PRIORITIES

THE LOVE PRIORITIES

For those of us with limited assets, income and time, we think about the two market crashes in the last decade, cringe, and plan to protect some assets, so we don't run out of money to live happily now, and maybe even, leave some money to love ones in our estate. How do you do that? Well maybe you want to read the book and/or talk to your financial planner or personal advocate, about your unique situation. As a personal advocate and having been a professional financial planner, I offer what I do for me, for whatever it is worth for you, in your dealing with this protection issue:

I won't deal with all my details here, knowing that a lot of my actions are unique to my situation. What I think is critical for everyone, is knowing which of your assets are "stable assets" - those that will not reduce proportionally, with a market crash, and secondly, how many years of your investment distribution needs, the stable assets represent. If you are young and will be living on your earnings for sometime, you could, theoretically, have no, or very little, stable assets.

I have seven years of distribution needs in what I determine are stable assets. What I include in stable assets are contract receivables, predictable rents, cash and cash equivalents (very short term bonds). I do not include intermediate and long term bonds because I believe bonds are in dangerous territory and may vary proportionally with an equity markets decline. Also, the value of bonds will decrease with increases in interest rates, and rates are unnaturally low presently. Since bonds are tenuous and cash yields nothing to speaks of, I believe in having some, maybe half, of the stable assets in broadly based large cap index funds with a trigger to get out. The trigger I use to get out is the S&P against the 10 and 12 month moving average of the S&P. In other words, when the S&P is lower than the moving averages, I am in cash and when the S&P is greater than the 10 and 12 month moving averages of the S&P I am in the S&P index with some of my stable assets. Does this make sense? Not that history necessarily repeats itself, but, this approach protected the downside, nicely, during the crashes of the last decade. 

Protecting is one of the three activities of Giving, in the Advocate Model. Insurance costs are frequently identified with "protecting". And, who wants to spend money for insurance....until we think about our loved ones and the possible ramifications of loss. Giving is one of the three principle-based Love Priorities in the Advocate Planning Model. "It is in the giving that we receive" (Francis Assisi). Giving - Love, feels good - the opposite - hate, feels bad. I'd rather drink an ice cold water now than Rat poison. Think about it!