Traditional meditation has always been difficult for me. My mind bounces around like a ball loosed from a small child’s hand. My internal to-do-list (you know those things you meant to do, but forgot to do) pops in and out of mind and I end up frustrated. Frustrated with myself because I can’t focus my attention within and quiet my thoughts for 10 minutes and frustrated with the whole damn process of meditation.
Instead, for the past few months, I’ve continued my morning practice of prayer, reading inspirational and enlightening works, and writing in my journal. This has become my meditation. The time when I go within, quiet my mind, focus on expanding my consciousness and listening for inspiration. Music helps.
Music centers me. It provides a point of focus on which my mind can connect in order to quiet itself. This morning, I chose Jules Massenet’s lovely composition “Thais/Meditation” performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London as my meditation music. Music is useless to me in traditional meditation. But when I simply sit with my journal, an inspirational book or the Bible or Qu’ran, with music playing, I am centered and open. Open for inspiration, for creative ideas, for insight in things that may be going on in my life, world and affairs. I am open for guidance.
I’m currently reading “The Seat of the Soul”, by Gary Zukav. His chapter on the subject of reverence struck a chord: “Reverence is contact with the essence of each thing and person and plant and bird and animal. It is contact with the interior of its beingness….Reverence is a perception, but it is a holy perception.”
So what does it mean to be in contact with the essence of a thing? I am still trying to find that out. I was lead to take another look at some images I took earlier this year, to re-edit them as the music was leading me.
This, I guess,is where the music and the inner voice led me as I try and make contact with the essence of this little hibiscus at this moment in time.
This little beauty wanted the world to see her glory so desperately, she persevered through chilly days plastic shrouded windows and dry soil. Looking at my plant that bloomed in such awesome glory all summer long, this little beauty is literally the last bloom standing. No buds, no hope of buds anytime in the near future. How awesome is that!
Sometimes, I just have to take a break. Sit in the Silence. Be in the Moment. Stop self-chatter. Still the voices around me. Deflect the negative energy swirling all around me. For me, nature is often the centering element. Nature helps focus me, calm me, inspire me, reassure me. Reassure? Yes! When I observe nature, I am reminded that the Earth provides all the needs of a plant. Roots reach out to gather whatever is needed to sustain and nurture and grow a plant or a tree. All that is needed for the plant or tree to flourish is right there, immediately available!
It is a strong reminder to me that all I have to do is KNOW that all is well; that all my needs are already met; that there is an infinite supply for every demand. The Creator satisfies and provides the desire of EVERY living thing. That includes me!
I LOVE fresh flowers!
When I had a yard, I grew a cutting garden from which I would pick beautiful blooms for my home almost daily in Spring and Summer. I also grew varieties that simply beautified the landscape and soothed the eye. Now, I’m limited to growing things in containers on the balcony and the Veranda, so I regularly buy flowers at farmer’s markets during the Summer and at the grocer’s during Winter. I was a cloudy, rainy day yesterday and I was really in need to something to uplift my spirit. I made my weekly trip to the market and bought an armload of flowers for the kitchen, the office, the guest room and for the living room. I didn’t really have a specific place in mind for these cute daisies so I decided to create a little centerpiece for the Veranda.
I also collect baskets. I try to use what I collect but sometimes I collect them because they are just so beautiful! I came across this beautiful vintage basket the other day as I was cleaning the laundry room (of all places)! I think I used it in the past for cutlery when I had cookouts, but I hadn’t used it in a while. I also hate to through out glass jars! Every time I empty one, I think to myself “there has GOT to be a use for this!!” I save some for storing little items like screws, beads, etc., and others I simple put away, hoping for some inspiration to trigger a new purpose for them. I used two mayo jars for this centerpiece. I think it turned out alright! 🙂
Recently I had a small gathering of friends over for drinks on the Veranda. Nelson + Alice are two of my dearest friends and fellow art junkies. I love, love, LOVE this couple! They’re funny, silly, witty (especially Nelson), interesting and crazy in love with each other! I shot a few images of them as we all sat and talked during the afternoon. None of the images moved me like this one. I plan to present this tothem as a gift.
Hello June! Welcome!
I love June. It is a month that signals the arrival of summer for me. Living in Chicago the arrival of June means there will be no more chance of a renegade snowfall and I can finally, finally put away my hand warmers!!
It means the end of school days and the beginning of long days languishing in the sun, on the beach, in the parks. Relaxing afternoons strolling flea markets and yard sales. Cool mornings buying veggies and plants at farmer’s markets. Chill nights sitting with friends on the Veranda or on the balcony.
June is also a favorite month because some of my favorite people were born in June. Here are some vintage images of my favorite June babies. 🙂
June 16, 1912 – My maternal Grandmother Leola Delores (Wilson) Caesar.
Also born on June 16, 1927 – My beautiful Mother-In-Law, the late Beverly M. (Webb) Verdin
And then my favorite June babies, born on June 8, 1980, my twin sons Langston and Gideon Verdin – Williams! Shown her at about 2 years old with their Aunt Amber (my lil sis!)
I attended and shot an event held at the Bronzeville home of Ra & Falona Joy last week as part of The Chicago Home Theater Festival. CHTF is a small part of an international movement started in Berkeley, California and now spans 3 continents and 10 countries. During the month of May, 20 hosts in a variety of city neighborhoods open their homes and transform them into performance spaces for art, spoken word, cinema, and interdisciplinary art. The Chicago Home Theater Festival activities are from May 1-25th, 2014.
The Schedule of remaining events can be found here