Fear: friend or foe?

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All my life I’ve comfortably considered fear to be a trusty companion; noble protector and in many ways a true friend. After all, fear is what kept me from taking too many risks, chances, and leaps into the unknown. Fear had a way of playing out the what if scenarios in my mind in with such cinematic clarity that my common sense had no choice but to accept them as reality. That was until recently when I realized I’ve been dooped.  Last night  I was thinking about how much time I’ve given into fear driven reality and I realized that fear is nothing more than Futile Emotion Ambushing Reality. Isn’t it interesting how we can find ourselves fearing something with such aversion and we put so much energy into that aversion, that we find ourselves not even living or experience our lives to the fullest. Then when we  actually find ourselves facing something really challenging, it’s not fear that surfaces,

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it’s faith, courage, compassion, and wisdom. All of the sudden we find ourselves doing the Rocky Balboa bounce, saying;

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Recently I attended a dear friends 5 year anniversary of being cancer free post treatment. This was a wonderful celebration, not only of her remission and healing but of her life. Later that evening she shared with me some challenges she’s facing with an aging parent. She began to say,

“I’m going out to see him for the first time since he’s fallen and I  just don’t think I’ll be able to handle this, He’s now  requiring care with his hygiene there’s just no way i’ll be able to do this. I’ve never been so scared of anything in my life.”

I looked at her in the eyes with a half a smile (because I knew how strong and incredible she was!)  and said;

” 6 years ago, before you knew you had breast cancer, would you have thought you could handle that? When you were first diagnosed, did you think you would be able to handle radiation and chemo? ”

She chuckled and replied;

“Heavens no!”

I told her that I knew her and that I knew how much she loved her father and that once she gets to be with him, she will find there isn’t anything she wouldn’t want to do to take care of him. She also needs to remember she is never alone in this process and that she is entitled to ask for help from family members, friends, fellow parishioners,  or from medical professionals. She will find a way to provide for the needs of her father. She is stronger than she thinks she is and I know it, and I know that she knows it! She is an amazing scrap booker, and I can imagine that she will find a way to document her time with her father that will be a treasure and a legacy for all posterity as well.

Ever since then I have found myself thinking about how much of my time and energy was wasted watching the “what if” scenarios of fear. I recognize now that fear was not my friend. A true friend doesn’t hold you back, but encourages you to grow and would show you the possibilities of what could be, of what you could offer, and what impact and difference you can make for the good in the world. Now I choose Joy instead of fear;  Just Open Yourself to the possibilities. So anytime I start to feel fear, I now recognize that as static to my true self, and I try to dismiss it as quickly as possible. Fear literally strips me of my power to move forward and to have influence and to fulfill my purpose. I will dismiss fear; for it is not my friend, and instead live my life with JOY!

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Keeping My Eye On The Ball

DSC06334Loving baseball came natural to me. I’m sure there are strands in my DNA dedicated just to this sport. My childhood was filled countless hours at the ball field watching my four older brothers play. As a young teenager, I not only played softball, but also babysat for Charlie Hough; a pitcher for the LA Dodgers. Sitting in his living-room with his little girl on my lap while we watched him pitch in the World Series was a moment I’ll never forget. She turned to me and said,

” Daddy’s working”.

I giggled and said “Yep”. knowing she had no idea just how cool that was.

In High school I played fast pitch and was lucky enough to date one of the best baseball players in our town of Benicia. It was a good thing he loved the game, since I caught a ball in the eye a day before prom, and knew that he wouldn’t be bothered by the ball stitch marks and black eye I adorned along with my formal dress.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to watch a game.  I found myself sitting on the sidelines with my camera, aching to capture the essence of what makes this game so wonderful to me. It wasn’t until I got home and started editing my photo’s that I realized I’d forgotten an important part of my story. It was when I saw this picture, I realized that too often in life, even in my attempt at photography, I take my eye off the ball. I failed to capture an image of the very person who by sharing her passion, made it one of mine; my mother.DSC06280As I looked at this picture, I realized there were 4 generations of baseball fans at this game. My mom was seated behind home plate holding her newest ( at the time) great-grandchild; my dad by her side. Her son-in-law was coaching the team with his oldest son as assistant coach and youngest son playing. My sister was keeping score and seated next to her was my youngest daughter and my sisters first grandson who at the age of two, was already joining in when the crowd applauded a good play.DSC06309

I couldn’t help but think back to those summer years of my childhood and began to wonder how many banana cream pies my mom made; since that was the reward for any home run hit by my brothers, or any member of their team. She was the ultimate team mom, dedicated fan, cheerleader and motivational baker!  That tradition continued as she has watched her grandsons play. Now they are bringing their kids to the game.

I wished I would have realized then that the picture of the evening, was the one I never took. She was the reason I loved this game, and the next time I get to watch a game with her, it will be her image and the essence of her love of the game that I hope to capture. Her cheers still echo in my mind just as they did down the hallway when I was a little girl as she would watch the world series. Her words of encouragement and advice she’d yell to us from the stands are one’s we can still apply as we play this game of life.

“Keep your eye on the ball”.

A gentle reminder for me to focus on what really matters.

I Was Blind But Now I See

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Reading the unrestrained thoughts of others has always fascinated me. The art of blogging has given an entirely new dimension to human expression. Each of us have moments of clarity where our life experiences or observations teach us something or impact us in a way that we can’t help but want to share it with others.

Last year I had a personal shift that’s compelled me to live a life of passion. Losing my vision for several months due to bilateral retinal detachment was devastating. What was even more alarming was to discover I was stuck in a perception of perpetual blindness even after my vision was stabilized. That became my personal wake up call. I discovered in a personal training program; ” The Power of Choice”, that one of the dominant beliefs in my life was that I was broken. Yet as I looked deeper, I was amazed to discovered my capacity.

This was December 2013. Since that time I set a 90 day goal and lead a photo expedition to Monterey bay. I actually started my personal blog as the beginning to that process as a way of recording my reflections as I progressed. My 90 day goal was completed on March 8th, 2014. when I and 29 others boarded a 60 foot yacht and took our first whale watch trip in the ocean as a celebration of the restoration of my vision. One interesting thing to note, when I wrote my initial goal I stated;

“ I want the connections I make on the whale watch trip to lead me to greater opportunities than I can even comprehend at this time”.

As a direct result of my initial goal, I have taken 4 additional trips on the whale watch boat. On one of them I met a research director for Monterey Bay Marine Life Studies. I was invited to work with them and last Tuesday I drove the research boat for the first time as we photo identified Whales, Risso’s and Bottle nose dolphins. I have completed the training to be an educational docent at the worlds largest marine mammal hospital after finding a stranded sea-lion on the beach and have since discovered 3 additional stranded or entangled animals.. This is just in the last 30 days. To say this is well beyond any expectation I could have had is an understatement. At times I want to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. What makes this even more interesting is the fact that I live in Utah and this year I will be celebrating my 50th birthday.

Pollyanna has always been my go to movie; especially the part where she explains to the preacher about the joy texts in the Bible. There are so many people feeling overwhelmed by the challenges in their lives, or in the world, but if we choose to really look and see, this world is a remarkable place and there are wonderful opportunities for each of us to do something that not only fills our cup, but also overflows and fills the cups of others. As I share my photographs and simple moments of clarity, I hope to illuminate the joy I find in this journey. I am creative by design, living the life I was born to love.

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