Monday, March 16, 2015


I am hoping this doesn’t come off as a horrible, rambling mess in writing as it seems to be in my head. 
I don’t blame anyone for bypassing this entry.   I am putting this writing because I can’t seem to get around it mentally, so just bear with me while I attempt to regain some balance.

It’s been nearly a week PV (I’m calling it Post-Vegas).  It has been an incredibly surreal experience.  I don’t naturally get excited about large group gatherings – it’s often quite the opposite.  However, days prior to leaving for the long weekend I was really eager to go, to do this… to meet all of these people behind this Scavenger game I’d been involved with for a couple of years.  To put faces and voices to the names on a screen.  Even before leaving, I was puzzled at the genuine want to put myself in this kind of environment.  

I don’t find it necessary to go into a play-by-play of the event, as I often do when I travel… because this time it was far, far less about the places we went and things we did than it was about the people.  All of the wonderful people.  The fun-loving, funny, inspirational, caring, and sensitive people. 

I never rave about people.  I just never, ever do.
Again, surreal…

I struggle with what to say when others ask me about the trip.  I mean, for real… who goes to Vegas and does nearly nothing that is typically Vegas…?!  And who comes back speechless about the experience?  Speechlessness has nothing to do with the whole “what happens in Vegas” mantra… it’s so much bigger than that. 

How do I describe this to anyone that was not in attendance and is not familiar with the group? 
I went with the expectation of putting faces to names, learning some things, taking some nice photos.
I returned with the sense that I’d just gone to some over-the-top inspirational, love-in retreat… with all of these wonderful people from all over the world… who just happen to be photographers too. 

After shedding the some of the star-struck-ness of seeing some of these great artists that I see and read daily, I found that all the people admire were approachable.  Available.  Very friendly.  Encouraging.  And still just as wonderful and inspiring as their virtual selves.  Unbeknownst to a lot of people, they are truly great teachers.  From them, I picked up a lot of tidbits of ideas and techniques in general conversation. 

The quiet moments were rather incredible as well – for me, maybe more so. 
Taking those personal, silent moments to process everything that happened… both internally and otherwise.
To look across a busy table or a room full of talking, joking, happy people… and find those eyes looking back in understanding.  That face that simply ‘gets it,’ without the need for an exchange of words.   These are the moments that truly grab my heart. 

At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I am forever changed by this experience.  After only 4 days of time spent, I have never connected better with any other group of people before.  Ever.  And it just fills my soul with goodness and wholeness and inspiration and wonder for new experiences.   These people have motivated me for change – and not just change in my photographic journeys… but in life.  I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating.  I have found my people, my tribe.

Which is why, now, I think I feel such a huge loss.  I’m home.  I have been for almost a week.  And I’m still melancholy, still in withdrawal, and still generally blue.  I feel like I’m in mourning.   I’m having a real difficult time shaking it.  Visiting the online feeds with everyone’s photos and stories are great… but two-fold.  They make me so very happy that it all happened and I could be there to experience it, and yet ever so sad that I don’t have the ability to see everyone as easily as I could just a few days ago. 

It’s this that I’m struggling with now. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Coming soon...

Travel plans are in the works!

First and foremost - Vegas, baby!

This trip came about by way of a little group of Photo Scavengers over on Google+.  Every couple of months, we sign up, and we impatiently wait for the coveted list of words to hunt for and concepts to create.  While we wait, and while we hunt, and while we create... we also have the opportunity to get to know the other hunters, ask for/lend assistance when needed, and generally enjoy the close-knit community we've become over the years.  Oh, and the photo reveals are outstanding!

After so long of playing and chatting online, we've decided to congregate in Las Vegas and meet... for real... in person!!  How amazing!!  We'll meet, we'll have presentations, and field-trips, and studio time... and I'm ridiculously excited to do it all... of course, all of this in addition to meeting some of the people I've been playing this game with for years.  Over 130 of them.

It's going to be a rough few days at work this week... *sigh*

The Boy is going to do a week-long 2-stroke motorcycle meet on the Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee again this May.  Sounds like it should be a fun time.  I drove down to rescue him after some mechanical issues last year... I won't be able to easily do it again this year, so I hope he's ready.  But the area is truly gorgeous, and if the weather cooperates for him, he should have a fantastic time!

Later this summer, we are both going back west to loosely re-create my trip to the Pacific Northwest that I did last year.  With some modifications, of course.  We're looking forward to more time driving on the Pacific coast beaches (in the Jeep and his motorcycle), more time hiking in the rain forests, and more photo opportunities.  We'll take around 16 days, round trip.

In the interim, there will be weekend trips for my photo work like there were last year.  Last year took me to Wisconsin and Michigan... in addition to day trips around home.  It's too early to know for sure, but I'm optimistic that I'll be out and about just as often this year.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Positive vs. Negative

I don't enjoy negativity.  I tend to be non-confrontational.  I prefer to ignore and walk away from arguments rather than engage in them.  It's often a struggle to participate in areas with others who perpetuate these things - who add to negativity with hate, with gossip, with poor and unresearched information, and the like.

I used to let all of these things get to me, to weigh on my mind.  I used to take so much personally which would make me bitter and upset.  It's been a lengthy progression, but I've worked a lot of this out of my head.  I think it started with my time with "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz a very, very long time ago.  It presented ideas that I hadn't considered before.  The best of which was the idea of not taking anything personally.  It essentially said that what others say and do is a projection of their own reality, and when you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. 

While I am much better with negativity now, I don't think any of us are truly immune to it.  I shy away from mainstream news - I pick and choose where I get my information about current events.  That way it feels like I have better control over the bad.  I've been limiting my usage of social media - most sites I have discontinued using.  I keep and use a couple for different purposes.  Facebook is one I struggle with keeping or letting go, as so much of my feed errs towards the negative.  On the upside, however, I have introduced some other contacts who have lightened things up quite a lot in what they decide to post and share.  

I decided to follow that lead.  I choose share the parts of my life that are positive, and share things that interest me and can help me (and maybe others) in personal growth. Sure, I certainly have my share of worries, stresses, and bad times just like everyone else...  I work through those things through other outlets and choose to stop projecting my complaints and problems onto the world.  I am no longer allowing those things to rule my every waking moment. 

It's an interesting idea... when you project less negativity, you find that you don't let as much come back in.  Karma, perhaps?

My adventure in physical purging of things in the last few years has been amazing.  The mental and emotional purge has taken a lot longer to develop.  It has been just as rewarding thus far... if not more so.