You, your Internal Compass

Truth shall set you free. But what is the truth? Who determines the truth, or what is true for you, or true for me? Is there an exacting truth for everyone, like a one size fits all?

I truly do not think so, and I am glad that it appears that it isn’t the case. If we all were to walk the exact same path, in the exact same manner, with the exact same experiences, and the exact same outcomes, we would be robbing others of their truth. We would be robbed of our own truth! I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the exact opposite of what makes life beautiful, and rich.

Now, I think a majority of people want a similar final outcome. We want to be greeted with open arms, a loving presence to welcome us home, and the contentment of knowing that we did our best, that we truly made the effort with what we had to work with. Some people will say, what difference does it make, there is nothing and no one at the end. Period. The End. I respect that, I understand, and I have been there. Not that long ago in fact. And do you know what I did? I took a pause.

I paused because there were some things I needed to learn, about myself, about my life, about my health and about this world. I learned about other people, what makes them tick, looked deeper at what makes me tick, and then I had a revelation. I don’t know shit. Lol. All these years of thinking I had a good bead on things to realize, I really don’t know anything, and odds are, you don’t either.

That is not meant to say we are all dumb, because that is simply not accurate, but what it really says is this: no matter how much I learn, how much knowledge I gain, how much I grow from experience, at the end of the day, it is a drop in the bucket compared to all that I really don’t yet know and have not experienced yet.

This revelation blew my mind. It humbled me like nothing has before. I think in that moment, I really acknowledged that while our lives are vast and amazing, we are only specks of dust in the grand scheme of things…however, we are absolute miracles in this galaxy of possibilities. How do we arrive to believe one or two things ultimately? Why are we not seeing it ALL goes together? How do we not make the connection of life?

What I mean is that we are capable of studying the body for optimal health, so we have knowledge on how to do so. We have knowledge about the brain and how we can fix our thinking, take care of our mental health, we can choose our beliefs and let that fuel our soul…we have everything we need within reach of living out the most amazing life, it is brimming with possibilities, yet, yet, we fall into the trap of thinking we can only believe one thing, or one way, and the path we choose is the ONLY path. What if there is more than one way to arrive at the same place?

Want a peek inside my mind? I know what is at the top of the pyramid for me, and everything else falls under the apex. The things outside of my pyramid, I collect those, I am a curator of this life, in this body, and I believe I was created to be that way, I was tasked to be that way, and I am meant to never stop being that way. I am meant to be as full as I can of knowledge and experiences, of magic and wonder. I am meant to strive for balance, all while acquiring the fruits given to me, the opportunities to expand…but to never forget where it starts, it starts at the top it starts with God for me, and the rest gently cascades to the bottom. It is through grace that I humbly accept this, and I am in awe as I only arrived here through opening my heart.

Where do you start? What makes you full? Are you on your path with blinders, or are you gazing openly at what is put forth for you to experience and learn from? Do you feel others don’t or won’t get you if your beliefs or truth differs?

~Erin

Feeding your Soul

What are you feeding your soul? Is is sugar, is it salt, is it waste of the Earth? To be too honest, I have been feeding my body garbage and it started with the crap I was consuming with my soul. I didn’t care much for what I was feeding myself either way, so eminent changes were a comin’!

Might as well have been eating moldy bread.

I took a pause, disconnected, did some soul searching, and I went looking for answers in regards to what my soul was taking in. I was binging on hate, rhetoric, negativity, and to be quite honest, opinions and words from people I don’t know, don’t care for their outlooks, and some I don’t even like as people. And boy did I become bitter, closed off and a not so pleasant version of myself.

Now, I didn’t get irritated with myself, instead, I went inward, I did some soul searching, because at that point I felt my soul had been scorched out by what I was imbibing, 100 proof hate. I turned to consulting the only source I consult when I am at a loss for answers, and when I listened, this is what I got: You need to feed your community. You need to build that up. There is strength in numbers, strength in thoughts and belief. Feed your community.

What this means to me is words. Words. WORDS. At 16 I devoted my life to being a messenger, I surrendered, I was unburdened and I was born again. This was not the end nor the beginning, this was the moment that all other moments would spring forth from, the moment that my life would really start to matter from, and that all other moments would refer back to.

All kinds of amazing things have been happening in and around my life here lately, ever since I stopped consuming outside trash and giving it to my soul. And you know what, that is exactly what I needed to do…take the pause, take out the trash, and stop consuming all together the things that did not nourish me.

Now that I am soul nourishing like a fiend, I am soul serving as many people as I can around me. The next step is getting back to nourishing my body, that means going to yoga regularly, taking walks with my boy Sonny, and eating foods that are healthy and life giving to me!

I said I wanted a dog that required me to be more active by taking it for walks. He KNOWS how to demand a walk, which I appreciate and value!

So let me ask you, do you need to do a little soul sanitation, some body cleansing, and some deep level answer searching? I am renewed again, and I want the same for you, do you want that for you too?

~Erin

Something to Ponder

We intrinsically know what we need, are we willing to receive it? Do we truly believe it will happen? Have we said yes, when we think it may be possible? Are we our biggest blocker to what we want?

What do you read, books that tell you what you should want, or books that tell you how to get what you want? Have you defined what it is exactly that you are seeking, or do you maybe need to delve deeper to see you need multiple things? How do you know it is what you want, truly? Were you told this is what you should want, or did you have an experience that you made you aware of what you did not want, and now you know exactly what you do want?

Do you ponder if you are just being well behaved and wanting what you should? Or are you hungering and craving what your soul needs? And how can you tell a difference?

I leave you with all of these questions, I hope it sparks something inside you, be it a question or an answer. May you find what you are looking for, or start to wonder what that is!

~Erin

Be Unique, Honor the Journey

Our experience is our own. We need not compare ourselves to others, nor accept when others compare us to someone else, even if it is a well meaning comparison. We are on our own unique journey, our own path. People often want us to meet them where they are on their path. They don’t necessarily take in to consideration where we are on our own path. Honor dictates that we meet people where we are, and where they are. Observing someone on a differing path, their path, is not only respectful to them, it is respectful towards ourselves, as it says I am not trying to change or influence your path, I am only here to observe for my own learning, to honor and support you, and to wish you well on your journey. Hopefully, this is reflected back at you, that you on your journey, are honored, respected and observed too!

~Erin

Seasons of This is Me

Good Saturday Morning!!! How are you today? I am well, just finished a yoga session at home to start my day, it was peaceful, a nice blend of flow and resting poses, capped off with a brief meditation. This is Saturday, so another episode of This is Me.

I noticed yesterday that the Sun was with us longer than it has been. Gaining minutes of sunshine every day is something I not only look forward to, but depend upon this time of year, every year. I love the natural rhythms out bodies go through with each season, and sinking into those feelings, really enjoying each and every experience we have with the weather and our surroundings, even seeing changes in people around me. Do you love seasonal changes, maybe not the aches and pains winter brings, or the allergies that spring and fall brings, but don’t you love the changing seasons? I truly do! Fall is my fave.

This is me now. Seasonal soaker, always. That also brings me to think about the seasons in our life. When we are children, it is the Spring of our youth, Summer is like your 20s and 30s, Fall extends from 40s-60s, and then Winter is 70s on, or I think it feels that we could equate it that way. Not going to lie, I am a natural brunette, but in my 20s&30s(into my 40s), I was a red head. Once I got Bell’s Palsy, I decided that I needed a lot of changes, one of those-becoming a blonde. I was blonde when I was a little kid, and so I was going to embrace my first hair color, own it…blondes have more fun after all, right?Yes, it seems they do, but then I realized, is this me? Is this a fair representation of who I am?

I know who I am, I am a person that has had a lot of experiences, good and bad. I have grown exponentially as a person and I don’t plan on stopping now. I sit within myself with all the knowledge and wisdom I possess, and I know that I know nothing yet. I am 44, I am in my Autumnal season, and I want to be present in every moment of it, therefore I am going back to my roots, in a lot of ways, my hair being one.

I am so excited for my stylist to take me to a natural place, it will take time, but I am stoked about just naturally being me on the outside, to reflect my inside. It will be a journey I question a lot, but one worth the effort. Always BE TRUE TO YOU, whatever that means to you!

Oh, I also cut my hair! Clear the old, bring in the new, but don’t forget your roots!!

New Series, Old Things and Me

Good Saturday Morning to you all! I am starting a new series today on the blog, I think we’ll call it “This is Me.” It will be featured on Saturdays, not sure if it is short term or permanent, but what the hell, let’s give it a go and have some fun with it!

We love coffee in our house!

We often start our weekdays and weekends with coffee, fresh ground, fresh brewed, fa-resh deliciousness! The coffee sign used to say something else, I can’t even remember, but I decided years ago to freehand the word COFFEE on it, and to hang it by the coffee pot. It reminds me of old diners and coffee cans, I love nostalgia! When we got married, Bill gifted me the Ball canisters, I love their teal blue color-classic Ball jar coloring, so happy and fresh! I am a curator of items, I am always looking for just the right things to place and pair together. Some function, some form…Want to source the rest of my items? Let me know!

Movin’ on up!

We decided that because we love coffee so much, we may as well make a coffee bar, and add shelves with things that we love or inspire us…well, it’s me mainly, but the family just goes along with it, they love me like that! I recently procured the owl from an auction, she is wood, carved. My Marimo Moss came from my good friend Maria, this little thing is so cool and soothing to swish around! It goes well with my Snake plant that one of Avery’s coworkers gave us. You see my cow photo, a butter churn and a big bouquet of roses at that left side. I love pairing a host of things that speak to me!

Dead things have my heart!

This bouquet is reall two dried bouquets I put together, they make more of an impact this way. I love dried flowers, you get to enjoy them twice this way, and their beauty varies from live to dried, love it! The rock came from my driveway, we had been getting a series of nonstop showers for about two summers straight and two years in a row, it flushed out two separate rocks that I curated for my home. I have no idea what makes this one special, but I do love the size, color and texture. I truly love things I can hold in my hands and feel the energy of!

What this place needs is a little more horse skull!

Yes, that is a horse skull. I acquired this piece the same time I acquired the owl. They both have names, but I can’t recall the owl’s…guess we will have to rename it. The horse’s name is Telula. She may not have her front two teeth, but she is still purty, just like her name. The wooden charger with the R? My friend Lori gave me several chargers, I made her, myself and one other monogrammed piece from them all. The pottery is part in honor of my husband’s Uncle Mike who introduced us to the Raku style, and the other pieces are local, they seem to fit and marry well.

This is Me. I like to make things with my own hands. I like things others make with their hands. I love to honor dead things in their life, death and beyond, embracing their beauty in every stage. I capture things I find interesting and beautiful. I put special things from special people in places I can see them, enjoy them and find daily happiness in. This is Me. Drop me a line, tell me about you, does any of my curation speak to you, are you a curator too?

~Erin

Interpretation, are you in need of a translator?

Context, connotation, voice inflection, tone, written word, slang, mood, personal standpoint, projection. These are but some of the tools we use or take in to consideration when we read someone’s words and interpret them. How many people have you agreed with because of words? How many people have you disagreed with because of words? Is written word costing us friendships and relationships?

How we interpret what we mean, and how others receive, process and understand what we write are two entirely different things. Sometimes, the disconnect in this equation can have disastrous results and repercussions. Listening, reading, and interpreting with no expectation allows us to respond openly and honestly. What happens when we feel that we convey our thoughts articulately, only to find the other person completely took your words in a whole different context? Do you examine your role and what you wrote more closely?

I recently wrote something to a friend, and the way they responded was very eye opening to me. Honestly, I thought, wow, they see me as a spineless, scared creature! And so I reread what I wrote. I saw where I could have been interpreted that way to some degree, and then I considered if they were seeing me at that moment, or how they have perceived me the entire time I have known them. I think it was the latter to be honest, and I think it influenced how my written word was processed, comprehended.

I realized my part, they interpreted my statement based on their witnessed history viewed of me, and what they knew of my history, which was a snapshot of where I was, not who I am. That was majorly eye opening. How many of us do that, make determinations about others’ words based on our history with them or what we know about them? Is this a fair assessment of their words, are we failing in this approach? Or do we feel like we are meeting the other person where we think they are standing, because we know no differently? Are we taking them at face value and nothing more, nothing less?

Do you think we interpret written word correctly? Do you think we interpret written word too much? Do you think we are looking way too closely at something that we can better see from the surface? What do you think? Let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Oh, and if you want to call me, drop me a line and I will send you my number.

~Erin

Do you cook with Love?

I love when people can taste the love in food. My kids have always shared baked goods that I have made for school functions or home, and their friends say that these treats are extra tasty, to which my kids reply, “Well yeah, my mom makes it with a lot of love.” It really delights me that not only can my family taste it, but others can too. My friend Maria once mentioned someone’s food having no love in it, we both had sour looks upon our faces because we know there really is a difference in food made with love or not. Food made with love can be savory or sweet, and anything in between. Everyone is capable of cooking with love!

My husband, Bill, decided today was a great day for the comforts of Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and veggies. I offered to help, but was so in love with what I saw, I knew I had to capture it right away. There is always something exciting about making a family favorite, in a different way, and still doing it with love and letting your love of food and family be shown and enjoyed, felt, through your food!

Tried some different ingredients, so glad we did!
Bill making multiple smaller loaves, they cook more evenly and quicker!
Ditch the Ketchup, hit it with some gravy!
Look at that delicious crust!!

Thank you Bill! Our meal was delicious and definitely made with love and care! This new way of making meatloaf is now my favorite way, and deserves the spotlight for this post! Do you have a signature dish or food that people always remark upon? Do you make it with love, intentionally or not? Tell me, I’d love to know!

~Erin

Take the Pause

I had a post all ready to roll out today. It was about journeys, mental health, self awareness, boundaries, respect, you know, important things. I wrote so much, it may have been the first chapter of a book, lol. And then I took my own advice I was doling out in the post, I paused.

And then I went on to Instagram and I paused. I read about 4 posts and I paused again. I read something that really resonated with me. It said “There are two rules in life: 1. Never give out all the information.”(@lawofwinning via @businessmindset101). And I found myself where I was before I took a social media break. Silent.

I was at a loss for words for a while, and then I decided to speak about things that mattered to me, things that I felt others could benefit from, things that others needed to hear. And I wrote my first blog post for 2021. And then I wrote that bookish type post I mentioned above. And then I paused.

I paused because I see where I struggle with social media. I forget that people don’t want to see or hear certain things, but want to see people living their best lives. When you start talking about real life, people tune out, they are not interested. And I too feel that way at times, so I paused. And I contemplated. And I gave consideration to all of it, so that is where I am at.

This space that I pay for here, to me, is about sharing life’s stories with the images captured. Perhaps for a time, I should just enjoy the pause, do what I enjoy doing most with my camera, just capturing what I see. Maybe when you see the images, you will pause too. Maybe we all just need to pause more.

~Erin

New Year, new intention and words

Reflect and Celebrate!

Welcome to year 2021 at The Photographist Life! What a ride 2020 was, were you white knuckling it, or did you just say the hell with it and you rolled with all the throat punches the year delivered? I rolled quite a bit and delivered a few punches myself, I am adaptable that way! I recently set my last lunar intention of 2020, the cycle began in 2020 and is ending in 2021, and instead of saying bu-bye to 2020, I said a great big thank you. You all know I’m not typical!

My lunar intention for the last moon cycle of the year 2020 was to release all of what did not serve me, to be grateful for all of the lessons and positivity, and to usher in 2021 by being thankful for all of those things, as they only served my highest good. Gratitude is seriously underrated, in many aspects of life, even in the “bad” things, and it is often a contradicting concept. Got punched in the face by 2020? Say thanks because odds are you learned from it, you grew and at minimum you will change directions because of it.

You see where I am at currently with my mindset in this cycle’s intention, coincidently the last of the year, but where am I heading??? This year I am ADVANCING. This is my word for 2021. 2020’s word was ACHIEVEMENT, which I most certainly did, I embodied and rocked, but when I contemplated what my word would be this year, I questioned how last year’s word served me, how I could grow from that, did the word encompass enough of what I meant by claiming ACHIEVEMENT, and you know what, it did but it didn’t. How could I advance from achieving, what would that entail, what in particular do I even mean???

When you choose your word of the year, there should be thought as to the direction you came from and the direction you wish to go. I also think you need to have room for the ebbs and flows, as well as have some specific ideas about what you want to see or get done this year. So I did just that, I was very general in claiming ADVANCING as my word because I want more continued momentum and growth, but also knew that I could springboard growth and progress, lots of forward movement off of that word too.

I write year goals for my physical health, my mental health, my emotional health, my family, this blog, my photography business, my massage therapy practice and my SOUL. When you set an intention/goal, it should be something lofty, but also something that you can whittle down for manageability, or fine tuning, and at worst, something you can ditch now and pick up later. In the event you reach that lofty goal, you can add to your intention the next lunar cycle. The point is, aim high, don’t settle but be realistic that you made need smaller steps to accomplish the necessary steps to achieve that big goal…you keep ADVANCING, even if you have to step back from time to time, fine tune your steps, or bail altogether for this go round.

Want to know the goal that I have for this little blog of mine? It is to grow, to utilize this place as a tool of communication, to showcase my photography that I randomly capture just by living and to treat this place as a sacred space. I think that is all doable, but my first step is to just be consistent.

I have lacked consistency writing here, for a while I needed the blog to help me heal and learn so I could grow. I used my writings for that, but this space was never intended for that purpose, I am however grateful for the ability to be able to write to release and learn, I highly recommend journaling for that purpose too. I will be working not only on my consistency in writing, but my consistency of content. I would like to develop a bit of a schedule so that you may know what to anticipate. You will hopefully forgive me if and when I slip in this endeavor, but by being intentional, I hope the slippage is minimal!

I often start my intention work with saging my space and myself, clearing negativity so I may work for my highest good.

So what do you have planned for 2021? Do you have a word of the year? Do you have a goal let alone multiple goals? Whatcha planning this year, whatcha want to get done? How do you want to learn, progress and grow? I love hearing about what you are doing/wanting to do, so drop me a line!