There are times when life urges us to seek more. Small changes to our comfort zone may fail to alleviate any sense of stagnancy or frustration, and we may need to examine our lives and ourselves more deeply to find the right place to start. Everything we need for success and joy lies within. But so often, life’s debris accumulates, building layers around our core that makes it difficult to access the truth that resides within. To reach the depth we wish to access, we must dive below these layers to the deepest parts of ourselves.
The first layer can be found in our minds. Our to-do lists and busy work are usually less important than we think, so we must look past them to examine the thoughts that matter most to us. The next layer can be found in our hearts, where past hurts and disappointments can sometimes cover up our vulnerabilities, as well as the truth of who and what really stirs the love within us. We can choose to go even deeper – to our center. If we can go beyond anything has affected us to the point that it blocks us at the gut level, we can reconnect with our power, our raw instincts, our organic yeses. Here, at the core, lies our truth. Our core is our foundation that supports us and what we’d like to build our authentic life upon.
When we examine ourselves to these depths, we are able to find what we wish to bring to the surface and what we wish to let go. When we remember what lies beneath our layers, we can look at what was floating on the surface, causing blocks and pains, and understand the purpose that they served. Oftentimes, it is the built up debris that causes us to go deeper, so we can search for the truth. Go deep, live life from your truth within, and watch your innate beauty manifest outward.
We’ve all had our buttons pushed to the point where we feel we can’t take it any more, and chances are, we’ve all pushed somebody else’s buttons, with or without knowing it. The button pusher may not be conscious of what they’re doing, but in the end the buttons belong to us, and we are the ones who must deal with what comes up. The more we take responsibility for our own feelings and reactions, the less tender these buttons will be.
We’ve all had the experience of having someone snap at us, seemingly out of nowhere. This happens when we unconsciously push a button in someone else we didn’t even know was there. This can happen with a complete stranger and sometimes with a person we’ve known and been close to for years. We ourselves may have a relationship with someone whose buttons we secretly like to push. Buttons are just soft spots that have been touched one too many times, and they symbolize some pain that needs to be acknowledged and healed. This may be a wound from childhood, or some recent trauma, that we haven’t adequately tended. Whatever the case, when our buttons get pushed, the person who most needs our attention and caring is us, and blaming the button pusher only distracts us from finding a true resolution to our suffering.
Anyone who has walked through the valley of despair and come out the other side knows that even in that darkness, seeds of light can be found. Often their tendrils reach out of the gloom and into the daylight alongside the journeyer who emerges from that deep sorrow. When we find ourselves in a place of despair, it can help us to know this, so that we don’t give up. We can stop, take a deep breath, and remind ourselves that we will find ourselves on the other side of this troubled time, and that we may even emerge with something new to offer.
It seems that despair has been around for as long as humans have been able to express themselves, and many of the great artists, teachers, and visionaries have labored through times of depression and hopelessness. Their words, images, and lives can serve as beacons in the darkness, even if they can’t always immediately lead us out. In the end, we must find our own way, and this is why despair often overwhelms us when it comes; we doubt that we have the resources to contend with such a formidable presence all by ourselves. This is when we must come to our own aid and know in our hearts that we have what it takes to keep moving forward in the general direction of the light.
It seems that every day we hear stories of personal suffering and loss that far exceed our own. When we compare our situations to those of people living in war-torn countries or recent events on the East Coast, it is tempting to minimize our own experiences of suffering. We may feel that we don’t have a right to be upset about the breakup of a relationship, for example, because at least we have food to eat and a roof over our heads.
While awareness of the pain of others can be a valuable way to keep our own struggles in perspective, it is not a legitimate reason to disregard our own pain. Disparaging your feelings as being less important than other people’s emotions leads to denial and repression. which over time leads to numbness. It is as if our internal systems become clogged with our unexpressed emotions. This in no way helps other people who are suffering in the world. In fact, it may do just the opposite because when we devalue our own sorrow, we become impervious to the sorrow in others.
Fully experiencing our own hurt is the gateway to compassion toward other human beings. Feelings of loss, abandonment, loneliness, and fear are universal, and, in that sense, all feelings are created equal. Regardless of what leads us to feel the way we do, our comprehension of what it means to be human is deepened by our own experiences. Our personal lives provide us with the material we need to become fully conscious. If we reject our emotions because we think our experiences are not dramatic or important enough, we are missing out on our own humanity.
Life is a collage of Beginnings and Endings that run together like wet paint. Before we can begin any New Phase in Life, we must first achieve closure to the current stage we are in. That’s because many of life’s experiences call for closure. Often, we cannot see the significance of an event or importance of a lesson until we have reached this. Or, we may have completed a certain phase in life or path of learning and want to honor that ending. It is this sense of completion that frees us to open the door to new beginnings. Closure serves to tie up or sever loose ends, quiets the mind even when questions have been left unanswered, signifies the end of an experience, and acknowledges that a change has taken place.
The period of completion, rather than being just an act of finality, is also one of transition. When we seek closure, what we really want is an understanding of what has happened and an opportunity to derive what lessons we can from an experience. Without closure, there is no resolution and we are left to grieve, relive old memories to the point of frustration, or worse. Its been somewhat difficult recently, writing seems to help.
Thank you for the kind visit to my humble Blog, Erik
A relationship, in the truest sense of the word, means relating to another. Usually when we say that we relate to someone, it is because we’ve found common ground. But part of relating is finding ways to make ideas that seem different come together. So often when we choose relationships, we try to fit another person into our predetermined ideal. When they don’t fit perfectly, we may try to make them over, creating our own vision from the raw material they’ve brought. But unless someone asks for guidance and direction, entering into a relationship with someone we want to change is dishonest. Then our relationship becomes with someone we’ve imagined, and anytime our partner steps outside of that imaginary projection, we will be disappointed. An honest relationship is one in which we accept each other as whole individuals, and find a way to share our life experiences together. Then, whenever we want, we can choose as a couple to give the relationship a makeover by renewing the way we interact.
By wanting to give another person a makeover, we are basically saying we don’t accept them for who they are. If we take a moment to imagine the roles reversed, we can get a sense of how it would feel if our beloved only committed to us because they thought we were, or would become, someone else entirely. In such an environment, we are not relating to each other from a real place, and we are keeping ourselves from being able to learn and grow from the different viewpoints that our partners offer.
If we feel that a change is needed in our relationship, the only makeover that we truly have the power to make is on ourselves. By accepting our partners for exactly who they are—the ideal and the not-so-ideal—we will create an energetic shift in our relationships, and we may find ourselves really appreciating our partners for the first time. Working from within, we determine how we relate to the people and the world around us, and when we can accept it and embrace it all, without conditions, we make every act of relating a positive one .
This shot was taken recently at Huntington Beach in California after a difficult day with my Partner. We had been to this location during happier times and now circled back. There was a certain sense of release and calm this day and yet an undercurrent of unresolved troubles and emotions remained. Technically, this is a 30 second exposure using a Singh-Ray Variable Neutral Density Filter. This allows the waves to smooth out into their ethereal glow….Magic of sorts.
Thank you for your kind visit, Erik
Heartbreak happens to all of us and can wash over us like the in rushing tide. We are soaked with grief, and the overflow is channeled into the body. Loss becomes a physical emptiness with feelings that often cannot be put into words. The idea of healing can seem so enormous that often we don’t even try for fear of further damage. This leaves an enduring mark upon us and by no means does recognizing that this is not permanent dull its sting for it is the sting itself that stimulates healing. The pain is letting us know that we need to pay attention to our emotional selves, to listen to our feelings and be in them fully. There is a saying that time heals all wounds, and this may be true to some degree. Time tends to dull the pain. Most importantly, open yourself to the possibility of loving, trusting, and believing again. When, someday soon, you emerge from the cushion of your grief, you will see that the universe did not cease to be as you nursed your broken heart. You emerge on the other side of the mending, stronger for all you have experienced.
I discovered this fissure in the rock at Sunset Cliff’s in San Diego during a low tide at sunset. It is quite a challenge to get to the beach from the cliffs above, the final descent is down a 30 embankment where a rope has been secured to assist hardy souls getting up and down – a beginners introduction to rappelling of sorts. Having a hefty Manfrotto Tripod and a pack full of photo gear made this even more fun! The waves were quite vigorous this afternoon and this called for a Neutral Density Filter which allowed a 30 second exposure to smooth things out and capture the many tiny waterfalls. I used a Variable ND from Singh-Ray on a 10-20mm lens. Mounting the tripod on a sturdy rock outcrop stabilized the shot with the tide sweeping around its feet (and mine). There are many such geographical features along the coast of Southern California which emerge during the low tide and will be subject of further exploration in the coming years!
Please have a look to our website http://www.kerstenbeck.com for more scenic landscapes and other gems which would look amazing framed and on your wall!
Thanks so much for the visit!
One of the most wrenching decisions we ever make in life is leaving a long-term relationship that just isn’t working. When attempts at repairing and working out issues aren’t working, it may be time to examine moving on. We are emotional creatures, and when our hearts are tied to those of another, separating from that person can feel like an act of courage. It is not something most of us will take lightly, and many of us will struggle with our desire to stay in a relationship simply in order to avoid that pain. We may question whether the happiness we seek even exists, and we may wonder if we might be wiser to simply settle where we are, making the best of what we have.
We may also almost think the idea that true happiness is not out there so that we can avoid the pain of change. On the other hand, we feel within ourselves a yearning to fulfill our desire for relationships that are vital and healing. Ultimately, most of us will follow this call, because deep within ourselves we know that we deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be happy, no matter where we find ourselves in this moment, and we are all justified in moving, like plants toward the light, in the direction that leads to our greatest fulfillment. First, though, we may need to summon the courage to move on from the relationship that appears to be holding us back.
Taking the first steps will be hard, but the happiness we find when we have freed ourselves from a situation that is draining our energy will outshine any hardship we undergo to get there. Keeping our eyes trained on the horizon, we begin the work of disentangling ourselves from the relationship that no longer fits. Every step brings us closer to a relationship that will work, and the freedom we need to find the happiness we deserve.
This was shot on the beautiful island of Oahu one early morning. Sunrises can be very dynamic with colors, temperatures and winds changing very rapidly so it is important to arrive early and scope the scene and compose your image. Using a sturdy tripod and a Neutral Density filter allowed a 30 second exposure which smoothed out the seas and gave a bit of blur to the clouds. Somehow this lone stump of a tree struck my attention as being symbolic somehow and now fits perfectly with the text of this post.
To purchase a copy of this fine image, visit our Website where you will be presented with a multitude of choices and thank you for visiting!
Transformation is a universal constant that affects our lives from the moment we are born until we leave earthly existence behind. At the root of all growth, we find change. Occasionally, change and the circumstances leading up to it are a source of extraordinary joy, but more often than not they provoke feelings of discomfort, fear, or pain. Though many changes are unavoidable, we should not believe that we are subject to the whims of an unpredictable universe. It is our response to those circumstances that will dictate the nature of our experiences. At the heart of every transformation, no matter how chaotic, there is substance. When we no longer resist change and instead regard it as an opportunity to grow, we find that we are far from helpless in the face of it.
Our role as masters of our own destinies is cemented when we choose to make change work in our favor. Yet before we can truly internalize this power, we must accept that we cannot hide from the changes taking place all around us. Existence as we know it will come to an end at one or more points in our lives, making way for some new and perhaps unexpected mode of being. This transformation will take place whether or not we want it to, and so it is up to us to decide whether we will open our eyes to the blessings hidden amidst disorder or close ourselves off from opportunities hiding behind obstacles.
To make change work for you, look constructively at your situation and ask yourself how you can benefit from the transformation that has taken place. As threatening as change can seem, it is often a sign that a new era of your life has begun. If you reevaluate your plans and goals in the days or weeks following a major change, you will discover that you can adapt your ambition to the circumstances before you and even capitalize on these changes. Optimism, enthusiasm, and flexibility will aid you greatly here, as there is nothing to be gained by dwelling on what might have been. Change can hurt in the short-term but, if you are willing to embrace it proactively, its lasting impact will nearly always be physically, spiritually, and intellectually transformative.
This was shot one evening on the beach in Del Mar, California before covering a Press Event for a local Artist. The smooth waves and ripples were achieved by using a very long shutter speed (30 seconds ) and letting the waves wash over the sand. Using a Neutral density filter, the available light was reduced by 6 stops – these filters are great for making silly waterfalls, flowing rivers, musty waves etc. Also, and often overlooked, one can use these filters in strong sunlight to control the exposure to allow portraits to be shot with a wide open aperture. There are many manufacturers of such filters, this one was from Singh-Ray. Lee, B&H and other also make great products – The Big Stopper by Lee is a 10 stop Neutral Density filter, which can allow exposures of several minutes – awesome for moving clouds against fixed foregrounds!
This image is available for purchase on our website http://www.kerstenbeck.com/International/Domestic-Landscape/23603331_JrbKxX#!i=2293421194&k=9X4jJsP&lb=1&s=A
….or just drop by and have a look around!
The essence of all being is Energy. Our physical and ethereal selves depend on the unrestricted flow of Life Energy that is the source of wholeness and wellness. Though the channels through which this energy flows are open systems and influenced by factors outside of our control, we ultimately choose what impact these will have in our lives. It is up to us to identify and clear blockages in the energy field to ensure that flow is maintained. A healthy, grounded individual absorbs some portion of the energy emitted by other people and the environment, but this does not interrupt the continuous stream of balanced energy sustaining them. The same individual copes constructively with stress and upset, and they are not subject to the stagnation that frequently goes hand in hand with negativity. When we keep the energy in and around our bodies flowing harmoniously, we are naturally healthy, vibrant, and peaceful.
This image was shot during a Record Negative Low Tide at Point Loma, California. My Photographer friend, Jimmy Denham and I scrambled down the steep rocks to get up close to the beauty. Using Neutral Density filters (from Singh-Ray), I was able to slow down the sweeping waves as they washed, oh so close, to my tripod.
Thanks so much for visiting our Humble Blog and if you like, check out http://www.kerstenbeck.com for more of our work!
Happy Holidays to All!
Having a vision for our future that differs from our current circumstances can be inspiring and exciting, but it can also keep us from fully committing to our present placement. We may become aware that this is happening when we notice our thoughts about the future distracting us from our participation in the moment. We may find upon searching our hearts that we are waiting for some future time or situation in order to self-actualize. This would be like a flower planted in Iceland putting off blooming because it would prefer to do so in Argentina.
There are no guarantees in this life, so when we hold back we do so at the risk of never fully blossoming. This present moment always offers us the ground in which we can take root and open our hearts now. What this means is that we live fully, wherever we are, not hesitating because conditions are not perfect, or we might end up moving, or we haven’t found our life partner. This can be scary, because we might feel that we are giving up our cherished dreams if we do not agree to wait for them. But this notion that we have to hold back our life force now in order to find happiness later doesn’t really make sense. What might really be happening is that we are afraid to embrace this moment, and ourselves, just exactly as we are right now. This constitutes a tendency to hold back from fully loving ourselves, as we are, where we are.
We have a habit of presenting life with a set of conditions—ifs and whens that must be fulfilled before we will say yes to the gift of our lives. Now is the time for each of us to bloom where we are planted, overriding our tendency to hold back. Now is the time to say yes, to be brave and commit fully to ourselves, because until we do no one else will. Now is the time to be vulnerable, unfolding delicately yet fully into the space in which we find ourselves.
This beautiful shot was taken on the spectacular island of Oahu. We used a 100mm f2.8 Nikkor lens wide open mounted on a Nikon D7000 body all on a hefty Manfrotto tripod (yeah, kinda heavy to lug around, but word every calorie) and lit up with a Nikon SB600 Flash. The flash was handheld and off camera. This is a really good tip for shooting many scenarios. To do this, you will need to purchase relatively inexpensive Radio Triggers, such as Pocket Wizards. Install one on the camera Hot-Shoe, the other on the Flash, and then you can move the source of illumination to provide optimal results. Having the flash on-camera often results in flat images with uniform lighting. With the flash off-camera, amazing things can happen – try it and have fun!
Have a look at our website http://www.kerstenbeck.com if you would like to explore more, perhaps even purchase a download or image for to adorn your beautiful spaces!
Anxiety is a feature of the human condition. Period. It is a much larger feature than most people realize and we all spend inordinate amounts of time in order to reduce our experience of anxiety or in order to avoid anxiety altogether. Our very human defensiveness is one of the primary ways that we try to avoid experiencing anxiety. If something is about to make us anxious we deny that it is happening, make ourselves sick so that we can concentrate on our sickness, get angry at our mate so as to have something else to focus on, and so on. We are very clever creatures in this regard.
We are also very resourceful creatures who have it in us to create. “Creativity” is the word we use for our desire to make use of our inner resources, employ our imagination, our thoughts and our feelings into beautiful things like songs, photographs, paintings, literature and feel like the hero of our own story. It is the way that we make manifest our potential, make use of our intelligence, and embrace what we love. When we create, we feel whole, useful, and devoted. Unfortunately, we often also feel anxious as we create or contemplate creating. There are many reasons for this. We get anxious because we fear we may fail, because we fear we may disappoint ourselves, because the work can be extremely hard, because the marketplace may criticize us and reject us, and so on. We want to create, because that is a wonderful thing, but we also don’t want to create, so as to spare ourselves all this anxiety. That is the simple, profound dilemma.
Since both creating and not creating produce anxiety in a person who wants to create, you might as well embrace the fact that anxiety will accompany you on your journey as a creative person—whether or not you are getting on with your work. Just embracing that reality will release a lot of the ambient anxiety that you feel. Since anxiety accompanies both states—both creating and not creating—why not choose creating? Pick your next creative project with a new willingness to accept the reality of anxiety. To help reduce your experience of anxiety, remember to breathe deeply, speak positively to yourself, and affirm that your creative life matters to you. If some anxiety remains, create anyway!
If you enjoyed this image, please have a visit to http://www.kerstenbeck.com where we have a wealth of cool Portrait, Landscape and Travel images from all over!
Like pieces of a puzzle, the many different aspects of your being come together to form the person that you are. You work and play, rest and expend energy, commune with your body and soul, exalt in joy, and feel sorrow. Balance is the state that you achieve when all of the aspects of your life and self are in harmony. Your life force flows in a state of equilibrium because nothing feels out of sync. While balance is necessary to have a satisfying, energetic, and joyful life, only you can determine what balance means to you.
Achieving balance requires that you assess what is important to you. The many demands of modern life can push us to make choices that can put us off-balance and have a detrimental effect on our habits, relationships, health, and career. In creating a balanced lifestyle, you must ascertain how much time and energy you are willing to devote to the different areas of your life. To do so, imagine that your life is a house made up of many rooms. Draw this house, give each part of your life its own room, and size each room according to the amount of importance you assign to that aspect of your life. You can include family, solitude, activities that benefit others, healthy eating, indulgences, exercise and working on self. You may discover that certain elements of your life take up an inordinate amount of time, energy, or effort and leave you with few resources to nurture the other aspects of your life.
A balanced lifestyle is simply a state of being in which one has time and energy for obligations and pleasures, as well as time to live well and in a gratifying way. With its many nuances, balance can be a difficult concept to integrate into your life. Living a balanced existence, however, can help you attain a greater sense of happiness, health, and fulfillment.
Shot at Oceanside, California, for a 2013 Calendar Project for a Corporate Insurance Client, what is interesting is not only the gorgeous sunset about the Fisherman in the background setting off to catch Dinner for his family.
You can see more images at our Photo Website: http://www.kerstenbeck.com Please take some time to look around! …..We appreciate you kind support of our work!
The most important relationship we have in our lives is with our selves. And even though we are the only ones who are present at every moment of our lives—from birth onward—this relationship can be the most difficult one to cultivate. This may be because society places such emphasis on the importance of being in a romantic partnership, even teaching us to set aside our own needs for the needs of another. Until we know ourselves, however, we cannot possibly choose the right relationship to support our mutual growth toward our highest potential. By allowing ourselves to be comfortable with being alone, we can become the people with whom we want to have a relationship.
Perhaps at no other time in history has it been possible for people to survive, and even thrive, while living alone. We can now support ourselves financially, socially, and emotionally without needing a spouse for survival in any of these realms. With this freedom, we can pursue our own interests and create fulfilling partnerships with friends, business partners, creative cohorts, and neighbors. Once we’ve satisfied our needs and created our support system, a mate then becomes someone with whom we can share the bounty of all we’ve created and the beauty we’ve discovered within ourselves.
As we move away from tradition and fall into more natural cycles of being in the world today, we may find that there are times where being alone nourishes us and other periods in which a partnership is best for our growth. We may need to learn to create spaces to be alone within relationships. When we can shift our expectations of our relationships with ourselves and others to opportunities for discovery, we open ourselves to forge new paths and encounter uncharted territory. Being willing to know and love ourselves, and to find what truly makes us feel deeply and strongly, gives us the advantage of being able to attract and choose the right people with whom to share ourselves, whether those relationships fall into recognizable roles or not. Choosing to enjoy being alone allows us to fully explore our most important relationship—the one with our true selves.
The image here is from one of the most beautifully desolate locations in Southern California – The Salton Sea. It is truly unworldly and seemed appropriate for the subject of this post. This was a long exposure taken on the East Shore close to Bombay Beach. The crust in this old pier is from accumulation of salt from the sea over time and extreme temperature fluctuations – the shoreline is not sand, but millions of dead Tilapia, dried and bleached by the hard desert sun!
If you would like to purchase this Limited Addition image just follow this link to our Photography Website http://www.kerstenbeck.com/International/Domestic-Landscape/23603331_JrbKxX#!i=2206685615&k=LT4Mj78&lb=1&s=A
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Of course Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures, regardless of whether they are undead or a living person/being. This year, we decided to play a bit on this theme with the help of some wonderful models at a photo shoot in Riverside, California. The stage was the historical downtown area and at an old church. Now why Vampires would like to be there is beyond reason! We found that Vampires come in many shapes and colors like this one blow from Russia, having a tasty Cigar after a good feeding!
Sometimes, they are Vampire Brides, left wanting at the altar!
Teaching the young the tricks of the trade!
Or Just dropping in for a quick snack!
Lighting in outdoors shoots needs to be effective and portable. For most of these scenarios we used a Quantum Q-Flash as Key and an old Vivitar V285 as fill (dropped many times and still kicking). Some light modifiers helped, like a diffuser in front of the Q-Flash. We tend to think of this as Guerilla Lighting. Many on location Photographers used studio strobes, portable batteries and huge beauty lights on rolling stands. This is something perhaps we can do, but in the mean time, basics work just fine until we hone our talents to a new level.
Hope you enjoyed our Halloween Set and have a visit to Kerstenbeck Photographic Art to check out some of our other Projects, maybe even purchase a Print or Digital Download!
Sometimes it is difficult to see someone we love struggling, in pain, or hurting. When this happens, we might feel like we need to be proactive and do something to ease their troubles. While others may want our help, it is important to keep in mind that we need to be sensitive to what they truly want in the moment, since it can be all too easy to get carried away and say or do more than is really needed. Allowing ourselves to let go and simply exist in the present with another person may actually provide a greater amount of comfort and support than we could ever imagine.
Perhaps we can think back to a time when we were upset and needed a kind word, hug, or listening ear from someone else. As we remember these times, we might think of the gestures of kindness that were the most healing. It may have been gentle words such as “I care about you,” or the soothing presence of someone holding us and not expecting anything that were the most consoling. When we are able to go back to these times it becomes easier for us to keep in mind that giving advice or saying more than is really necessary is not always reassuring. What is truly comforting for another is not having someone try to fix them or their problems, but to just be there for them.
This shot was taken in Vancouver, British Columbia on a cold,windy and rainy day in October. The statue is located close to the passenger ship terminal in downtown and is really special. To see more of Vancouver or the many other wonderful places we have documented, just click the link and you will be transported to our Website Kerstenbeck Photographic Art
It’s interesting to think our lives as something we spend a lot of time avoiding! We consume so much time with everyday activities that distract us, that we rarely take the time to look at our lives. Another week gone, weekend over, Monday again…you know the drill! It’s important to decouple from this and take some real-time for ourselves, and that doesn’t mean watching TV or reading a book!
Often it can be quite unnerving even to have a few minutes, let alone an hour just for ourselves to quietly reflect. Sometimes it can even be uncomfortable since when we do take this time to listen to ourselves we might not like what that inner voice is telling us, like why we are living like we do or making that choices we’re making. Talk about exhausting! However, its reflections are the chords that connect us to our authentic selves, and they are the very things that make our lives worth living.
Begin the process of being present in your life gradually by reserving some time each day for some introspection, just being with yourself. Try it for a week and you may find that you beginning to look forward to your solo time away from your busy self. By not avoiding self-examination and being open with your true self you may find that you spend more time being at the center of your own life instead of just orbiting around some sun like a planet.
This image was taken on a cold, rainy and windy day in Richmond, British Columbia, which is just a bit south of Vancouver. It seemed like nobody was braving the elements, let alone setting up a tripod, wiping down lenses and slogging around in the slime left behind by the low tide. Although the shot itself was over in around 10 seconds (shutter speed), the process of taking the shot and finding beauty, where others may have busily passed by, was indeed precious.
You can find more of our work at http://www.kerstenbeck.com where it is available for purchase, digital download or licensing
While most of us no longer depend directly on nature’s seasons for our livelihood, our bodies’ clocks still know deep down that a change of season means a change in us too. If we don’t acknowledge this, we may feel out of sync, as though we have lost our natural rhythm. These days, autumn is more likely to bring thoughts of going back to school than harvesting, but in both cases, the chill in the air tells us it’s time to move inside and prepare for the future.
We can consciously celebrate the change of season and shift our own energy by setting some time aside to make the same changes we see in nature. We can change colors like the falling leaves and wilting blooms by putting away our bright summer colors and filling our wardrobes and living areas with warm golds, reds, and browns. While plants concentrate their energy deep in their roots and seeds, we can retreat to quieter, indoor pursuits, nurturing the seeds of new endeavors, which need quiet concentration to grow.
We can stoke our inner fires with our favorite coffee, tea, cider, or cocoa while savoring the rich, hot comfort foods that the season brings in an array of fall colors: potatoes, apple pies, pumpkin, squash, and corn. As animals begin growing their winter coats and preparing their dens for hibernation, we can dust off our favorite sweaters and jackets and bring blankets out of storage, creating coziness with throw rugs and heavier drapes. We can also light candles or fireplaces to bring a remnant of summer’s fiery glow indoors.
By making a conscious celebration of the change, we usher in the new season in a way that allows us to go with the flow, not fight against it. We sync ourselves up with the rhythm of nature and the universe and let it carry us forward, nurturing us as we prepare for our future.
Throughout this journey from birth to death, we choose to question life, strive for improvement, seek out knowledge, and search for the divine. This is the essence of spirituality, whatever your brand may be. One’s spiritual practice can take on many forms, because embracing the spiritual is a very personal pursuit. While many people do relate their spirituality to a God or Goddess, this quest for the divine, or oneness with the universe, always springs from within. It doesn’t matter where you find your spiritual path. We are all fundamentally spiritual beings and the essence of that lies in knowing one’s true self and finding a peace that comes from within rather than the outside world. It is in remembering this that we awaken to our personal path. Accepting the importance of spirituality can be a healthy decision, because a spiritual practice tends to include habits that promote healthy living. Take the time to carefully determine the action, thought, and ritual that most speaks to your soul. Remember that your most profound spiritual experiences may also come from the simple intricacies that make up your life. See the interconnectedness of all things. As you explore your “inner work,” you will be walking your spiritual path and feeling your oneness with the universe.
The image today is from the geothermal region around Rotorua in New Zealand. This wooden walkway leads through the Champagne Pool area (to the right) and off into the mist where other wonders await. During peak times this can be awash with visitors, but in the NZ winter and first thing in the morning during a work day, all that greated us was silence, hissing and bubbling sounds and, of course, the pervasive sulphuric air. It seemed like we had been transported to a different planet which beckoned us to explore its riches!
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On the path of personal and spiritual growth we have a tendency to analyze our unhappiness in order to find the causes and make improvements. But it is just as important, if not more so, to analyze our happiness. Since we have the ability to rise above and observe our emotions, we can recognize when we are feeling joyful and content. Then we can harness the power of the moment by savoring our feelings and taking time to be grateful for them. Recognition is the first step in creating change, therefore recognizing what it feels like to be happy is the first step toward sustaining happiness in our lives.
This is an image shot in New Zealand’s geothermal region around Rotorua on the North Island. It is a steamy, bubbling, smelly, vibrant and magical place, especially first thing in the morning and in the winter when we found ourselves to be the only people in the park. The Champagne Pool is by far the most spectacular and photographed. When shooting here, this photographer got a bit too close to the steamy edge to set up this sweeping shot and was surprised to hear the pitter patter of footsteps as a Park ranger came in a rush to sternly remind him of the dangers of falling into hot water! There were several four letter words used and his point was well taken – this photographer has been in many more perilous situations and this was, well, as walk in the park!
Looking closely you may see a heart in the foreground – somehow this harkened to the message above of finding happiness amongst all of those other seething and churning emotions…guess you just have to look! Seek and yee shall find?
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There are times when we may not feel our best and our brightest and this is the time to look at what we might do to let our inner light shine fullest! Because we are physical, mental and spiritual beings, we need to determine where our light is being filtered or blocked. We can work from outside and inward, knowing that we are the only ones with the power to dim our lights. As we clear away the layers, we can get out of our own way to feel the warmth of our own light shining again! As we practice steps to keep our energy flowing freely and without obstruction, we shine our light brightly, illuminating our own paths and making the world around us glow as well.
This was taken after a long hike in the geothermal area around Rotorua in New Zealand during a brisk winter morning. Here the morning light was breaking through the thick forest and shining onto the bubbling hot water of this thermal stream. The steam rising added magic and mystery to the entire scene….and a few interesting odors as well.
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Our emotions color our lives with varying palettes. Sometimes we feel a strong emotion in reaction to something that has happened or a flood from what has happened, but emotions also visit us seemingly out of the blue, flooding us unexpectedly with joy or grief or melancholy. Like the weather, they come and go, influencing our mental state with their particular vibration. Sometimes a difficult emotion hangs around longer than we would like, and we begin to wonder when it will release its hold on us. This is often true of grief stemming from loss, lingering anger over a past event or difficulties in relationships.
If we allow ourselves to feel our emotions fully when they come up, they recede naturally, giving way to another and another. When an emotion haunts us, it is often because we are afraid of really feeling it. Emotions like despair and sadness and are powerful, and it is natural to want to hold them at bay. When we are facing this kind of situation, it can be helpful to ask the spirit, “How long do I need to sit with these emotions, how long do I need to feel these emotions before they can pass?” If you ask sincerely and wait, an answer will come. Sit down and make yourself available to the emotion that has been nagging you and just feel it. Avoid getting attached to it or rejecting it. Simply let it ebb and flow within you. Emotions are by their nature cyclical, so you can trust that just as one reaches its apex it will pass. Each time you sit with its presence without either repressing or acting out, you will find that difficult emotion was the catalyst for much-needed emotional healing.
This was shot during a trip to Paris and seemed appropriate for a somber Monday of personal reflection.
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This was shot during a blustery December afternoon while exploring Rome. It is difficult to convey the size and scope of these structures with a camera. If you look closely, you can see some people in the distant archways - this gives you an idea how immense all of this truly is!
The Arch of Titus is a 1st-century honorific arch located on the Via Sacra, Rome, just to the south-east of the Roman Forum. It was constructed in 82 AD by the Roman Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus’ victories, including the Siege of Jerusalem in 70AD. The Arch of Titus has provided the general model for many of the triumphal arches erected since the 16th century. Perhaps most famously it is the inspiration for the 1806 Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, completed in 1836.
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On a cold day in January, Kathleen was drawn to this window as we walked down the street heading for The Bean…she said, “Erik, you have to get a shot of this, there is something about it” What do you think?
In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost is the soul or spirit of a deceased person or animal that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic, lifelike visions. The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is known as necromancy, or in spiritism as a séance.
The belief in manifestations of the spirits of the dead is widespread, dating back to animism or ancestor worship in pre-literate cultures. Certain religious practices—funeral rites, exorcisms, and some practices of spiritualism and ritual magic—are specifically designed to appease the spirits of the dead. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences that haunt particular locations, objects, or people they were associated with in life, though stories of phantom armies, ghost trains, phantom ships, and even ghost animals have also been recounted.