Most people agree that a more peaceful world would be an ideal situation for all living creatures. If we are to have true peace in this world, each one of us must find it in ourselves first. If we don’t like ourselves, for example, we probably won’t like those around us. If we are in a constant state of inner conflict, then we will probably manifest conflict in the world. If we have fighting within our families, there can be no peace in the world. We must shine the light of inquiry on our internal struggles, because this is the only place we can really create change.
Being at peace with ourselves is not about denying or rejecting any part of ourselves. On the contrary, in order to be at peace we must be willing and able to hold ourselves, in all our complexity, in a full embrace that excludes nothing. This is perhaps the most difficult part for many of us, because we want so much to disown the negative aspects of our humanity. Ironically, though, true peace begins with a willingness to take responsibility for our humanity so that we might ultimately transform it in the light of our love.
This is an image taken during sunset at Gate’s Pass just west of Tuscon, Arizona. The top of the Pass offers brilliant sunsets and is frequented by scores of people every evening when there is promise of a colorful sky. After a short hike, we came across this lone cactus which, along with us, overlooking the valley below and the splendour of the setting sun. To capture all of the light, we shot three exposures and later combined them with a speciality photographic software package called Photomatix Pro. We love the contrast of the lone, prickly cactus who watches the soft sunset with strength and fortitude, being at peace…just being.
Often, we spend so much time reacting and responding to everyone else that life seems to have no personal direction. Other people’s lives, problems, and wants set the course. Once we realize that it is okay to think about and identify what we want, remarkable things will begin to take place! It is not lack of time which tends to be the problem – we all have 24 hours each day. Stop looking at the speedometer and keep an eye on the compass! If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you have imagined, you will meet success. Put some things behind you and pass through invisible and imagined barriers. Here is a short verse by Ella Wheeler Wilcox which is fitting for the image for today:
One ship sails East and another sails West, with the same winds that blow.
It’s the set of the sails, and not the gales, that tells them the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea, are the ways of fate;
As we voyage through life, it’s the set of the soul that decides our goal
And not the calm, or the strife.
This is another shot from the Embarcadero in San Fransico, California, taken early one morning as the fog from the Bay was burning away. The entire area is a treasure trove for Photographers – old buildings, fishing boats, unique individuals, crab traps, great food and drink, a submarine… the list goes on. Here we were shooting the long lines of piers as they extended into the misty Bay when a Tall Ship appeared as if by magic. Using our tripod mounted Nikon D90 (10mm, f19, 1/8sec, ISO100, remote shutter release), we quickly aligned the ship with the lines of the piers and shot three exposures. Later these were combined with Photomatix to bring the entire dynamic range of the light to bear. No sooner than we had executed this, the ship had passed!
Like millions of other people today, you will have noticed being a bit more stressed when going about your daily activities, such as commuting, the challenges of the home or workplace. How often have you had your day planned to perfection when, out of the blue, you are inundated with some urgent and important request that requires immediate attention. It is like when you are on the beach and are unexpectedly hit by a rogue wave – suddenly you are knocked down and struggling for breath!
Priorities are like big rocks. If you fill your bucket full of pebbles (small demands) and you have a major crisis (children, financial, health, creative opportunity etc), these major events are big rocks. You no longer have room in your bucket for the things that matter the most in your life. Always think of the big rocks first with a resounding “yes”. You can always say “no” to things, which to others, may seem urgent but not important. Whatever the circumstances, it is living and being driven by the principles you value most, not by urgent agendas and forces surrounding you.
This image is from the South Island of New Zealand, shot in July (Winter), just a bit south from Westport. In the Winter, the beaches are wonderfully vacant of tourists, with the exception of the rogue Photographers, as most have headed further south and up into the mountains to experience the fantastic downhill skiing. To get capture the entire dynamic range of the light during this early morning, three shots were taken using varying exposure values and then combined with a software program called Photomatix. New Zealand is a treasure to visit and a diamond in the raw for Photographers!