Monday, May 29, 2017

Reflections of the way Life used to be

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In the summer of 2016, my life changed rapidly with a tiny bit of forethought and perhaps less foresight than necessary, perhaps not near enough, but I left my home of 28 years, my children, my dogs, everything that was near and dear to my heart.

Growing Up with Pets

Thinking back it had actually begun in January of 2014, I was somehow propelled to break-out of my complacent zone of comfort. It all started with my beloved Pete, my yellow lab of ten years who succumbed to cancer. I was devastated, heartbroken and depressed. He was the best animal companion a girl could ever have, each and every day his tall statue was beside my every footstep. There was barely an inch between the two of us, my hand always scratching his head. It was as though he could read my mind and he knew exactly what to do and how to behave. His brown eyes and mine would meet as we were truly kindred spirits.

Reaching Out to Friends

I was so lonely, I started spending more time on Social Media connecting with my friends on Facebook. And it was from there, my world started opening up to meeting new friends and enjoying the engagement. Although I’ve never met my second cousin, Angela, I became friends with her and a photographer friend of hers added me to a Photography page. I was elated, I love photography even though I am the first to admit I am a novice at best.

But there is something about being behind the lens that excites me to an indescribable place, it’s as though nothing else around me can interrupt my passion for the shot I am going for. It’s a place of truly being ‘in the moment’ and living in the present. I simply do not care how I look if I am squatting down, or contorting my body to achieve a certain angle of whatever my subject is. It’s as though the world around me cannot take that moment of connection from me.Photography in New Mexico

Photography gives me this feeling more than any other of my artistic endeavors of writing, or public speaking. So, as the story goes, I was added to this incredible Photography Group and from there I met more Artists from all over the U.S.

One of the artists was a very well-known Native American painter, his work hangs in galleries and museums all across the world. I became fascinated with his particular style, it wasn’t like anything I had ever seen before. And, I became fascinated with the culture of the Indigenous.

Photography in Monument Valley

As one Facebook friend led me to another and another, I met another Artist who has a way with Photography like no one I’ve seen before or since. And this Artist works in a wide variety of mediums, and I began to learn more about the injustices of the American Indian. I even penned a couple of essays as I was moved to write about my new-found awareness out of respect for the plight of the Redman.

Interest in Native American Culture

My journey was just beginning as I delved deeper and deeper into the culture, traditions, poverty and pain of the Indigenous tribes of North American. I began to learn how the Native Americans see things much differently than what I do. They see things from a perspective of Mother Earth and Father Sky and I see things perhaps from a Western perspective of capitalism.

I’ve listened and I’ve learned about their prayers, their ceremonies and like Apps for an iPhone, there is a ceremony for everything under the sun. I’ve been taken under the wing of a few here and there and taught sacred, spiritual lessons. And, it has brought a depth to my life, my understanding, my point of view.

Moving to New Mexico

As the story continues, I moved to the mountains of Northern New Mexico, to a small itty-bitty beautiful community about 25 miles north of Santa Fe. I was ecstatic, truly what Writer doesn’t want to move to the ambiance of the snow, the log cabin and write until their fingers turn blue. I did not know one person, I had no internet, no Facebook, no TV, and had to drive several miles to an open space to make a phone call.

Now this little community as cute as it was and as inspiring as it was became terribly isolating for this gal who had lived for 30 years in a busy, growing, 24-hour a day city. There were no coffee shops, no grocery stores and there were 3 Mexican restaurants, one Burger King and one side-shop where they made really good fried shrimp with fries, no catsup, no cute paper sacks. Just the basics, ma’am.

My Saturdays became shopping day at either the Dollar General or the Family Dollar which are always surprisingly within a mile of each other and I learned that Saturday was a good day to see another human being. My house was perched high on a hill, that was curved and steep with a chain link strung across the gateway to keep out somebody or someone who might actually be crazy enough to venture up the hidden steep incline. I came to enjoy strolling up and down each and every isle seeing what I could buy for $1. When everything is $1, you tend to pile up your basket and get to the checkout and they announce $82.00 ma’am. Such was life in Pecos, New Mexico.

Capturing the New Mexican Sunrise

In the winter of 2016, in my exuberance of snapping photos was unparalleled; I was rushing in and out of the house to get a shot of the magnificent Sunrise, or the snow falling fast in gigantic flakes all around. In and out I would venture, bare feet, no coat and lo and behold I became very, very ill.

Healthy Living and Enjoying Orange Juice

So ill, I had to go the ER in an ambulance no less as I had an Upper Respiratory infection (allergies settled into my chest), I had become severely dehydrated and was told I had Vertigo. Not fun, the room would spin wildly around me and I could only crawl, standing would produce violent episodes of vomiting.

I decided then and there I had to get back to the land of the living, where I could buy freshly squeezed, freshly pressed organic Orange juice, find a doctor, and get on with my new existence of living in the mountains.

Healthy Living and Enjoying Orange Juice

This time, I landed not by accident but by specific design right smack-dab in the middle, in the heart of Santa Fe, in the downtown portion where the local grass-fed Burger joint is a mere steps from my house, where Whole Foods and all the gala of what that has to offer is only 125 steps to the South of my little Casita. I have s small space, a place of tranquility in a quite adobe that I love immensely.

Moving to New Mexico

I’ve come to realize that my time in Pecos was a time for transition, and that now my time in Santa Fe is for my transformation. I spent the time alone that I needed, as I’ve never lived alone. Ever. I had my first baby at age 20 and I’ve never been without them close to me. I can tell you that it was not always pleasant, or fun this transition time. I was at times very lonely, and I questioned many things.

Which brings me back to the first part of the story, I began to spend more time outside with Mother Earth and Father Sky, I began to walk around the mountains and looked intensely at each rock, each formation and I began to absorb the things I had learned from the Native American community. I began to see things in a much deeper manner, the trees, the birds, the water it all had a life that was not separate from me but I became part of it.

Cabin in the Mountains

As I wrestled with myself and the meaning of life, my responsibilites and obligations, I will never forget the words of a Navajo who taught me so much and in June of 2015 told me these words, “You don’t owe anything to anyone except to yourself”. The conviction of that statement was so intense, so passionate, I witnessed his dark eyes blazing with a truth I had never known before, that it became ingrained upon my heart and I live with that to this day. They say, the eyes are a window into the soul, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, they say the eyes never lie.

I believe and have come to understand that my transition led to my transformation and that my transformation has led me to a life that is inspired, a life with where my thoughts, words, and actions have power; and how I use them can enhance my life and those around me. I am the creator of my life, I am guided intuitively and supremely protected.

On my ever-loving extended network of friends on Facebook, another Navajo wrote, “You were not born to fail”, and that is another truism I had never considered. With all respect to the Indigenous of our land, to all the Native Americans, I say thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for coming into my life and sharing your world with me. I live with the principles I have learned and I am grateful.

Born to Succeed

“The beauty of the trees, the softness of the air, the fragrance of the grass, they speak to me. The summit of the mountain, the thunder of the sky, the rhythm of the sea, speaks to me. The faintness of the stars, the freshness of the morning, the dewdrop on the flower, speaks to me. The strength of the fire, the taste of the salmon, the trail of the sun, and the life that never goes away, they speak to me. And my heart soars.” Chief Dan George

Free as a Bird

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