Monday, November 25, 2013

Reflections on Gratitude

I have been pondering the concept of gratitude for quite some time now.  

I have been evaluating what I am grateful for.  And in doing so, I discovered that there is an experience of greater connection with those things that I have selected to express my gratitude for. 

When I started to do therapeutic walking in nature with my camera in hand, the rhythm of my steps chanted a silent prayer of thanks for that moment and my perception of the moment changed.  Through the lens of my camera I focused on the details of the beauty around me and learnt to spot even the beauty in the objects that others might see as ordinary or even ugly. 

Red Bed's Trail Hike around the base of Devils Tower
I transformed, as I saw more and more of the myriad beauties all around me.  I started to find beauty in unexpected places.  I discovered that by stepping beyond the ugly I could find my way to the moment of beauty just around the corner.

Como Lake Park NY

My eye learnt to see things that I used to overlook and my photo followers often commented on how I manage to take an ordinary object and reveal its hidden beauty.  

Part of this is my innate talent (and for that talent I am thankful also) but mostly I think it is due to my spiritual me singing a song of gratitude when I am on my adventures and walks.  I feel a grateful connection to the moment when I am surrounded by nature. 

Something that I started to do as an escape, to step outside myself and my hurting and my grief became a blessing because I was able to be grateful that opportunity.  

It did not heal my sorrow.  
It did not change the circumstances that caused the grief.  
But it made life bearable.  

It opened me up to new acquaintances and new friendships.  It allowed me to see that there are other dimensions to my life outside the events that have hurt me so deeply.  That in itself, is a blessing. 

However that was only the beginning.  

The feed back that I received for my photography rekindled hope that there was something worth doing with the remainder of my life.  The praise awakened in me the desire to reach out, to reconnect and to get back to loving life.  To possibly helping others by sharing with them what I have learnt. 

The simple act of gratitude, while not healing the pain or the cause of the grief, opened up my life to new horizons, and new possibilities and the acceptance that just as a gem can have many facets so can my life. 

I can have sorrow and still have wonder and awe and gratitude.  
I can have pain and yet have joy, they can live side by side.  
I can experience the despair of things that have ended 
and yet celebrate the birth of new beginnings.  

And just as a gem can have inclusions and flaws, yet still be deemed beautiful; so I too can have flaws and still be a wonderful worthwhile person. 

Together all these all these facets create the preciousness of my life as it is now.  To do more and be able to accept more from the simple pleasure of living.  

Gratitude gave me an experience which in turn opened up for me the opportunity to explore other avenues of growth. Gratitude did not fix my life but it changed me.

The circumstances of my life have not changed, my outlook has.
The grief is still there, but there is a peace of mind.
The sorrow still haunts me, but there is a balancing joy as well. 

and who knows what lies unseen, just around the corner? 

Colorado - Steamboat Springs - Hiking down Mt. Werner

© Photoart by Renate Dundys Marrello

           My journal entries and pictures are copyright
             You may quote and share as long as you give me credit
             Hard copies may not be made.

            Photoart may be ordered as signed art if you contact me.

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©  My journal blog entries and pictures are copyright
You may quote and share if you contact me and ask for permission
Hard copies may not be made
Photoart may be ordered as signed art if you contact me.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Reflection on Remembrance Day

Yesterday was Remembrance Day.  I spent some time reflecting on the people who fought and died to create the world that I have the opportunity to live in. 

The freedoms that I take for granted were won by their willingness to sacrifice for the good of future generations.  I contemplate what the world would be like without these brave people, not just soldiers, but all the people that are willing to put their lives on the line to fight for what is right and what is good.

The people who fought for better working conditions and those that fought for the vote for woman and for equal opportunity are equally important soldiers in the fight for what is right.  These brave people that scarified so that I can live the life I have today.

I am a woman with freedom and rights.
I live in country that is for the most part caring and compassionate and concerned about people’s rights and opportunities.
I live in a country that accepts that people come in different races and creeds and beliefs and finds a way to be tolerant of the differences even when it is hard to understand them.

I find myself wondering if I would have had the strength to do what some of these brave soldiers have done.  Would I be able / willing to lay down my life for the freedoms of others in the future?  I like to think that if I was in that kind of a situation I would be able to do so.  However I also realize that it takes a lot of courage as well as determination.  Fear must be overcome.  One must be able to face oneself in the mirror every day and say “today is a good day to die”.  What an incredibly brave way to live life!

Renate Dundys Marrello
a proud Canadian

photo credit - unknown

©  My journal blog entries and pictures are copyright
You may quote and share if you contact me and ask for permission
Hard copies may not be made
Photoart may be ordered as signed art if you contact me.