Sock Drive Success

Thank you so much to everyone who joined in to help our local homeless people by donating warm wool socks, hats and hand and foot warmers. Together we gathered almost 200 pairs of socks. That’s a lot of much warmer feet in the city of Chicago. This here, is Jeanne. She says thank you! And that she is too blessed to be depressed.

It truly does take a village. Because none of us gets where we are going alone. Thank you again for your support and your generosity.

When We Don’t Know the Way Forward

The Budz Bridge In the Snow (from 18th St.)

When we don’t know the way forward, when we lack certainty, but push ahead anyway, thinking or maybe screaming, WTF! the way opens; we learn from failure, take those losses as a blessing however much we may truly hate it at the time.

The sheer force of doing something/anything propels us to discover and learn – perhaps we might even see that that place of not knowing is the best place ever.

Certainty is just another name for bullshit island. And who really wants to live there?

More Thoughts on “The Persistence of Vanishing Things”

As this project develops, there’s a need to concretize while at the same time remaining open and flexible to new discoveries, flashes of insight. I keep following the trail. Finding that balance between effort and ease to find the way to the work at it’s fullest expression.

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I think that one of the main questions is this: how are we in relationship to the landscape? In the same way in mindfulness practice that we learn to ask, how are we in relationship to whatever is going on. We do our best in this practice to keep an open, curious, non-judgmental mind.

How do we even define landscape?

I know that I tend to think nature when I hear the word landscape but what about the built landscape that we create? And the way we do it? How we build what we do and with what intent?

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The Conversation

Do we feel connected to the landscape or separate? And how much does it matter how our relationship with natural or built landscape is? What synergy is there? Do our environs support or deny us? And to what extent are we complicit when things go awry and we harm ourselves and the landscape? And conversely, how do we support positive change, or nurture the landscape whether natural or built?

Part of the work is in photographing the various landscape types as well as the people in them.

Further, conducting interviews and asking people where I find them about their connection to the landscape.

How is this relationship related to happiness? Are people more or less happy in various kinds of landscape settings?

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And what of the stories, the mythologies found in the landscapes of different places and people? What forms the sensibilities of the people who dwell in these places? In what do they believe and what is the alchemy between people, landscape and the narrative enframing their experience and sensibilities?

Further, how is the passage of time perceived in each place and how does that inform/impact not only their relationship to the landscape but their happiness or sense of contentment? When we feel rushed along how does this inform our relationship to the land, the planet? When we have a slowing of time, does this mean we relate differently and how?

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The Passage of Time

Some photos are not of a single decisive moment but actually light up with the passage of time. And sometimes that glow is beyond astonishing.

And even more, sometimes we can pause and recognize that same glow which is our own divine light shining from within. We can see this in ourselves and all the beings it’s whom we share this planet, this time.

Amazing!

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The Invention of Passing Time

The Invention of Passing Time
We can’t always escape to somewhere, step away physically from the noise and confusion and suffering, our own and that of those around us. 


BUT – we can always shift how are in relation to whatever is happening. 


We need not suffer in feeling disconnection. We are stardust, part of the beautiful oneness of all things. 


We are our self and also part of the vast everything. We are truly in this together.


We can pause to notice the beauty of the light on the wall. The softness of a line of shadow. The wonder of the fresh and fading flowers on a single stem.


The miracle of our own breath and the sun at such a precise distance from earth that creates and supports the conditions for life. Mine, yours, all beings. 


I invite you into this space of pausing, of awareness. Let’s be in it together shall we? Lay down our arguments large and small. Let’s imagine all those matters as possibly petty in an ultimate sense. We can always pick them up again later. 


Maybe we won’t feel so inclined to. Maybe we extend our awareness to the idea of love. 


Love for self. For others we love, we like, we fell neutral about, those who’ve harmed us. To all beings seeking happiness as we do. 


Breathing together. May be happy, strong, peaceful and live with greater ease. 


One breath is all it takes to start. 


Please share if you feel so moved.

Thank you.

Cliff Lake Superior 

Cliff Bayfield County, Lake Superior, WI June 2017

Coach Thyself

Taking a little of my own medicine this afternoon. 


As a life and creativity coach, I spent a lot of time helping people discern what’s holding them back, what fears they have, how to help them burst through those barriers and take actions that can help them realize their dreams. 

I recognize that whenever I’m feeling vague or uncertain myself, It’s time to sit down and do what I do with each of my amazing clients. In other words, coach myself.

Often times this means making a list. For me, frequently, it’s a list of intentions and goals. I try to be as specific as possible. I want to be clear about where it is I want to go after all! And I want to be clear about the many little steps will take to get me to those goals. 

I also like to remind myself that the cliché is true, the journey is the destination. 


So just in case anyone of you out there had this idea that coaches always know exactly what we’re doing all of the time, no way! 

We’re all in the same boat together my darlings. Some days we feel like rock stars. Other days… Not so much. 

I’m so grateful though for a crew of friends, other coach buddies, who are also willing to share their struggles and vulnerabilities. @valgroth @mindfulu @sayahillman @saremmert @zach @lizkimball 

One of the things that we’re always certain of is that no matter what we’re experiencing – that shits’ going to change. 

I know when I work with my clients sometimes it’s so hard for them to realize that the suffering they’re experiencing right now isn’t permanent. When we’re in the middle of something Really and Seriously hard that can be SO difficult. I know that feeling too! 


So thank you friends, thank you teachers, thank you books full of wisdom, for helping me remember that I’m the one driving this bus and I can make choices about how I use my precious time and resources. 

As Mary Oliver asked us to consider, I making very specific and intentionally positive choices about what to do with my one wild and precious life. 

What about you? 

If you’re feeling like you could use a little help making some shifts, creating the life that you want, overcoming obstacles, want to bring mindfulness into your life in a deeper way and not just have Meditation be some item to check off, send me an email, drop me a message. I’m here to help. And if I think I’m not the best person for you I’m happy to refer you to someone I think is a better fit.

 ❤🦄

Guided Meditation: Radiance

So here we are in the depths of winter and dark times in our country. It can feel overwhelming. We may wonder what we can do and how we will keep going. We may also begin to feel burnt out from the constant effort to confront reality and make positive changes, to be of service.

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We want to hold space for each other and take care of our tender hearts. Along the way, we might forget to do enough self care which can leave us feeling really crappy. Fortunately, there are many ways we can nurture ourselves which are simple, accessible and portable.

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One thing we can do is practice some form of meditation. There’s many ways to practice and I’m hardly an expert. I can offer this however. It can be very beneficial, especially when really stressed out, even for experienced meditators, to have a guided meditation to lean on as a support.

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Here is a guided meditation I recorded today that’s all about cultivating a radiant heart using a little visualization; some sunshine, flowers and warmth inside and out. Thanks so much to my client Jim for inspiring me to do it and record it.

If you find it helpful, please feel free to share it. And to help us build community and stay in touch please tag @hijcreative and use #weareradiant . Of course, if you have any questions, please ask.

May all find peace. Many thanks to all my teachers over the years and good wise friends who help make the world a better place every day. I am forever grateful for your presence.

Blessings,

Hillary

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Chicago People: Gloria

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This is Gloria. She washes the windows at Strings Ramen on Archer Ave in Chicago every week. Turns out she has her own small business washing windows for businesses all over the city. She told me today that she really loves washing windows, in part because when you’re done “everything looks brand new, ” and, “you just feel like you really accomplished something.”

Gloria is a survivor. She’s got a radiant beauty and intense inner strength that I hope comes through at least a little in these pictures.

Bicycling to New Work

 

So, if you know me, you know I LOVE to ride a bicycle.  But I’ve had a few injuries and so forth which put me off my ride for a while. 

Fortunately, today I was able to bring home this fellow, Hercules, who was made in England a pretty long time ago. I can ride 100% upright so that means no shoulder pain.

But best of all, this is the bike which will be my ride to a new body of contemplative photography I’ll be developing this summer. 

I’m interested in the whole process not only of making the actual image but in the entire adventure, including traveling, journeying to the places and spans of time in which the photographic subject finds me- till we encounter each other in a moment of mutual recognition. 

This is about being awake; seeing things as they are and recognizing the inter-being of all things. Not just about a moment, a decisive moment but of relationship with subject over time. 

I hope you’ll come along for the ride with me. Not only will I share new work here but also conversations with other photographers about an art of conscious picture making not taking, and about how a meditation or contemplative practice informs our work. 

You can expect too that I’ll be launching a crowd funding project soon to help produce the work but most important to share the fire that burns in me vis a vis the photographic enterprise but also even more important how photography and meditation, contemplation practices can help us re-imagine our own place in the world today, awakening our compassion and wisdom for ourselves, each other, our world- the while catastrophe, in other words. 

I’ll also share ongoing readings on these topics which I hope will spark a global conversation and help us all make new friends.

 

Happy trails friends. May all find peace.