My Life

Project Athena - Day 98 (My Life)

It's My Life

It’s my life
It’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just want to live while I’m alive
(It’s my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said
I did it my way
I just wanna live while I’m alive
It’s my life
— Bon Jovi

So this concludes the "my life" theme and I have come to a deep realization that I could take ten million pictures that depict some aspect of who I am and still not tell the full story of this infinite being. There are so many people and places and experiences that have shaped my world and that is all about the past. My current life is blessed with numerous people, places and things that hold a special place in my heart. So, for those of you who didn't make it into this week's theme, know you are loved and I am grateful to you for being a part of my life. (Lara, Nate, Mom, Dad, brothers, friends, soul sisters, colleagues, pets, and neighbors.)

In my life, there are loved ones who have come and gone, lifestyles that have come and gone, businesses that have come and gone, homes that have come and gone....And yet the core, essential "me" remains untouched by the ebbing and flowing of life itself. I AM. This body will pass and I still there will be this being, uncontained by the form.

I chose to shoot this self portrait today in one of the places where I remember my creative spirit being brought to life, the Environmental Learning Center in Fort Collins. I had a creative writing teacher in high school who understood the connection between inspiration and being in nature. She arranged for several field trips to this natural area and set the class free to roam and write. Her philosophy was akin to Ralph Waldo Emerson's, "Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul."

While I didn't fully grasp the truth of this precept, I knew as a budding young writer I had found a way to connect deeply with myself and to allow creative expression to flow freely. Being in nature freed my mind of all the rules and limitations that bound me in the class room. I felt at home.

I continue to find inspiration in nature everyday. It is, in truth, my greatest muse. It seems to me that everything in nature is a metaphor for the human experience. Beauty, growth, life, cycles, symbiosis, intention, communication, death, recycling, change, competition...

All I truly know is that when I am in nature, I am reminded that I am connected to everything, and have access to the infinite wisdom of the universe. This makes me smile on the inside.

Bhadra

Nikon D3200 • Nikon 18-55mm lens • 90mm • F/11 • 1/40s • ISO 400

Project Athena - Day 97 (My Life)

Meet Yogi

The cat who doesn’t act finicky soon loses control of his owner
— Morris the Cat

Meet Yogi (aka: Yogurt; Go-gurt; Yoges; Yodda; Jabba the Hut; Morris, Duder; Yogee-Pa-Togee; Sits with a Thud; Stop-Drop-Roll; and Mister I Like to Watch Romantic Comedies).

Yogi came into my life about eleven years ago as a little tiny kitten who fit in the palm of my hand. He was my first cat "owning" experience and has been one of the purest forms of entertainment I have ever had. I didn't realize the cat owning experience would mean he owns me. Today he weighs in at close to 19 pounds with paws the size of a small lion.

Yogurt likes people a lot, as long as they don't touch him. He is definitely a Momma's boy as we have been constant companions from the beginning of his life. Since I didn't know much about cats when I got him, I treated him like a dog in the beginning and he accompanied me to work on a leash, riding on my shoulders in the car as I drove. That got more looks than the vehicle wrap. Of course, that was also before he became ginormous and he figured out he was a cat.

Nowadays, we wrestle for pillow space at night and he usually wins, we go on occasional walks and I usually have to carry him home, and he lays on the arm of the recliner in the mornings to drink coffee with his other mom. He is pretty laid back except for those manic moments when something wild possesses him and he takes off for no reason like a bat out of hell, tearing across the wood floors at high speed, then coming to a screeching halt with a belly dive and paws spread out to spin him around 180 degrees. HILARIOUS!!!

 

Yogi the Cat

Nikon D3200 • Nikon 55-200mm lens • 90mm • F/4.5 • 1/60s • ISO 400

Project Athena - Day 96 (My Life)

Owl Medicine

Owls are the eyes of the night, and they see what is not in the
open. They have secret knowledge that they can share. Their medicine can extract secrets.
— Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

One of my favorite activities in life is owling. Seeing or hearing an owl in the dark of the night is a truly mystical experience. In the early spring, it is exhilarating to find the nests of the parents and babies and watch them grow into fledglings.

In many traditions, the owl is a symbol of a deep connection with wisdom and intuitive knowledge. When I was introduced to the Shamanic Path, I very quickly learned the powerful medicine of owl and the how strongly this animal guides me to see the true reality, beyond illusion and deceit. These wonderful creatures also provide the inspiration and guidance necessary for me to deeply explore the unknown and the magic of life.

The owl is associated with the goddess Athena in ancient Greek culture and it is a symbol of higher wisdom. Their yellow eyes are make their face very expressive and symbolize the light of the sun that can be seen as shining in the dark of the night.

This photo was actually taken about a month ago not far from my house. I have been wanting to share it in some context that would express the importance of this totem animal in my life. Serendipitously, another rainy day in Colorado kept me from getting out to shoot today and so here is the opportunity I have been waiting for.

Great Horned Owl

Nikon D3200 • Nikon 55-200mm lens • 150mm • F/5 • 1/200s • ISO 100

Project Athena - Day 95 (My Life)

Some Cuteness

Have you ever had someone walk into your life and know the instant that you met them that they were family and would be a part of your life for the whole of it. That's how it was with Ms Kelly when she strolled into my business 17 years ago with a resume in hand. Needless to say, I hired her and we became colleagues, friends and family.

We have seen each other through all the curves that life has thrown over the years and she remains one of my dearest family members so when Zach, her husband, and then these two little fellows came along, falling in love with them all was just a natural extension of my affection for Kelly.

Their life stream as a family unit has taken them to St. George, Utah recently but they came for a visit this week and it has been the most wonderful time reconnecting. I am grateful to pick up right where we left off with the kids four months ago, temper tantrums and all. It's hard to find the words that describe just how special this family is to me. My whole being smiles because of them.

Kian (left) and Desmond (right)

Nikon D3200 • Nikon 55-200mm lens • 55mm • F/4 • 1/320s • ISO 400

Project Athena - Day 94 (My Life)

Our House is A Very, Very, Very Fine House

Really, all I want to say for this blog is that I love our home. I have lived in 20 different houses and this one is by far my favorite. Nestled up against the foothills in Loveland, CO, it has a great location, is well built, and feels like a warm hug every time I walk through the door. Just gratitude for what is.

I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.
— Maya Angelou

Our House

Nikon D3200 • Nikon 18-55mm lens • 18mm • F/6.3 • 1/20s • ISO 400

Project Athena - Day 93 (My Life)

Where the Magic Happens

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.
— Robert Frost

Welcome to my office. I tidied up a bit today because it's going to convert into a temporary bedroom for a few days, starting tonight. Tomorrow's post will explain that detail, I'm sure of it.

I have been "working" at this same Steelecase work station now for 20 years. It has traveled with me to 2 different retail locations and now resides in my home. I don't envy the ones who have loved me enough to set it up, tear it down and set it back up each time but it has certainly served me well in my businesses.

I LOVE working from home! I never have felt that one should have to leave their hearts at home to go to work. I especially love being at home in the winter when the snow is flying and the temperature drops below zero. My car is tucked warmly in the garage and I never have to change out of my pajamas. My commute is 30 seconds from the kitchen to the office. I break for anything whenever I want, and on the occasional jobs that I have to work late at night, I can crank the music and feel completely safe in the sanctuary I call my home office.

Home Office

Nikon D3200 • Nikon 18-55mm lens • 18mm • F/22 • 1/6s • ISO 400

Project Athena - Day 92 (My Life)

That's A Wrap

Accelerate on the curves!
— Me

My Prius with Mandala Wrap

Nikon D3200 • Nikon 55-200mm lens • 80mm • F/22 • 1/40s • ISO 800

This week's theme is "My Life." When I selected this theme at the beginning of Project Athena, I envisioned taking photos that represented "a day in the life of me." Now, it feels more important to ask a deeper question like what is profoundly affecting my life and how can I represent that in a photo.

So this first image is of my car. I bought this Prius brand new over 10 years ago. I have never had a car before "Pree" that seemed to have a life of her own. Here is her resume:

140,000 miles (Mostly commuting and a few wonderful road trips around Colorado, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming and New Mexico)
280 tanks of gas (she has a small bladder, literally)
35 oil changes (give or take a few)
8 sets of tires (the girl loves a new pair of quality shoes)
1 minor accident (when she slid into a snow bank testing her traction control)
1 speeding ticket (she had to know how fast she could really go just in case so we opened her up on an country road in Wyoming and of course met the only Wyoming State trooper for hundreds of miles just as she reached 92mph.)
4 years without a garage (and she lived outdoors through the snowiest winter I can recall)
5 years in the warmth of cozy garage (Hmm. Feels good to be protected from the elements)
2 car wraps (The first was a gorgeous moon goddess designed by my dear friend Kelly. And now this mandala wrap.)
HUNDREDS of gawkers and admirers of the wrap with superlatives ranging from "cool" to "sick" to "WOW!" ( I have even had people chase me down in parking lots to talk to me about this wrap.)
ZERO - Drive-in theatres, drunk driving, camping, major repair work, or break-ins