Friday, October 26, 2007


Linear flow and textures call my pen to write.
What does it want to say?
Is it simply enough to play?
Have the letters play
With the spaces?

What is hiding here?
Is it eerie? Is it safe?
The shadow speaks above.

The hidden eye.
Is it an eye? Is it a mouth?

Words of my heart waiting to be expressed?

A river flows.
Steady rhythm strumming down the bank

Gently it plays along my being.

Soothing, Calming, Feeding
The Fibers of my soul.

How sweet it is!

(Note - The words here were inspired by, and written on, a photo of a wood knot on the boardwalk of Green Cay Wetlands. You can see the original photo of this wood knot and others from a morning walk, in Picture to Ponder, Vol. 3 - Issue 62.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dwelling on What's Missing - Lessons Learned -Gratitude

There is brightness and light amidst the pastel leaves of those past their prime. Life is still full and rich.

In my last post, I was dwelling on the dying part of the Fireflag scene. At the same time, I spent a large portion of the day dwelling on what's missing in my life with Sam, as Parkinson's does its ravaging on him. What's missing every time I get in that state is the Gratitude for, and acknowledgment of, what is good in our lives.

Sam's balance is great, his walking fine. We took a great walk around our neighborhood tonight... nine-tenths of a mile is the route and we had fun looking at rabbits in the dark and, frogs on well-lit driveways, geckos on a garage door. Sam even responded to some questions.

What's always present is our love for each other and, especially, Sam's unconditional love for me, no matter what I do, how temporarily nasty I may get.

For this and so much more, am I grateful.

Fireflag - Life and Death - Mourning

A spotted leaf catches my eye,
As we walk in Wakodahatchee Wetlands
I zoom in really close
and see all kinds of patterns, holes and all kinds of decay, also.

I step back and go for the color
Too mooshy and scattered, like my life right now.

Time to focus in
I like this one. It's stately and expressive
In its half-dead, yet showing life state.
There is a fully live leaf and
Even though shadows are cast,
it remains bright -
Strongly contrasted with all the death around.

Is this one the Dance of Death?
It looks very lively, swirling
and at the same time, peaceful
Despite the dark hole of the unknown.

I love the softness of the faded colors which
Simply look mellow not dead.
The light does it, I suppose.

A little character in the upper right,
Guards the entrance to the dark space.
He/it looks quite at peace peace with it all.

Looking more closely now
It almost seems like a tiger's head resting there.

Can I, too, be peaceful and at rest?

As I chose photos for, and wrote, today's Picture to Ponder, I wondered how much of my reasponses were colored by my frustration and anger at Sam's not being able to talk to me. He can speak and I keep thinking, or operating from, that he is purposely refusing. My head knows my judgment is incorrect and yet I keep agitating me and, undoubtedly, him too.

The bottom line is I miss my companion and lover from our first 41 or 42 years together. Though we've now just marked our 47th wedding anniversary, it's not the same.

This Parkinson's Disease with which he is afflicted is an insidious disease AND I realize that my anger, my screaming my yelling is even more insidious. How to shift is the ever present question.

Time for a walk. I'm thinking that's really at the root of my raging today is my dwelling on all of this. Time to move on to Gratitude.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Stopped or Moving Forward?

All alone -
Standing still or
Moving forward?

The angled direction looks strong.
Where is the other foot?
Does it matter?

Looking closely at the surroundings,
There are some glimmers of aid.
Can they be called in?
Will they help?

The light is bright on the forward toe;
On part of the heel in the back also.

Does that mean the past is bright enough,
Sound enough,
To support the future?

After all is pondered and said,
It comes down to, simply,
"One step at a time!"

©2007 Sheila Finkelstein

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Banana Sky DVD

Happy days. I just realized that I can actually upload the one minute preview of Banana Sky onto this blog.

Thank you for clicking the arrow to view this preview the Banana Sky DVD. Insofar as the relaxation aspect of it, on the full DVD, the photos fade in an out for a smooth and comfortable transition. Enjoy.

You can find information on the full version on

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Banana Tree Photos and Music -DVD Launched

For five and a half months the Draft for the post just below this has been sitting unattended, unpublished. I looked at it this morning and it was fine. No changes necessary, except for the spelling of Arica. I had "Eureka" palms. Probably sums up my feelings at the time. Too bad my need for perfection ends up in so much procrastination.

Yesterday I put out ordering information for the DVD that has resulted from my passion for the tree and all the photos I took, and continue to take. Happily I've arranged with, and gotten permission from, Jeannie Fitzsimmons, ASCAP, to use a piece of her beautiful healing music as background for this wonderful endless loop flowing of more than 100 photos.

Slide shows of the leaves, reflections, and the sky often brought be peace after a bout of anger at the manifestations of the Parkinon's Disease with which my husband has been afflicted. If it worked for me, I realized it might work for other carepartners who might love a DVD to pop into their players for viewing on TV.

I've thus mastered some of the technological features of my computer and created it. See BANANA SKY for details. Not only does the music and photography offer respite and transformation for care givers, the combination gives anyone viewing it pleasure, relaxation and the opportunity to regain balance.

To find out more about Jeannie and listen to clips of her music, go to

Monday, September 04, 2006

Banana Tree Transformation

Photo - 7/4/06
Sometime toward the end of June I purchased and planted this banana tree. It was only $12.95. For one who always seems to measure everything by its cost and being a "good buy," this sure was one AND it fit in our car; so I bought it. I had no idea that this tree was going to start impacting my thoughts and my camera the way it has, so I did not think to photograph the day I planted it. The photo above was taken on July 4, 2006. I am assuming, since I did not take many photos, that the growth was relatively slow.

In the beginning of August I started photographing frequently and in the latter part of the month it became two, sometimes, three times a day that I went out with my camera. I became intrigued with each leaf as it started extending itself as a straight stalk, then gradually unrolled itself, ultimately into a rich full leaf. In the last week or two the leaves started splitting far more quickly and with more slits than before. They actually wound up looking the Arica palms that back them.

My aim in posting this today is to simply get started and to provide the space for more responsive writing to individual leaves and segments of leaves.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Identifying Purpose while Reflecting on Envy

Yesterday in my Picture to Ponder photo ezine I wrote about my experience with a visiting friend and the jealousy which kicked in, almost on automatic, as I compared photos that we each took of something that had caught my eye first. I found myself preferring hers more, totally forgetting that my purpose in life, as I express it, is to inspire others to see things newly, differently and with passion.

The experience served as the basis for the issue's Self-Reflecting Queries and I went on the write an article that I think is important and put it on my web site - Jealousy and Identifying Purpose which I'd like to share here.

The two photos:

Photo © Sheila Finkelstein

Photo © Ina R. Ames


Last week I visited the American Orchid Society Greenhouse and Gardens in Delray Beach, FL with my Bostonian friend Ina Ames. One of countless visits for me, it was a first for her.

During a large portion of her long weekend visit, Ina kept repeating, "I don't take good pictures" and she wound up taking a wonderful grouping of orchid and plant photos. As we viewed the photos on my television screen, I was certain that hers were far better than mine. (Note - the .jpgs burned onto a CD will play in a DVD player. At least it will on mine, attached to our TV.)

I began to realize in reflecting that what was present for her was her enthusiasm and excitement of discovery. That's what came through, for sure, in her high quality photos - her being and her eye, into her camera and out through the photographs. I had been pretty much in the state of "been here, done that, nothing much new today."

One of her photos that I most loved was the anthurium "flower" peeking out from behind the leaf shown above. Ironically I had directed her to the view, pointing it out to her. Not surprisingly, jealousy, the human part of me, kicked in at hers being "the more exciting photo" when I compared them. I especially liked the lighting and richness of colors, probably due to technical differences in our two cameras.

Stepping back and looking "over my shoulder," so-to-speak, at the situation I realized two things. One was related to my purpose, the other to what I'm willing to do in relation to technical learning.

My purpose is to open people up to seeing things in new and different ways, in many cases things or situations that they never would have seen prior to our interactions. For the most part a viewfinder and a camera become the tools and access for this.

My purpose had been fulfilled with Ina, resulting from all of our photographic interactions, including the PICTURE TO PONDER photos which she regularly appreciates and shares with her daughter during a break for spirit refreshing at work.

Because I am human, this is not the only instance where I've noticed that little jealousy demon pricking me when people I've mentored move on "to do as well or better than I." (My own, self-inflicted judgments.)

I am self-taught with my camera and I usually shut down when I study and experiment with different settings on it and then don't make note of what I've done. I simply love the camera for the access to joy and discovery that it provides for me.

Bottom line, I am comfortable and have not furthered myself by taking any classes.

As I continue my reflections I realize I have a choice. I can be "small" and dwell in jealousy, or I can simply recognize and dismiss it any time and stand in the power and joy of having met my goals and made a difference with my students and "mentorees." I do think the latter is far more powerful, don't you?

And, in terms of the technical aspect, I can stay comfortable with what I do now with my camera, at the same time staying in that little fear that I might be discovered as "not good enough" - again my own self-inflicted judgment. Or, I can take a course, since book-learning doesn't do it for me, and expand and empower myself. I shall do that in the Fall.

Looking at the photos with fresh eyes several days later, I am able to appreciate other elements in the photos and simply recognize that each has its own merits.

Earlier, I mentioned Ina R. Ame's business. Totally unrelated to art, you can find her Rim and Wheel business at rim and Know that if you ever have need for her shop's services you can take advantage of them from anyplace in the States.

Thank you, dear friend, for allowing me to share our experience in this article and in PICTURE TO PONDER - V2 - Issue 62, as well as the photograph you took.

©2006 Sheila Finkelstein

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Photography as Access to Transformation

As I build my business and study different sources, I'm reminded of the power of blogging and the importance of frequent, almost daily, posting. Then, I see it's almost 3 weeks since I've posted here.

I am therefore starting a post today, more of an article, to which I'll come back later. In Friday's PICTURE TO PONDER, I featured two photos of shadows on the boardwalk railing at Wakodatchee. The first, above, was strictly of zigzag lines which gave off a feeling of being bombarded.

The second, below, shows how clarity sets in when we step back and look at the bigger picture.

In fact several of the subscribers wrote that these photos and the Self-Reflecting Queries created a major shift for them. The queries were:

"Where in your life right now are you being pounded with self-defeating thoughts? I invite you to step back and relook at the situation(s). Can you now see some clarity? Are there some actions you can take that will move you forward, out of the morass?

Have fun with it. Play and if you have a camera I invite you to do some photographing. Simply play with the photos and see what becomes available for you in mood shift. Perhaps new directions will also open up with the totally unrelated challenges looked at in the exercise above. "