This month’s blog is a free edited excerpt from Seeing Me, written by photographer Dave Rackley and yours truly.
Seeing Me is a guide to self-awareness—a “read and reflect” workbook—for reframing the way you see yourself through reflective writing. It is a journey of awakening, calling each of us to look at our lives through a new lens. Using the wisdom of everyday experience and the metaphors of photography, Dave and I offer you a way to explore your perceptions and misperceptions—all to reframe the way you see yourself.
The following is comprised of two essays, two sets of prompts, interspersed with some suggestions for reframing how you see your life. We hope you take time to do the short exercises and find them meaningful.
Here, Let Me Help You with Those Weeds:
Jeanne’s Overgrown Garden Story
“What if I told you that your every conflict, disappointment, struggle, or challenge with others and yourself, was merely a manifestation of what’s going on within your own thinking. Would you go there first to fix, mend, and allay?”
—The Universe, ©Mike Dooley, www.tut.com—
Is thy gluteus maximus getting sore because you’re on the fence about some issue or wondering how to deal with somebody else’s business?
Concerned about your unappreciative boss? Upset over a nasty neighbor? Troubled about a new (or old) relationship? Stuck in a rut?
It’s time to clear out that mental clutter and go pull some weeds, preferably your own.
In reading self-help books, I often catch myself thinking this is perfect advice for Susie Q. (or my husband or my best friend or…). Hmm. And why do I think I know what Susie needs? And why is she my focus?
Ah, because I am a teacher, a personal growth teacher. All wise. All knowing. All of life is material for my teaching and my autopilot teacher kicks in. I can hardly help myself – I love my work. I love seeing people wake up to their lives and their possibilities.
All wise and all knowing? Not hardly. What I teach people to do is to get in touch with their own wisdom—to practice self-love, self-care. My job is not to fix them and their job is not to fix other people. Our job is to take a long, hard, loving look at ourselves.
I’m not talking about being self-absorbed or narcissistic. When you take the reflective time to get to know and love yourself, and pull out the metaphorical weeds in your head, you can be in the world as your best self, your whole self, sharing your authentic gifts and unique talents.
Once there was a woman who decided to tend her own garden. It wasn’t until she focused on her own soil that she saw both the beauty of her garden and the weeds that needed pulling. And by tending to her own life, she didn’t fall prey to the oh-so-easy distraction of fixing others.
Well I‘ll be darned. Guess I’ll take care of my weeds and you can go pull your own!
Got any good weed-pulling stories to share?
Set a timer for 10 minutes, grab a pen and a piece of paper or a journal, and consider your current life by responding to the following prompts:
- I feel overgrown with weeds in my life right now because…
- I don’t have time to pull my own weeds, because…
- I feel confined in my life right now, because…
When you’re finished, read Dave’s thoughts before moving on to the suggestions for reframing the way you see things and the “reframing” prompts.
Grading Photos – Not All Are Worth Saving
Dave’s Story of Facing Reality
Not every photo that I take will be noteworthy, so I needed some way to score the images. In simple terms a so-so image with no rank gets no attention during editing. A really bad photo may get an “x”, during the initial culling process.
Before editing begins, photos that get an “x” are deleted from the hard drive. I am ruthless – I know I will not be using the photo, and I have no need to keep it around.
A photo with a rank of at least three gets attention. For me, edited photos that have good potential for designation as “keeper” get higher ranks added during the editing process.
As clients select photos for purchase, the rankings change, yet again. This culling process takes almost no time to do, but the resulting rankings save me minutes to hours in the overall process of producing quality images.
Why edit or re-image a photo in the first place? There are many reasons. My three favorites are
- take a snapshot to a great shot,
- create something no one has ever seen, and
- simply because I can, so why not?
Your Opportunity to Reframe Your Life:
Feeling the Possibilities
There’s an invitation to live life fully in the moment by clearing your mind’s weeds. It’s a way to be vulnerable – to let yourself bloom, where you are. Here’s a secret from Brené Brown: vulnerability is not weakness. Vulnerability is emotional risk, exposure, and uncertainty. Strength comes from blooming, not from sitting on the fence and judging others.
Consider exploring, playing with, and practicing the following:
- Relax. Reflect. Renew.
- Treat yourself kindly, with care and concern (Self-compassion)
- Vent (briefly)
- Challenge yourself with the following slogan: So what? Now what?
- Move forward, Move from why me? to what’s next?
- Go pull those metaphorical weeds…stay with it, stay with your story. By looking at your own life, you can become your best self rather than distracting yourself with fixing others.
Set your timer for 10 more minutes, and consider your current life by responding to the following prompts:
- To find the flowers blooming in my life I could…
- I can slowly start weeding out my garden by…
- If I focused on my own garden rather than somebody (or everybody) else’s, I could…
“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.”
Your comments or feedback to this process are most welcome.
Seeing Me is available as an e-book on Amazon: