Sunday, May 10, 2009

Take the Top off Your Convertible!

I took the top off my convertible last weekend. And the earth moved.

Yes, yes, thank you, jokesters for your insight: The earth only appeared to be moving as I zipped along at 70 mph up Texas Highway 290, on my way to see the bluebonnets. Everyone knows it was really the car that was moving.

But of course I’m not talking about the earth or the car. As you might expect, I’m describing an inner experience: a major shift in my spirit and body.

The top off my convertible, my car flying down the road, I glowed with happiness and light, feeling a blast of freedom, potential, and reconnection to the joy of life.

The experience was so simple, so easy, and felt so good.

“Why”, I asked myself, hair flying, heart uplifted, happily gunning my car and feeling its power, “did it take me so long to do this?!”

It had been five years since I took the top off my convertible. And from a practical perspective, I know what took me so long.

I have a 1978, two-seater Mercedes, which in winter looks like a normal classic car with a hard top. But what many don’t know is this: Lift off the hard top and voila!: Instant convertible.

The problem is the hidden challenge: The top is very heavy, requires two people to lift it, and needs a garage or other secure place to store it. Which, for a person who has lived in 16 places over the last 5 years and currently lives in an 800 square foot apartment with no garage, hasn’t allowed for much top popping.

Except...Except...blame it on a recent comment by a friend cum spiritual teacher:

The comment: “You have it all right now.”
The translation: You have everything you need to be happy right now, in your current circumstances, whatever they may be. (A basic teaching of many spiritual practices)

Me, driving home: How would that change my life, (I mused), if I really believed that?
How might I be limiting my life right now, without even realizing it?

And then the invitation came from a fellow member of my photography group: To come to her ranch in the country outside Houston to enjoy and photograph the sea of bluebonnet fields, so stunning in Texas at spring time.

I remembered the first time I saw Texas bluebonnets. A friend surprised me by picking me up in his little Triumph convertible, the top down.

“You must see bluebonnet country in a convertible,” he said. “There’s nothing like the sight, and smell, and pure sensuousness of the experience.” (He was right.)

I had to live that ultimate bluebonnet experience again. And here I was with a convertible! Almost forgotten, overshadowed by more recent identities as mini-moving van, New Mexico touring car, and ongoing restoration project, I knew there was still a convertible in the heart of that car.

I thought of my friend’s comment. Hmm, all I needed was right here. OK, then all I had to do was find the other supportive pieces: someone to help me take off the top, and a place to store it.

I didn’t worry about finding someone to help me with the top; that usually wasn’t a problem. It’s the “No place to store it” belief that usually stopped me cold.

This time, however, I intensely wanted my convertible in the bluebonnets. I forced myself to push harder. What other options did I have?

I thought about a friend’s pool room. I considered my mechanic’s place. I entertained the idea of asking my neighbor, who used his second bedroom as a storage room.

As I ran through ideas, I realized that it wasn’t just the lack of a storage place that had stopped me before. I was also uncomfortable asking for a favor, possibly imposing on someone who could provide that for me.

But the day was too beautiful, the urge for freedom too strong. And after all, what are friends for?

I picked up the phone and called a friend with a garage. He said yes immediately.

I was overjoyed...and amazed. Were the joys of life really this simple?

So last weekend you would have seen me on the perfect day, ecstatically zooming along the highway (not as fast on back roads :), the sun and air on my skin, filled with the feeling of release and freedom that every convertible and fast car lover understands.

I experienced fields and fields of bluebonnets, set my camera soul free, and ended the perfect day with a beautiful sunset and an evening of food and wine with my wonderful hosts and photographer friends.

I’m intrigued now with other beliefs in my life that might be keeping me from enjoying the here and now. What else do I have that I’m not taking advantage of?

“Take the top off! Drive on, girl”, I say.

(See a few informal bluebonnet pictures and me in my convertible here...)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Heidi Straube - Take the Leap

Quoted from

Heidi Straube - Take the Leap

Think about a photograph you love...A favorite image of your child, photo from a family gathering, or image of a beautiful place you'd love to be. What makes it special? What do you see?

The connection from the photographer's soul to another...a moment's recognition and capture of the essence and spirit of life.

The photographs you love are not because of the latest equipment or technique. You love them because they make you feel; they inspire you. You delight at the miracle of your child; remember deep emotions you felt at a gathering; connect with the yearning for a special place.

The photographs you love allow you to see, feel, and remember pieces of your life that are fulfilling and meaningful to the deepest part of your being.

As a photographer, I work from the soul. I connect with the essence of my subjects, consciously seeking and recognizing the inner spirit. I then honor and express their beauty and life through light, expression, and form.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Is it Time for a Change?

Is it Time for a Change?

You come home from work, exhausted. Your mind says “I just can’t do this anymore.” You yearn for a better life, more satisfaction, more time for yourself.  Are you just having a bad day? Or is it time for a change?

Often our lives change automatically because of outside events. Lay-offs, college graduations, illness, divorce, or transfers to another part of the world force us to live differently and establish new routines. But has life really changed? On the outside things are different, but inside we may still be unhappy.

Whether we are choosing to change our lives, or have had a life transition enforced upon us, we need to ask the question: “What do I really want? Do I want a continuation of the same, or is this my opportunity to make my life the way I wish it would be?”

Let’s look at some “warning signals” that it is time for you to make some changes in your life. Check the ones that apply to you.

  1. You wake up in the morning. Instead of feeling excitement and purpose, you feel nothing, or depressed.

  2. You often think, “Is this all there is?”

  3. You see other people making changes in their lives, and you feel envious.

  4. Situations that you used to tolerate have become unbearable to you.

  5. You feel invisible, and feel that if you vanished off the face of the earth no one would even notice.

  6. You feel like you are just living to work, rather than working to live

  7. You find yourself spending money on things that make you happy temporarily, but later cause you stress or aren’t fun anymore.

  8. You always do what you “should” do, rather than doing what you “want” to do

  9. You look around you and question how you ever got to this place in your life

  10. You have a dream that will be unattainable unless you start going toward it soon

  11. Your significant other tells you you’re no fun anymore

  12. You feel a calling, either spiritual or worldly, but you don’t know how to express it. You fear sharing it, because others will not understand.

  13. You just KNOW it is time for a change.

How did you do? If you found any of the above warning signals to be true for you, I encourage you to consider the possibility that it is time for some changes in your life. The more items you checked, the more it appears that change is in the air.  

For some of you, the changes will be huge. For others, it may that you just need a small fine-tuning, some enhancements to your life. Don’t start getting fearful! Instead, get excited that there are new things out there that will make you happier, more satisfied, and will give you back that great energy and anticipation that you used to feel when you woke up in the morning. Change is not a bad word; not living to your inner Truth is. Be happy, take courage, and look forward to the next step.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

An Invitation to Change Your Life

This is an invitation to change your life. Really, finally, deeply. Through this blog, I will show you a new way of living, a way that can be both joyous and terrifying, easy and hard, obvious and confusing, but totally satisfying.  I will show you the signposts along the way, give you the tools to create what you want, and share my personal experiences of living this way.  I want this blog to be your inspiration, the influence that finally convinces you to take the next step:  to claim your life, to honor what is inside of you and to create an outer reality that supports you. I want this to be a keepsake, a mini-guide, and a companion to remind you that you are not alone in your yearning. There are others out there who are living the inner life, there are ways to do it, and there is a place for you in this adventure.