On Thought Patterns And External Influences

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Awakening On The Mountain “and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the page.

The early morning hours seem to be the best time seek out a quiet place where I can find my center. I like to get out away from the house for this when I can. A lot of times when I stay in I’m tempted to turn on the news or I’m distracted by the to do list. It’s impossible for me to pursue a moment of peace when the rest of the world is whispering a list of problems into my ear. Sometimes I turn on some music and sometimes I have a podcast playing but mostly I shut off all stimulation just for a while. The point of the exercise is to let go of the outside world and rest my mind so I prioritize my day or search for inspiration. The outside world has so many voices vying for your attention that your own voice can be lost in the crowd. I remember singing”Oh Be Careful Little Eyes” in Sunday school class as a very small child. We would learn the lesson by song and as young children but did we comprehend it? I’m not really able to go into a lot of detail without the post becoming unbearably long but those things that humans are exposed to by what we see and hear can become a part of our self identity. If you notice the first two verses are passive actions. Namely watching and listening. The rest of song is proactive. Those actions are speaking, doing, going and thinking. When taken as a whole we see that what the children ( in the song) see and hear influences what they do. This is a real phenomenon that’s not limited to children. It’s more pronounced in children but adults do it as well. And think about all the negative thoughts that we’re exposed to on a daily basis. Angry voices in the news, in music, on T.V. shows and in the movies and now on social media. All this anger becomes normalized and internalized to the observer. It’s like a parasite of the spirit. But there’s good news as well. Positive thoughts can take the same route and become internalized as well. And by taking a few minutes every day to break the negative cycle and weaken that pattern it becomes less prominent in our subconscious easier to overcome.

I’m not always able to get out and find those quiet places. In fact it’s actually a challenge. So when I am able I use my camera to bottle that moment and tuck it away for later. I pull out the photo and recall that moment of peace whenever I need that boost of solitude.

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More Things That A Little Bird Told Me.

Before I begin tonight’s post I want to apologize to my readers for not posting last night. Internet services were disrupted in my area and where I live there’s no cellular services available due to thick forests and mountains. Thank you for understanding.

The little bird landed ever so gently on the edge of the roof. “I have secrets ” he proudly announced. “And what secrets do bring today?” I replied. Now, for a little bird carrying secrets is a sacred duty. But if there’s anything they love more than telling secrets it’s haggling. “I don’t know ” The little bird said sheepishly. “They’re awfully good secrets but I missed the worm this morning and I’m just too weak to sing.” He continued while cocking his head sideways to get a better look at the crust on my peanut butter sandwich. Smiling in amusement at the little bird’s skillful negotiations, I began to toss pieces of the crust up to the roof. Soon after he finished his brunch he started to sing and this is what he said.

“The worst mistake that you’ll ever make is the one you didn’t learn from.”

I’m in agreement with the little guy. Everybody messes up but not everyone acknowledges the errors and makes changes the next time. “That’s a good one” I said to the bird.”Please continue.”

The little bird took a deep breath and said, “Instead of counting the days make every day count. You’ll have the same number of days but you’ll have more life in them because none are wasted.”

Once again the little bird seemed to hit the nail on the head. No matter if it’s work or play doing things with a thought out purpose and a full effort helps to make a happy life.

“Thank you little bird! But you got half of my lunch. You’ve got to give me at least one more secret.” I prodded while holding up my empty plate.

The little bird seemed to bob from side to side as if he was debating with himself about which secrets to yield. He hopped up and down the edge of roof the he looked right at me and said “The only way to fail is to give up. If you learn the first two secrets and follow the third you will eventually have a measure of success in everything as long as you don’t quit too early”.

“Excellent my little friend! Expect an extra crust of bread on the roof tomorrow morning!” I exclaimed. Now, it’s very difficult to tell if a bird is actually smiling because of the beak but his eyes did seem to be a little brighter as he lifted off and returned to his perch in the treetops.

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Letting Your Light Show

We all have that person in our lives who seems to light up the room. They never really seen to have a bad day. We tend to think that these people are impervious to life’s problems. Or in some cases you might think that they just don’t really understand how troubling things are. If you think that a positive outlook on life is effortless for that person… well, you’re probably wrong. Even if they don’t know it that person has more than likely spent years if not decades training their mind to react in a positive way. In the martial arts stories are told about the Zen Archers who are required to draw an empty bow thousands of times before they’re given an arrow to nock. This is because the repetition actually strengthens the neural pathways. When they are finally given an arrow the shot is perfect. The same thing goes for our emotional nervous system. If we practice a positive outlook over and over again it will strengthen that response in our neural pathways. Eventually the reflex will strengthen to point that it’s the natural response and you will be that person who’s inner light is undeniable.

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Changing The Pattern

The cool air blows through mountains. Changing leaves are shaken loose carried to river. They float like tiny rafts racing to the sea. Soon the last leaf will fall and the forest will sleep through the winter. As I look at the single leaf caught in the eddy of the mighty Kanawha River I have to contemplate how it’s all connected. Not a single leaf drops from the forest without God’s knowledge. No life is insignificant. As I continue to watch the circling leaf I see that the pattern repeats and the leaf returns to same spot where it almost breaks free and the current draws it back upstream. What is needed to free the leaf is a disruption. As a child playing near water I learned that if I could make a big enough splash by tossing a rock into the eddy I could disrupt the pattern and free the leaf to continue it’s journey.

As humans, we are creatures of habit. We are trying to get just a little further in our journey down the river of time but we get caught up in life’s eddies. We get to point where we almost break free and the current draws us back towards the past. We need a disruption to break us free. There have been times in my life when I felt like God was tossing rocks into my nice smooth eddy. I was content to ride that eddy until it eventually pulled me under. The loss of a job, a wrecked vehicle or some other personal disaster abruptly changed the pattern. As I look back on my life I realize that these events were not attacks but instead they were opportunities to advance. Sure it’s unsettling to have your nice comfortable pattern shattered and you have to struggle to get above water again but you have to trust that God knows what he’s doing and look for new current that will take you to the next leg of life’s journey.

As we began to enter into the dark days of winter I know that there will be people who struggle emotionally. Life doesn’t seem to be vibrant and joyful. Let me suggest that you might just be craving a change in the pattern. Try something new. Take an alternate route to work. Or, in some cases find a new job altogether. (Be responsible and make sure that it’s not negative impact overall). Go visit an old friend or make a new one. Whatever you choose do something that breaks the routine. Remember that no life is insignificant and even though you may not understand what’s happening that you matter to God.

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled ” Sycamore Leaf On A Small Journey ” and is available for purchase by contacting me on Facebook or by using the Contact Form on my website.

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More Thoughts On The Changing Technology And Driving.

Every once in a while I’m transported back in time. I see or hear or smell something that strips away the high tech digital world of the present. On August 4th 2016 I could have sworn that I was passing through some kind of time slip. I have posted about the Shay Reproduction Roadsters before however for those who don’t know these are antique car design with modern modern materials. The Aesthetics of the older vehicles bring to mind thing like the feel of fine leather upholstery and the smell of wood polish. There was a time when people drove for the pleasure of the open road and not just going from point A to point B. There was an age when a person’s time was their own and a craftsman was appreciated for the quality of his work and not just the sheer volume of production. The artistry in the architecture blended with craftsmanship and skilled hand gave life to the machine. Mass production made them affordable but each piece had its own personality. We gave them names and made them members of our families. When the older ones began to break down we learned how to repair the machine and extended it’s lifetime until there was no choice but to let it go. As I look towards the future of the motor car I can see a time when Artificial Intelligence just might have the potential to deepen our connection with the vehicles. I can imagine how smart cameras embedded in car will recognize our faces and the cars will know our names. When it will learn our routine and wish us a good morning as we step out of the house. There will be lots of bells and whistles. There is already cars with Wi-Fi networks to keep us entertained. Advanced warning systems to keep the driver from changing lanes at the wrong time and cars that drive themselves are becoming more and more common. But, in all of the wondrous technology that is on the rise I have to admit that I will miss the simple pleasure climbing behind the wheel just driving.

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The Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

Gently gliding on the warm breeze she sails through my field of vision and softly lights on the sweet clover. She is something special. Her distinct stripes and long “tail” identify her as the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly. While she feeds on the nectar of flowers her young feed exclusively on the pawpaw tree. Once a favored fruit in the Appalachian Mountains the pawpaw (AKA pond Apple or custard apple ) is almost found only in the wild. Because the fruit has almost no shelf life commercial growers found no use for it. As a result it was not cultivated and is not nearly as abundant as it was even just fifty years ago. Because the the tree is so important to the butterfly their numbers have also declined. But on the old homesteads found on edge of civilization the pawpaw still grows and even thrives in a few places and so does the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly. If you see one during the breeding season then you can be sure that a pawpaw patch is nearby. If you’re an adventurous connoisseur of natural foods or vantage crops then it’s worth trying to find the pawpaw in season and give it a try.

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The Children Of The Falls

The evening light spills ever so softly into the landscape at Cathedral Falls. The tall cascade of water flows from the mountain and over the stones. The cascade is the star of the show that draws the spectators but the dozens of tiny falls that dance and play on their way to the river are just as pleasing. I have to imagine that they are the children of the Cascade above. Born out of the sense of peace and serene beauty of Cathedral Falls she sends her offspring into the river to spread out and share the mountains with the rest of the world.

Hello Friends! Tonight’s image is the Stream Below Cathedral Falls in West Virginia. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. Please also consider following Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook.

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