This morning your sky was a pastel parade, Earth.
Beyond what we can see here, our Universe is breathing it’s breath right into the very room that warms you now.
Beyond your doors and windows are millions of other doors and windows leading into someone else’s home, their sanctuary.
(What tears may be falling behind that door, or joys endearing?)
Our neighbors, friends, and people we completely disagree with,
They’re just overcoming heartaches
They only want to be loved
They’re seeking safety and security
Their thoughts embrace the memories of someone dear.
We Are Doing the Best We Can.
Your mouths that speak ill of another — would you say it to that very person the same?
What does integrity mean to you in this moment?
Affirmations to Embrace in 2013:
I am accountable for my actions, and I am able to forgive myself, now, for any actions I’ve made that weren’t consistent with my values.
I am understanding of others and am able to let go of any words, actions, or situations that I have allowed to cause conflict in my life.
I accept that I am in control of the conflicts that come into my life and have the option to choose peace over pain.
I choose to be aware of the energy that surrounds me, and how my own energy affects others.
I am able to commit to the things that will strengthen my well-being, above all else.
I am grateful to know that my well-being can influence the well-being of others.
I am grateful for others who have influenced my well-being.
I acknowledge that others are on sacred paths of their own and respect wherever it is that they are in their journey.
I view my own path as sacred and choose to fill my existence with purity to the best of my ability.
I honor my body, mind, and soul (and recognize that they work together).
I acknowledge my existence as being part of a continuum, a piece of eternity, an energy that will continue to evolve within our Infinite Universe.
I choose to be accepting, loving, kind, and generous.
I understand that what exists in my mind will manifest in my actions; thus, I choose to cultivate peace and harmony in my thoughts.
© Michelle Black 2013
A recent introduction to the admirable photo/video superhero Joshua Branstetter offered me a chance to step into his world and to observe how he exists (and works) in it. Here, we teamed up to photograph this lovely couple — Sydney and Max — who made my first Savannah, GA wedding experience one to remember. It was the first time in many years that I felt at least 50% nervous on the job, mainly because I didn’t want to interfere with Josh’s flow (even though he invited me to assist him for the day). I managed to snag a few images, but Josh and his clients get all the credit for them – thank you
You can see Josh’s top picks on his public Facebook profile.
What a great day this was, and to photograph two people in love that have impacted my life in such a positive way. . . . such a blessing! John and Janie of Imagination Photography renewed their vows and put together one incredible party for their guests on October 6, 2012. With so much attention to detail and concern for their guests getting to know one another, there really was nothing but positive energy flowing around and through. This was also the first celebration I’ve ever attended where sumo wrestling fit into the equation! With their dogs as much a part of the day as themselves, it quickly became clear that their love for one another and the life they’ve built together is certainly one-of-a-kind. How inspiring to witness a devotion to one another so tender, yet adventurous and strong.
One thing I walked away with after the celebration was a definitive feeling of joy. Extra special thanks to the couple and to the entire production for making this day such an incredible experience…. And another big thanks to their guests — for your company
Band: Libido Funk Circus (Chicago)
Flowers: Merry Me Events (Granger, IN)
Fire Spinning: Pyrotechniq (Chicago)
Head Piece: made by Janie
Props: Janie’s Dad
Boutonnieres: Made by Janie
Stage and Chandelier: Made by John and Janie
Coordinator: Liz Whitaker
Hair: Jackie Simmions from Mira Salon and Spa (Bloomington, IN)
Makeup: Bethza Professional Makeup (Elkhart)
Photography: Michelle Black | Light-Traces
In full force working from the heart. In 2013 I will offer exclusively documentary/lifestyle and emotive portrait sessions (non-traditional: fine-art studies, conceptual, experimental) for children and families. I’ve been very focused on storytelling and practicing this skill over the past couple of years, building up to this permanent change, and I’m so incredibly grateful to the art of mobile photography for reawakening that in me. Remember, these sessions are also available free of charge for families or children in need. Visit [ this link ] to see recently updated information regarding charity sessions. Have a great evening <3
Air is cold, love is near
And conversation awaits.
What fate is sealed, what is left to contemplate?
(All things. Shan’t we draw out our minds onto paper?)
Neither experts nor amateurs exist;
There are no definitions. There is no sacrifice.
Even giving and taking carves out stone sculptures where we once stood breathing.
What is all to misunderstood
Is that simple four letter word
The one that strips you bare and leaves you completely exposed, hands tied, eyes glistening and wide.
Love can synchronize hearts, it can rip hearts apart.
Still, we insist upon dissecting ourselves and ponder that perfecting situations will help;
For bigger than ourselves, and even bigger than love
Is the wide and infinite Universe embracing us
Oh, Entertainment and Lust, your waters only drip;
May the rain fall in torrents like scenes from movies wherever there is trust.
There is much to believe in.
Though we have walked along the shore, the ocean speaks and the galaxies await.
© Michelle Black Dec 2012
This is one of those moments where I’m thankful that my mother chose “Dawn” for my middle name, a word that means “a beginning”……
Many believe that today marks the end of the world, but many others believe that 2012 is the year of change and transformation, when our old ways of thinking cease to exist and we take on a better perspective, joining forces with all that is, a new beginning. (try a google search for “galactic alignment“).
I spent “The Apocalypse” prancing around in the snow, engaged in a quiet meditation that centered on gratitude. I plan to spend the rest of it listening to Dead can Dance and making Christmas cards
Knowing When to Quiet Things Down
Summer / Fall of 2011 was literally the busiest time of my entire life. Juggling a studio/business, teaching three online courses, selling products from a second business website, and struggling to keep up with all of life’s regular responsibilities, I found myself overwhelmed (and not handling it gracefully, to say the least). I remember Megan Miller of Picture This Photography walking into the studio one summer morning and I had been there working all night without much sleep for the third night that week. “Oh my God, you look terrible,” she said. And I did. My son was sleeping on the studio couch. We brought his video games and bicycle so he could ride around for entertainment while I worked. Since when did something that I love so much (my business) become such a distraction in my life? And not only that… I realized my values were shifting as a result. The large townhouse I was living in took so much time to clean, the photography studio needed to be tended to, and let’s not mention keeping up with all the paperwork and organization of bills. Thanks to Megan and her husband Adam for making that part easier on me
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been in this predicament.. where life’s responsibilities weigh so heavily that you’re not sure how to find comfort or balance. The key is realizing that something needs to be done, and then doing something about it.
Simplifying Your Life
Since that time I’ve had some heartfelt discussions with Nate Embrey over at TheShotShot, the incredible Tina Dolin ( who has been an incredible asset to my journey ), Amy Parrish of Atelier, Taisha Holland at Cloud 9 hair design. Josh Branstetter ( jabberpics.com ), the spectacular Kina Williams ( who has become quite the spiritual mentor ) — my sister and grandparents, and some wonderful friends. Yes this is a thanks to you all before continuing <3
I’ve been wanting to write about this for quite sometime but it wasn’t until a trip to the mountains a couple of weeks ago that all of the manifestations of “letting go” seemed to become very clear to me. (I’ll be posting a video blog about that soon.)
Although it isn’t an easy thing to do but here are some basic steps:
1) Determine what is absolutely necessary, and what is important to you. Once you do that, it’s time to start “cleaning house” so to speak. It just so happened that a move was in the cards for me, so it helped me rid my life of a lot of material things and focus on what was sentimental. One thing I knew I wanted to do was move into a smaller living space for awhile (if not permanently). It’s taken some time to adjust to the smaller space, but again, after my visit to the mountains and returning home, it feels more like home here than ever now. You have to be happy where you are and appreciate it for what it is — if you can’t do that then ask yourself what needs to change, and change it! You can do it
2) Accept that this is a gradual process. You aren’t going to just get rid of all the mind clutter and the stress, you’re going to have to make a plan of action and stick with it. For example.. I decided I didn’t want a car payment anymore, so now I’m driving my sister’s first car that’s paid off. That was my “step one.” When you can act on things with a step by step approach, you’ll be more likely to follow through.
3) Accept that you might cry a lot. (haha). This is emotional. But again — you can do this.
4) Determine what will make your life and well-being a healthy place to exist. For me, that meant cutting out alcohol, staying away from situations that distracted from my personal and spiritual growth. I realized that more than anything else I wanted to be a good parent, a good friend, a helpful person, to be truer to my motivations and aspirations as a businessperson (or do something else and preserve my love for photography) …… and ultimately to evolve spiritually and manifest a sense of composure in all that I do (instead of chaos). It didn’t start out as chaos, but if you’re unprepared it sure can get that way in a hurry.
5) Accept your faults and forgive yourself. More tears probably. But that’s okay… let’s just call that “adult growing pains“.
6) Changing your values really does change your behavior. I promise that lying beneath all of that doubt, confusion, and worry, there’s a pretty amazing individual under there.
7) Be willing to be alone. People are going to “go away” so to speak. You’re on a journey. But rather than looking at it as “losing people” look at it as staying true to your path. There are billions of human beings and when you follow your bliss, you’ll run into others who are following theirs. It’s incredible! You’ll also realize that there are people right under your nose that have been there with you all along. People come and go, and that’s okay. If you have to stay away from things that distract from your path for a little while until you’re more secure in the transition, that’s okay too. I find that even the simplest social gatherings aren’t good for me sometimes. Knowing your own boundaries is essential to the development of self-discipline, and surprisingly it is through discipline that one can find a true sense of freedom.
8) Be aware of the energy all around you, and of the energy that you transmit. That always sounds so vague. But I believe that we all have a sixth sense and we all know when our environment doesn’t exactly match our “flow” of energy. The important thing to understand is – it’s you, not them. Not that there’s anything wrong with you, but it’s up to you to decide what to do with the energy around you in varying situations.
9) Practice kindness and respect towards all beings.
10) Remember that your happiness depends on your perspective!
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
― Howard Thurman
That’s all for now.. I’m hoping this was worth something to you all. Until next time.. I leave you with a mobile photo of the place I was when the “light went on” in my head… at Mt. Pisgah in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Have a beautiful weekend and a lovely holiday everyone. Thanks for taking the time to read!