Posts Tagged With: Boquete Panama

Day 415: Chilling

Well, I have to get myself together and remember how to do a Work Day, dear readers, so this is going to be a short post.

I think. We shall see, won’t we?

So, the topic is “Chilling.”

Here’s my first definition of that word. And, you know what?  For the first time since I started this blog, I am NOT going to consult any other source — expert, on-line, or otherwise — about the “right” words to define or explain.  I’m just going to trust that I can make up a definition that’s good enough:

Chilling

(verb form)

Being cool, letting go of  concerns.

Antonym:  Worrying

Honestly, that is something that I am working on, every single moment.  Like now.  With every word I write. And in the spaces between the words and the paragraphs, too.

That helps.

Let’s see if I have any pictures, to illustrate that use of the word “Chilling”.

I MUST have some within easy reach —  I just got back from six days in Panama, people!

Here are some photos that fit the bill (although I am making some assumptions about other people’s states of mind):

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Now, I wanted to include other definitions, including these:

Chilling

(adjective)

Cold, creating a feeling of coldness.

Antonym: Warming

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Chilling

(adjective)

Scary, frightening, terrifying

Antonym: Reassuring

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… but I need to end this post, and return to work.

I’m glad I spent more time, this morning, on that first definition of “Chilling.”

Thanks to the people of Boquete, Panama — residents and visitors — and to you — of course! — for visiting here today.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , | 23 Comments

Day 414: P-words

I have now returned from Panama, people, and I am trying to process that — on my last vacation day before returning to work.

One thing I want to do, in this post, is show you photographs I took in Panama with my phone.  Also, because I have so many possible ways to present these pictures I need a perfect-enough structure*, to make this post potentially and primarily passable and understandable* for most people.

Hence …. P-words!!

(Before I begin, I’d like to write one preliminary, introductory paragraph where I am neither (1) trying hard to use words that begin with “P” nor (2) using the punctuation play I’ve already established in this post.  I’d like to announce that I have probably previously written about several of these P-word topics that appear in this post. Perhaps I shall link to previous posts, when applicable;  perhaps not.  I also want to mention that the punctuation play is … kind of a pain, because it’s difficult to pass back and forth between italic, bold, and plain text — the text styles seem to get “stuck”. So, this parenthetical paragraph is a nice little relief, here. Also, I would also like to let go of perfectionism with all things in this post, including punctuation, playful or otherwise.)

Phew! Now that I’ve completed that prologue of a disclaimer, shall we proceed?

(Pssssst, people! That punctuation play?  From now on in this post … I pass.)

P-Words: Phone Photos from Panama

Patient People

I’m really working on patience these days. And patience/impatience came up for me, big time, in Panama.

As is my proclivity, I project impatience onto other people, especially when I am feeling stress* and self-judgment*. And even though a vacation SHOULD be less stressful, the newness of the surroundings can increase that stress.

However, the people I encountered in Panama were, in general, particularly patient and kind.

My personal opinion is that this is the most patient person I had the pleasure to meet, in Panama:

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That’s Jason. He was my personal tour guide, on the day I chose the “Hot Springs” activity. When I say “personal” I mean this: nobody else signed up for that tour, that day.

I’m kind of disappointed in myself that I didn’t get a better photo of Jason — that is, one that showed his warm smile.

Here’s another photo I took of Jason, with my iPhone, that day:

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Notice all the P-words in the name of that park, people!  That was unplanned, post-wise …. I promise!

That photo, above, shows the entrance to a park that has Pre-Columbian  petroglyphs. Because I had previously heard from one of our prior Panamanian tour guides, Rolando, that the Hot Spring Tour could include a visit to see petroglyphs (and I’ve always been fascinated by ancient cultures), I asked Jason if we could stop there, before the Hot Springs.

Here are some other photos, from that park:

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I asked Jason if he would pose in that photo, to get a sense of human scale (from his expression, I don’t know how he was feeling about that, at that point).   That is the short-side of a huge volcanic rock, the aftermath of an explosion of the nearby Volcano Baru, thousands of years ago. The volcanic rocks were everywhere, all around us. On the side of that rock, shown above, you can see petroglyphs mixed in with more modern types of rock-drawings.

Here’s a  photo of a perpendicular side of that same giant volcanic rock:

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At this point, Jason and I were postulating about what the people who created these petroglyphs were trying to proclaim.  He told me they were carved when the rock was still soft — in other words, not too long after the eruption of the volcano. (Jason also pointed out that the petroglyphs were recently made more pronounced, for easier perception.) I can’t remember* everything we said about what the ancient Panamanians were trying to communicate, post-volcanic eruption, but I remember some punchlines about what the petroglyphs meant:

“Ouch!”

“Eeeeeek!”

And less humorously –and perhaps more accurately pin-pointing possibly poignant, painful, personal, and panicky experiences, in that distant past:

“Why am I still here when so many other people I know died so horribly?”

But those would all be projections on my part, people, as to what I might be feeling, post trauma …. that is, after a major, unexpected devastating event like a volcanic explosion.

Jason then told me that there were more petroglyphs on top of the rock, and that these included … spirals!  And since spirals are an image and metaphor I use, a lot, in my work as a psychotherapist, I asked if I could see those, too:

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I knew I was going to show those spirals in this blog, I just wasn’t sure when. There’s no time like the present, people!

Here are more photos of my time with Jason, as my guide:

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Note that this terrain* is quite different* from that around Boquete, the prime location for Peggy and Ann’s Panamanian Adventures. That’s because of the lower elevation and, therefore, hotter climate. Also, note those omni-present black volcanic rocks.

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I also snapped this photo of these Panamanian Pups ….

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…. because I had noticed that the local dogs are unleashed, and pretty much do whatever they please. If any dogs read this blog:  you might want to ponder a move* to Panama.

More phone photos from that day:

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I HAVE to comment* on that previous photo.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is Bartolo the Buffalo, preeminent for his many appearances at local festivals. Jason told me that Bartolo was an unusual buffalo, in that he allows people to ride him.

Bartolo sounds patient, to me.

I don’t have any photos to present, for the rest of that afternoon.  Why?  As I wrote about in this post, I was trying, on my vacation, to be more present in the moment, rather than primarily focusing on photography. I acted on that preference, that day, by leaving my camera behind.

There ARE other phone photos, from my afternoon tour of the Hot Springs, which I’m not going to show here. Why? Even though I was prepared to go photo-less, from that point on,   Jason was empathic, kind*, and considerate enough to ask me, several times, if he could take phone photos of me at the Caldera Hot Springs, which included (1) a spring that a local Panamanian person said was “muy caliente” (but which tough* and plucky Ann had NO PROBLEM tolerating) and (2) a hot spring that bubbles into a beautiful* brook!

And, in case you don’t know my photography rules, I don’t show photos of myself in this blog. At least, not yet.

But I do have more phone photos to show you, from Panama, that illustrate more P-words.

Patient people, continued*:

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Pssssst!  That’s Peggy!

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Pssssst!  That’s Rolando!

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Psssst! That’s Jyoti and Sanjay  (I’m pretty positive I’ve got their names right), who were also staying at Los Establos. I thought I had a photo of all four patient people in their group (including Anju and Alok who were present above but unaccounted for in that photo) … but I can’t find it right now.  In the foreground of the above photo? That’s the first* cup of coffee I’ve had for … forty years. How was it?  Primo!**

And the last, but not least, patient person appearing in a phone photo:

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That’s, Irina, the patient, pleasant and phenomenal owner of Los Establos.  We ran into her at the Panama City airport yesterday, which I found quite propitious, since I hadn’t photographed her previously.

And, before I end* this post, some more phone photos, representing other P-words.

Puppets:

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Planes and passengers:

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Psssst!  That’s Connie Zielinski, who moved from the USA to Boquete, Panama, several years ago.  She gave us a preview of  coming attractions — the  upcoming February 13th parade — moments after I took that previous photo:

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And, Presto!  Here’s Connie, two days later, in that parade:

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Geesh!  I really should finish this post. Is it procrastinating, that I want to post more photos of Panama?

Just one more “Plane” photo:

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Pssst!  That’s snow, on the ground, right before we landed in Boston, last night. I don’t want to end this post there, people.  A few more photos from the past, using P-words, okay?

Parrots:

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Panoramas:

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And just one more P-word (with no photo, phone or otherwise).

Panama.

Thanks to that beautiful country; to Los Establos; and to Jason, Peggy, Rolando, Irina, Connie, and every other patient person, parrot, or puppy appearing in — or reading! — this post.


* There’s no perfect-enough synonym starting with “P”  for this particular word.  Believe me, I checked (on  thesaurus.com).

** That would be the Italian meaning of “primo,” not the Spanish (which primarily, according to my perception, means “cousin”).

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Day 413: Zipping along

Today, I am flying back home, to a climate that will be more inherently painful to me than the weather in my current location. That is a given.

But, maybe, just maybe, I will experience that pain differently than I expect.

Yesterday, during my last full day in Boquete, Panama, I went zip-lining for the first time. Expectations were present; the reality was different.

Like THAT never happens.

Zip-lining, from the beginning, seemed like a risk, fraught with possibilities for joy AND pain.

Like THAT never happens, either.

The Joy/Pain possibility is a tough one to predict, but it can seem really critical to figure that out, before making a move.  And for days, during my time in Boquete, I did extensive research, and kept coming up with different answers to the question:

To zip or not to zip?

On the Pro/Potential Joy side were these factors:

  1. The potential of flying like a bird, something that sounds darned appealing to me.
  2. More views of the spectacular local scenery.
  3. Bragging rights.

On the Con/Potential Pain side were these factors:

  1. I am afraid of heights.
  2. I have never done a pull-up in my life, although there was controversy about whether this would be a critical factor.
  3. My capacity for physical endurance has lessened recently (and has rarely been “normal”, since childhood).
  4. “Shaming rights” — that is, feeling weird, different, or otherwise “less than.”

One person who was very pro me zip-lining was Ingra, who manages the daily operations of Los Establos, where we have been staying in Boquete.

Here’s Ingra, pre-zip yesterday, as she was giving me advice about how to let go of anxiety and just enjoy zipping along.

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Her advice included “breathe, a LOT” and “know that you can always back out.”  I thought these suggestions were wise, especially since I spout them myself, both in the blog-o-sphere and my work-o-sphere, too.

What is extraordinary, for me, about this portion of the story, is that Ingra and I got off on the wrong foot when I first arrived at the hotel.  She and I have very different communication styles, I think. I also projected a lot of judgment onto her. And yet, she developed into somebody I truly like, who seemed to genuinely care that I have a good experience.

Right before I left for the zip-lining adventure, she gave me a hug.

How did zip-lining go, for me?

Well, there are lots of ways to tell that story.  I could say zip-lining, for me, was a personal triumph and/or a personal nightmare. I could say I took a risk, and it was worth it. I could say that I showed bravery. I could say I was different from the others. I could say  I almost quit when I saw the realities of the physical exertion involved, but staff and I decided I should go for it.  I could say I had the thought, “This will be too much for me,” before I even started. I could say I had the thought, “I can do this,” immediately after that. I could say that I did more physical work than any other participant, because — twice! — I needed to make it to a platform by pulling myself hand-over-hand while suspended, alone, over the cloud forest. I could say the zip-line staff went above and beyond in helping me complete the task, once I became physically depleted. I could say that staff and other participants accepted my limits and applauded my efforts.

I could also say that zip-lining and Ann were NOT a match made in heaven (though the location seemed close to it).  Nevertheless, we both survived the experience.

As usual, the worst part of the experience for me was …

…. my old friend, Shame.

Shame told me, once the adventure was over, that  I had NOT REALLY gone zip-lining, because I had needed assistance for the end of the journey.  And I projected those messages of shame, at some points, on all other human beings within zipping distance. And those Shame Thoughts and Projections drowned out what other people were actually saying to me, plus several high-fives mixed in there, too.

My Shame was not impressed, when staff gave me one of these, just as they did to everybody else:

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The first thing Shame said was this: that’s not really your certificate, because your name is misspelled.

Like THAT never happens.

And, Shame said, there are other reasons why that certificate of completion does not apply to YOU.

Soon after that, the staff  announced they were going to show us the video they had made of our shared adventure. Shame said to me, “You’re not going to buy that.” Shame also said,  “Maybe you should turn away and hide your face, when everybody else is watching.”

Because that’s what Shame ALWAYS says.

However, I did watch the video. And for most of my appearances, I looked just like everybody else, although maybe a little more … blank.  Maybe a little less happy.

But  I believe that most observers would not have noted the details, which were — at times — so excruciatingly obvious to me.

Like THAT never happens.

It’s true that some of my video appearances were unique. Nobody else appeared tethered to a smiling staff member. And nobody else was shown walking, on a side path with another smiling staff member (who said some very encouraging and cool things to me on our  very short walk1 down to join the others).

Hmmmm. As I’m re-reading what I’ve written so far, and seen how many lines of dialog Shame has in this story, I’m reminded of a photo I took my very first day, in Boquete.  Hold on. I want to find it, to answer back to Shame, right now:

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Yay!  I love the chance to use a photo I haven’t shown you before.

Anyway, so back to yesterday .

I DID buy the video of the zip-lining adventure, and here’s proof:

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Here’s a better shot of two smiling members of the Tree Trek Staff, on the bus ride back yesterday, after the adventure:

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Thanks, guys!  I’m glad I made it.

Now we’ll see if I can make it back in Boston.

Oh, just one more thing. When I woke up this morning, I thought, “Gee, I wonder how small the plane is going to be today, on the way from Boquete to Panama City?”  And my next thought was, “I hope it’s a really small one!”

So maybe I  DID complete something, yesterday.

Thanks to Ingra, Tree Trek Adventures, all the inhabitants of Beautiful Boquete, people who keep up as best they can, those who have all sorts of reactions to zip-lines (and other modes of amusement and transportation), and to you — of course! — for zipping by here today.


1 A short walk, by the way, where we saw another quetzal.  I’m just saying.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 412: Venturing

Another good morning, to my readers, from Boquete,1 Panama!Image

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I’m not positive that both of those photos are new, but I’m venturing to post them today, anyway.

So, yes, today’s topic is “Venturing.”

Yesterday, I ventured, in many ways.

I ventured into a cage, with the three, long-time resident, (allegedly) happy parrots, here at Los Establos Hotel:

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Wow!  Somebody thinks2  she (or he) is all High and Mighty! I use the word “somebody” because … I don’t know the name of that parrot.

When I first ventured into Parrot Territory,  I asked Sergio, who helped me inside, that particular parrot’s name.

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If any of the three parrots DO have names, Sergio did not venture to guess. By the way, the whole time I was in the cage with the parrots, the door was wide open, with Sergio standing respectfully nearby.

I took one more photo of the extrovert of the three-parrot group, when I noticed somebody I knew, in the background…

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Can you see her, in the distance, outside the cage?  That’s Yolanda, another guest at the hotel, to whom both Peggy and I felt connected, very quickly.  I had spoken to Yolanda about the parrots (including my intention to visit them yesterday morning) so when I saw her,  I called out to her. Yolanda immediately stated her intention to join me. In the meantime, I took a few more shots, venturing to get all the parrots (although one of them was EXTREMELY shy):

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Actually, all three parrots are in that photo, above.  Can you spot them all?

More photos of the more extroverted members of the group, before Yolanda joined us:

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I had already started calling that one “The Poser.”   I venture to say that you can see why, especially as Yolanda joined the group:

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I ventured to get a good shot of the whole group (including all humans and parrots) ….

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… but this proved impossible, because of (1) the shyness of some participants, (2) the skill of the photographer, and (3) this writer’s preference for candid over posed shots.

Anyway, here are some more photos from Ann (and Yolanda)’s Venture Into The Parrots’ Territory.  As I told Yolanda, the parrots seemed more comfortable2 after her arrival on the scene:

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Around this point, Yolanda had to leave. She showed me some photos she captured of these parrots, and they were quite stunning. Before we take our leave of Yolanda, I wanted to tell you some more things about her. Here she is with her boyfriend (Yolanda’s word, according to my friend, Peggy), Ken:

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Ken and Yolanda knew each other in high school, were connected with other people for many years, and then met up again a few years ago.  They now live in Bocas, Panama, an island for which Yolanda is a kind of one-woman-chamber-of-commerce. She insisted that Peggy and I both visit Bocas, ASAP, and I’m thinking I probably WILL venture there, eventually. Yolanda is very convincing and a beautiful, vital, brave, and almost irresistible force of nature. Ken is a jazz musician — an electric bass player — by avocation, and was in Boquete for the Jazz and Blues Festival.

For now, let’s say “adieu” to Yolanda and Ken, as we venture back into Parrot Territory, for a few more shots, as I try to get all three parrots in one photo:

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Well, fellow venturers, the above is the last photo I took with my camera, yesterday.  For the rest of the day, I spent some time with a wonderful guide named Jason, who showed me some local hot springs (as well as some kindness and wisdom).  Since my photos of those venturings are on my iPhone, you’ll have to wait a few days to meet Jason.

In the meantime, here’s the headline news, for today.  This afternoon, I am venturing to do the one thing that evokes my highest interest/fear, here in Boquete:

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I found that image here.

I must confess: In googling images for “Boquete Zip Line,” I saw some photos that sky-rocketed my anxiety, momentarily. But, with some help, I’m letting go of future-oriented anxiety, right now.  I trust that I have all I need, to have a full last day, in beautiful Boquete.1

Would you venture to agree?

Thanks to Sergio, the parrots, the other denizens of Los Establos Hotel, Yolanda, Ken, Peggy, Jason, and all other creatures who are helping me let go of anxiety and venture as high as I can go. And thanks to you — of course! — for reading today.


1 Pronounced “Bo-kett-eh”, in case you venture to speak that aloud (and wish to impress, pronunciation-wise).

2 If you don’t recognize yet another example of my doing the cognitive distortion of mind-reading, please venture into my other blog, to check out this list.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 411: Captured

Reasons for the title of the post?  At least two, to begin with:

  1. While in Boquete, Panama, I’ve been trying to maintain a balance between (a) just being in the moment  and (b) capturing my experience on camera.
  2. My first day here at our hotel in Boquete, Los Establos, I encountered three parrots on the grounds, and my fear was that they had been captured in the wild, and were being kept prisoner. The second day, I got up the courage to ask about the parrots, and found that the story was just what I would have hoped for,  including the rescue of three baby parrots, still together, who can fly free, and who choose to return to their home.

I can hear those parrots right now, as I’m typing these words. Here are some of my earlier attempts to capture them:

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I’ve already asked the owner of Los Establos, Irina, if I can get a closer look at the parrots, later today, so I’m assuming the parrots will show up in tomorrow’s blog post, too … but who knows?

The rest of today’s post will include images (and thoughts) that have captured me very recently (for the most part, yesterday).

Yesterday morning, Rolando Cossu, a tour guide for Beyond Adventure Tours1, took four of us — Peggy, me, and a couple from Texas also staying at Los Establos — on a “Panoramic Tour.”  We were happy when Rolando deviated from the usual four-hour car tour and took us on a trail into the rain forest/cloud forest/jungle/national park/whatever-the-hell-the-right-name is for where he took us.

But why focus on the correct name of where Rolando took us on an adventure?  I don’t want to be captured by Pesky Perfectionism. I want to show you what Rolando showed us ….

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I took that photo, above, on a brief stop, as Rolando was driving us around the vicinity of Boquete, up further into the mountains.

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This shot is taken from the car. Rolando showed us that castle, which some British guy in the 1960’s began building  and never finished (if my memory serves me correctly). Rolando said the property has been left abandoned since then, because people think it’s haunted. We found out something about Rolando’s bravery, at that point, because he said, “I’ve been there. I don’t think it’s haunted.”  Here’s another view of the castle:

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More beauty, from the car:

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Then, Rolando brought us to a hiking trail, and we spent a lot of time, walking, listening, and watching for what was all around is.  This was one of the first things I noticed, by the side of the trail:

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Actually, right before I noticed that, I had seen somebody standing, on one of the rocks, in the middle of the brook to the left. I don’t have a shot of that, but just imagine my previous photo, with a slight figure standing, unmoving, on one of the rocks.  I was forming some sort of speculation as to what he was doing there, which was then replaced by attempts to make meaning of the hanging bottles. Rolando explained that these bottles were a new, on-going creation of the figure we had just seen. He said, “He is embarrassed. That’s why he is standing there.”  I immediately projected my own experience as a creator of pieces seen by the public, thinking: “He’s an artist. He’s not sure what people will think. He’s modest. He’s shy. ”

But letting go of THAT line of mind-reading, I moved towards the much-more-interesting possibility of meeting the artist. I walked down to the edge of the brook, and somehow communicated to him that I wanted to know more about his creation. He left the rock, came up to join us, and stood by his work:

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He was okay with my taking those photos. As Rolando translated,  I found out his name — Eliaser — and told him I thought his work was beautiful. I didn’t ask him about his intention or vision (I think I tend not to go there, with artists), but I am grateful he joined us for this part of our adventure.

Onward and upward!

Rolando had this magical book, that showed and described all the creatures we might see, on our walk:

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A lot of visitors to this area are birdwatchers, and the local Holy Grail — the bird of all birds is … the Quetzal!

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I did NOT take that photo, people. It’s from the Wikipedia page I found when I searched for “quetzal bird Panama.” I assume that’s the bird we were looking for yesterday, although I’m not sure.  We looked for the Quetzal (among other things), with Rolando’s able and unhurried assistance.

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And Rolando found a Quetzal for us!  We spent some unhurried time watching it, with binoculars that he provided.  I believe this is where we found it, although I’m honestly not sure (since I was captured by focusing on the beautiful Quetzal).

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I am often captured by my assumptions about my own limitations, and I see myself as “not good” at birdwatching, using binoculars, following directions, and seeing what somebody else wants me to see.  For most of the time that the others seemed to be “getting it,” I felt like an outsider, as I had trouble capturing the Quetzal within my view. Mostly, I saw this:

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… despairing of seeing more, despite the nearness of the Bird of Birds, which the others all saw, with excitement.  However, I took a breath, lost my investment in the outcome, had faith in myself and my instructor, and …

… I captured the Quetzal in  Rolando’s binoculars, right as it took wing and flew away!   That was beyond an adventure, for sure.

Here’s more of what we saw, as we ascended further and higher along the trail.

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I noticed Rolando stopping and inspecting this flower:

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When I asked him about it, he said, “I’ve never seen this flower before.”  I appreciated that he let me know that, and I took a close-up of it:

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We walked for quite a while, always uphill. And I became captured by old memories, from having lived all my life with an unusual heart, of not being able to keep up with people, especially on inclines.  And I was captured by negative associations with this, including assumptions that the other people accompanying me, that day, were impatient and waiting for me to catch up.  And I was disappointed with how out of breath I felt, yesterday. So I stopped, paused, took a breath, recognized how my present was affected by my past, and tried to be in the moment, letting go of assumptions.

However, when I started moving again, and I found Peggy and Rolando, further up the trail, the old assumptions came rushing back, as strong as the brook by our trail. Those assumptions were:

  • Roland and Peggy had been waiting for me.
  • They had some impatience about that.
  • My pace and other behaviors were somehow weird and unacceptable, because they were different from what “normal” people do.

But I am old and wise enough to check out these assumptions, as soon as I can, these days. So when I joined up with Peggy, I told her I was feeling out of breath, disappointed with my endurance, and told her about my old memories of lagging behind “more normal” people, regarding physical exertion. And I knew I could trust Peggy, because we’ve known each other for about 35 years.  And as I knew, Peggy was accepting, kind, and logical, and helped me “reality test.” That is, she told me something I already knew: this was a leisurely hike with a guide who adjusted easily to the needs and wants of those in his care.

So I cried a little, with Peggy, and was no longer captured by those old memories, assumptions, and feelings of being “different” and “not as good.”

Onward and upward!

Rolando pointed out many interesting facts about about the beautiful surroundings on the way. He also allowed space for us to wander, at will, by ourselves.  I kept my own pace, and felt out of breath, for sure, but no longer captured by the doubts and self-judgment from before.  After a lot of time meandering among the beauty all around us, I came around a corner and saw Rolando and the others looking up, into the trees. Another Quetzal? I wondered.  Then Rolando said something that like “Ocelot” to me and I got REALLY excited. To see a big cat , un-captured, in the wild would be BEYOND adventure, to me.

However, I was incorrect. There are Jaguars in Panama and those were the creatures I was most longing to see. Hence my mental leap, to “Ocelot” when given half a chance. However, what Rolando really was saying was …..

… Sloth.  There was a sloth, hanging free, in the trees. With my lack of practice, I, again, was slower than the others in spotting it. But I did.  And Rolando kindly took my camera, and captured it for me:

IMG_0312

IMG_0311 

Thanks, Rolando, for your photographic skill. And thanks to the sloth, for showing me that slowness is also beautiful.

Rolando showed us many other interesting and beautiful things, in the four hours we spent with him, including these sights …

IMG_0318 IMG_0319

… as well as a delicious fresh strawberry slushie-type thing, which I was too captured by, to stop, for even a moment, to capture on camera.

After Rolando returned us to the hotel, I spent the afternoon wandering the grounds, taking photos. You have already seen, above, the pictures I took of the three parrots. Here are some more photos from yesterday afternoon:

IMG_0325

IMG_0326IMG_0332IMG_0344IMG_0352 IMG_0356 IMG_0362 IMG_0363 IMG_0364 IMG_0367 IMG_0382 IMG_0387

So what feels left unfinished before I publish this post?

  1. To make sure there aren’t any gross errors in this post, like including the same exact image twice.  Check!
  2. To tell you one more thing, about Rolando and the local fauna.

As I may have alluded to in my blog posts, one of my favorite animals is the Capybara. If you look at this previous post,  “Day 276: Radical Acceptance,”  you’ll see some evidence of that, people. (The capybara is the creature that — to me, has always looked exactly like a giant guinea pig, sharing the sofa with a regular guinea pig.) 2

Anyway, at one point when Rolando was consulting his magic book of local creatures, I spotted the capybara. I said, “ARE THERE CAPYBARAS AROUND HERE?”  I don’t think I actually yelled, but I was beyond excited. I asked if I could see one, and Rolando said, “Yes … in a zoo?” which I thought was funny, since that’s exactly where I’ve seen them, so far in my life. He did tell me more about the Capybaras, how they were shy and only came out at night (although Rolando has seen Un-captured Capybaras at times, living in the same local environment).

So even though it’s very unlikely that I will see an un-captured Capybara before I return home, in two days, it helps to know they’re out there, very close to me, right now.

Okay!

My heartfelt thanks to Peggy,  Rolando, Eliaser, Irina,  artists everywhere, all creatures captured AND un-captured, and to you — of course! — for reading today.


1 I really like that title, “Beyond Adventure Tours.”  It reminds me of “To infinity …. and beyond!” from Toy Story. Whatever “beyond adventure” IS … it has to be pretty darn exciting.

2 If that description didn’t make you check out a link to a previous post, I give up.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Day 355: Random thoughts about love

Well, it took me 355 days to use the word “love” in the title of a blog post this year.

I was about to say, “Shame on me,” but I stopped, because:

  • Shame doesn’t do me any good, so I would like to stop using that phrase (and let go of shame) as quickly as I can, and
  • I am already suspecting that my first sentence of this post … is incorrect.

That is, I think I MAY have used the word “love” in the title of a blog post before.

Therefore, ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, I shall now, with my lovely assistant, WordPress,  search all my previous posts, for a title using the word “Love.”

This may take  me a little while, but the time will pass by quickly, here.

.

.

.

Wow. Some interesting things have happened, here in Ann Time.

I haven’t checked my old posts yet.  Instead, I noticed, after I “paused” this post, that I was feeling unusually cold. And when I checked the digital thermostat, I saw that it was blank. I didn’t take a picture of that, but here’s a close-enough representation of what I saw:

Image*

Eeeeeeeeeek!!!!

So in the middle of writing a post on love, I was experiencing my old friend, fear.

I assume that nobody wants to feel cold, or to see a non-working thermostat. However, some people may be more afraid of those things, when:

  1. It’s very cold outside.
  2. You are alone, when you encounter the problem.
  3. No help is available, to solve the problem.

There are times, in my life, where the above factors have been true, for me.  But none of them were true, today.   However, I felt fear AS IF those three things were true.

Why? As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there are reasons why I might feel a more intense fear, initially, when the heat goes off and the thermostat is not working:

  1. Since I was a little kid, I’ve depended upon machines and batteries (specifically, cardiac pacemakers) to keep me alive, so I tend to overreact when machines don’t work, or when things run out of power.
  2. When I was in the hospital as a little kid, the temperature was often too cold, and I had no control over that (as I had no control over many other things).

Hey, guess what?  I just got interrupted, again, in the middle of writing this post.

But before I tell you about THAT interruption, I want to tell you what happened, regarding the thermostat and the cold.

After my first reaction (Eeeeeeek!!!!), this is what happened:

  1. I noticed that reaction of fear.
  2. I used coping skills and techniques I’ve learned throughout my life, to let go of the fear.
  3. I concentrated on the reality of the current situation.
  4. I came up with a theory of why the heat was off and the thermostat was blank.
  5. I called the Heating Guy on my team** —  Tom Prendergast —  and he agreed with my theory. As a matter of fact, he offered me a job on his night crew.
  6. We discussed possible solutions.
  7. I implemented a solution.
  8. The heat came back on and so did the thermostat:IMG_2466

Then, I called back Tom Prendergast, and left him the following message: “We are both very smart, I do not want the night job, and thank you for everything.”

And — to go back to the title of my post today — I had feelings of love, then. Because I felt safe.  I knew that I was not alone.  As a result, I was able to let go of fear, connect with my own wisdom and experience, ask for help, and solve a problem.

Yes, doing all those things, whenever I can, helps me get in touch with my feelings of love.

When I first started writing this post, there were other things I wanted to say about love.  I wanted to allow room for all — random and otherwise —  thoughts about love,  because I (like other people) can have fears about using that word.

However, right now, I have some unfinished business to complete, in this post.

I need to tell you about the second interruption I mentioned above, which occurred as I was writing this post.  That interruption was a phone call, from a dear old friend, who would like to accompany me here:

boquete-panama***

And that conversation helped me get more in touch with love, too.

One more piece of unfinished business: DID I use the word “love” in the title of a previous post this year?****

You know what?  It doesn’t matter. What matters is this: I’m using it now.

Thus concludes our post for today, dear reader.

Thanks to all my friends (old and new), everybody on my team, and you — of course! — for reading today.


* I found this image here.

** For more about the concept of “My Team,” see here and here.

*** See here, for more about escaping to there.

**** I did, actually, use the word “love” before (here and here), plus I used a variation on the word (“lovable”) here.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 351: Escape

Here are some random thoughts about “escape.”

In my work as a therapist, I notice that people often need that concept of escape.  That is, it helps them to know that they are not stuck, or trapped, in their current situation.

One of the Opposing Truths* I discuss with people is:

  1. We are exactly where we are supposed to be, AND
  2. We want to get out!  NOW!!!!

Some time ago, I had a conversation with somebody about her work situation. She told me how she had decided work was not a good fit for her. She had decided she wanted to leave her place of employment, for lots of reasons, including:

  • She didn’t feel appreciated.
  • She didn’t like her manager.
  • She was consistently expected to do more, without additional pay.
  • The work was not  a good match for her talents.

Now I am very careful about confidentiality — that is, I am scrupulous about not revealing something here that could possibly identify somebody else to anybody who might read this blog. But I can tell you all these facts, because …. it matches hundreds of conversations I’ve had with people, regarding work.

With this particular person, the conversation turned to the concept of escape.  She felt stuck at work, because of:

  • Financial obligations.
  • Limited options elsewhere.
  • Fear of change (“What if I leave, and it gets worse?”)

We did talk about the concept of escape, though, even though that did not feel logically possible.

Before our discussion ended, that day, she told me what had been most helpful about it:

I feel better, just knowing that I COULD escape, if I chose to.

This may seem like a strange leap of mind, right now, but I’ve also seen how the thought of the ultimate escape — suicide — can bring relief to people.

Is that shocking?  I will attempt to explain my thoughts about this:

Thoughts about suicide (or as we call them in the therapy biz, Suicidal Ideation or SI) don’t necessarily lead to suicide. As I like to tell people, a thought is miles away from an action. Now, I’m not saying that Suicidal Thinking is Good.  Suicidal thoughts indicate pain, and (to quote “Death of A Salesman”), Attention Must Be Paid.

At the same time, I’ve seen people afraid to approach somebody else’s suicidal thoughts, for fear it will make them more likely to hurt or kill themselves.

It’s a complicated topic, but this is my point today:

It can help, a great deal, to know that escape is possible. Even if you are unlikely or unable to take that step, in the moment. Even if the escape has many down sides.

As a matter of fact, allowing for the possibility of escape — realizing that you are not trapped, that you have options to GET OUT! — might free up your mind to see other, more benign, positive, and advantageous options.

I need to end this post (even though I don’t want to escape from here, at all). And what’s missing, before I end?  A beautiful image.

Yesterday, at work, I contemplated escape, to here:

Image***

boquete-town****

Panama-Boquete-Fairgrounds-edge-of-Rio-Calera-12-92-300x275*****

boquete_waterfall******

Panama-boquete-smaller*******

Where IS that place?  It’s a place I’ve never been:

boquete-panama********

Okay!  Time to turn my thoughts away from escape, and back to the present.

But that sure helped me, today.

Thanks to all who contributed to the creation of today’s post, to anybody who has thoughts about escaping, and to you, especially, for reading today

______________________________

*  A term I just made up, which I like, so I am writing this note to myself about it, hoping that helps me remember it, not unlike the guy from “Memento.”**

** A movie I watched, again, last week, with my son and Michael, my bf.

*** I found this image here.

**** I found this image here.

***** I found this image here.

****** I found this image here.

******* I found this image here.

******** I found this image here.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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