It’s always fun and interesting for me to break out of routine and do different things or to do the same things in different ways.  I look forward to changing things up as that often helps me see (both physically and spiritually) things that I didn’t see before.  The past 6 weeks, for me, have been much about change and not much about routine.  For all my love of different, I’m now at the point where I’m hungry for routine.  That ebb and flow is an ever-present and interesting pattern in life, don’t you think?   Here are just a few things that have been filling my well within that ebb and flow.

Inspired by new places:  

We traveled south to North Carolina to visit family and experience spring (which refuses to show her face up north).  Among many different sights and experiences was our afternoon spent at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on the campus of Duke University.  It is probably the most beautiful garden I’ve ever visited and I know I will return.

Another beautiful and fascinating place we visited was Skyline Drive which is part of the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.  I’d been expecting the famous dogwoods to be in bloom but spring had not ventured up the mountains yet. I had to rethink what I wanted to photograph (always a good exercise) and instead took time to notice the shapes of trees and the over abundance of lichens, and practiced a few panoramic images.  I’ll talk more about that next week.

The image gallery contains a few of the shrubs that were in bloom along these travels. How many of them can you name?

Inspired by structure: 

At the beginning of this year, inspired by the words of Gustav Flaubert to Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work”I decided to work on building more structure in my work life.  In hindsight, it may have been not the best time to work on routine and structure, a year when my husband was retiring and a major part of the routine of our lives would change.  🙂   But while it’s not always easy, I’ve found that having external systems to rely on that provide structure and routine helps immensely.

One of those “systems” is the Free Write Fling with Cynthia Morris, a writing and creative coach.  I did the FWF in February and loved it.  As someone who relentlessly resisted a regular writing habit, it taught me a great deal about just showing up and writing for 15 minutes each day.  When I finished the February session, I was hooked but life filled the space and my writing slacked off again.  So, I’ve signed up for the May session of FWF.

Another structure type thing I’m working on, is limiting the amount of information that I’m exposed to.  As a “research queen”,  I love gathering information, it’s one way to “fill the well” and be inspired. But sometimes that well gets so full, you can’t hear your own voice. So I’ve been unsubscribing and “un-liking” all sorts of things and purging magazines and journals that I was keeping for inspiration.  We need space to hear our own wisdom.

Inspired by other photographers:  

My friend Andi Alexander always inspires me with her ability to capture the light, physically, but more importantly, spiritually.  She joined me in October for our local Worldwide Photowalk and while the rest of us were capturing fallen leaves and doorways she ventured in to the local shoe repair shop and found the seed for an inspiring photo essay project about everyday people in their work.  Shoe Repair is only the first of these powerful essays. I’m inspired by the way she has followed her own wisdom when, at times, like all of us, she was unsure where it would lead.

Will you share where you’ve found inspiration recently?