Thursday, November 4, 2010


Thank goodness I am an amateur!

I have been holding back on writing this post after so long thinking that I needed to deliver some kind of masterpiece...otherwise, you might wonder what I have been doing these last few months? I lost touch with the fact that though I may be a professional designer and healing arts practitioner, I am an amateur writer. My intention for my writing is to share the discoveries I make on my life’s journey and well-being, with the hope they entertain you and if possible facilitate enhance, or inspire yours. This summer I had some eye and heart opening experiences. Thanks to being an amateur. I was able to enjoy the freedom of the famous “beginners mind” and open heart

My American Idols

While not a regular fan of American Idol or the other amateur competitions, I truly admire the contestants for their courage to risk looking foolish for a chance to express themselves and possibility get recognition. They risk being severely criticized in front of millions of viewers by a panel of professional judges who could discourage all but the totally committed from pursuing their dream. As scary as that may seem, for me that is not as intimidating as being judged by my inner panel of judges who think they are an expert on everything I do, and whose standards and expectations are often hard to satisfy. My dear judges: the inner voices of my parents, teachers bosses friends and gurus all mean well. They want to protect me from looking bad, getting hurt and insure my survival. But they also can keep me from venturing out of my comfort zone and discovering new and exciting possibilities for my life. I recently discovered a new and rewarding way to express myself, and here is how it happened:

Judging the judges

Imagine the Project Runway experts judging American Idol; Donald Trump and his team critiquing hemlines, or Simon and his entertainers evaluating management skills. How seriously would a contestant take the comments of an unqualified judge? Well, this summer I got involved in photography, a new art form for me, with which my inner judges have little experience. Every time they tried to interfere with what I was doing, which was frequently, I reminded them that they were unqualified to pass judgment on my work as they were as new to this as I was With all judgments suspended, I suddenly had room for to experiment, make mistakes, and make some great pictures.

Invisible Beauty

Although I have a professionally trained "eye" for design, the images I composed and captured through the lens of my camera were viewed with my heart. It was a visceral experience of deep gratification: of satisfying an inner hunger fro beauty that had me go ooh, aah,click..again and again. It was the experience of what felt good to me, not just what looked good. What directed my process was the experience of beauty described by Saint Thomas Aquinas: "...the presence of wholeness, balance and radiance", as I newly viewed through my lens compositions of objects and landscapes that have surrounded me for years. I had won the freedom to see the sunrise on the grass without thinking it needed mowing; the beautiful objects on my desk without thinking they needed dusting; and he wonderful rocks I have been collecting without thinking they needed editing. My open heart with the help of my camera (nothing fancy, just a point and shoot) was able tofocus on the perfection of things as they are. As Antoine de Saint Exupery, author of "The Little Prince" explained: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye"

Can you smell beauty?

Just like you can't always experience the "essential beauty" of art with your eyes, you can't always experience the essential beauty of "essential" oils with your nose. Synthetic aromas that might deliver sensual pleasures to your nose and trigger relaxing images in your mind may be missing important odorless components in natural oils that travel with their fragrant families. These may act as important catalysts or as agents in themselves. For example, natural jasmine oil has over 100 different chemical constituents that are reported to provide many benefits including being anti-depressant; antiseptic; aphrodisiac; antispasmodic; expectorant and sedative. This natrual oil with its complex synergies of 100 or more chemicals one of the most expensive oils on the market because it requires 1000 pounds of handpicked blossoms to create 1 pound of aromatic compound. Synthetic jasmine oil, used in over 80% of womens perfumes, uses only 4 (inexpensive) chemicals to replicate the aroma and to the untrained nose will smell the same. So, to experience true beauty with an essential oil and determine its value TO YOU, you will want to get past your nose. Ask yourself: How do I feel when I experience this oil or fragrance? do I feel more whole? more balanced? more radiant? more beautiful?

Remember; don’t believe everything you read…

There is much written about the reported benefits of the 100 plus essential oils available on the market today. While I don’t think we can argue with laboratory tests which demonstrate certain essential oils ability to kill germs, the effect of particular oil may vary from person to person, and even day to day with the same person. No one can predict you how will feel when you use it..maybe not even yourself. You may use your “judge”-ment to select an oil…but then see what happens when you open your heart. It may change your mind!


All pictures in this post are from my camera. I will continue to share my photographic progress with the intention of becoming an ever better amateur!

1 comment:

  1. Cathy, this is a wonderful post, and I'm happy to be starting my day with your images and thoughts.

    I like that you've explored the essence of working with natural aromatics... which is that our experience of each of them is a unique response within our individual minds and hearts.