Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

***Unfold your own myth.***

I hope you will go out and let stories,

that is life, happen to you, and that

you will work with these stories . . .

water them with your blood &

tears & your laughter till they bloom,

till you yourself burst into bloom.

~Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

The Pause That Refreshes

I searched up and down the earth — 
and found it in my own soul.
 I implored heaven and hell —
 and the field daisies answered me.
 ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), 
My Little Book of Prayer, 1904

After the 2106 elections and the reports of how much it had influenced both the U.S. election and the Brexit referendum, I deleted all of my Facebook accounts, both the personal and the business accounts. Then this year, after growing weary of the numbing sameness of Instagram, I deleted that account as well. It got to the point where if I saw one more latte or muffin or someone's breakfast, I felt like my head would explode. After awhile, all the scrolling through photo after random photo looked the same. Since then I've never once regretted deleting those accounts.

Over the past year I have kept active on Twitter, but even that account is going to be deactivated for at least a month. Perhaps just a quick pause to refresh my senses & soul, or after that time, it may go the way of all my other social media, and all the 1s and the 0s chronicling my life will be permanently deleted. 

If a tree falls in the woods 
and it's not
posted on social media,
did it really happen?
~ Me

In part, what's happened on social media seems as though people who don't even know you feel they're entitled to have expectations about who you are or what you believe. There's also the false sense of entitlement to information about you. Other than to our close family and friends, we owe nothing of ourselves to anyone who isn't personally invested in our everyday life. What I've found is that if you give even a small part of yourself away, boundaries can blur for people very quickly and social media interaction can become instantly ominous. People must be blocked or muted. Now where's the fun in that?

Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation... tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.    ~ Jean Arp

*And as a disclaimer: The bottom line is that this about my experience only

It does not and should not diminish anyone else's experience of what they choose to do with their time and energy. For instance, people love sharing food photos, which is fine. I do it myself when it's in the context of joy, fun, friendship, celebration. For me though, all the random sharing of the vast quantities of food we consume in the west, only reminds me of the people who have food only because they foraged it from the garbage dumps outside Nairobi, or begged for it on the streets of Calcutta or Sao Paulo. 

**Further disclamer: But that's just me. And I choose to not participate in it. 

Sharing a celebration that involves food and togetherness is one thing, I repeat--I do it myself, but the constant drone of "here's the massive plate of food I'm eating and paying more for than what a person in Zimbabwe makes in a year," I'm just not interested in. For me it only accentuates the chasm between the haves and have-nots in the world, between the over-fed and the barely-fed. And I'll add after a few reactions to this blog on Twitter last night, this isn't judgement on someone else's choices, it's only about how it feels to me, how I'm wired. And guess what several Twitter person(s)? I get to feel that way and it has nothing to do with you, which proves my point about social media in the first place.

Anyone, anywhere can look up and see a beautiful cloud, a colourful sky, a full moon; can see the smile of a small child, or a speck of hopeful beauty in the midst of their perhaps difficult life. That's the gift of creation to us. It's pure Grace, there for all, like the rays of the sun. That's the kind of grace I like to share publicly.

I do realise I live in two extraordinarily beautiful places, Oxford and Wales, but even when I lived in Yakima, Washington where trust me, no one moves for the beauty, I managed to find beauty every, single day. The deep blue of the sky, the clouds over the Cascade foothills, or the way the air smelled after a thunderstorm. Moments of grace, available to all.

A little oasis of beauty I created 
in the not-always-beautiful
Yakima, Washington.

So even though I may be moving away from social media, I'll still be experiencing moments of beauty all through the day, still photographing what I see and love. I don't write in a journal or a diary, I take pictures. At the end of the day I go through them all, think about my day, think of what I learned, where I found meaning, when I laughed, when I felt sad. Not being on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter won't change that one iota--in fact it may even make it better, deepen my days being away from the shallow chatter of the world of Twitfacetagram. I'll be less present in that world but more present in my own . . .

. . . taking a pause that refreshes.

I love to write and I love to photograph my world, and that I'll continue to do. And when the spirit moves me, continue share it here. In the meantime, it's time to batten down the hatches for awhile and move further up and further in to the real and present world around me, because in the end the Present Moment is all we really ever have.

Solitude is a silent storm that
breaks down all our dead
 branches; yet it sends our 
living roots deeper into the
 living heart of the living earth. 
~ Kahlil Gibran


  1. Oh Carrie, I do understand what you are saying about social media vs living in the moment. But I will miss your Twitter posts as they always lifted my day. I've been going thru a tough time with newly diagnosed breast cancer, so as well as looking for the beauty in my own life I am refreshed by seeing the beauty and joy in yours. I am happy to know that you will keep up your blog! Give Jack an extra treat from me and enjoy your respite.
    PS...been to Yakima...ya gotta love the high desert to be inspired there! :)

  2. Ah, Carrie! How much I have enjoyed connecting with you! Sending special hugs! Take care! - xoxo

  3. I understand but you and your kindness, heart and love for others will be missed. So glad we have your blog to come to!! Please give Jack a hug and a kiss for me. Keep on capturing that lovely land of yours through photography!! Look forward to seeing them here. Love you sweet Carrie!

  4. Carrie, We are in the not-always-beautiful Yakima, Wa, as we gaze upon your oasis photo . This week my own garden is full to the brim of English roses blooming, alongside climber roses and more than ten other varieties of roses all in glorious colors of peaches & pinks & yellows & crimsons. I wish we could share some tea and a visit here, face to face, but I am sure you are busy in Wales or busy in Oxford helping Stuart. If you're in the area this summer, please come for a visit!

  5. Here's to days of joy among those you love. Henry and I send big, fat hugs to you and the boys.

  6. Carrie, Thank you for your beautiful heart post. So much resonates. I'm just reading it this morning. (It's blue skies and sunny, which as we emerge from a few days of storm with high winds and rain, is happily appreciated, even though I love stormy, rainy days too.) I love to blog and I have a very small connection on Facebook. And Twitter... basically it's you and Susan and a few other kindreds. I would miss your lovely posts and glimpses of your sweet Jack if you left Twitter entirely, but we all need to do what is good for our own well being.

    I'm wishing you a peace-joy-beautiful kind of day.
    With hugs, Brenda xox

  7. Carrie! I love this so much and I love you so much for sharing! I feel the same way about food posts. Ever since I went to Ethiopia I no longer post food. It just didn't feel right to me. I like how you said, "I get to feel that way and it has nothing to do with you!" That's how I feel too but sadly feel like I can't express myself for fear someone will be offended somewhere and start a conflict. I do not like conflict and so I'm staying further and further away from SM. I haven't closed down all together but it's getting there. I will miss you but I know there is snail mail and email and such so we can keep in touch. Keep living in that present moment and I will too! xoxoxox Lisa

  8. So long as you don't discontinue your blog, having only discovered it in recent months! It is one of my havens, where I have that quiet and beauty and joy you mention.

    I've only recently reactivated my Twitter (which may be how I found your blog, actually, so I'm glad you didn't stop it before!) but I find it troublesome to check and I only follow a few things so I don't get too much noise. With FB I check in once or maybe twice a day, mostly to check in on the Baby Grand. For my volunteer gig I manage FB sites for two cultural organizations so I have to keep on that. But I know what you mean and I find I will only allow myself so many minutes on it.

    I love the personality of the blog, of knowing -- to the degree we can -- other people, their places, passions, the beauty or the thoughtfulness they share. That's one reason I love it here. So, please don't disappear altogether! But find your peace and silence. We all need that. (Trust me -- I live in Michigan and it's not a happy country these days. I seek out the peace where I can get it!)

  9. Well said....sending love and joy to you from across the pond.

  10. Hey, Carrie, I kind of lost touch with you and the other Lollies when I left Twitter and Facebook. I also deleted them. I even deleted Instagram, but later regretted it because I lost the words I wrote with each picture. It was nice having that record of my life. I recently
    rejoined IG and am trying to limit my exposure, because, as you say, it's a lot of sameness and can become boring. Also, thinking in hash tags is weird! Your IG was always so beautiful. But so is your blog, so at least I can come here and enjoy your beautiful posts. You're wise to step back and evaluate things in your life. I try to do that, too. I think not enough of us do. Something weird happens to us when we engage on social media. It can bring out of us both good and bad.

    Thanks for being the pause that refreshes! Take care and have a lovely week!

  11. Your words are a balm to my soul. Please do keep sharing your beauty; the world needs it so much.