Saturday, 31 July 2010

The Round Robin Photo Challenge : By The Water

This is my entry for the Round Robin Photo Challenge this week. 
Riverside bathing.
I call this picture Riverside bathing because that is essentially what is going on in the image. I took the picture this week along the River Thames, at Henley-On-Thames docks. There were many birds and boats out that day and when I thought of the challenge I had my eye out for something interesting and I think I got it! One of the things that made me choose this image is that it literally shows you what happens by the water!

Click here to visit the 
Round Robin Challenge

Thursday, 29 July 2010

The G-Technology Driven Creativity Competition 2010 Entry: Wheel of Time

Hello folks! 
I have entered this years Driven Creativity Competition  which is a public vote competition so please visit their website and vote for me!!!!! 

About my entry

Title: Wheel of Time


What drove my creativity:
The 2009/10 winter here in the UK had more snow than we have seen for a long time and I wanted to make the most of it so I looked for unusual things to photograph and that is how I came across this snow covered sculpture. It is actually only a semicircle sculpture so I captured it twice, the top half being the colour version the bottom half being the black and white version. I then stitched them together to form a wheel which my family says looks more like a clock face, hence the title. I am a self taught photographer and am now teaching myself editing and design which I am enjoying and plan to progress in.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Henley Wildlife - Birds

Here is a collection of some of the birds I saw hanging out on the Thames at Henley, they all seem incredibly at home...if I didn't know any better I would have thought they were posing for the camera! Lol!!! 

River Boats

Henley on Thames

The Final Chapter...Beautiful lie...

After the somewhat tearful and heart wrenching reunion, it became painfully apparent that there was no material reason why they parted in the first place...The layers of miscommunication, pain and anger had clouded their love and left confusion and desolation where love once lived. Secretly within their hearts they knew that they were the perfect fit...soul mates... star crossed lovers who were destined to walk separate paths in different directions. Their journeys thus far had taken them through rough terrain, and a darkness that made loneliness seem like a room full of laughter and joy... 
Each had reached out to the nearest source of comfort setting their lives on a course that would reduce them to being like two ships passing in the night, going in opposite directions... They had lost each other once by chance that a chorus of descending voices spoke in union against them....Yet they had found one another once more, not as two strangers aged by the changing winds of time, but as those young lovers that had lived passionately, fought fiercely, loved loyally and finally parted destructively.... Their initial affectation melted away as the true story of their loss unravelled...Word by word, their barriers broke down, their sensibilities dissolved, their loyalties misdirected and their hearts began to beat as one once more...Resolve lost a utopian moment came one Friday. With the future ahead and many years of pain and separation behind them, they transformed into the young lovers that, having once lost what was seemingly all...had found each other once more. Their hearts intertwined and began to beat faster and aster as they shared hopes and dreams, laughter and the air of love that breathed into them, something unlike what their lives had brought in the interval since their parting... This love drew them in like a drug...the more they drank from the well of remembrance, the stronger their love appeared and the deeper they sank.

It seemed that this moment could last forever yet their paths were on such different courses, nothing short of a derailment or complete head on collision would be able to bring them back together again... She became distressed at the thought of this and even more so at the prospect of doing nothing, of letting go once more and letting true love slip from their fingers a second time...He spoke tenderly, imploring her to drink up the moments and feel the passion there in and just be in that...But she could not have only part of him, only stolen moments, no matter how passionate, when life relieved him of his normal use and duty. He could not bare to be without her at all and could only hope that if he could have these moments then his heart could remain revived and live with the hope that their paths would one day cross and indeed merge...He loved her still, more than he would admit to himself...more than she would ever believe. More than his duty and indeed his own sense of fear of the unknown and the distance between could ever allow him to show and feel...yet he could not let her go...slip away and leave him once, that would not do. 

She began to draft her final love letter before she slipped into the night of disappearance where she thought she could do him no harm... She wrote,

Beautiful lie...breathing you in makes me feel alive...
Lost in the moment its easy to believe this will be eternally...
Earnestly seeking a way to free hope...
Lasting forever can a second chance really be...
Desperately firm yet crumbling still....
Gasping for a way that truth could reside...
Broken in one, there is place for resolve alone...
Darkness is falling yet no change comes...
Go not before but come behind...
See not the tears that pave the way...
Ending the sweet sweet hope of chance...
For your sake I send this parting song my love..
As I watch you fade away within this Beautiful lie...

Yet try as she may, she failed to walk away, failed to say goodbye...failed to leave her heart behind once more. So with failure fresh and sore, she turned to him to make the severing cut of the umbilical cord between them feeding their love. She pressed and she pressed, hoping in some way she could push him away but he would not be moved at first but seeing no way to resolution's road he took a position. Their love seemed only a short while before to be a distant dream, had now become this living breathing entity that was without description, motive or purpose but simply to be...No matter how hard she fought it, she felt it draw her in, more and more with each exchange, the sound of his voice, the way he paused, not hesitated, paused and took breath when he had to share truth with her that could hurt her...He had always protected her well, loved her completely and been resolute with his passion for her...she knew him well...She could see his inner conflict and knew in her heart that he would always decide the same no matter how much time had passed, she knew that he would choose family over their love once more...different circumstances, same choice...she had loved and admired him for this quality, always with the hope that one day it would be their family, her family he would choose above all, yet at this junction in life it was not to be...Part of her, the greater part that boasted of her faith and good breeding, will him to be a creature of habit in this matter as she knew it was the right choice certainly the second time around anyway...As the words failed him, and the pause came that fateful Sunday afternoon, her heart skipped a beat and she thought it might stop but as it beat once more she knew this time she was strong enough not to break down and cry and that in the end she would survive...Even the occasional contact when opportunity and time permitted was surely better that nothing at all she reasoned and it would be the right thing to do would it not? Yet the pain was no less and she felt no different to a drug addict facing rehab with no genuine desire to quit her habit...He walked away, in denial of his addiction, only knowing for sure that he must have her in his life one way or another...anyway in fact so long as she was never far from him again....Hoping secretly as she did, that one day an opportunity may arise whereby their paths may cross and marry, even on that last stretch of their journey towards eternity....

A short story 
by  RJ Nyangulu 

Monday, 26 July 2010

I-Heart Faces Photo Challenge - Purple Photo

As a new member to I-Heart Faces (as in I joined yesterday!), this is my first entry in any challenge and so the 'Purple' Photo challenge this week is really exciting for me! I was not sure if I should enter so soon after joining but then I thought why not! It is bound to be good fun and it will be great to get feedback form seasoned photographers.

This is my entry -- I took this image as part of a series for a colour therapist who was changing her teaching material. It was a lot of fun working with lots of colour and learning a little about how colour impacts an individual on a sub-conscious level. 

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The Mask...

When I think about the concept of us as people wearing masks, initially I think of manipulative people or those with something to hide who portray themselves as something they are not to gain a pecuniary or some other form of advantage over another person. These sorts of masks are so common that we can easily mistaken them to be the full breath of the matter.

When I started considering 'human masks' as a concept, it is the less talked about, more socially accepted masks that I came across. The 'lying mask', the 'wooing mask', the 'sales mask' and the list can go on... There is a school of thought that these are not masks at all but attempts to put one's 'best foot forward' in order to succeed in those situations. Another school of thought is that if you package yourself in a particular way, promoting your best qualities without disclosing the full nature of your character then you are deceiving  your audience.

Mankind, instinctively preserves self, particularly from ridicule, rejection or reproach, will have and show many faces of their character depending on the circumstances they find themselves in. As such we often adorn a mask in situations where we do not feel comfortable or secure to cover ourselves from the scrutiny of others. Some people wear the 'pride / ego mask', while others wear the 'quite / reserved mask' and others still take up the 'talkative mask' in a bid to hide who they really are until they feel that they can trust their audience to become more vulnerable and show who they really are.

I wonder if the reason we wear these and other masks is is because we have developed a society that is based on 'ME'. Nike tells us to 'just do it!', whatever 'it' is that will make 'self happy'. Magazines tell women that men do not like intelligent independent and self assured women, so these qualities are hidden.... Celebrities and models stars set the tone of what we should wear, fashion as an industry being a mask in itself, encouraging us to lose our individual quirkiness and rather opt to be like everyone else in style and dress.  Employers, demand 'team players' causing us to set ourselves aside to buy into a culture we may not even agree with in order to gain acceptance... Over and over again we see tabloids pull people apart due to their physical flaws and decisions. We see 'respected' members of society being judged and exposed and discredited for their shortcomings, failures and mistakes and this makes it harder for us to be honest and genuine and instead we put on masks and hope that no one will notice we are hiding...

In order to be true to ourselves, we need to be true to our audience. Why? Because a lifetime of multiple mask wearing, can rob us of the simple pleasure of having genuine connections with other people and developing good relationships. It can cheat us out of being a principled person when we wear the mask of 'acceptance' especially in the work environment. It will take away the opportunity to make the 'right' first impression on people and hinder our chances at love when our masked is perceived as us, 'playing games'. As hard as it is to simply 'be ourselves', we are the very best version of ourselves when we are just that...

Masks and pretence can only be harbingers of our eventual downfall. They will hinder us from just being ourselves and in the end, we may even forget who we really are...Or we may never get to find out who that is, as we devote ourselves to conforming rather than being the best version of ourselves that we can be. 

Live WITHIN your own skin...Live WITHOUT the mask...

Men @ Work



It is FINISHED. - A poem and image by Rudo Nyangulu
With these three words it all began;
A stolen glance across the dark concourse as lighting strikes;
Hearts beats thunderously as attraction begins to electrify;
He cowers for cover as she begins to move, each step causing a quake under his feet,
Her scent pours into his nostrils as she surges past, lighting strikes twice,
The power cuts, short circuiting his brain as he follows her aroma;
A tornado erupts, passion floods the room as he yields,
Washing away every memory of his vows; love, honor, obey, respect, faithfulness…

With these three words it all began;
Shock and awe attacks like never before;
Amassing intensity of turbulent tension as the silence screamed at them,
Explosion after explosion, destruction resulted as he walked out the door;
The death blow came with the dawn raid of his return;
The wretchedness of the aftermath of battle met the children in the morning;
Untold carnage as ‘love, honor and obey’ lay in a tattered heap on the floor;
Almost lifeless with only a weak pulse to distinguish them from the corpse of respect and faithfulness;
As she exhaled, the war was finally over, he was gone, they were no more.

With these three words it all began;
Bulldozers moved to and fro flattening all that once was known;
Crain’s swing from high above threatening to land a blow at any moment,
Taunts rising as the dust of a collapsed structure billowing before them,
As they detonate in him an earthquake like tremor of epileptic proportions;
A broken home, a broken heart, a wounded soul,
No hope left to grasp as the last bag is placed in the moving van,
No home to return to, no family to mention,
A father missing in action, a mother in desolation…

With these three words it all began;
With a victory cry and a resolve like no other He stormed hell,
Brighter than the sun He blinded all who beheld as He scoped His prize,
The din rose up to heaven as He claimed His prize,
The keys of hell were finally in his grasp,
He charged to the earth a victory to claim his spoils,
As He was witnessed by the masses He proclaimed a new day!
Victory over sin and death was finally within grasp,
For those who would forsake all, pick up their cross and follow Him into glory!
On the cross He proclaimed, ‘It is finished!”
…When then do we allow the devil to kill, to steal and to destroy?

Copyright (c) Rudo Nyangulu 2010. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Order in chaos...

Image courtesy of the internet
Letting go of anything is something that I find really difficult. Whether they are material things (I'm a bit of a bag lady!) or emotional and relational.I am not the kind of person who can easily say goodbye or walk away from anything or anyone, my greatest strength and weakness all wrapped up in a neat bow I call sentiment... Before I can let go, one of two things has to take place, a great deal of soul searching and immense agonising or circumstances beyond my control. These are generally the driving factors for release, usually with the threat of derailment from life's plan if I don't! But never carelessly without deliberate and due consideration. Dramatic I know but that is literally how I feel about letting go / moving on / leaving things or people behind... 

The four hundred million dollar question the has got to be how do you know? How do you figure out what you do and don't want from life? How to you decided what to keep close to your heart and what to let go? The lessons life and faith have taught me in this area are few but most profound and when I heed to these, I never falter...

1. Don't get in over your head
In life we all come to a point where we have been in a situation so long that the word 'change' sounds like a swear word. Whether we have allowed ourselves to get used to living in boxes and general chaos or we are hitting the re-run phase of old dramas in old relationships, we need to keep treading water! It reminds me when I was five and my dad taught us how to swim. we started with the 'doggy paddle' which is effectively doing everything you can to keep your head above water and this is the first lesson, 'don't get in over your head!' You will need your head to resolve the issue or plan your exit strategy so don't lose it, whatever you do! This is not to promote clinical relationships or lifestyles, rather this gives you enough courage to be honest with yourself about your situation and at the very least make a choice about how you want things to play out. When you lose your head, you stop seeing things clearly and this is where you end up in situations that can be cancerous in nature to your own journey in life if left keep your head and wits about you.

2.Don't choke it
This is mainly a relational lesson, when it comes to love, don't choke it! There is a saying or a song I cannot remember, nevertheless its message is so true and still relevant today. It says that if someone truly belongs with you and you have their heart, you should not need to hold them so tight that you begin to choke them for fear that they will fly away...If they to fly off, the measure of your bond is in their returning to you. If they do return you know for sure that the love is real and true and worth it all...And if they do not, then they were never yours in the first place... This has probably been the most powerful of all of life's lessons for me and has saved my heart so much pain and disappointment of hearing empty words with no actions to prove their worth over the years and giving my heart on so little only to be hurt when that one flew away, never really understanding they were never mine. Ladies there is a great safety for us in this lesson, you see it is not what a man says that shows you he loves you and his  heart is yours, it is what he does to prove his words that gives you the evidence you need to let your heart go... So don't choke the one you have and see before you, if he wants to fly let them, after all it is the one who returns that you know is purposed to truly love you. 

3. Don't jinx it
 Sometimes we ruin things and relationships that could have been great, either by starting off on the wrong foot or by throwing ourselves in with no parachute. This is more common in relationships where the parties involved are on completely different pages or want different things from the relationship but they rush in without ever considering or discussing it and often these relationships end in tears. But it can be true of jobs and homes and many other areas in life when we allow ourselves to 'fall for' rather than 'allow' things to natural come to be...There is a scripture that talks of not awakening love before it pleases, that is what comes to mind when I think of this lesson. It simply means that a good or really great thing at the wrong time is wrong and will more often than not fail so it is necessary to allow for 'love to please'...

4. Don't be bound to it
Don't sell / bind your soul to anything! It is so easy to get so very attached to things and people very quickly whether or not they are good for you. Take the time necessary to study the situation, count the cost of what a commitment in that direction will demand of you and then make a conscious decision either way. This is necessary because when the storms of life come and all is going wrong, it will be too late to consider your choices then and as the saying goes, once you have made your bed you have to lie in it...thorns and all...

5. Don't close your eyes
It is so easy for us to get caught up in the moment, whether its shopping for that extra pair of shoes you have no room for, or meeting that person we instantly click with at the wrong time or with opposing desires. As we enter into any situation there are always a set of alarm bells and warning signs going off in and around your head and choosing to ignore these is what I am referring to here. Don't fool yourself in thinking that if you just focus on the fun and excitement and enjoy yourself, the underlying serious issues pertaining to your situation or set of circumstances will go away. The best example of this being debt. If you don't take notice of your bills, eventually you will get a red letter / final warning. If you ignore this, your debt could be sold off to a debt collector or you could end up in court, the result of which could be a larger fine than the original debt or sometimes even imprisonment! If you had taken note of the bills as they came in and addressed each as they came to light, your circumstances at the end would be completely different. The same principle is true in relationships...If you ignore the writing on the wall, the funeral at the end of a long bitter situation will be yours...

With these lessons in mind, no matter how hard I find it to let go and make changes where I need to, I have learnt that a little pain of loss at the beginning of a matter, is far better and kinder to the soul  than the heart wrenching, soul destroying prospects of ripping yourself from something / someone you have be so joined to that it has become a part of your DNA make up. The pain of the latter is my driving force when it comes to making those difficult decisions and learning to let go, maybe not of the things you don't want, but more the things you cant afford to keep for your own sake...

A walk through fields of gold

I went for a walk in Wokefield, the village down the road from mine, with friends and their dog. Apparently it is a famous path and one of the longest as it stretches all the way back to Mortimer where I live a few miles down the road. We saw some scramblers too! (people who walk on paths like this as a hobby). We didn't walk its full length but went a good part of the way and it was breathtaking! here are a couple of pictures so you can see and judge for yourself...

The Gold

The Path

The Dog

The Ramblers

The View

The looking glass and the seeing eye

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. 
Only through experience of trial and suffering 
can the soul be strengthened, 
ambition inspired, and
 success achieved. 
Helen Keller

It is not what we say that shows our strength of character. Nor is it when we stand tall that we are most visible. It is not when we look into the mirror that we see ourselves. Nor when we shout the loudest that we are heard. It is folly to believe that we can 'cheat death', that is to develop character without the battle scars of suffering or the wounds of experience. 

We cannot purport to have integrity when we fail to rise to the occasion in the tests life brings. Through the difficult choices and the decisions we make, we shape our lives...It is not to arrive at the right answer that gives us credibility, but the courage to choose, and resolve to stand by our decisions in spite of the consequences. 

It is through our consistency in action and stoic demeanor that we can have confidence in the path we choose. We can find a strength in this deportment, not conflicted by emotion or torn by possibilities and eventualities, where weakness and cowardice will fail us. 

As our words and actions are displayed congruously on life's stage, they will testify of our strength of person. Time being the most faithful and transparent adjudicator of life,  we have no need or recourse to present a case in debate or discussion. The principles upon which we live our lives will speak louder than any representation we can bring ourselves.

It is in the midst of the storms of life that inspirations comes to us and we avail much. Only in the throws of daily turbulence do we find our feet. If we are able to overcome, never losing sight of the goal, we can and will emerge victorious.


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