The Birth of Something New

As part of the ongoing effort to encourage others to explore the “good medicine” that can be delivered to those who are passionate about the pictures they take and make, we occasionally share research or thought processes that support the healing nature of creativity.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch (fine art photography)

Today’s thought comes from Jan Phillips in her book, God Is at Eye Level.

We get so caught up in the flurry of our lives that we forget the essential thing about our art–that the act of creating is a healing gesture, as sacred as prayer, as essential to the HGR Pink Fower 1j (1 of 1)spirit as food is to the body. Our creative work reveals us to ourselves, allows us to transform our experience and imagination into forms that sing back to us in a language of…who we are, what we are becoming, what we have loved and feared. This is the alchemy of creation: that as I attempt to transmute a feeling or thought into an artistic form that can be experienced by another, I myself am added to, changed in the process.

As we center ourselves in the act of creating, attune to our inner voice, a shift occurs in our consciousness, allowing for the birth of something new. Our attention is no longer on time and demands and errands. It is caught up in the metamorphosis of one thing into another. What begins as a cocoon emerges a butterfly. What once was sorrow may now be a song.

All of the photos featured today are originals, and were taken at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch. Like many of Arizona’s celebrated resorts, it is a great place to stimulate the “birth of something new.” It is a great place for photoremedy.

Arizona Spring Flowers

Flower Quote 2

Each Spring, I experience the seemingly inexorable pull towards Arizona flower-related photoremedy. I know those who have not visited the Great American Southwest have a hard time picturing flowers in the desert; it is almost as difficult as trying to imagine a Redneck passing up a cold beer. The colorful gems, though, flourish during the Spring in Arizona’s breathtaking Sonoran Desert. They triumph on the ground and on trees, while consistently painting the ancient mountains in brilliant Spring colors.Gavilan Peak 1j

Flowers can also be appreciated in well-manicured gardens. Traditionally, I have focused a greater percent of my efforts on capturing Spring wildflowers. This year, however, garden-grown varieties have received most of my photographic attention. African Daisy 1j

A few of the of the images I have captured (and developed) this year are featured in the gallery below. Just click on any image to view the selections in slide show mode.

Note: The photoremedy mission is to encourage those fighting chronic pain and other afflictions to consider using photography as a powerful tool to move their focus away from the pain. In the process, we strive to enhance readers’ ability to see beauty and experience elevated joy in their lives. There are many gifts that can accompany health challenges; one of the greatest offerings is it frequently forces sufferers to set better priorities for their lives and assists them in seeing the world in new and more meaningful ways. 

Butterfly Wonderland

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Having our Grandson Emmett all to ourselves for a few hours last week proved to be a great opportunity to check out one of Arizona’s newest attractions – Scottsdale’s Butterfly Wonderland.Butterfly_Atrium-16 (1 of 1)

Butterfly Wonderland features America’s largest butterfly atrium. Butterflies from farmers–as far away as Costa Rica, Malaysia, Ecuador, Thailand and the Philippines–appear to be living the good life inside the 10,000 square foot facility.

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The holometabolous insects are quite friendly. In fact some of them appeared to be quite interested in “dating” Mary, or at least her talking her out of her shirt!Butterfly_Atrium-11mary (1 of 1)

Photo by Mary Gilstrap

Photo by Mary Gilstrap

A specially-edited 3D version of “Flight of the Butterflies” is a can’t miss part of the experience. I must admit I had a hard time following the narration because the 3D butterflyeffects were so captivating I had to keep turning to Mary and Emmett to say, “That is so cool!”

After the movie, 17-month old Emmett was enthralled the minute we hit the conservatory. It captured his attention for good reason. The butterflies were everywhere!

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It didn’t take long for Emmett to decide he was ready to move on. Fortunately, he found other wonders to capture his attention.Emmett_At_BW-2 (1 of 1)

That gave me just a bit more time to enjoy some fabulous photoremedy.Butterfly_Atrium-15 (1 of 1)

All in all, it was a great outing. We hope to be back soon. Perhaps next time we will be able to bring both of the grand kids. I cannot promise it will be twice as much fun, but at least there will be twice as many tiny toes!Looking_Up-1 (1 of 1)

Chicken, Waffles, Birthdays, and Sacred Prayers

William and Andrew Gilstrap at Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles

November 16, 2012

Our oldest son, Andrew, celebrates his 28th birthday today. We had a great family kick-off to his ‘birthday week’ last weekend at the sinfully delicious Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles in Scottsdale.

It would have been a perfect day had Andrew’s lovely wife Katie been able to make it, but she’s a nurse and duty called. The rest of our gang was there–Mary, Will, Amanda & Stephen, Andrew and Emmett–so it took a while to get a booth big enough for all of us. It was worth the wait. I found Larry ‘Lo-Lo’ White’s soul food combinations unique, yet familiar. That is probably because, in my case, “You can take the boy away from his butter and chicken grease upbringing, but you can’t take the butter and fried chicken away from the boy!

As good as the food was, the company was even better. Mary and I later remarked how lucky we are to have great kids (although all are now adults). And, just as importantly, we feel so blessed to experience great kids having great kids.

Andrew is in his last semester of graduate school at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. As has been the case with Mary and all of our children, Andrew has been incredibly helpful as I have struggled to regain my health. He is a frequent contributor and editor for this blog; and continues to encourage me to seek healing through photography. Happy birthday, Andrew! Here’s our prayer for you on this special day.