“Responsibility or Response-ability?”

When we think of the word, the trait, the quality of responsibility, its definition usually refers to one’s conduct and obligations toward others or a project.  Rarely do we define  responsibility as the ability to respond with integrity for the self.  The ability to choose responses in situations has many benefits.  It reduces stress, it empowers the self to create choices and it allows one to feel a sense of internal control when confronted with conflict.

Think about this scenario.  A situation presents itself and you react with anger.  The same situation presents itself again in a different environment and you react with anger again.  Ultimately, you might feel guilty for your behavior and apologize or you just experience multiple days filled with anger.  Does this pattern of automatic responses sound familiar?  Do you ever ask “What makes me react this way?”  “Why do I behave this way?”  “What makes me feel emotionally drained all the time?”

Response patterns can be automatic and based on previous experiences that one keeps projecting into new situations.  The key to change is what I call the “choice-point opportunity.”  This is the conscious moment when one becomes aware of over-reaction or anger-filled emotions projected into a situation.  Once one becomes conscious of this moment, the ability to change behavior in situations that provoke anger and cause conflict can be resolved.  With this conscious awareness comes the realization that you can choose a different behavior.

Think about this scenario.  A situation presents itself that normally provokes anger within you.  Instead of reacting with anger, you recognize the situation as anger-provoking for you.  This awareness gives you choice and a new opportunity to respond differently in that moment.  This moment of awareness is your gift.  It is the moment for a new choice concerning behavior.  This is an evolution of your consciousness to a new level of higher order thinking and provides you with the opportunity to respond to a situation with choice.  Consequently, your ability to do so is both personally and socially responsible.

Take control of your life and practice response-ability toward yourself.  Become your own hero on your journey and quest toward self-awareness and inner peace.

About the author:  H. Veronika Gaia is a teacher, writer and nature photographer.  She believes that every person can make a difference in our world and that PeacemakersArt.com provides opportunities for you to make your contribution by purchasing with a purpose.  Veronika sells inspirational nature photography art as greeting cards, motivational posters and fine art prints with peaceful intentions for self awareness, human potential and community service.  Please visit her website at http://www.PeacemakersArt.com/.

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“The Healing Potential of Nature Photography Art”

Like many people, I experienced years filled with personal challenges.  For me, the challenge concerned my health.  I spent endless hours in waiting rooms for doctor appointments and medical tests.  The traits of hope, trust, perseverance, courage and faith became relevant and necessary ingredients in my life.  In the midst of my stress, I looked for ways to achieve inner peace everywhere … on office walls, in a note, a magazine article.  Inspirational phrases and peaceful nature scenes became a significant element for my healing process.

This experience introduced me to a new level of healing potential and it involves one’s atmosphere, the written word and visual presentation and interpretation.  The knowledge that stress overwhelms adrenal glands is well documented.  Adrenal gland exhaustion has a treadmill and snow-ball effect and complicates illness until healed.  Stress equals more exhaustion and the person affected reacts to life circumstances rather than responding to situations.  When life’s challenges result in a person feeling out of control and fearful, the mind and its potential to choose its attitude, intention and thoughts in any situation becomes a hidden potential for healing to assist any therapeutic modality.  Thoughts can neutralize negative cell memory concerning body trauma and thoughts can neutralize emotional trauma.  No matter what the diagnosis and health challenge, you can always choose your attitude and intentions.

So, what is the hidden healing potential that we all can choose?  First, room decorations can be very important either as professional office décor, in one’s home or even counselor or teacher classrooms.  As indicated, I intentionally searched office walls for inspiration.  Inspirational fine art nature scenes with peaceful intentions can inspire self-awareness and human potential.  Why is this important in the healing process?  Inspirational art, and its visual impressions, inspires character development, inner peace and relaxation.  In the midst of any stress, one can discover the attributes of hope, trust, perseverance, courage, faith and peace within the self and these are all healing attributes.  Fine art nature scenes can be in the form of art posters with peaceful intentions, fine art greeting cards and nature photography creating an atmosphere of serenity, peace and hope.

So, allow the internet to support healing potential for yourself and others.  Consider purchasing with a purpose.  Buy online fine art posters with intentions for peace.  Make a difference in someone’s life by sending or displaying greeting cards or peaceful note cards to inspire trust, hope and faith.  Search for nature photography to display as your room atmosphere radiating a magnificence of natural beauty, serenity and relaxation.  Let the online experience create hope for yourself, a client, a student, or a friend and celebrate life.

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About the author:  H. Veronika Gaia is a teacher, writer and nature photographer.  She believes that every person can make a difference in our world and that PeacemakersArt.com provides opportunities for you to make your contribution by purchasing with a purpose.  Veronika sells inspirational nature photography art as greeting cards, motivational posters and fine art prints with peaceful intentions for self awareness, human potential and community service.  Please visit her website at http://www.PeacemakersArt.com/.

 

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Self Esteem, Community Service and Empowerment – Part 1

Attention teachers!  Challenge students to use their uniqueness as a contribution to make a positive difference in our world through community service and empower the young. Through participation in school-created community service programs, students elevate their social consciousness to social responsibility as defined in the Bill of Responsibilities:  to give sympathy, to understand and help others; to respect the rights and beliefs of others. Students also participate in the group process of cooperative learning, conflict resolution, critical thinking and problem solving by creating and organizing community service projects.  Students enhance self esteem through experience. Consequently, self esteem becomes earned esteem.

Keys for Success
From my personal experience of creating and directing a successful community service program for seventeen years, here are some keys for success:

o    Community service programs that enhance self esteem are experiential. Self esteem will always be enhanced with the experience of serving, helping and leading.

o    Allow community service to be an innate response to needs.  Ask for student volunteers.  Criteria for the program could be students who possess an attitude of acceptance and tolerance toward others and who have a commitment and respect toward the environment.

o    A community service program could have two components.  One component of the program could be integrated into the school day. Also, there could also be an after-school component of the program that would involve a weekly commitment by students for a specified number of months.

A complete description of the two components of a successful community service program can be found in part 2 of this article.

o    Longevity will determines the success of the program.

Be prepared for growth with this program because everyone can serve; there is no need to exclude anyone.

Actual student responses to the program have included:  “I feel listened to.” “Thank you for believing in me.”  “I know that I can make a difference in our world.”   When students truly know and feel that they can make a difference in our world with their actions, they are empowered.  Community service programs allow students to work heart-first and the energy of young people will change the world.  The members of your student activists will become heroes for all adults involved with your community service program.

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About the author:  H. Veronika Gaia is a teacher, writer and nature photographer.  She believes that every person can make a difference in our world and that PeacemakersArt.com provides opportunities for you to make your contribution by purchasing with a purpose.  Veronika sells inspirational nature photography art as greeting cards, motivational posters and fine art prints with peaceful intentions for self awareness, human potential and community service.  Please visit her website at http://www.PeacemakersArt.com/.

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Self Esteem, Community Service and Empowerment – Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, I presented the rationale and keys for success to create a school community service program.  As stated, organizing community service projects allows students to participate in the group process of cooperative learning, conflict resolution, critical thinking and problem solving.  Students enhance self esteem through experience. Consequently, self esteem becomes earned esteem. Part 2 is a description of the two components of a successful community service program.

Two components of a successful community service program

•    One component of the program could be integrated into the school day.  Examples of successful community service projects integrated into the school day are trips to a soup kitchen, working with a kindertime program for pre-school children and collections for needy causes.  These could be scheduled monthly by teams or groups of classrooms.

•    There could also be an after-school component of the program that would involve a weekly commitment by students for a specified number of months.

Members who join the after-school program would divide into several groups.     The individual groups would have brainstorming sessions concerning community service project selections that would allow students to practice interpersonal skills and build relationships.

1.  Service project ideas are limitless and depend on the creativity and interests of the groups.
2.  Each group designs its own year-long program and the organization experience provides a learning that involves decision-making skills, communication skills and the process of working within a system.
3.  Each group creates its own name and selects four to six community service projects to be completed during the school year after school.
4.  Chosen group names would reflect the community service mission for individual groups and could be an acronym.  Following are examples of actual names used by middle school students:
•    P.R.O. (People Reaching Out)
•    S.U.N.S.H.I.N.E. (Students Unite Nations)
•    C.A.R.S (Caring and Respectful Students)
•    S.M.I.L.E. (Students Making Individuals Laugh Everyday)
•    H.O.P.S.C.O.T.C.H. (Helping Other People Simply Cause Our Touch Can Heal)
Develop partnerships with the community.  In my personal situation, we developed an on-going working relationship with a nursing home, a center for mentally-challenged adults, a day care center, a pre-school program, a community pediatrics health center and a soup kitchen.

The lesson of responsible active citizenship is the intention of all the community service project experiences and ideas create change becomes the principle of active citizenship.  Let your students be your heroes.  Your young student activists can make a difference in our world.  I share this as a proud teacher who has observed dedicated young people who are remarkable as role models for their peers, their teachers, their families and their community.

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About the author:  H. Veronika Gaia is a teacher, writer and nature photographer.  She believes that every person can make a difference in our world and that PeacemakersArt.com provides opportunities for you to make your contribution by purchasing with a purpose.  Veronika sells inspirational nature photography art as greeting cards, motivational posters and fine art prints with peaceful intentions for self awareness, human potential and community service.  Please visit her website at http://www.PeacemakersArt.com/.

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What is the spiritual purpose of fine art prints as greeting cards?

Greeting cards. Have you ever really pondered our real intention when sending greeting cards? Of course, you might reply. We want to celebrate; we want to offer inspiration; we want to console; we want to communicate. We often choose landscape photography or nature photography as the basic foundation of our greeting as these scenes display a fabric of life that is beautiful, peaceful and an opportunity to acknowledge the magnificence of the world around us.

Yet, our intentions with greeting cards can have a spiritual purpose. Our greeting can inspire a be-attitude: be happy, be hopeful, be courageous, be comforted, be aware that you are not alone, be aware of unconditional love. These are all attributes of character development and reminders of our strength and courage during times of celebration and during times of adversity. Ultimately, greeting cards connect us to each other as immediate family, extended family and a global family. Thoughts can change the world for the better. Thoughts and images combined can offer inspiration. You can make a difference when you purchase with a purpose.

So, when choosing a unique greeting card, have a new level of consciousness concerning its potential. Verses for greeting cards can reflect self awareness, human potential and community service. Boxed greeting cards can now become a gift of peace or a gift about evolution of consciousness. The magic of your selected beautiful scene and inspirational thoughts may literally be your contribution to change our world, and make it better, one person at a time.

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About the author: H. Veronika Gaia is a teacher, writer and nature photographer. She believes that every person can make a difference in our world and that PeacemakersArt.com provides opportunities for you to make your contribution by purchasing with a purpose. Veronika sells inspirational nature photography art as greeting cards, motivational posters and fine art prints with peaceful intentions for self awareness, human potential and community service. Please visit her website at http://www.PeacemakersArt.com/.

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Every person can make a difference in our world

Contact: H. Veronika Gaia
Phone: 720-442-4917
Email: veronika@peacemakersart.com

URL: http://www.peacemakersart.com
Lyons, CO –Teacher, writer and photographer launches website with peaceful intentions to celebrate life and inspire hope: inspirational note cards, motivational posters, matted and framed fine art prints.

As Veronika Gaia approached closure with her teaching tenure, it was difficult for her to leave her students knowing their potential to change our world. She had created a voluntary community service program for middle school students which extended into the high school level providing students with the first-hand experience of working in soup kitchens, working with the elderly, working with mentally-challenged adults, working with underprivileged children and creating environmental projects.

“It was the 4-year dedication of my high school students that inspired me to express gratitude each year in a special way to dignify their efforts. I wanted to acknowledge their everyday greatness as they served so selflessly.” As acknowledgment, she chose the medium of art, creating her own photography art cards with original inspirational sayings.

As a nature photographer, writer and teacher, this experience inspired Veronika to create PeacemakersArt.com allowing one to purchase with a purpose. What purpose? PeacemakersArt.com provides a visual presentation to discover within the traits of hope, trust, perseverance, courage, faith and peace.

Veronika believes sending inspirational greeting card art can communicate the intention of global and inner peace. Displaying motivational posters can celebrate diversity and human potential. Matted and framed nature photography scenes can create an atmosphere of serenity, peace and hope.

When pursuing gifts for family or friends, office décor for patients or clients, classroom bulletin boards for teachers or counselors, PeacemakersArt provides opportunities to make a difference in our world. “As my high school students taught me, I have learned that inspirational fine art nature scenes with peaceful intentions can inspire self-awareness, human potential and can be a call to action for community service.”

PeacemakersArt.com can be found on the World Wide Web at
http://www.PeacemakersArt.com

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Can nature photography art support inner peace?

I believe that photography reflects perception. The created images are intuitive responses to observed moments in life. The elements of the canvas are light and shadow which guarantee constant change and opportunities missed or captured. Photographers are always chasing the light.

However, I have also learned that the photographic vision and process can also be a metaphor for life. Vocabulary and techniques taught me the process of photography. The experience of a lens-eye-view through the camera also taught me a way to process life. When developing photographic composition, I would ask the question “What am I choosing to focus on?” When I looked away from the camera and asked the same question, I now had a tool for self-awareness, a catalyst for personal change, and a way to balance my life. Nature, in its magnificence and majesty, became the teacher. I became the student and was always aware that I was observing nature’s hidden curriculum. This curriculum is all around us and evokes our innate nature of goodness to see beauty, accept its teachable moments to develop our character, and to earn our esteem for its organization and diversity.

From experience, I have learned that despite life’s challenges, one can always choose attitudes and intentions. During stress, it is a choice to focus on a visual conveying peace. Doing do initiates a relaxation response within the body and breathing becomes easier and becomes deeper. Using this technique to disengage from the continuum of stressful moments allows one to respond to situations rather than react to them. Awareness of this choice-point opportunity in life allows one to demonstrate responsibility for oneself by developing the ability to respond rather then react to life. Nature photography art is one way to develop this technique to take care of oneself, to breathe, to appreciate, to respect, to honor both the self and others. When we take moments to focus on the innate goodness and beauty around us through nature photography art, we empower ourselves with our birthright of love. We balance our physical bodies with our breath as we choose and intentionally create peace within the self. Ultimately, perceptions of stress are re-created as perceptions of peace.

So, I challenge each reader to look, really look through the viewfinder of one’s personal life camera. What is the composition of your daily life created by your thoughts, perceptions and beliefs? What are your choices each day? What are you choosing to focus on during your days? What takes your energy? Do you have stress-filled days? Try pursuing nature photography art as a way to support a quest for inner peace or a tranquil or inspiring environment. Inspirational note cards as art can be a source of peace or healing for oneself or others. Art motivational posters can inspire active citizenship or inspire human potential. Nature photography art can provide an atmosphere of serenity, tranquility and hope. Look for images and thoughts that inspire your heart to care, to love and to serve.

Each day we are born anew as an artist of life experiences. The world is our canvas and our thoughts, attitudes, intentions and beliefs are the brush strokes on our canvas. What does your canvas look like? When you view your life through the lens of your personal camera, what do you see? You are the creator of your life composition. You can compose your own life images. As John Denver once wrote: Welcome to my morning, welcome to my day. I’m the one responsible. I made it just this way. To make myself some pictures to see what they might bring. Yes, I think I made it perfectly. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Life. Composition. It is all a personal choice. Yes, nature photography art can be a tool to support inner peace. Let nature’s hidden curriculum be an inspiration as you develop your human potential.

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About the author: H. Veronika Gaia is a teacher, writer and nature photographer. She believes that every person can make a difference in our world and that PeacemakersArt.com provides opportunities for you to make your contribution by purchasing with a purpose. Veronika sells nature photography art as inspirational note cards, motivational posters and fine art prints with peaceful intentions for self awareness, human potential and community service. Please visit her website at http://www.PeacemakersArt.com/.

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Depth of Field – Capturing Near and Far in Focus

Scenic nature photography can be a challenge as nature landscape photography needs to have an image with good depth of field. Digital photography provides spontaneous feedback with a digital SLR camera and LCD screen. So, challenge yourself to take your camera off the automatic mode and try the below techniques for achieving a new level of nature photography art.

• If you want true depth of field, use a tripod. Place your camera in manual mode and set your aperture to F16. Depending on the light, you might have a slow shutter speed. If you increase the aperture (F stop), the shutter speed will automatically decrease. Photograph your nature scene at different apertures and notice the change in depth of field. If you have this feature on your camera, become familiar with the depth of field preview button. Notice what is sharp near and far in your photographic composition when you use a higher aperture.

• If you do not have a tripod, try these techniques as different assignments to learn the relationship between shutter speed, aperture and depth of field.

Set your camera on Aperture priority mode. Start with F16 and see what shutter speed appears with this combination of aperture and light. Since you are hand-holding your camera, make sure your shutter speed is at least 1/30 second or higher. If not, lower your aperture. If needed, change your ISO setting to a higher number. Have a good shoulder-width apart foot stance for stability or brace yourself using a building or tree for balance.

Set your camera on Shutter priority mode. Start with a shutter speed of 1/30 of a second and see what aperture appears with this combination of speed and light. Photograph a series of nature landscape photography scenes while increasing your shutter speed to higher speeds. You will notice that your aperture decreases as you do so. Check for depth of field with these combinations. Keep yourself balanced for stability as you photograph.

This assignment will take little time. It will help you to understand the concept of depth of field in nature photography and it will enable you to use more of the features of your camera effectively.
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About the author: H. Veronika Gaia is a teacher, writer and nature photographer. She believes that every person can make a difference in our world and that PeacemakersArt.com provides opportunities for you to make your contribution by purchasing with a purpose. Veronika sells inspirational nature photography art as greeting cards, motivational posters and fine art prints with peaceful intentions for self awareness, human potential and community service. Please visit her website at http://www.PeacemakersArt.com/.

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