Following an other than yellow brick road

So fellow travelers, it is not uncommon for me to check in online and find a post from someone announcing their decision to close out a social media profile. These announcements cite “rampant negativity,” “impersonal prattle,” “too personal revelations,”  and a “lack of authentic connection” as reasons they consider the time spent on line as wasted.  Or they might offer an apology in advance of “cleaning out” their contacts list.  “Please don’t take it personally,” they say  in case someone doesn’t “make the cut.”

No problem. I have learned the fewer things I take personally,  the happier I am and the happier I am, the easier it is to take fewer things personally. It’s one of the most valuable lessons I have gleaned from my experiences on this crazy ride.

Still, sometimes I wonder if I am somehow logged onto an alternate internet, something akin to a virtual alternate universe.  It’s not that negative posts don’t ever show up in my newsfeed, but they are few and far between. Probably has something to do with what I choose to “like” and what I tag as “I Don’t Want to See This.” More often than not the first post I find will offer me true inspiration or a good hearty laugh.

Take for example a recent post from blogger and CGBF member Lisa Dingle wherein she described her shift from “pissy” to “spring-y” back to “pissy,” as she chased spring on her recent trip to her other home in Maine.  The morning I read her post I was wrestling with my daughter’s request that we drive to “the part of Philly with the brick streets and cool coffee shop.”

No, she was not asking me to drive as far out of the way as it sounds.  We were already in the vicinity of Philadelphia visiting my parents on our own quest for a little spring while on break this week. Yes, I had offered to give my daughter’s girlfriend who had come along on the trip a quick tour of Philly since it was her first time visiting. Stopping in Old City, where my daughter wanted to go, meant rearranging the route I had mapped out the night before, which seemed inconvenient until I read Lisa’s post and saw her photo of bricks…..

Old City could also be called Brick City.  Suddenly re-routing my gps “via” points felt much less inconvenient. In fact it fit right in with the ripple of inspiration beginning to radiate through my brain.  I set out for the dodge and weave adventure of driving on the Schuylkill Expressway in a creative, much less “pissy” state of mind.

By way of  an Affirmation from the Universe, we found an open parking space where five dollars granted us a voucher for two hours of parking, a bargain by big city standards.  It was right across the street from our first stop.


where I was able to capture the shot I envisioned while reading Lisa’s post


Historic bricks in Old City Philadelphia

as well as a glimpse of my future globe trotting daughter


As we walked down 2nd street we came across several galleries, including one with a stairway decorated by art students


I captured this bit of spring, focusing as best I could with my camera phone on the diamond glow of fresh raindrops


We came to Christ Church, founded in 1695 and attended by many of our Founding Fathers and Mothers.


More historic bricks 

and as the girls shopped in a second hand bookstore across the street, I wandered around the quiet church yard, snapping photos.


Reflecting on history, Christ Church garden Philadelphia.

This is my favorite shot, an image I know is the result of putting into practice what I have learned from Jeff Anderson’s photography classes and also influenced by the creative work of photographers I have met on line.

This might not have happened without the connections I have made through social media.  I’ve met many of the CGBF members in person and found them to be genuine, caring and just plain fun to be with.  I have come away from these “old friends who’ve just met” encounters with authentic friendships.  I am fully aware my experience reflects a conscious choice to focus on a select segment of social media. Whether on line or out in the world, the negativity is still out there, it always will be, but that doesn’t mean it has to “in here” where I come to be inspired to live a creative life.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Deborah H Rahalski

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